Hi, I’m Nicole, a 4th year communication and interactive arts and technology student. I came into the Business of Design program rather haphazardly, officially joining the night before the first day of class. I had a limited understanding of what the course could entail, but the words business, design, sustainability, and educational systems sparked my interest. After 13 weeks, I have come to learn that this program’s focus went far beyond my expectations.

The greatest lesson that I have taken from this course is an understanding of our wicked problem. Environmental sustainability is far more than just an effort to live within the limits of our planet, but instead an over-arching and intrinsic part to our lifestyles. Tackling one facet of the issue will inherently affect another attribute to our problem.

Over the course of the semester, I was continuously challenged to tackle the above. My first prototype was a children’s outdoor activity book on biodiversity in Vancouver. I created the book because I felt that learning was most memorable when done through exploring, so the aim of the prototype was to encourage kids to go outside and to understand their community from the standpoint of environmental sustainability.

For my second prototype, I experimented with creating vegan versions of Chinese food. I decided to do this because I discovered how switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet can vary in difficulty depending on the cultural background of a person. For many communities, food is part of ritualistic practice, or serves as a gathering spot. As a first generation Chinese Canadian, going vegetarian was an odd experience between my upbringing, and what I was taught to be true, and my growing understanding of the world as a young adult that tried to live sustainably. I collaborated with my mom on this prototype to make two dishes: egg tarts and barbeque pork buns. My hope was to bridge the gap between sustainable eating and Chinese culture.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to work with Koko and Kirsten to create a greenhouse with a hydroponic system. I had a lot of fun with the ideating and research portion of this project, finding ways that the greenhouse could tackle a number of issues. The greenhouse was built small so that we could bring the outdoors inside for those that lived in apartments, food grown from the hydroponic system would provide students an affordable grocery option and foster dialogue on environmental topics, and introducing hydroponic farming to North American cities could bring a more sustainable farming practice to Vancouver in the near future. I am grateful for all the unexpected learning opportunities this class has thrown at me. The course has taught me how valuable collaborative work and making is to business and design, and I look forward to working with the cohort next semester in MakerLabs!

Group Project:

Hydroponic Greenhouse

Aaron Legaspi
Brendan Mckay
Azat Bayandin
Carolyn Yip
Cuyler Dom
David Waizel
Kim Van
Kirsten Matthews
Koko Kerbis
Landon Reeves
Michelle Swolfs
Nora Le
Yzobel Biron

Cohort 18—19


Hydroponic Greenhouse
Community Yatai
Sustainable Paint Set
Healthy Habit Regime
Garbage Patch Kids
Creative Influence Challenge
Nicole Woo