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OVERVIEW

 

The purpose of this project is to use design management methods that can help innovators in the furniture industry to create circular sustainable products, services, and systems that satisfy both needs of people’s temporary lifestyle and a move towards a circular business model.

 

Thus presenting Creculare, a toolkit to run creative and collaborative workshops to create future ideas for sustainable furniture products based on the principle of the circular economy.

ROLE

Strategy

UX Research

Framework Design

TIME

10 Weeks

Spring 2020

TEAM

Individual

Final MA Project

TOOLS

Indesign

Photoshop

Sketch

 

PROCESS

I decided to appy design the thinking process as a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems, and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. Involving five phases—Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test—it is most useful to tackle problems that are ill-defined or unknown.

EMPATHY

DEFINE

IDEATE

PROTOTYPE

TEST

Market research

Survey

Remote Interviews

Enthongraphic

 Empathy Maps

Personas

 Journey Maps

Key Insights

Ideation session

PMI Matrix

Value Proposition

Business Model

Concept testing

Paper Prototype

Hi-fidelity prototype

Prototype Testing

Feedback

Road map

PROBLEM

STATEMENT

Lives of people in western countries like the United States are extremely mobile as there is a constant need to relocate from point A to B due to change in work, education, or personal reasons. 35.5 million American moves each year refurbishing their house and 15 million tonne furniture goes into landfills which are excessive usages and wastage of resources. This linear pattern is extremely wasteful and unsustainable. Thus, there is an opportunity to create a framework for change and a call to action to move towards circularity.

How might we use design management methods to create a better living experience which suits the needs of people with a temporary lifestyle and adaptation to sustainable consumption?

 

SECONDARY

RESEARCH 

Using key facts as a tool to find out more data regarding sustainable consumption,  I discovered that we are in a moment when our resource consumption is pushing us towards planetary boundaries, there is an opportunity to re-imagine how businesses, products, and services are designed, experienced and valued.

BY

2030

LIMITED RESOURCES

prediction made at the 2017 WorldEconomic Forum was that by 2030 individuals would no longer own anything

that resources are limited so
we
must find smarter ways to
use them

FURNITURE

BRANDS

are responding to continuing rise of collaborative consumption by designing products that appeal to
multiple temporary users rather than to a single owner

1

TRILLION

USD

World Economic Forum puts the potential worldwide economic benefit of the circular economy at one trillion USD annually

MARKET

ANALYSIS 

The market analysis gave me an overview of companies, who are into retailing/manufacturing of furniture and household products, and also organizations that are providing tools and methods to implement principles of a circular economy to the business. After mapping the competitors, I did a collaborator analysis and 2X2 of the competitors to understand their network and opportunities for collaboration.

 
 
 
 

RESEARCH

METHODOLOGY

76%

SURVEY

RESULTS

60%

74%

64%

FACEBOOK 

 

respondents have preferred platform to look for house is online marketplace with remaining using Zillow

NEW BUY

 

responded has bought
most of their furniture and
household products when
they moved

STRUGGLE

 

responded struggle while
reselling their furniture and
household products

DISOWNERSHIP

 

responded that furniture
ownership is not that important to them, they just want to use them temp

IN-DEPTH

INTERVIEWS

“(.......worry if it will be sold)”

“(....hassle a lot  with buying
furniture while  changing homes)” 

“(....Yes, I would want an easy way to buy and
return without
throwing the item”

“(...“ Eventually, all industries will need to move
towards sustainable circular model ”)”

“(....Sometimes I throw my furniture away if I don’t find a buyer)”

“(I would resell my items if the store where I bought
offered a convenient buyback program)”

“(...we do not have a formal
program for rental furniture)”

An affinity map was created with quotations from the interviews to look for patterns and gain deeper insights into the target audiences. The research created various visual models, including best quotes cloud, an affinity map, empathy maps, personas, and a journey map, which served to organize and re-structure the research data

AFFINITY

MAPPING

EMPATHY MAPS

& PERSONAS

USER

JOURNEY 

KEY

INSIGHTS

INEFFICIENT

INCONVENIENT

Furniture ownership is not flexible when it comes to moving to a new house. Users wants flexibility, which best fits their plans.  Temporary
living conditions raise demand for more flexibility and rapid turnover in terms of consumption and ownership.

The existing system of buying and reselling furniture for temporary time is not convenient and easy for the users. Other users bought from retailers, though they were able to find the item easily,transportation of the furniture is not very convenient for them.

EXPENSIVE

Users do not want to invest a lot in furniture where they know that they will only use a certain period. However, the users find existing system expensive. Users buy cheap, with a giveaway mindset, in case they do not find a buyer.Not being able to resell the furniture makes users lose a lot of money in the process.

DISOWNERSHIP

The end of a product’s life is often not caused by disfunction but changes
in the living conditions of people.
Most of the users see no necessity to express their individuality with the furniture in their certain life situations.

FLEXIBLITY

Furniture ownership is not flexible when it comes to moving to a new house. Users wants flexibility, which best fits their plans. Rooted in uncertainty, users cannot plan in long terms. Temporary living conditions raise demand for
more flexibility and rapid turnover in terms of consumption and ownership.

AWARENESS

Most of the consumers lack
awareness of rental housing, existing furniture rental services, circular product models and means to engage in circular behaviors
.Lack of awareness leads users to choose to live in a shared rented flat and buy second hand - low-quality furniture on which they eventually end up spending
a lot of money.

