Posts filed under ‘Environmental or Green’

Reflection on Entrepreneurship. Ideas to Reality. The Critical Story Behind Creating Self-Watering Seed-Starters

Blog 13_OrtaPic: Anne Fletcher’s Self-Watering Seed-Starter (Orta)

Studying in the States, I’ve been exposed extensively to entrepreneurship. Most of my good friends with good ideas make them work and turn them into reality. The entrepreneur spirit is in all of those who work hard, and believe that they have something to improve others daily living. This is what happened with my friend Anne Fletcher, instructor at the D.School and consultant. After showing off her entrepreneur skills in Chile’s surfing context, she came back to the States, and here, she is doing it once again. Meet her dream of helping others to keep seedlings alive. But is not that easy! There are pitfalls and a-ha moments! It is always good to hear a real story and reflection, overall from someone who is critical and has a vision behind it. Here is what she tells us about her quest:

-. I find hope in planting seeds .-
Terracotta self-watering seed-starters will keep your seedlings alive even if you ignore them a little! Before I started making terracotta seed-starters in my garage, I killed a lot of seedlings.  In the delicate seedling phase, plants need gentle watering every single day, twice a day if it’s hot outside. With long hours and work travel, sometimes it just wasn’t possible for me to keep those baby plants alive. About a year ago I had an idea for a new way to solve this problem.  I invented a terracotta self watering seed-starter with a reservoir for water, and porous walls that keeps seedlings happy for about a week between waterings. After debuting my invention last September, I started selling out all the production runs I could make in my garage.  I found some local artisans here in California to help me meet the growing demand.

Now I’m working on a new, bigger model.  The 12-pack allows you to grow bigger seedlings, and more of them.  Big is great for the plants, but it’s too much for me to handle in the garage.  I’m doing a Kickstarter project to raise the funds to make the 12-pack a reality by paying for professional mold-making, and working with manufacturing partners in California. This project partly comes from a desire to keep my plants alive in a pretty package on the windowsill – there’s no denying that.  But there’s another deeper reason.

As a designer, I struggle all the time with the visions of apocalyptic futures that experts say are coming if we don’t change our consumption habits.  When I ponder the designer’s role in all this (as creator of objects people desire, and sometimes as creators of the desire itself), I feel a mental paralysis.  It’s extremely difficult to balance both being aware of what we humans are doing to ourselves, and yet stay positive enough to have the energy to make positive changes.  In a world sharply divided between doom-and-gloom apocalysm and head-in-the-sand optimism, we designers need a new way forward.  I can’t ignore the reality of our current situation, yet I also can’t create positive change from a place of fear and pessimism. -. I find hope in planting seeds .- (more…)


June 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

Give and take, a service designed social economy

Pic: ccxtina on Flickr

Christina Worsing is more than a social activist. A designer by formation, which is how I happen to know her, Christina has pulled forward this amazing initiative that is called “Give and Take”. Willing to revert object’s planned obsolescence [just a bad design strategy], they provide the service connection to recirculate “pre-loved” resources by setting the stage for “Ethical Economies” to happen. Based on the idea of formalizing “cambalaches” [how this is called in Chile] or swaps… Her initiative has created a whole rethinking of the service deployment that a social re distributed economy like this would have. This service strategy has been defined using the design process in creating touch points, diagramming system’s flow and conducting front-end research to understand all the individuals involved.
Pic: ccxtina on Flickr

So what is Give and Take?
“Give-and-Take is a community-based project that develops services, activities and events to circulate pre-loved clothing throughout the local area. Along the way we share ideas and thoughts on how to re-use, repurpose and rethink (more…)

February 23, 2012 at 4:59 am Leave a comment

John Thackara’s provocation-is not enough if industries get awards for “contaminating less”

John Thackara [In the Bubble and Doors of Perceptions] talks about the way to agency at AIGA Design conference at NCSU this month. One of his greatest provocations has to do with the role of designers in the green movement.

It doesn’t mean minimize adverse effects on nature, we should go for a target of NO EFFECTS. I quote, a thief that tells a judge that he is stealing less than before, will receive no leniency. So why companies get awards for contaminating less, even though they are still polluting

See the complete video of the provocation:09_NCNP_Provocation#6: John Thackara from ncstategraphicdesign on Vimeo.

October 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

contact + citing (CC license)

Constanza Miranda PhD(c) design.anthro
* Currently @ DILAB
* Ex.VR @ Stanford's Center for Design Research [DesignXLab]
* Ex.Instructor @ PUC Chile [Design+Engineering]
Use citations ¡Citar es ético!
Creative Commons License
Design for Social Innovation initiative by Constanza Miranda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

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