Sustainability Deep Dive 2020


Decades of global human activity and the expanding greenhouse effect have created a situation that needs to be addressed with more urgency than ever. We think design can help. Action must be taken today if we have any hope of creating paths forward to a sustainable future.

As the developers of products and services used by billions of people around the world, industrial designers hold a crucial position: one that demands we look for ways in which our work can ignite social, cultural, and institutional change. By leveraging our resources, processes, and voice as designers, we can establish new ways of thinking and methodologies in our studios, companies, and corporate settings that, in turn, can help to ensure the ongoing health of our planet and its precious resources.

The Sustainability Deep Dive 2020 was a virtual event spanning three days. It featured a comprehensive mix of expert presentations and skill-building sessions meant to produce a wellspring of innovative ideas and possibilities that are desperately needed to bring about change.



Sustainability Deep Dive 2020 Emcees:

Deb Johnson, IDSA has been leading the integration of sustainability and technology into design education, entrepreneurship and research since 1998.

Stephan Clambaneva, IDSA is a design and innovation leader with comprehensive global experience in the areas of digital transformation, design and innovation management, and holistic design thinking.



Each day of the Sustainability Deep Dive will focus on one of three themes, building in narrative and application examples to help you walk away with the knowledge and actionable tools required to immediately make a difference in your organization.


DAY 1 - Wednesday, June 3

Uncover the top-down considerations needed to define a Sustainable, Circular Design, or Zero Waste company-wide initiative. Discover the implications of the proposed Green New Deal (GND) on the business of design and decide which of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs) you or your company should focus on. Learn about directives such as REACH, RoHS, WEEE, ELV, Well, GreenStar, and LEED; and how, through cross-pollination, these and other cradle-to-cradle strategies could be grouped together and leveraged in your industry. Actualizing these opportunities can lead to much-needed cultural development at your company and sustainable business model paradigm shifts, ensuring a strong triple bottom line!

Presenters from companies and organizations leading the industry will share their latest insights to help you develop your own sustainable design strategy going forward. These sessions are designed to instill actionable knowledge and empower industrial designers at every experience level, from recent college graduates all the way up to C-suite seasoned professionals. Each presenter contributing to this program block was selected based on their success in building (and implementing) successful, earth-friendly practices for their organizations.

See the Day 1 Schedule


DAY 2 - Thursday, June 4

The concept of Process will be broken out into different levels of content around materiality, environmentally-conscious manufacturing processes, eco-design toolkits, guides, and technology that you can take with you and apply in your company for Sustainability, Circular Design, or Zero Waste. This program block is curated to develop the kind of first-hand knowledge that will empower the industrial designer. You can expect to learn about new sustainable materials, bioplastics and mycelium, and their latest industrial applications. Participate in panel discussions on various eco-design and LCA tools, as well on debates on the merits of OKALA, different eco-conscious manufacturing and prototyping processes. Each presentation in this program block is designed to translate into real-time professional output, so you can immediately take the best practices you’ve learned back to your company and generate sustainable process innovation.

See the Day 2 Schedule


DAY 3 - Friday, June 5

Learn from a comprehensive showcase of real examples of sustainable products that skillfully blur the boundaries between singular product and connected experience. As we are living in the Age of the Experience, we can no longer design in isolation. The product, the service, and the experience have to be green! Expect to hear inspiring eco-design success stories where sustainability is no longer just a design constraint, closed loop customer journeys that will inspire you to apply holistic design to your product lines, and case studies that prove that a circular, systems-thinking approach can create beautiful products. As a designer, seeing is believing. 

See the Day 3 Schedule



Thank you to our corporate partners




Thank you to our media partners