Session 6 (09.00 – 10.15)
6.1 Design for product longevity (Wim Crouwel room) Chair: Ruth Mugge
The Circular Pathfinder: Development and evaluation of a practice-based tool for selecting circular design strategies Van Dam, S.S.(a), Bakker, C.A.(a), De Pauw, I.C.(b), Van der Grinten, B.(b) [a) Delft University of Technology; b) IDEAL&Co]
The Circular Pathfinder tool, which provides guidance to companies looking for appropriate circular design strategies, was developed based on OEM (original equipment manufacturer) case studies. Ease of use was one of the main requirements during development of the tool, resulting in a software-based guide that asks a maximum of ten product-related questions, after which it gives a recommendation for one or more specific circular design strategies. The advantage of a practice-based tool is that the practical relevance is, in all likelihood, high. The disadvantage, however, is the lack of scientific validation. This paper presents a literature review of the decision variables and heuristics of the Circular Pathfinder, with the aim to uncover any discrepancies between practice and literature. The main finding is that the focus on practical usefulness of the tool has led to excessive reduction of the complexity inherent in strategic circular design decisions. Recommendations for improving the Circular Pathfinder tool are given.
New product development and testing strategies for clothing longevity: An overview of a UK research study
Cooper T. H.(a), Oxborrow, L.(a), Claxton, S. (a), Goworek, H.(b), Hill, H.(a), McLaren, A.(a) [a) Nottingham Trent University; b) University of Leicester]
Many garments have short life-spans, contributing to excessive carbon emissions, water consumption and waste. This paper reports on a research project which aimed to identify expectations of clothing longevity, examine the NPD process within the supply chain and identify opportunities for change, evaluate the potential for innovative technologies and improved product testing, and explore business practices aimed at more sustainable approaches to NPD. The paper provides an overview of the two year project, presenting key findings from data collection that included interviews with 31 industry practitioners, three consumer focus groups, three industry and consumer round tables, an expert workshop, and four pilot actions undertaken with UK clothing retailers to evaluate key issues. The research identified and explored themes relating to NPD that could enable increased garment lifetimes, which were consolidated into six areas: the adoption of advanced textile processes and finishing techniques, action to overcome constraints on appropriate product testing, the potential for retailers to influence consumer behaviour, a loss of technical expertise and lack of multi-disciplinary collaboration, failure to embed good practice early in the NPD process, and evidence to encourage retailers and brands to adopt new business models. Industry and government policy recommendations were proposed to improve knowledge-sharing, strengthen the business case and influence consumer behaviour, while further research may be needed on the adoption of new garment and textile technologies, the business case and the global context of the clothing industry
Developing scenarios for product longevity and sufficiency Dewberry E.L.(a), Sheldrick L.(b), Sinclair M.(c), Moreno M.(d) and Makatsoris C.(d) [a)The Open University, Milton Keynes; b) Imperial College London; c)Loughborough University, Loughborough; d)Cranfield University]
This paper explores the narrative of peoples’ relationships with products as a window on understanding the types of innovation that may inform a culture of sufficiency. The work forms part of the ‘Business as Unusual: Designing Products with Consumers in the Loop’ [BaU] project, funded as part of the UK EPSRC-ESRC RECODE network (RECODE, 2016) that aims to explore the potential of re-distributed manufacturing (RdM) in a context of sustainability. This element of the project employed interviews, mapping and workshops as methods to investigate the relationship between people and products across the product lifecycle. A focus on product longevity and specifically the people-product interactions is captured in conversations around product maintenance and repair. In exploring ideas of ‘broken’ we found different characteristics of, and motivations for, repair. Mapping these and other product-people interactions across the product lifecycle indicated where current activity is, who owns such activity (i.e. organisation or individual) and where gaps in interactions occur. These issues were explored further in a workshop which grouped participants to look at products from the perspective of one of four scenarios; each scenario represented either short or long product lifespans and different types of people engagement in the design process. The findings help give shape to new scenarios for designing sufficiency-based social models of material flows.
6.2 Circular Economy and Policy (IDE Arena) Chair: Maria Bovea
Management of material cyclicity potential: Example of electrical and electronic products Shevchenko T.(a) and Kronenberg J.(b) [a) Sumy State University; b) University of Łódź]
This study is aimed at justification of the theoretical foundations of management of material cyclicity potential (MCP), including materials used in electrical and electronic products (EEP). In our opinion, the “cyclicity” of material should be studied from the perspective of the potential of materials to be multiply used. Such an approach allows to identify all possible forms of MCP manifestation in space and time. We suppose that the process of increasing of MCP starts with the design of the cycle of material multiple turnover (MMT) by forming an optimal range of products within which certain material sequentially turns, and continuous with the forming of MCP within adjacent product life cycles (located next in the specified range). The priority in the turnover sequence should be given to those products that are characterized by minimum change in the material quality parameters at the output of the turn. So the focus on “cycle of MMT” rather than “product life cycle” is important for ensuring the maximum number of turns of material because it highlights that one deals with a range of products in which the same material is sequentially used, throughout their lifecycles, rather than only with one product. The suggested approach to closing material cycles is based on the concept of MCP, and unlike existing approaches, it provides the moving of certain material along a specified path – an optimal range of products thereby forming a cycle of MMT with maximum number of turns. This path obviously can be adjusted with each subsequent turn of material because a new products and technologies are being continuously designed. In the context of the circular economy, the proposed theoretically-methodical design of sustainable use of materials is intended for the rational allocation of new and circulating materials in an economic system.
