Gaurav Jassal:- Hi everyone, I am Gaurav.
I welcome you all to the webinar on “Design for Sustainability,” organized by Design Jungle & powered by UX Gorilla.
Today we have a very special guest with us, Mr. Samip Jain. He is a Circular Design evangelist and believes that it can be the key to a sustainable world.
From running his own startup to volunteering for social causes to being part of large corporates. His diverse experiences give him a unique perspective. Currently, he is an MS Student at MIT and diving deeper into design management.
Next up, we will have Samip taking us through Circular Design basics.
So let’s Get started, Samip Over to you.
Samip Jain:- Thank you guys for having me here, Thank you Gaurav, today we are going to talk about design for sustainability. Nowadays a lot of companies have started making their own products and thinking about sustainability is now the big question. Whether the product they’re designing are sustainable or not.
So let’s talk about the living world. How living world works here. So now as we know as seeds generate into a young plant, and then it moves into a mature plant, and which gives you a flower and from there we can get fruits. so this entire circle is managed by nature itself. Human interaction is really very less here but in the case of the human life cycle, there is a very linear approach which we follow.
We buy a product we make it and then we dispose it. so generally, that produces toxic waste, for example, we are using a mobile phone today. When we are done with the product we throw it into the landfills and that produces waste, that is the electronic waste. so in terms of sustainability, it’s not a sustainable product, it’s not a long-term solution because in the world. If everyone starts doing it, then this will produce a lot of waste which is not recyclable.
So thinking about this entire world, we can divide this into two categories, that are biological products and the technical products.
Biological products can include food, hospitals products like the syringe, needles, glass, plastics and on the technical side, we have mobile phones, laptops, vehicles, washing machine, and many more electronic products. Now the basic question comes here, how are we going to solve this issue? what if they do not own a product? what if we can return the product and get a new one? there are many companies out there, who are actually doing this, for example, we can now return the old mobile phones and get a new one or we can directly buy a refurbished mobile phone instead of new one. In the clothing industry, H&M is one such company which I know they refurbishing the entire clothing industry, once you are done with your product, let’s say a t-shirt you can return it to them and they will re-use it or they will re-make it.
So designing this particular thing requires the understanding of three aspects, that is “social impact”, “environmental impact” and the third one is “economic impact.” So the importance of owning a product till now in the market is really useful. People believe that they own a product but bringing an entirely new perspective of renting a product in today’s Millennials do not own a product, they rent a product. so thinking about the social aspect here and how it is going to impact economically on top of this. We have to think about how it is going to impact environmentally. So talking about this we are going to learn about butterfly diagram. so in the butterfly diagram as I said products are divided into two categories that are biological and the technical side.
On the left side we have the biological part and on the right side, we have the technical part. As you can see the first one is re-using our product then re-manufacturing it, then refurbishing the product and then recycling the product. So the idea is for humans or for anyone that the products should not go to the landfill. It should be re-used before it goes to the landfill and using these four methods or using the following principles we can do it.
The principles I m going to talk about today comes under the shade of circular design. The next big thing and design are circular. There are four methods the number one is understand, define, make and release.
In the world of UX the basic, the first principle is understanding the user needs or we can say understanding the customer needs. Here till now, we have designed products in an in a linear fashion where they understand or talk to the user to get the feedback but in the circular thing and in a circular design basically, those lifecycles of a product is minimized or there is no life cycle of the product. Now we have beginning or middle or the end one for product lifecycle of a product but in circular design there is no such thing I m using a product when I m done with the product I can return it and the company should refurbish or recycle the product so that it can act like a new one again. so imagine that if everything could be designed as a restorative or regenerative product.
Number two is define. So defining the circular part or the opportunity let me tell you that in each of these steps there are several sub-steps, which can be followed. I m just talking just one single step in each and every category or in each and every steps here. so in the definition part, there are a couple of things but the most important thing which I feel is finding circular opportunities. So there are a lot of products out there where they can apply or restart you know or rethink about the designing part. Finding circular opportunities in a product is really very important. Let’s say a tissue paper or a mobile cover or a t-shirt or let’s say a SmartWatch. Where we can apply a circular design to it. Finding certain opportunities in the smallest product is really important. We have to re-think it and re-design it.
Number three that is make. Now we have understood the product and defined what we are in to build now the thing is we have to build it. Make is really important this is a very common term used in design thinking or any other user experience part a where we brainstorm with the team. How are we going to design the product? So keeping in mind brainstorming, we can include another term that is circular brainstorming. so whenever we are brainstorming, we have to think about materials or what we are going to use in that product, so that it can be re-used. Till now we have used materials which is based on use and thorough principle but for example plastic, it is so cheap that we can use it and throw it doesn’t even cost much for us but if you can think about circular design it may be a little expensive and in comparison to the products, which is out there in the market but again if you can reuse it then it will generate the circular economy. so from user-centered research, it can be figured out what else can be brainstorm about the product or about the user or about the materials which can offer the design more circular.
