Current models for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products encourage frequent product replacement with newer versions that offer only minor incremental improvements. This pattern, named planned obsolescence, diminishes user experience and shortens product lifespan. This paper presents the conceptual basis for a two-part integrated approach to combating planned obsolescence in ICT devices. First, design for emotional attachment, which creates products that users enjoy, value, and use for longer. Second, technological adaptability, which anticipates product upgrades and repairs as new technologies emerge. A model interdisciplinary design course in industrial design and sustainability, also described herein, trains students to apply this approach to create innovative ICT products with smaller environmental footprints.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Publication Date

Spring 3-14-2013

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


RIT – Main Campus