The circular economy fashion communication canvas Han S L-C.(a), Henninger C E.(b), Blanco-Velo J.(a), Apeagyei P.(a) and Tyler D J.(a) [a) Manchester Metropolitan University; b) University of Manchester]
Current design thinking focuses on incremental improvements to a linear system in which products are designed, produced and eventually disposed of. This continued consumption has resulted in over 1 million tonnes of discarded clothing and textiles entering into landfill each year in the UK alone. The effect of this high volume of waste is not only the loss of embodied energy and value, as re-useable items are disposed of, but continued environmental degradation through greenhouse gas emissions, toxic pollution and rapidly declining landfill space. As much as 70% of textile waste in the UK is sent to landfill or incineration from municipal waste collections. Whilst consumers are increasingly aware of the consequences of continued consumption, there is limited understanding of how to act more responsibly. Online sources of communication mean that although more information is available than ever before, confusion over terminology and the authenticity of messages can lead to in-action on the part of all stakeholders.
In order to investigate these problems key points at each stage in the fashion and textiles cycle were analysed using an exploratory sequential mixed methods approach combining case studies, semi-structured interviews and a consumer survey. Brands and designers working to create change by offering more conscientious product choices are struggling to connect with mainstream fashion consumers, hindered by a lack of industry acceptance and media coverage. Barriers to scaling up circular economy fashion strategies include a lack of market knowledge relating to consumers and the most effective promotional and retail strategies. These findings present significant evidence to guide the development of an effective fashion communication strategy for a circular economy.
Academic implications of the research include the identification of additional insights needed to establish more effective methods to communicate the economic, social and environmental benefits of textile reuse, recycling and upcycling to consumers and the fashion industry, leading to further research and contributions to knowledge. Practical implications include key contributions to the development of an operational framework to integrate circular economy fashion strategies into mainstream production and retailing. Originality lies in determining the existing practices already employed in this sector of the fashion industry and examining their effectiveness against the mainstream, in order to more effectively communicate to the benefits of sustainable, circular consumption in an industry which has so far thrived on linear consumption, novelty and obsolescence. In this way, marketing strategies can be developed for circular economy fashion which emphasise longevity, product lifetime optimisation, new forms of consumption and user experiences in a circular economy. The circular economy communication canvas serves a purpose to facilitate positive decision making for all stakeholders.
Branding matters more than reparability for extending smartphone lifespans: Evidence from used smartphone sales on eBay Makov, T. [Yale University]
Despite the important role intangibles such as brand play in shaping consumption, the environmental consequences of intangibles have been rarely explored. Analyzing 500,000 listings of used Apple and Samsung smartphones sold in 2015 and 2016 via eBay, we use deprecation as a proxy for useful lifespan to examine which product properties make smartphones last longer. Our results suggest that although reparability and large memory size, are typically though of as’ life extending’, in practice they have limited impact on smartphones’ useful lifespan length. In contrast, we show that brand, an intangible property, has a meaningful impact on useful lifespan and the efficient use of materials and energy, that in this case, take the form of 12.5 months of additional use per smartphone. These findings suggest that product lifespans are not homogenous but vary as a function of different product properties. Moreover, we show that intangible properties (e.g. brand) can be of greater importance for promoting sustainable consumption and resource efficiency than functional properties which are often advocated for.
6.3 Consumer and cultural perspectives (vd Grinten hall) Chair: Debra Lilley
Personalisation from a design practice perspective Bernabei R. (a), Power, J.(b) [a) University of New South Wales; b) University of Tasmania]
The Internet is facilitating new ways of designing, manufacturing and distributing products. This has led to a more democratic, open-design approach and has resulted in users having more involvement in the design process than ever before. In particular, designers are shifting away from designing a finished product, to either designing components, a template or a set of tools which the user interacts with to finalise and/or personalise the product. This way of approaching design is still in its infancy. The authors’ have termed this design framework, as it applies within product design, ‘user-completion’.
