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Philosophy of Design and Sustainable Innovation

When we talk about sustainable development and circular economy, we think about how to avoid the generation of waste, and how to apply actions to reuse and recycle materials. And although these measures are very necessary, we overlook the most important stage in the product cycle: the design stage.

Sustainable products need to be accompanied by a business model, and for this it is essential to understand who we are designing for, the functionality and what the experience of people with the product will be like.

Design Thinking is a people-oriented methodology that focuses on solving problems by implementing innovative ideas. When we apply this knowledge to solve sustainable problems, we are designing strategies to generate a positive impact in the life cycle of products. What would it be like to apply this methodology with a sustainable vision?

The first step is to know and understand the people who are going to use the product, then we begin to think and design a prototype of the product─at this point we can apply another Industrial Design’s tool.

In the Ecodesign Strategy Wheel, we see the different phases that are involved both at the component level and product strategy, and the production system.

One of the main goals of sustainable products is to offer an improved design and optimize the use of the product, even offering maintenance services. These strategies are also applied in the fashion world, where there is the possibility of repairing garments for minimal costs, as offered by Animaná#LongLife.

Currently, companies that have a triple-impact-purpose design products with a sustainable vision, and not only from the responsibility for waste or social commitment, but also from the commitment from the origin, designing and devising products with conscience.

Picture: Van Hemel (1997). “Ecodesing: A Promising Approach to Sustainable Production and Consumption” [Online] Available at: [retrieved on February 1st, 2022]

Curso introducción a la economía circular. Diseño Circular: estrategias para el Eco-Diseño. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Available at: [retrieved on February 1st, 2022]

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