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Food + Future CoLab

I was selected to participate in a day-long design sprint to tackle pressing challenges in the global food system. This IDEO Make-a-thon was in collaboration with design and business experts from Target and MIT Media Lab. 

Our Task: Develop a product for a future world where personal hydroponic farm systems are widely available. 

Client: IDEO & Target 

Process & Final Prototype

Process & Final Prototype

We were tasked with developing a product for a future world where personal hydroponic farm systems were widely available. The MIT Media Lab had been working on a prototype of this personal farm system that was available for us to see and interact with as we developed our solutions.  

As this was just a day long sprint, we did some quick research on how hydroponic farms are currently being used and spent some time with the MIT farm prototype that was provided to us.

We decided that it would be easiest to decide a consumer group for our product before brainstorming solutions, so we thought without limits about what communities of people could really benefit from a product like this, and how they might use it. We brainstormed around different groups such as refugee camps, hospitals, schools, and patients with special needs but ultimately ended on Community Outreach Centers (for homeless etc.)

Ideate & Prototype
We individually rapidly prototyped ideas (the wilder the better!) on how a community center could use this idea. In this setting, I found the individual time to work very well as it gave us all an opportunity to show our skillset and share our opinions. After the solo ideating, we came together to share our ideas and then found similar themes and common threads in our solutions.

The solution we ended on was the “Grow Box: Grow. Learn. Feed.”

Grow Box: Personalized kits that allow homeless community centers to grow together as a community, learn about healthy eating and gain marketable skills, and spread the love by feeding their community.  

The box contains seeds for produce, recipes, and a personalized shopping list. The intent is that there would be two options of grow boxes for the community organizer to choose from.

1.  Grow food to feed the internal community: It teaches you how to program the Grow box for efficiency in group meals in cooking

2.  Grow food to feed your surrounding community: teaches you how to program your Grow Box to create products for local market sale and includes lessons on business practices so that the people living in the shelter gain marketable skills for the future

Our group worked together to design a quick prototype of what this box could look like, and I designed a website to help explain the concept

The ultimate test for our quick and dirty prototype was the pitch at the end of the day for all of the make-a-thon attendees and leaders from IDEO and Target.