The authors’ propose that the user-completion framework operates at the intersection between mass-customisation and craft. The skills and knowledge sets associated with mass-customisation and craft, presents challenges and opportunities for both the designer and user. The user-completion framework enables users to personalise the end product and therefore requires designers to shift their conceptual approach, by handing-over more design control to the users. It is hoped that by doing so, and by engaging the user in the product’s completion, a stronger emotional bond will be generated between the user and the final product. This design process also anticipates an added value and a longer life cycle for the product.
The ʻuser-completionʼ framework proposed by the authors will be outlined, and supported with the three case study examples of work. Through these case studies the value of users being involved in the design process is explored, as is their engagement with craft and their perceived emotional value of the resulting products.
Satisfaction matters: Design that learns from users’ sensory and emotional responses to clothing Burcikova, M. [Centre for Fashion and Costume Thinking, University of Huddersfield, UK]
Researchers across disciplines increasingly acknowledge that embracing the multi-sensory character of everyday perception can provide invaluable insights for social and design interventions that aim to improve the experience of products and services. Where fashion design traditionally focuses on the aesthetic, visual side of design, empirical studies prove that the way clothes feel, sound, or smell, is equally important for the way they are experienced and appreciated in everyday use. The aim of this paper is therefore to explore how users’ sensory engagement with clothing can inform the creative practice of designers who wish to design for continuity and increased user satisfaction. Satisfaction with a garment often leads to its repeated use and accumulation of pleasurable memories that can both positively influence the active lifetime of the garment. The paper draws on my on-going PhD research and presents initial findings of the second phase of my project (in-progress), which consists of a series of wardrobe studies conducted in participant’s homes. The results so far indicate that sensory experiences connected with clothing, although rarely explicitly acknowledged by users, can significantly affect user satisfaction and therefore deserve a greater attention in the context of sustainable design and design for longevity.
6.4 Design for product longevity (Studio 23/24) Chair: Jan Schoormans
Redefining retail experiences: Formulating ideas for the future of retail design to promote product longevity Matheny R. [The Ohio State University]
This paper presents a series of case studies examining selected slow fashion retailers’ use of storytelling elements within their respective store environments to communicate their brand’s sustainable process and mission. The term slow fashion, coined by Kate Fletcher, informs and encourages conscious consumers on responsible product sourcing and manufacturing, allowing them to feel connected to their local and global community. For slow fashion brands, fostering a strong and nurturing relationship between consumer and producer is invaluable, however few of these retailers capture that goal within their retail experience. Striving to educate and entice consumers towards more sustainable consumption, this paper presents case studies examining how storytelling elements are utilized within the retail environment to forge the consumer-producer connection.
Currently, many slow fashion retail environments lack storytelling elements, varying little from fast fashion stores. When the retail story and experience is not differentiated from those promoting mass consumption, products hold little emotional value and are disposable. This paper describes how three North American slow fashion brands (Shinola Detroit, Levi’s, and The Local by Lululemon) implemented storytelling within their store, educating consumers towards shifting their behaviors. Understanding the emotional connection between storytelling components and products reinforces slow fashion’s goal by elevating products from disposable to cherished artifact. Through this analysis, designers and retailers will be provided with tools to better educate their consumers and promote a slower consumption lifestyle.
The role of product designers in the transition towards the circular economy: A reality check Sumter D.X., Bakker C.A. and Balkenende A.R.[Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands]
This paper examines the role of product designers in the transition towards the circular economy. Both scientific and grey literature show remarkable optimism when it comes to role strategic and coordinating role designers could play in this transition process. However, there has been little examination of the actual role and influence designers have in practice. In this paper we review the roles that designers play in the transition towards a circular economy according to literature. Through semi-structured interviews, we uncover the views of designers themselves, which we then use to make a comparison. Our main conclusion is that designers experience a lack of knowledge and/or work in predetermined solution spaces, which prevents them from taking on the role that is expected in literature.
Session 7 (11.00 – 12.15)
7.1 Design for product longevity (Wim Crouwel room) Chair: Casper Boks
Reducing clothing production volumes by design: A critical review of sustainable fashion strategies Maldini, I.(a) and Balkenende, A.R.(b) [a) Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and VU University Amsterdam; b) Delft University of Technology]
Based on a literature review, this article discusses how the challenge of diminishing clothing production volumes has been approached within the field of sustainable fashion. We identify six common strategies in literature and discuss the approach of user involvement in the process of design and/or manufacture of garments in detail. A critical analysis of the state of the art in the field points out that these strategies have been constructed, studied and promoted without empirical validation. The article concludes with a recommendation to move forward from conceptual to empirical studies. Analyses of existing initiatives and their results in terms of consumer buying behavior and obsolete inventory are recommended as first steps towards validation.
