Thoughts Community Previous Thought Next Thought

Product design initiatives for Humanity, Habitats, Health, and Happiness

Designers have the power to improve the world.


Sometimes it blows my mind how much of a social impact the design industry can have. One of the many examples is this awesome charitable organization called Project H Design founded by San Francisco designer/entrepreneur Emily Pilloton. She started this organization to apply product design solutions to social issues in ways that would improve the lives of people across the globe. There are many initiatives spear-headed by Project H, including a product called Life Straw, a filtration device designed to eliminate waterborne disease bacteria, parasites, and viruses. This well designed product brings clean drinking water quickly and reliably into homes, preventing life-threatening disease from spreading through unclean water. Its amazing!

The product that impressed me the most is the Hippo Roller. Its a rolling barrel device that was created to simplify the arduous task of transporting water supplies for the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on the daily fetching of water. This device reduces the risk of long-term bodily injuries from toting humongous buckets of water from public stand pipes. What was once an all day chore (with children even missing days of school to fetch water for the family) has been alleviated through product design.

Philanthropist and humanitarian, Susan, is a dedicated supporter of Project H and donated money to aid in the manufacturing of the Hippo Roller. 100% of the money donated to this, and other Project H causes, go directly toward the manufacturing of the product, and nothing else. To boot, the products are manufactured locally, adding employment and economical empowerment for these communities.

Project H the traveled to South Africa this past March to visit the Hippo Roller’s manufacturer and headquarters, and handed over fifty rollers to a community in Northeastern South Africa in need of enabling water systems. Emily Pilloton emailed all of Hippo Roller/Project H supporters, informing them of the success of the trip, as well as a few snap-shots.

The Hippo Factory
The Hippo Factory

Emily and Hippos
Emily Pilloton with Hippos

Rolling to the river
Rolling to the river

Bucket vs. Hippo
Bucket vs. Hippo

Pouring water from the river
Pouring water collected from the river

If you are interested in supporting Project Hippo, or any of the other Project H Design initiatives, click here.

It is inspiring to know that larger than life social ills, like insufficient drinking water, are being tackled by a program like this — using product design.

Philip Joyner

Not only can the man stare down CSS code until it writes itself in sheer terror, but he is famous around 220 E. Hall St for what we like to call his “happy dance”. Few have seen it, and those who have can’t get enough.


One thought on “Product design initiatives for Humanity, Habitats, Health, and Happiness

Comments are closed.