Thinking Outside the Box – Sparking a Movement

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Yesterday, we outlined the requirements of the perfect “start standing now” standing desk:

  1. Inexpensive (say $20)
  2. Visually appealing
  3. Stable (no typing wobble)
  4. Solid Ergonomics

In just a second, I’ll lay out how we achieved every single one of those.

But first, let’s talk about why this is such an important mission.

Everyone wants to be healthy and happy, but the statistics are dismal. Despite our best intentions, we are becoming increasingly overweight and unhealthy. In our culture, chronic pain is now just an accepted part of being past your mid-20s.

Pain is not an acceptable chronic state. Obesity and disease are massive problems that need to be addressed.

And we know that standing at work is a big lever to pull there, meaning it’s a small change that can have huge results.

Why is standing at work such a big lever?

When you sit all day, your time at work may be filling your pockets, but it’s making your health worse. That’s at least 8 hours (1/2 the time you’re awake) every single day, where you’re making a painful tradeoff. Switch to standing and now those 8 hours are making you better instead. Win-win!

Just like a savings account, that compounds to big results. Put another way – sitting at work is like spending more money than you make every day. But standing is like saving some money every day. The former is a recipe for debt and stress. The latter results in a comfortable retirement.

Big Levers Deserve Low Barriers

Standing at work can make a huge difference in someone’s life. And if more and more people switch to standing, it will make a huge difference in the health of our communities and our planet as well.

Since our family here has realized that standing is such a big lever, we have a responsibility to lower the barrier to entry as much as possible.

We know standing improves lives – so we NEED to make it super simple to try standing.

If it gets simple enough, you hit a tipping point, and standing adoption skyrockets. Taking along with it our collective health and happiness. That’s sparking a movement!

The Perfect “Start Standing Now” Desk

Here are our requirements again:

  1. Inexpensive (say $20)
  2. Visually appealing
  3. Stable (no typing wobble)
  4. Solid Ergonomics

I mentioned yesterday that my first standing desk was a pile of cardboard boxes. It was free, so it certainly hit #1, but it failed on #2 and #3. It was ok on #4, but took a lot of experimenting to get there.

We’ve also found that most people don’t want to spend the time or energy cutting up boxes to make them the right size and shape before wrapping them in an absurd amount of tape searching for stability. Plus, a hodgepodge of shipping boxes and packing tape will always fail #2.

But I think I was on to something with cardboard.

It’s certainly inexpensive. It can be visually appealing (I’ve seen some very attractive retail displays). And with some serious thought put into the design (+ origami skills), you can make shapes that fit the human body well and provide a stable typing surface.

Plus – once you’ve seen how awesome standing at work makes you feel, you’re probably going to graduate to a full standing desk over the next few years. You definitely wouldn’t feel guilty about recycling your old desk if it were cardboard.

Cardboard is the perfect material for a “start standing now” desk.

The only trick now is “thinking outside the box” – so to speak – to nail a design that hits all four requirements.

It took us pallets of cardboard, dozens of designs, and hundreds of beta testing hours, but we nailed it. And we even threw in cord management!

We call it Spark (because the goal here is to spark a movement), and it only costs $20.

Spark | The Perfect “Start Standing Now!” Desk

We’ll be back on Monday with one last post before launch, detailing how production and supply chain works when you’re starting a movement in cardboard (it’s actually really interesting).

Have a great weekend!