Hack Your Waste: New Ways to Reduce Food Waste

On September 15, 2016, NYC OpenIDEO chapter hosted a Hack Your Waste Event in collaboration with DFA NYU. This was last event of the many hosted by other chapters for Hack Your Waste. The session was hosted at the MakerSpace  in NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

While the group was smaller than what we expected based on registration, the energy was high and we had a great session. The participants were from diverse backgrounds: some new comers and some old timers, but all passionate design thinkers. There were cookies and pretzels for everyone, and those that were not eaten were given to NYU students -- Now that is zero waste! :-)

After an introduction to the challenge and a highlight of the main insights from the research phase, participants were divided in 3 teams to brainstorm.

 Brainstorming ideas in small groups

Brainstorming ideas in small groups

The teams came up with several ideas and finally built a prototype on the one they thought was the best. The top idea from each team were:

  • Gather, a new model of grocery store

  • Preservation Kitchen imagined how to preserve food already in the food chain

  • Eden was a system to optimize the lifecycle of (food) waste

 Gather

Gather

Each prototype was vivid and a great example of the power of “show rather than tell”: Gather was shown as a role play, Preservation Kitchen was shown as a story and Eden was mix of a physical concept and story. The three are shown in the images below in the same order.

 Preservation Kitchen and Eden

Preservation Kitchen and Eden

Gather  was  invited to the refinement phase of the Food Waste Challenge!

It is worth noting that even a small gathering has the power to come up with the best of ideas.


Rodney Lobo, Master Student in Industrial Engineering at NYU, Member of Design for America of NYU, design thinker enthusiast, tinkerer and food waste passionate. He is working on several social innovation projects including one aiming to alleviate hunger among college students.