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Banyan Tree - food trend machine

Cut food waste from changing food trend by inviting multiple stakeholders in an interactive information processing system.

Photo of YANG LI
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In today`s world, we are surrounded by many kinds of food trends. Some play positive roles in improving people`s life quality, some are just marketing tactics, which will cause reversed effect on the food resource. Instead of tackling the food waste as waste at the bottom of the value chain, I try to cut food waste from changing consumers` ideas about what is food trend and what kind of trend can we really benefit from.

I want to create a more sustainable and opener food trend creating system by inviting multiple stakeholders in as well with the help of technology and social science theories. In order to do that, I design the logic of food trending machine from input to processing to output. Inspired by multiple antlers of banyan trees, I create the food trend machine in the shape of the tree with colorful antlers as sensors and other functions. Users can participate in creating the food trend by inputting what kind of ingredients they like and they will see the prototyping from the 3D printing model and at the same time, other stakeholders will decide if they will like it or not. After the voting, the final food trend will be mass produced and serve as the real food trend from people and for people.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

1,I want to use trade cards with different ingredients and descriptive words on as tools for users to play with and see what kinds of food will be produced. 2,After collecting these data, I could design the algorithm and see how the scientific analysis will help and if the voting from multiple stakeholders(e.g. NGO, government) will help improve the situation, where the big company controls which food and food resouces will be used.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

1, I want to use the members of OpenIDEO as the big database for testing what food will trend; 2, I also need technical help about creating the algorithm to combine the input elements, in order to create more sensible food which can reduce food waste.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am currently a Media Design Practices Program graduate student from Art Center College of Design; I have great passion for food and dedicated to becoming food designer. I used to study and work in the field of economics and finance. But I see design thinking as a better approach to help better the world and especially, the food.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

How far along is your idea?

  • It was in the works before this challenge – it’s existed for 2-6 months


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Yang!

Thank you for sharing your Banyan Tree idea. It is extremely creative and beautiful.

I want to have a full understanding of your idea. This tree is a place for customers and stakeholders to come together. The customers can experiment and create their ideal foods and test them. Because the customers experiment and fully test the food, the stakeholders (e.g. product designers, food companies) have more understanding of what the customers want. This means there will be fewer food products on the market that people do not want to buy.

Am I correct?

Photo of YANG LI

Thank you for taking interest in my idea.
You are correct.I consider consumers as stakeholders as well as the creators of food trends. By giving them the tools to make inputs of ideas or simply just information of what kind of food they want to eat, then combine and mix the inputs with the help of technology, and in the end, let consumers see the prototyping and choose if they would like it, food companies will have better understanding of what consumers need and to cater this need. Thus the information gap between supply and demand will be bridged, and waste from failure food will be reduced.
And during this process, I hope there be more diversity on the stakeholder, giving people in a disadvantaged position (people depending on financial aid) bigger voices to express their need for the food types.