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Food Waste Challenge – Community Voices September 12th, 2016

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Over the course of the Food Waste Challenge, we'll be featuring snapshots of OpenIDEO members who have been making significant contributions to our community. This week, let’s take a look at what’s been inspiring Tojin Thomas Eapen and Niki Ramchandani in the Challenge.


Tojin Thomas Eapen is a doctoral student at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. In the past, Tojin worked as a product development engineer and as an innovation consultant. His current research involves trying to understand how firms can improve the quality of ideas generated through crowdsourcing and open innovation.


Niki Ramchandani is a researcher who studies international development programs to understand why programs succeed or miss the mark. She has traveled to India, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Paraguay, and Nicaragua for her work. She is currently working with Mathematica Policy Research.



What sparked your idea?

Tojin: The Food Waste Clock was partly inspired by recent academic research that shows how displaying virtuous quotes discourages bad behaviour. The idea was also inspired by a picture shared by Kate Rushton of a trash can with the words "I eat better than 60% of the worlds children.” I felt that a conspicuous and dynamic artifact, which would remind people everyday of the enormity of food waste and its impact on children, would be a powerful agent of change in cities and communities.


Niki: My idea developed from the premise that people deeply care about how we are perceived, and that it can be a great driver of behavior change. We can create a culture where wasting food is socially unacceptable and vice versa. But first, we need a system that allows us to measure and compare food waste. The idea of transforming trash cans from simple containers to technology that can do this arose from this need.


Which ideas in the Food Waste Challenge would you like to build on or collaborate with?


Tojin: There are a few interesting ideas and insights around food expiration (Dual-dates, dynamic pricing, smart apps and more). Some of these could be integrated and incorporated into a single model. This is something I would definitely love to build on in collaboration with others.


Niki: I would like to build on the technology presented in South Korea Takes on Food Waste Reduction as a National Policy, from the research phase. It would be great to convert individual’s household waste into a metric that showed how many people could be helped with the food, which was presented in The Food Waste Clock in San Francisco.


Join Niki, Tojin and the rest of the OpenIDEO community in the Food Waste Challenge!



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