Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Green Innovation Hits the Showers

Practically speaking, saving water is one of the key tenets of sustainability.  However, many of us...and you know who you are...love that long shower.  Especially on a cold, pre-dawn morning when a 9 plus hour day awaits us.  And trying to instill a sense of water conservation in a 16 year old is like trying to get a zebra to change its stripes.  However, during the recent GreenGov symposium, I believe I've seen a solution and it's called iMShowerSmartTM.
This little device takes the door banging enforcement of shower control away from parents, roommates, spouses, and landlords and moves it to the source.  The highly intuitive device has what I believe are the three components of successful innovation...
1.  Capitalizes on an unmet need that is not readily identified (think iPod)
2.  Employs current or slightly advanced technology in new and unique ways
3.  Is extremely user friendly and easy to learn how to use
ShowerSmart_edited-1The iMShowerSmart fits this bill exactly and drives energy and water savings without a lot of extra thought on behalf of the user.  The unit has a battery free graphical user interface (uses water power to drive the miniature power generation needs) that has been designed to meet the 80% rule of product usability.
In the march to introduce products that will allow individuals and institutions to become more energy and conservation minded, few products that I have seen come close to the elegance of design and practicality of this product.  Even Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks it's "faantahstic".
Now, this post isn't meant to be a plug for the company or the product (though it's doing a bit of that for sure).  Instead, it is meant to hone in on the concept of simple product innovation with dramatic results that provide sustainability benefits without a great deal of effort around compliance.  In my opinion, products like this (along with the LED light bulb, solar power device charger, and Dyson hand dryer) will be how business and government ultimately achieve their sustainability goals...in small incremental steps that don't rely necessarily on large, disruptive product development (think Electric Vehicle).  Instead, products driven by science (both physical and social) and research, rather than relying mainly on policy driven quick fixes, will create the necessary ethos that will become the tipping point for making sustainability mainstream.

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