Taxonomy of design strategies for a circular design tool Moreno M.A., Ponte O., Charnley F. [Cranfield University]
This paper presents the development of a circular design tool created from a taxonomy of design strategies related to circular economy aspects that emerged from an extensive literature review. The taxonomy was presented to 10 experts on circular economy and design through a survey to identify an importance factor that could guide product designers to rate different concepts. The taxonomy and their rates are presented in a circular design tool to help product designers to avoid uncertainty of which design concepts meets circular economy aspects. A pair of trainers are used as an example on how the circular design tool can be used. The paper discusses how the chosen design meets the identified circular design aspects and acknowledges that more trials with different product categories are needed to determine further areas of improvement. A larger survey is also suggested to develop a more accurate scoring system when it comes to rate each concept. The paper concludes that more detail guidelines are needed for product designers in their early career, so they can consider design for circular economy. In addition, the final remarks elucidate that future research is needed to cross-reference the circular design aspects with technical aspects of each product, new manufacturing technologies and materials.
Decontaminating experiences with circular offerings Baxter W.(a), Aurisicchio M.(a), Mugge R. (b), and Childs P.(a) [a) Imperial College London; b) Delft University of Technology]
Keeping a product offering in the system through continued use and between multiple users creates the potential for interactions which become contaminated. These contaminated interactions can cause a barrier to material circulation and extended product lifetimes. This study seeks to identify the underlying design strategies useful in addressing contaminated interaction. Strategies were identified through an exploration of possible solutions to negative contamination in two phases. Phase I involved identifying 70 existing solutions to instances of negative contaminated interaction and abstracting these to identify a more fundamental underlying principle. In Phase II, designers participated in a brainstorming session to identify as many solutions as possible to several contaminated interaction design briefs. The resulting 155 solutions were analysed together with the other data to generate a final set of strategies. In the end, eight strategies distilled from the analysis which are used to address contaminated interaction. The strategies represent preventative and responsive solutions applicable to various elements of the contamination process.
7.2 Circular economy and Policy (IDE Arena room) Chair: Nils Nissen
Planned Obsolescence: Who are those Planners? Longmuss J.(a) and Poppe E.(a) [a) SUSTAINUM – Institute for Sustainable Economy]
There is a controversial discussion on the phenomenon of “planned obsolescence”. However, shrinking product lifetimes and product qualities do not prove that actors in the product development process take conscious decisions toward premature obsolescence.
Current product faults like exploding batteries in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 foster the suspicion that manufacturers are also struggling with unintended product obsolescence. The relevant question is in which limits the planning of product lifetimes leads to intended and unintended consequences.
The reasons and intentions behind product features and whether these features are intentionally at all can just be determined in direct contact with the actors of the product development processes. The research project LOiPE could establish contacts in strict confidence to development departments of 23 major German companies. The objectives of the survey were to find out about the development process in their point of view, its paradigms and their experience with “planned obsolescence”.
All interviewees assured that when they had to balance cost against lifespan, lifespan always prevailed.
The allegation of a deliberately intended premature obsolescence was vehemently rejected by all of them. The limitations through obsolescence are caused by the basis conditions of developing and producing: rising complexity, increasing speed of innovation cycles and high cost pressure. These conditions and their constraints leave little space to single actors of the development process and to companies. In this sense obsolescence is systemic. So, a perspective towards more sustainable production and consumption lies in a combination of different approaches.
Developing a quantitative research method on planned obsolescence in architecture Akyurek K. B. and Ciravoğlu A.[Yildiz Technical University]
Planned obsolescence, a developed theory to maintain the continuity of production by consuming, manifests itself in a large number of products since its first emergence. Through the use of substandard materials, the short-lived products ensure rapidity and continuity in consumption. Additionally, the newer and different options awaken desire of consumers to change their ‘obsolete’ products. Thus, planned obsolescence becomes both a trigger and a consequence of the consumer society. In contrast to broad discussions on the scheduled lifespan of the products in economics and industrial design, a very small number of studies focus on the building lifetimes. Indeed, planned obsolescence is also a problem of architecture but surely has been carried within a different process and approach than with industrial products. The initial aim of this study is to point out the existence of planned obsolescence in architecture by exposing the ambiguity behind the determination of building demolitions (in other words consciously defined ‘expiration dates’). In the framework of the paper, an ongoing urban transformation project in İstanbul: Tarlabaşı Renewal project is examined as a case study. By doing so, the crucial variables that have effects on economic existences of the buildings are underlined in the specific case. Due to the constitution of a basic equation, this study tries to demonstrate the possibility of a developing quantitative research method on building lifetimes in replace of stereotypical assumptions. Consequently, it is envisioned that the subjectivity concerning the demolitions of buildings shall be controlled with the determination of prominent factors and their ratios in overall.