The last step in circular design is released and most of the products. When we release a product we generally try to forget one thing that is the continuous learning loop or taking the user feedback. This is really very important in circular design or in per say any design product. Learning from the users how they have used it and thinking about the future possibilities for example, when we are designing a mobile phone as we can see in the let’s say about Google Android. Every year Google introduces a newer version of Android where they introduce new features. which includes modification on the previous one so that is again a product which is modified every year.
Continuous learning from the users how they have used and analyzed the entire data is really very important to designing the feedback cycle and learning from the input basically learning from the user. Your products should have that feedback mechanism built inside the product, be it the mechanical product or be it a design product or be it the service based product, let’s say the website or on an Android application. Learning how to use feedback and planning. What will be the next big thing in your product is going to be a big change. Let’s talk about examples here.
Which come like the companies which are using circular design and have designed products. The first one which I m going to talk about is “edible plates” where you do not throw the plastic plates but instead of that, you can use it. So you can use all the fork or the knife or the spoon and the plate after eating it. so the company called bio term is disposable they build disposable products that are made from wheat bran. So you can read about it the products are fully biodegradable next a sprout world it’s a pencil. which you can use it and after using it you can plant it. You can write draw and doodle anything from using the pencil and then place it upside down and watch it grow. You can grow herbs, vegetables or flowers anything. Which you can make using this pencil the sprout world which it is called Ecovative design.
A ecovative design is into producing packaging products using mushrooms. Mushroom roots have a glue-like property, so steel case and dell worthy early adopters this company has been since 2010 and now it’s a profitable company. so there is an opportunity I think the founder saw here in the mushroom while redesigning any small products you should be open to exploring all the all the different opportunities which are out there.
Now the challenge is tissue paper. This is a photo which has been taken from one of the tech parks in Bangalore. Challenge this tissue paper as we all know that tissue paper is a better design in compared to all the plastic designs which we have out there in the market but is it really a good design by looking at this picture. This is one of the pictures taken from one of the tech parks in Bangalore from one of the companies out there. In a tech park in generally there are like to companies and this is from one such company the tissue paper has been generated.
The problem with tissue paper is once the food is contaminated you cannot re-use or recycle that tissue paper has to be wasted. so it is a good design but it is not a sustainable design. There is again a lot of waste has been generated here. we have to rethink it so this is one such example. Where we can apply a circular design and come up with a better product. I understand not all of us are engineers or designers but we can still do our part to make sure that the world is a sustainable place to live in for example instead of using tissue paper I have started carrying the handkerchief so that it can be reused there s a country in India. We generally use plastic a lot it will take us another 10 years to get rid of plastic and come up with a new material maybe let’s say paper bags or paper straws but that will again create a problem in terms of the usability in which we have to again clear it. so if they start applying circular design now we might be able to save India’s next years and move on to better sustainable products.
If you have any ideas or suggestions, please put them in the comment section.
Thank you for watching. Over to you Gaurav.
Gaurav Jassal:- Thank you so much Samip for sharing your knowledge on Circular Design with us. Guys, it’s time to take a Q&A session. Samip, let’s have a look at the questions which we have received from viewers end.
Guys, please put your comment/questions in the comment section.
Samip is here, so it’s a great opportunity for you to ask anything on this particular topic circular design fundamentals. so you can ask Samip directly. Let’s wait for a few minutes.
All right Samip, we have received our first question from Romil Javed’s end. He wants to ask you that:-
Q1) How does circular design play with the agile approach?
Samip:- All right, I think the agile approach is and circular design as two different topics agile approaches. When you apply some set of principles to make sure that your product is to develop or the development process is continuous and circular design is again a methodology. which will be applied inside in the agile process or in any kind of process agile process is not the only process of them so basically circular design is like whenever you whenever we try to do brainstorming on let’s say, any topic we generally think about the ideas to think about coming up with a cheaper solution or with the basic materials. which we can use so in terms of doing brainstorming though if you can think in a better way to design or to make products you know a sustainable thing so that is something which is about circular design and I think agile is a completely different thing here.
Gaurav Jassal:- Right Samip, here is another question from Saurav.
Q2) Can circular design be used with a software product or it is limited to hardware product only?
