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Detroit Discovery Tours/Interviews!

OpenIDEO Detroit met to gather insights, observations and interview Detroiters about their small format plastic use.

Photo of Andrea Zelenak
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We made an empathy chart/booklet based on some of the amazing resources from the OpenIDEO team! Feel free to download it!

This is Keisha!

She's from Dearborn, MI and has two kids. We met her at a boutique in Detroit.

SAY:  (Quotes & defining words)

"Pay for a bottle of plastic, not what's in it"  (the majority of the cost is in the bottle)

" Trying to leave a small footprint"

DO: (Gestures & facial expressions)

  • Smiled, proud of some of the things she was doing like composting and leaving a positive legacy for her kids to be more "green"
  • Worried when I asked about her use of small format plastics
  • Smiled when I asked to take her picture haha

THINK: (Beliefs, values & goals)

  • She composts, always looking to be more natural.
  • CARES about trying to be environmentally friendly through everything she does 
  • She makes her own shampoo and soap
  • Uses fabric/reusable grocery bags

FEEL: (Emotions positive or negative)

  • She's already VERY environmentally conscious, but the more I asked her about small format plastic, the more ashamed she was of some of her habits, you could see it in her facial expressions.
  • Happy when talking about her kids, talking about the practices she's teaching them to be more "green"

OBSERVATIONS: (Uses, thoughts & problems)

  • Inference: She does almost everything she can, but sometimes can't control things when the systems are in place. Dearborn/Detroit isn't known for having recycling systems or environmentally sustainable people, yet she's doing things every day.
  • She really cared about her children knowing about the practices of going green

NEEDS: (What need is the small format plastic meeting?)

  • An immediate and quick use, usually when traveling or on the go and there isn't another option. (Food packets or small shampoo sachet samples)


How does this research relate to our Use Cases?

This travel/quick on the go mindset is really where a lot of these sachets are found. If the goal is a quick use, maybe this can help target solutions for redesigning the systems.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Even the MOST environmentally friendly people still struggle to be completely "green". The moments where she used small format plastic the most was for a quick use when traveling through the small format sachets.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a product designer from Detroit, Michigan and involved in the OpenIDEO Detroit chapter!

Attachments (1)


We took insights found from and the OpenIDEO platform and created a small booklet to help guide thoughts and ideas on our discovery tours!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Meena Kadri

Loving the efforts you've gone to on this to develop empathy! We posted over on the IDEO + Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Design Guide group on LinkedIn: (anyone on this challenge is welcome to join the group) Keep up the fab work and looking forward to what inspiration this will spark in the upcoming Ideas phase.

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