Planned obsolescence in the circular economy Zeeuw van der Laan A. and Aurisicchio M.[Imperial College London]
Objective: Ordinary Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) often thrive on implementing the planned obsolescence business strategy, i.e. controlling product lifetime through material selection. This wasteful and resource-depleting linear approach to production has resulted in goods that offer convenience along the lifetime of the consumable components, and are re-purchased after disposal. Contemporary FMCGs have similar characteristics but different product-service systems (PSSs). The circular economy (CE) proposes PSSs as an opportunity to increase the circularity of resources. This paper investigates these PSSs implemented in contemporary FMCGs and reviews opportunities for the planned obsolescence strategy in the CE.
Method: Customer Journey Maps (CJMs) were developed for three contemporary FMCGs (Fuji disposable camera, HP ink cartridge, Kartent) and compared to the map for a standardised ordinary FMCG.
Result: In contemporary FMCGs the inventory and maintenance phases are eliminated by introducing services operating in the purchase, use and disposal phases. Services in the disposal phase are critical to enable the circularity of contemporary FMCGs.
Conclusions: Consumers do not need inventory if the services in the purchase and use phases are aligned and available at the right time and place. This increases convenience, but does not make the use of the products more compatible with a CE. The real opportunity for FMCGs is in the elimination of the maintenance phase and the integration of end-of-life services. If planned obsolescence is communicated clearly to customers through lifetime indicators that allow involvement in end-of-life services, it could shift FMCGs towards a circular performance-based approach to production.
7.3 Consumer and cultural perspectives (vd Grinten Hall) Chair: Deepali Sinha-Khetriwal
Design for the wise consumer Luchs, M. [College of William & Mary]
In response to dominant patterns of mainstream consumption evident in developed economies, Consumer Wisdom offers a positive alternative whose objective is to simultaneously promote the well-being of the individual, society, and the natural environment. The current research has two objectives. First, through a series of in-depth interviews with individuals nominated for their wisdom, we provide an empirically grounded theory of Consumer Wisdom. Our theory of Consumer Wisdom is composed of five interdependent facets: Contemplation, Intentionality, Emotional Mastery, Openness, and Transcendence. Next, we synthesize design principles from existing design frameworks and philosophies that align with the facets of consumer wisdom, and we build on these to reflect new insights derived from our theory.
[CANCELLED] Deconstructing cultural values of products: implications for sustainable design Dhadphale T. [Iowa State University]
In a global era where products are reaching across international boundaries, designers are increasingly challenged to design for diverse cultural context. Designers are agents of cultural change and should be cognizant of the impact their products have on local markets. The key for developing culturally appropriate products lies in understanding how cultural objects acquire and communicate cultural meanings. The goal of this paper is to deconstruct and categorize cultural meanings associated with objects and highlight the key determinants that contribute to cultural values. Cultural product images and phrases were analysed using a four-layered model for classifying cultural meanings. Participants were then engaged in a laddering interview to understand the key determinants of cultural values. The analysis reveals eight key determinants of cultural values. The determinants are mapped across four key continuums: appearance–representation, self-identity–group affiliation, personalization–shared belongingness, and stories–memories. In addition, the determinants of cultural values are compared with the key determinants of product attachment. Findings of the study reveal a strong overlap between the determinants of cultural values and product attachment. The paper also outlines a framework for achieving culturally sustainable design. The outcomes of this study have several implications for designers and educators that aim to achieve culturally sustainable design. This study believes that products that reflect cultural values have a higher emotional attachment to consumers resulting in longer life-spans and culturally sustainable consumption.
The look of rough: Visual and tactile perceptions of cosmetically aged materials Manley A. H. G.(a), Lilley D.(b), Hurn K.(b), Lofthouse V.(b) [a) Southampton Solent University; b) Loughborough University]
The aesthetics of material performance within design is typically only considered up to the point of sale, a false end state in which the ‘newness’ of the product is protected by the hermetic packaging in which it is sold. Beyond this, the ‘ageing’ of a material is thought of only in terms of utility or easily measured technical parameters such as durability or toughness, and rarely reflects upon, or accounts for, the user’s experiential relationship with the material. Here, we explore changes in tactile and visual perceptions when sample materials have been artificially aged through the application of a taxonomy of damage observed from real world products. This paper argues that to expand our current knowledge in material culture and to assist in providing a more nuanced understanding of the user’s long-term relationship with materials, we, as designers, need to observe, record and reflect upon attitudinal reactions to aged and used materials.
7.4 Business opportunities (Studio 23/24) Chair: Carl Dalhammar
Over the hill? Exploring the other side of the Rogers innovation diffusion model from a consumer and business model perspective Wells P. and Nieuwenhuis P. [Cardiff University]
The Rogers model of innovation diffusion has long featured in accounts of the penetration of new product technologies into society (Rogers, 2003). The contention in this paper is that this model is in fact only half complete, for it deals exclusively with the uptake of new technologies rather than their retention or abandonment. Taking the Rogers model as a point of departure, this paper seeks to characterize consumers who retain technologies, then identify business models designed for those consumers.
