Circular Economy Design Sprint

by The Common Purpose Collective

(Other)

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As resources become increasingly scarce in our modern society, the need for circular economic ideas as opposed to the traditional linear economic model where we ‘take, make and dispose’, is more critical than ever. This aligns to the positive impact on specific target SDG 12.5.

In the pursuit of this objective, the Common Purpose Collective developed and deployed a design sprint weekend at the end of April, partnering with Australia Post, NAB, City of Melbourne, IBM, University of Melbourne, Paintback and SmartCompany.

The design sprint, Infiniti, attracted more than 100 participants from a broad range of disciplines with the common goal of innovative business ideas that redefine traditional products and services to minimise environmental waste while leveraging circular economy design principles.

Project goal

12.5 by 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse

delivering on

why is this project important?

This project is important as it takes a design led approach to the challenge. The collaborative nature brought multiple stakeholders from a range of sectors to support it. Education, banking, government, startup, creative industries, management consultancies. Most importantly we worked with some of the brightest minds in Melbourne (student cohort) to design the businesses they want to see in the future. We are empowering the future leaders of Australia to think about business from a profit and purpose mindset.

Key steps to make it happen

1Co-design

Bringing together a range of industry stakeholders to co-design an experience and building consensus

2Accessiblity

Making the experience accessible and interesting to ensure we attract the right type of cohort (Hacker / Hipster Hustler)

3Engagement

Working with our partners to set the right outcomes and to make the programme meaningful

4scale

Find the correct partner to ensure we can raise a greater degree of awareness beyond the experience with StartupSmart Media

5Legacy

Creating a follow on programme for the participants to ensure the ideas and business they designed live on beyond the event

impact to date

100
Over 100 activate participants in the event (including mentors / experts )

Over 8 circular economy driven ideas generated and scaling into Sydney

As resources become increasingly scarce in our modern society, the need for circular economic ideas as opposed to the traditional linear economic model where we ‘take, make and dispose’, is more critical than ever.

In the pursuit of this objective, the Common Purpose Collective developed and deployed a design sprint weekend at the end of April, partnering with Australia Post, NAB, City of Melbourne, IBM, University of Melbourne, Paintback and SmartCompany.

The design sprint, Infiniti, attracted more than 100 participants from a broad range of disciplines with the common goal of innovative business ideas that redefine traditional products and services to minimise environmental waste while leveraging circular economy design principles.

Expert and consultant in design thinking, training and development, Jacinta McMahon of Franky Human, was recruited to teach and facilitate the design process. Her role was to educate on design and build a circular design skillset, empowering the participants with design thinking, system thinking, and circular design methods to problem solve and create feasible business outcomes.

Jacinta says the weeks preceding the design sprint were pivotal in ensuring the most appropriate design framework that would encourage open ended responses and facilitate circular ideas.

“We had ten teams of five participants so that’s definitely a large group to be involved in the circular design sprint. We had a number of amazing mentors and partners to guide the process and provide expertise in sustainable business practices and evaluation, and specifically circular economy.”

She says it was important to be really structured with the framework for the sprint to create the opportunity for all groups to develop amazing ideas. “Because it was very different from a traditional design sprint, we started from scratch with a canvas and while people were generally familiar with a business model canvass, we customised the stages so it would flow nicely over the weekend while covering new and specialised circular economy topics.”

Examples of the stages included a focus on resource inputs and end of life (waste), identifying partners within the ecosystem of the product or service and articulating how with that partner, their business idea might create or leverage shared value.

“The Infiniti canvas was designed specifically for the weekend to enable all of our wonderful participants to understand the questions they needed to consider to express a great business model, uniquely including a circular economy evaluation.”

Jacinta says she was impressed with how committed and engaged the participants were in learning new concepts, tools and methods to help identify where waste could become a resource and benefit someone else.

“The amazing thing about this experience is that people who haven’t met one other before, from diverse backgrounds such as sales, technology, business analysis or marketing bring together these incredibly considered, detailed ideas to see where synergies lie. It was a very rewarding experience.”

The circular business idea from the winning team was a Keep Cup exchange program where cafes are invited to subscribe to the program and offer Keep Cups that can be used and exchanged at participating cafes.

Jacinta says the highlight of the weekend was working with wonderful people including Paintback CEO Karen Gomez, Andrew Sellick from Australia Post, Stephanie Russo from NAB and Ian Wong, from Eruditus. Their passion for circular economy and generosity with their expertise and experience truly enriched the outcomes from the sprint.

“Australia is starting to embrace the circular economy. There’s a lot of wonderful startups in Melbourne who are building their businesses around these circular principles. The startup, Reground, is an excellent example of closing the loop: where ground coffee from cafes is collected and recycled for gardening purposes. It’s an exciting time to be involved in this area and working with such a wonderful community through the Infiniti sprint was a brilliant vehicle for immediate activity.”

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