Dave Hakkens on a phone worth keeping (trailer)

The Dutch designer talks about his modular phone concept – and the back-to-front way he brought it to market.

“When I started designing I always had it at the back of my mind to try to make the world better by making things,” says Dutch designer Dave Hakkens in his presentation at Design Indaba Conference 2014.

A 2014 graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven, he dedicated his final project to creating a product that would reduce the impact of e-waste. His design, Phonebloks, is a fully customisable, modular smartphone making it a sustainable alternative to outdated devices.

When one part breaks or consumers want to upgrade their device to suit their particular needs the phone’s “building blocks” approach allows for only the problematic part to be replaced rather than the entire device.

The designer’s graduation project also ended up proposing a new model for production: Hakkens flipped round the usual order of taking a product to market, inviting consumers to create a demand for it first, before anything was even manufactured. So rather than requesting funding to build Phoneblocks or selling it to a corporation, he used crowdspeaking platform Thunderclap to ask people to donate their social reach on Facebook and Twitter to the project.

His Thunderclap campaign was a runaway success: it attracted 979 262 supporters, a social reach of over 381 million, 518 385 social followers and just over 16 million YouTube views.

This year for the first time, the Design Indaba Conference talks make their premiere on our app, conveniently packaged in one place and available for free download. To watch Dave Hakkens's full conference talk download the app here or keep watching designindaba.com for updates. 

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