Implicit in the Rogers model is that existing technologies become obsolete, and hence displaced by the emergent technologies. In reality, a new technology may be additional to the suite of products available to consumers, and therefore not necessarily associated with the direct displacement of an existing technology. However, much product innovation is concerned with generational improvements in technologies or with new technologies that, while having no direct equivalent in current use, do indeed displace existing solutions.
The paper therefore analyses the contribution of extended product lifetimes within circular economies. The relevance of this contribution is that product longevity is one means by which lifestyles characterised by material affluence are reconciled with resource scarcity. Product longevity has the potential to contribute to slowing down the ‘velocity’ of material flows within the circular economy, and hence defer the investment of further energy (and materials) into the next cycle of consumption. Bock et al. (2012) identify that there are several pathways by which business model innovation may contribute to more sustainable production and consumption.
Assessing the sharing economy: Analysing ecologies of business models Boons F. (a) and Bocken N.(b, c) [a) University of Manchester, Sustainable Consumption Institute & Alliance Manchester Business School; b) Lund University; c) Delft University of Technology]
Current attempts to improve the ecological and social impact of production and consumption practices build on the recognized relevance of business models. Business models are distinct ways of coordinating the provision of goods and services, and they affect the ecological impact and social sustainability of the technologies underlying that provision. This is especially true for so-called sharing business models focused on peer-to-peer-based activities of obtaining, giving, or sharing the access to goods and services, coordinated through community-based online services.
Research on business models is rapidly developing. One characteristic of this work is that it tends to see business models as entities in themselves, with scant attention given to the context in which they occur. This is problematic, as the provision of a specific good or service is interlinked with others. As a result, the ecological and social impact of any business model is partially determined by the constellation of business models of which it is part.
In this paper, we address this gap in the literature, by conceptualizing the economy as an ecology of business models. Building on work in organization studies and biology, we identify typical relationships between business models, ranging from competitive to mutually supportive. We also identify typical relationships between business models and their habitat, which includes physical resources and spatial embedding, but encompasses the institutional infrastructure in a given society.
Considering the user in the circular economy Lofthouse V.A. and Prendeville S. [Loughborough University]
This paper reflects on how much of the dialogue and literature regarding a move towards a circular economy tends to focus on production and that this language reflects a technological narrative around innovation for a future circular economy. The authors argue that there is a need for a more profound consideration of users in both the research activity and practical implementation of the circular economy, where the real needs, desires and values of the end user are incorporated from the outset, whether as part of research agendas, theories, frameworks or business models. The paper concludes by arguing that changing the way that the circular economy is framed so that it is more inclusive of the consumption side of the development process would open up greater opportunities for success.
Session 8 (13.45 – 14.35)
8.1 Consumer influences (Wim Crouwel room) Chair: James Pierce
Consumer perspectives on product lifetimes: a national study of lifetime satisfaction and purchasing factors Gnanapragasam A.(a), Cooper T. (a), Cole C. (a) and Oguchi M.(b) [a) Nottingham Trent University; b) National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba]
The extension of product lifetimes of consumer goods has the potential to encourage sustainable consumption, reduce carbon emissions and facilitate a transition to a circular economy. However, current understandings of consumer perspectives on product lifetimes are limited. This paper presents the findings of the first national study of consumer satisfaction with product lifetimes across an exhaustive range of consumer durables. The research was undertaken in the United Kingdom where consumer satisfaction and purchasing factors were studied across eighteen product categories. These product categories were devised from academic and market research undertaken at Nottingham Trent University. In total, 2,207 participants completed the survey and the sample profile was similar to the United Kingdom’s population with respect to age and gender. The results indicate that consumers appear generally satisfied with the lifetimes of their products and suggest that efforts to extend product lifetimes should focus on developing business and policy options. However, participants also emphasised that longevity, reliability and guarantee length were important factors in their purchasing decisions. Consumer interest in these factors could indicate that lifetime labelling and the promotion of longer guarantees by manufacturers and retailers may offer pathways to reduce energy and material consumption associated with short-lived products, facilitating movement towards a low carbon circular economy.
