497-212: Creating Apps for a Sustainable Circular Economy at The Plant (Cancelled)

Meeting Days/Time
Tuesdays from 10:00 am to 12:40 pm
In collaboration with Plant Chicago
Andre Nogueira (ID) (anogueira@id.iit.edu) and Jaime Rivera (ID)
Appropriate Majors
Technological Innovation


The Plant, an innovative for-profit/non-profit collaboration to build a net-zero collaborative community of food businesses, is exploring strategies and processes to build a Circular Economy. Plant Chicago, a non-profit organization performing food systems research and education, based inside The Plant, is the primary contact/client for this class. The client, Plant Chicago, is seeking to promote sustainability by recognizing the value of innovation at the intersection between social impact and environmental concerns through digital services.

Based on previous research and data gathered, there is circularity of materials and products between tenants within the boundaries of the facility; however there is no common system to support such initiatives. The findings from the previous research and data analysis highlighted the need to:

(1) develop digital services to actively engage small business occupants of the facility in the overall mission of moving toward the Circular Economy and

(2) create a user-centered, easy-to-use and ongoing digital platform to help tenants collect and input data and measure the sustainability performance of the individual actors and facility on the whole.

Based on the above findings, the main goal of this project is to develop a digital platform that enables users to visualize and understand their individual environmental performance, and contribution to the community by engaging in Circular Economy at The Plant, considering previous data collected.

Students will be organized in small interdisciplinary teams to conceive and design a simple digital service. This project offers students the opportunity to learn a user-centered, methods-driven process for designing digital services. Even though digital service design leverages the skills of students with computer science, information technology and management backgrounds, this IPRO project will be useful and relevant to students from a variety of other disciplines as the team tackles challenges that consider business, design, entrepreneurship, prototyping, user testing, and web and app development.

This project will explore how service experiences can improve sustainable performance through persuasive digital technology. Digital services are delivered through a combination of apps, websites, texts, and social media. Shazam, Amazon.com, Citibank mobile banking, and Hulu are examples of digital services. We expect that this IPRO team will conceive, design conceptually, and test a simple digital service based on regular interaction with the client and visits to The Plan. The final deliverables of the class are user-friendly digital prototypes that demonstrate the benefits of the digital service in tracking progress and visualizing the contributions to environmental goals as individual organization participants in the Circular Economy at The Plant.

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