Volume Volume II: Evidence of Science and Technology Committee (Lords), The Stationery Office Limited, London, 2008. Paper abstract bibtex
SEED Foundation (Social Environmental Enterprise + Design), established by Brass in 2007, was invited to present a paper to the House of Lords Science and Technology sub-committee following a response to a call for evidence. At the time, the design approach to sustainability still focused predominantly on products and different ways of reducing their environmental impact. Jonathan Chapman had recently published Emotionally Durable Design, presenting a means to extend the life of products, and Cradle-to-Cradle explored the design of products for infinite cycles. SEED, in contrast, spearheaded a drive to address the underlying issue of consumption and hypothesised that designers should address systems rather than products to effect positive social and environmental change. The paper set out a new agenda for design in light of the government’s waste plans. Reflecting SEED’s manifesto, it highlighted the need for cross-disciplinary working, and opportunities to develop design-led entrepreneurial solutions to existing waste problems. Furthermore, it stressed the importance of embedding these principles in design education through schools, universities and continuous professional development programmes. It explored the relevance of various design approaches to waste, suggesting that reducing the amount of waste being generated, e.g. through a service approach, could be more effective than designing better systems for waste management. It built on leading service design thinking (Engine/Live\textbarWork) highlighting the value and relevance of service design methodologies (e.g. co-creation, mapping) to the sustainability agenda, and cited relevant case studies (Ford, Electrolux, Interface Flor) where focusing on service rather than product led to the implementation of new business models. Design methods such as visualisation, prototyping and the staging of real-world scenarios were suggested as vital in the waste agenda to achieve the critical engagement described by the Sustainable Development Commission’s paper, I Will if You Will: Towards Sustainable Consumption, between business, government and people.