Sustainable consumption through product longevity: The influence of enhanced product lifetime information on purchasing electrical appliances among German consumers Jacobs K.(a) [a) Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences]
This study addresses several research gaps by developing and empirical testing a conceptual model for purchasing longer lasting electrical appliances. The research questions are ‘What are the determinants of purchasing longer lasting electrical appliances?’ and ‘How does a product lifetime label influence purchase decisions towards electrical appliances?’ The paper follows an interdisciplinary approach by combining economic and social psychological theories. The resulting conceptual model is tested by using choice-based conjoint analysis. Thus, the influence of a product lifetime label on consumer preferences for product lifetime and other product attributes such price, brand or energy efficiency is examined. By means of an online questionnaire, data was collected among German consumers. Overall, the study helps to better understand the main determinants of purchasing longer lasting electrical appliances and, especially, the impact of product lifetime labelling on consumer preferences. Consumers who are willing to buy longer lasting electrical appliances are identified and characterized. Moreover, insights into the role of values, social norms and perceived behavioural control factors are generated. With the aim of stimulating demand for longer lasting electrical appliances, marketers and politicians can learn from the study how to promote drivers and reduce barriers of purchasing longer lasting electrical appliances. Marketers could, for instance, improve their durability marketing by offering enhanced product lifetime information. Politicians could introduce mandatory product lifetime labels as well as educational campaigns regarding the sustainability relevance of product longevity.
8.2 Circular economy and Policy (IDE Arena room) Chair: Conny Bakker
Towards more circular office fit-outs: A socio-technical descriptive framework of office fit-out processes Casas-Arredondo M., Croxford, B.(a and Domenech, T. [University College London]
The built environment is the most resource intensive sector of the economy, accounting for a significant share of the extracted materials and the total waste generated. Within the built environment the most recurrent replacements of building materials and components take place during fit-outs, which are the process of installing interior fittings, fixtures and finishes. These materials and components are frequently replaced in non-domestic buildings.
Non-domestic building fit-outs are therefore responsible for a significant consumption of materials and a large source of waste. However, they tend to go unnoticed and unmeasured in the research about sustainable buildings. The present work aims to study this research gap and analyse the potential for fit-outs to become more sustainable. The approach of this project ties in closely to the concept of circular economy, where materials are kept at their most useful state for as long as possible.
This paper provides a socio-technical descriptive framework of fit-out processes in office buildings. This descriptive framework contains a qualitative analysis of the roles and interactions of involved stakeholders regarding the material flow (based on interviews), and a quantitative material flow analysis (MFA) throughout the downstream supply chain (based on a fit-out case study). The mixed methodology used includes on-site observations, cross-examination of the corresponding design specifications or waste reports, and semi-structured interviews with the involved stakeholders.
The aim of this research is to provide a grounded perspective that allows the identification of process and design improvements that support the transition towards more “circular” fit-outs. It is concluded that there are potential areas of improvement as fit-out practices show a predominantly linear tendency both for decision making and material flows.
Understanding the societal, entrepreneurship and economic aspects of developing a circular economy in cities: A case study of Coventry in the UK Ouillon S.(a) Dibb S.(a); and Peck D.(b) [a) Coventry University; b) Delft University of Technology]
One of the points of agreement emerging from international environmental policy debates is that people’s choices, behaviors and lifestyles will play a vital role in achieving sustainable development (Biwei, 2012; Fleischmann, 2016). There is strong evidence of the importance of a working Circular Economy (CE) to address sustainability challenges but there are different accounts and narratives in the CE literature which can cause confusion when trying to define and understand the concept. Urbanisation coupled with the fact that cities are resource inefficient (Agudela-Vera 2012) has given rise to the emergence of Circular Cities such as, Amsterdam but research to date has had a strong emphasis on the “supply side” (business, policy, science) with little attention being paid to the people or “demand side” (social, consumer). It would therefore be helpful to develop a better understanding of the role that citizens and not just City governments can play in a Circular City. To address this the paper uses an illustrative example of Coventry in the UK to examine the strategies and policy actions that drive CE relevant grass roots citizen driven practices and innovations. Through the lens of this example the paper provides insights into the role that citizens could play in developing Circular Cities through citizen driven innovation mechanisms such as social enterprise. The paper concludes that we are lacking sufficient socio-economic evidence of impact on the “demand side” and provides recommendations for further research into the social and citizen driven innovation aspects of CE relevant activities in cities.
8.3 Consumer and cultural perspectives (vd Grinten hall) Chair: Sonja van Dam
Is there a market for refurbished toothbrushes? An exploratory study on consumers’ acceptance of refurbishment for different product categories Mugge R., Safari I., Balkenende R. [Delft University of Technology]
Refurbishment is the process of collecting used products, assessing their condition, and replacing and/or upgrading parts in order to resell them to other consumers. Although refurbishment is increasingly seen as both economically and environmentally advantageous, it remains questionable whether consumers will accept refurbishment as a viable alternative for all sorts of product categories. In-depth interviews among 18 participants were conducted in which participants were asked to sort 30 product categories on their likelihood to accept or reject a refurbished product from this category and to elaborate on their underlying motives for this. The results revealed the following reasons for either accepting or rejecting a refurbished product for a certain category: financial, functional quality, aesthetic quality, warranty, contamination, and personalisation. Based on the type of product category (e.g., hedonic vs. functional, high vs. low involvement), these reasons are either more or less important to consumers. When designing for refurbishment, designers need to tackle the relevant reasons for the specific category in their design process to stimulate consumers to accept refurbished products.
