by Collin Lessing, JVA Consulting
“Renters are not allowed to hang-dry clothes on their balconies.”
This rule is set forth in stone (well, on paper really) by the management at my apartment. I can understand where they’re coming from—maintaining a certain appearance for the complex—but mostly, I think it’s a crummy rule and I think appearances are subjective. Although I enjoy the convenience that my dryer offers me, there are certain items in my wardrobe that would do exceptionally well drying in the Colorado air. More importantly, air-drying is an easy way for me to lessen the impact that I make on the environment.
On June 1, Levi & Strauss Co. began the Care to Air Design Challenge—a contest to find “the world’s most innovative, covetable and sustainable air-drying clothing solution.” You may be asking yourself, “Why not just use a clothesline or an indoor drying rack?” The idea behind this contest is to find clothesline designs or other innovative air drying solutions that are “undeniably stylish, sustainable and effective.”
People can submit their ideas through the Myoo Create Web site, and visitors can vote for their favorite ideas. In the end, the top five ideas will be presented to a panel of judges who will decide the winners. First place wins $4,500, second place wins $1,500 and $500 will go to each of the remaining finalists.
I started poking around through some of the entry materials and was quickly drawn to the Green Jean. Although not the most versatile of the designs submitted, the Green Jean is specifically for people who cannot dry their clothing outdoors. I think I know which entry I’ll be casting my vote for.
At JVA, we closely monitor trends in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social media and how they affect the nonprofit sector. In past Nonprofit Street entries, we have looked at and debated the merits of contests that award grants to organizations based on online voting. The Care to Air Design Challenge is targeting individuals, not organizations, but it’s another example of how social media can be used as a tool for crowd-sourcing in CSR contests. A social media strategy will be key for participants to garner support and raise awareness and votes for their ideas.
Interestingly enough, the Myoo Create Web site is also hosting the Beat Waste Startup Challenge. This contest is offering $25,000 to businesses and social enterprises that reduce or eliminate waste, and like the Care to Air Design Challenge, online voting will help determine the winner.