YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
WHAT INSPIRE US
MANUFACTURING, DESIGNING, ORAL HEALTH, AND THE WAYS TO SOLVE SOCIAL PROBLEMS.
Manufacturers and their products have critical impacts on the societal ecosystem.
Designs can help reduce the negative impacts that products and services may have. Designs can also help create positive impacts instead.
Designers from SolidSprout and manufacturers from Senity collaborated on the development of oral health care products. They reduce the risks and promote oral health care for the people, especially for elderly, in the ways that never happen before.
Manufacturers and the Societal Ecosystem
When we talk about the drawbacks on consumers and the environment, the defendant is often the 'manufacturers' because the image that most people think about the manufacturer is usually related to exploitation, selfishness, pollution making, and how they stick to revenue growth and abandon the true well-being of their consumers. It is true that there are many manufacturers out there that are creating negative impacts on the society and the environment. If this continues, the negative impacts will return to the manufacturers as a consequence in terms of the decline in their revenue and the performance of the company. That’s because when a product or service harms the environment and the health of the consumers, the overall market ecosystem will be affected. The effects will spread over the ecosystem, protruding to every parts of the market including the manufacturers themselves.
Collaboration between Designers from SolidSprout and Manufacturers from Senity
Manufacturers are an important unit in the market ecosystem. That’s why the collaboration between SolidSprout (www.solidsprout.com) and Senity tries to look back at the production and the design process which is the roots of the problem in order to reduce the negative impact on consumers and the environment. Furthermore; it is intended that the manufacturing system should have a positive impact on the quality of life and sustainability of the environment in the short, medium and long term. This assumption is created by focusing on the details of the production and the design process that are benefiting the society.
Design as a Tool to Solve Social Problems
SolidSprout designs and use design processes to deal with social problems in various fields, both in national and global level, with the concept of "Design for Social Impacts" working through hands-on knowledge in various fields including arts, sciences, psychology, social sciences, management and natural resource management. In order for the design to work on taking care of the well-being of the people, minimizing the negative impact, and creating positive outcomes on the society, SolidSprout not only embraces the aesthetics in the designs, but also works adequately on the bits by bits of the design process to nurture the state of well-being of the people and the society. This intention is, for example, reflected through their project with Senity, which deals with oral health problems in Thai people, especially in elderly.
Oral Health Problems in Elderly
Oral health is one of the factors that can affect the overall health of a person in the long run. Researches suggest that inadequate oral health care is a risk factor for many diseases, including immune- and circulatory-related diseases. Harmful bacteria and beneficial bacteria (known as normal flora) live together in one’s oral cavity in a balanced level. Unfortunately, incorrect oral health care causes an imbalance between the two types of bacteria, and causes other health problems. In the cases where the people or the elderly lack knowledge about good oral health care, tackling the problems by providing knowledge and creating oral health care tools for correct oral care become an important part in helping Thai people to maintain their health. This is especially important for the elderly because they have more risk factors due to their less ability to take care of themselves and the sensitivity of the mouth which needs special attention.
Concepts for Solving Societal and Environmental Problems.
In addition to oral health problems, SolidSprout and Senity realize that the tools that are currently being used for oral health care in the market are harming the environment; for example, toothbrushes and their packaging containers, while having short life cycle, are made from plastic. While plastic waste is currently creating environmental problems in every way, reducing negative impacts on the environment became another topic to consider in the design and manufacturing of SolidSprout with Senity.
Oral Care Equipment that Cares People and Environment
By studying the consumer’s behavior through inquiries, interviews and data collection from research, SolidSprout and Senity developed various products to be more friendly to the consumers and the environment. The designs and manufacturing are under the concept of "Innovation Carefully Designed for Your Timeless Life". The shape of the toothbrush handle has been redesigned to be more comfortable to hold. It prevents slippage and also allows the elderly to easily grasp to reduce the risk of danger from using a toothbrush thanks to the locking protrusions and convex sections that help adjusting the grip. The bristles also have been specially developed to be the first in Thailand to have a suitable softness level of bristles that have never been found in other toothbrush brands. The materials used in the production of the brush handles is bioplastic from corn and tapioca, and can be degraded in certain conditions (Biodegradable).
Not only toothbrushes but other products are also developed to complete the cycle of correct oral care. For example, the toothpaste, which are specially packed into eco-packaging tubes. The tubes’ outer skin is lined with recycled material to help reduce unnecessary production of new plastic. This process is the initiating step for the future plans to build a circular economy production system. There is also a 2-Phase Mouthwash that helps eliminate bad breath and cleans the mouth with zero alcohol. It also adds moisture to the mouth, and can be used well for adult persons and elderly. The bottles were designed with convex and concave shapes for easy grasping and shaking without slippage. The materials selected were bio-plastics from sugarcane, corn and tapioca. This makes the packaging friendly to recycling process thanks to the single-material design that makes sorting for recycling easier and possible to join the recycle process.
Cooperation between Designers and Manufacturers in Solving Social Problems.
In addition to oral health problems, SolidSprout and Senity realize that the tools that are currently being used for oral health care in the This project on oral health products is an important example of a collaboration between designers and manufacturers. It proves that designers can help the manufacturers to take care of the societal ecology and maintain the balance that nurtures the growth of the company. Design process allows business and environmental sustainability to go forward together. In the future, Senity is also preparing to develop other products and production systems to cover different needs of their consumers. This also applies to SolidSprout, which continues to develop design projects and expand the design process to solve social issues in a variety of contexts.