Consumer and user acceptance in the circular economy: What are researchers missing? Camacho-Otero, J., Pettersen, I.N., Boks, C. [NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology]
The circular economy is a platform to transition towards a more resource efficient system. Product service systems (PSS) and remanufacturing have been proposed as strategies to achieve material decoupling. Recent studies have found that their adoption has fallen short in the business-to-consumer sector, due to lack of consumer acceptance. Literature addressing this issue has failed to provide a systematic approach to the problem. By performing a structured search on Scopus and Web of Science, 24 papers focusing on consumer and user acceptance of remanufacturing and PSS were identified. By applying qualitative research methods, the articles were analysed using six categories: problem and research questions, definitions, theoretical background, issues, methods and research gaps. Resulting from the analysis an outline for a research agenda on the topic of consumer and user acceptance of PSS and remanufactured products is suggested. Such program needs to provide a definition of consumption, consumers and users in the circular economy including their role. It should explore external factors influencing acceptance, adoption and diffusion of PSS and remanufacturing such as cultural (norms, beliefs, codes) and demographic and their interaction to each other, to guide action. Answering this questions requires tools and devices from additional fields such as anthropology and sociotechnical studies complement the contributions already made by psychology and sociology.
8.4 Circular economy (Studio 23/24) Chair: Ana Mestre
Interdisciplinary circular economy design education through local and regional partnerships Williams M., McDonough M., Edge S [University of Gloucestershire]
A review of Educational Sustainable Development (ESD) strategies has found that participatory and collaborative partnerships are the most effective for engaging students with sustainability. To enable students from Higher Education to experience and understand the relevance of the Circular Economy, as opposed to the linear economy, a series of ‘real-life’ collaborative projects have been created for Design students from Product Design, Fashion Design, Commercial Interior Design and Landscape Architecture, bridging the schools of IT Computing and Business with Art and Design. These ‘real life’ projects have been created in collaboration with local and regional charities, local Government and companies. The focus of these ‘real-life’ projects is based upon facets of the Circular Economy, such as ‘Design for Longevity’, ‘Reuse’, ‘Repair’ and ‘Recycling’, with the intention of engaging staff and students with the Circular Economy within each unit of assessment. This work is evaluated using an educational framework based upon the ESD principles, which is embedded throughout the Applied Design degree programmes, with the aim of creating engaging partnerships to improve the quality and impact of the student learning experience. This paper will describe some of the ’real-life’ case studies, focusing upon first year Design degree students, the outcome of these projects will be discussed and reflections made. Fundamentally it is found these collaborative partnerships have the ability to empower students to become active partners in the Circular Economy and the Sustainability agenda.
Open and closed loops: How to teach and get students to embrace circular design Leube M and Walcher D [Salzburg University of Applied Sciences]
Design schools, being the places were new products and services are invented and conceived are extremely important stakeholders in a much needed change towards sustainability. A circular economy is based on closed resource loops so that large volumes of finite resources (used by organizations), are captured and reused (Huber, 2000) as well as open approaches to innovation and information exemplified by the share economy and business models based on use rather than property. For the very spread of a circular economy as a concept to be successful, an open stream of information and ideas must be established. Design as a discipline needs to radically change its curriculum to help generate sustainable social and economic value and this paper is like a case-study of a curriculum that was changed from a linear to a more circular approach. In short, the authors believe that design schools –with their responsibility in educating students, who in turn shape the world of tomorrow- must move from teaching closed business models to teaching open and globally-linked ones. Another aim is to stress the importance of human factors- economical, psychological and evolutionary- in speeding up what Chesbrough calls a paradigmatic shift in innovation management (Chesbrough, 2006). Design students may be interested in greener design, but few adopt the necessary business models for such a design to be truly sustainable. In a circular economy, a business is forced „to take responsibility for the entire lives of their products“ (Kleindorfer et al. 2005, S. 487).
Inaugural lecture Ruud Balkenende Circular Product Design: Make, Use, Save (15.00 – 16.15) (Aula TU Delft)
Ruud Balkenende joined the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering in 2015, as the world’s first Circular Product Design professor. He started his career at Philips Research, where he has been active at the interface of technological innovation and business applications. In the course of 25 years he dealt with a wide diversity of products, usually from a materials and technology perspective.
Since 2009 he has been mainly involved in research and development related to materials scarcity and product recyclability. Linking product architecture and materials science to resource efficiency was the main driver. He has set up and coordinated international collaboration on improved recyclability of electronic products. This has resulted in design guidelines as well as new products with improved recyclability. Since 2013 his activities extended from recyclability to circular economy, i.e. reusing products or parts at a functional level instead of recovering materials. Here he was involved in establishing the Philips strategy, focusing on the technological framework for implementation in product design.