levisBy Amanda Crater

Sometimes the best ideas sound the silliest at first, but companies who embrace creative solutions to complex problems often have the greatest success. In this interview with Paul Dillinger, VP of Product Design and Innovation for Levi Strauss & Co. (@LeviStraussCo), Nick Aster of Triple Pundit (@TriplePundit) discusses the innovative approach that Levi’s has been known to take when incorporating sustainability into their business practices. Filmed at the SXSW Eco-Conference (SXSWeco.com) in Austin, Texas last month, Aster poses the question, “how can creativity be a part of sustainability?”

Citing his experience working with complex problems involving numerous committees, Dillinger reveals that often the solution can be found in the “creative unknown.” An example he refers to involves the issue of the wash of the company’s jeans. The “water-less” rinse program involved a “counterintuitive inversion of the meaning of wash,” which resulted in taking the fundamental resource (water) out of the rinse process and thereby saving 800 million liters of fresh water.

Dillinger goes on to give other examples of this “disruptive, silly, sort of backward thinking that yields great results.” It’s a fascinating glimpse into how a major corporation is using creativity on behalf of sustainability.


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