Samip:- So right now, I would not say about software because that s the design and right now, which I have seen is mostly related to the hardware products because the basic example is like the product which we use in daily life that the physical products are mostly like not sustainable. The software product as a cloud origin computer right now so that is it does not come with the sustainability part. so I would go for hardware products here or let’s say physical products. which we can feed or touch it.
Gaurav Jassal:- Alright great Samip and another question we have from Aman Gautam.
Q3) What is the difference between recycling and Circular design?
Samip:- I think the end result is the same the idea is not to put everything into the ocean. so the idea or into the landfill the idea is to reuse the products again and again. so if we can recycle it. if we can recycle something and within reuse or bring that same thing into the market again. Let’s say tissue paper that which I mentioned in the slide. so there are tissue papers which can be recycled if the food is not contaminated. so if we can recycle tissue paper and reuse it that’s a better design but there are thousands or more than that tissue papers which are contaminated with food and that is that is getting wasted that’s a waste and so I think that I mean like tissue paper is a recyclable thing but again that’s just creating waste so in terms of circular design it does not the circular design is not followed or the principles are not fairly followed here there’s not a sustainable design or have so my point here is that being recyclable does not mean that you are not creating any waste. so being recyclable means with the entire line chain or the entire supply chain as making sure that the supply chain is in the circular fashion that is not going into the landfill or ocean or any other place.
Gaurav Jassal:- Next question, we have received from Aseem:-
Q4) Is there a saturation point with this approach like is there a point where you can no longer sustain the product.
Samip:- Okay! saturation point no longer sustains a product. I think through the saturation point is coming so as we can see the plastics. I mean the oceans are filled with plastics now so that in other companies are walking towards. how to remove plastic or how to clean the ocean, so there was an example but over the company I don t remember the name of that’s a clothing company and the fashion is changing so fast that they decided to burn all the clothes and because of that they created air pollution and water pollution as well as land pollution and so I mean like and if this is just only one industry fashion industry and if I see go for the oil industry or that’s a plastic manufacturing company so combining all of these things if the saturation point is here and we have crossed that part a long time ago and now we are cleaning it and trying to move towards a better design. so yeah we have reached the saturation point.
Gaurav Jassal:- Alright great Samip, so let’s take another question it’s from Rohan Mishra he wants to ask you like:-
Q5) From a business standpoint is it all possible to use circular design principles to design a business model for a smaller company as well?
Samip:- Yes absolutely, it is possible to design products using a circular design. So I have shared like two or three examples here the pencil sprouts one and the edible plate and then the mushroom packaging turns. so these are the designs which are the innovative or creative design. which was I don’t think how I don’t even know how much money or the capital was put into it but I am very sure because of their ecological advantage, big companies try to take that so for that mushroom packaging and you know Dell and other big companies took that design and now in some of the companies products. I still see that that kind of packaging still available so recently I saw that particular packaging and Philips product. so I think that if you have a great solution if you have a great creative solution I think if you are creating a value in it only then your business model will speak itself and some way or other you will be able to generate revenue. If that is what you are looking for.
Gaurav Jassal:- Thank you Samip so one more question we have received from Aneesh:-
Q6)How is recycling different than the circular design philosophy?
Samip:- Okay I think Aman asked the same question and I am gonna repeat the same thing again. Recycling doesn’t mean that we are following circular design, for example, tissue papers we say that it’s getting recycled but again in tissue paper in which the food is contaminated that is a waste. so we do not recycle that and as a human being or another person.
we see that the recyclable sign is there and you know to be noted that okay this product was recyclable. I can use it and I can throw it may be recycled but if we don’t really know what goes in the background effects or recycled or not and the waste we create there is a lot of processes goes on to separate all the waste beat food be at plastic or anything. so I would suggest to go out and do more research about what other companies are doing waste segregation. There are companies in Bangalore. which I have found out when they are doing waste segregation taking wastes from people and segregating on the plastic and the food waste and all the recyclable waste and then they are generating recyclable products through all the types of machinery.
Since we are not doing a great job and separation so that’s why there are companies out there who are making like I don’t know they are making money or not but they are doing cleaning job for us. so recyclable does not mean that we are following circular design. We might have to go back and look for different like might have to dig deeper and see what’s going underneath.
Gaurav Jassal:- Thank you so much Samip.
Samip:- Thank you Gaurav.
Gaurav Jassal:- So Thankyou so much people for joining this webinar. We had a lot of great interaction.
On the behalf of UX Gorilla. I want to thank you for joining us today. Hope you found this information helpful. If you missed anything no worries till you can watch this recorded webinar on our YouTube channel.
Thank you so much, everyone, signing out Gaurav with Samip Jain bye.