SUSTAINABLE

The gap between intentions and
actions lead to unsustainable
consumption behavior. The majority of the users are environmentally conscious
about their actions.
However, often actions do not follow their intentions caused, by time, place, emotions and budget

 
 

OPPORTUNITY TO

DESIGN MATRIX

DESIGN

CRITERIA

The research, findings, and insights were formed into three categories: mindset, motive, and need. These three elements became the key factors in the design criteria that need to be addressed while design development. The design should help to create a more flexible way of living which means that it should respect and encourage the lifestyle of millennials who are temporarily living in the United States. It also should be adding value at the end of a product’s life cycle that would prevent users from being wasteful and encourage them to step out of unsustainable consumption. The solution should see products (furniture) as part of a system that is designed around loops and cycles where products float back into a system that encourages re-usability and preservation of resources.

 

 

Guidelines for innovators in furniture and household products industry to evaluate the existing system

Encouraging partnership and collaboration for circular practice

Add value at the end of a products life time by bring products back into the cycle

Guide and support for being more sustainable on the principle of circular economy

Help to create a more flexible way of living

Be easily accessible for innovators and designers in the furniture and household product retail industry

The problem space around the sustainable consumption of resources during the temporary lifestyle of millennials can now be narrowed down to millennial’s do not have enough sustainable options to pick from during their temporary living. The focus is needed to use an existing system where the circular guide can be implemented to address the overall problem, which might lead to the conception of impactful solutions

DIVERSE

CONCEPTS

INEFFICIENT

IN-

CONVENIENT

EXPENSIVE

EVALUATION OF EXISTING SYSTEM

An evaluation guide for furniture retailers to apply in their design process and evaluate the existing buying and selling process to understand consumers need and respond to the need to improve the existing system

AWARENESS

DIS-

OWNERSHIP

AWARENESS FOR

RENTAL MODELS

Awareness handbook to enlighten consumers for better options, existing rental models and stores based on their situation which would reflect sustainable consumption in their usage of resources

SUSTAINABLE

FLEXIBILITY

WORKSHOPS FOR

CIRCULAR PRACTICE

Co-creation workshop toolkit to enable
furniture circular economic venture,
partnerships, and programs for innovators 
in furniture and household product industry and convert their existing business model into a circular business model

PMI

ANALYSIS

TOOLKIT

DEVELOPMENT

A workshop together with aspiring innovators, designers, business leaders, and sustainability leaders in furniture and household products industry can be conducted to create ideas and identify potential future scenarios. The toolkit is divided into five phases to help aspiring innovators understand and practice circular design. The phases include trigger cards, concept creation, circular cycle, concept selection, and concept opportunities. The phases will support the innovation and collaboration abilities for aspiring innovators to enable sustainable options for millennials and move towards a circular business model.

creculare

CARDS /

Research findings were clustered and condensed into trigger cards, which will be used for the creation of future scenarios and stories. To foster innovation for the creation of future scenarios during the workshop, the following trigger cards will be provided. The cards represent crucial /findings from past research in the areas of Scenario ( What people need?), Initiative (What actions can we take?), and Placement (Where can we provide?). Each card says one word, a summary and a ‘What if..’ question

creculare

GUIDE & WORKSHEETS /

Along with trigger cards, a set of worksheets will be provided. The worksheets guide to generating concepts and narrow down to feasibility. The following worksheets will keep track of all ideas and help to map different concept elements to identify gaps and opportunities. It will also help designers to engage with other ideas and foster a creative exchange.

 

PROTOTYPE

TESTING

Testing was conducted with a designer and business leader from Wayfair on May 06, 2020, and with one design management students on May 08, 2020. Each participant was provided with an overview of the project, the toolkit - trigger cards, and worksheets.

 

15-20 minutes were allotted for review of the prototype materials. Concept testing of the prototypes primarily focused on the toolkit, which contains the guidelines to conduct circular design workshops. The working wall shows the resulting marked-up test pages, as well as “pink” sticky notes showing comments derived from post-review discussions with reviewers.

+

Interactive and collaborative toolkit to encourage circular design methods

+

Trigger cards developed from the research insights add value and gamification to the toolkit

+

Interactive and collaborative toolkit to encourage circular design methods

+

Interactive and collaborative toolkit to encourage circular design methods

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Interactive and collaborative toolkit to encourage circular design methods

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Interactive and collaborative toolkit to encourage circular design methods

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Relation of circular economy and furniture and household product industry

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Interactive and collaborative toolkit to encourage circular design methods

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Interactive and collaborative toolkit to encourage circular design methods

BRAND

IDENTITY

I developed my brand identity which could further, be used to create an overall brand look and feel. of the toolkit. The name “creculare” is inspired by the notion and purpose of the toolkit of creating a circular economy

 

creculare

A toolkit to run creative and collaborative workshops to create future ideas for sustainable furniture products/services/system based on the principle of the circular economy

creculare
CARDS 01

Research findings were collected and summarized into trigger cards, which will be used for the conception of future scenarios and stories

The guide provides a circular design framework and facilitation plans which will take designers and business leaders through a step-by-step the process to understand the circular economy and develop sustainable ideas for their own companies

creculare
GUIDE 02

creculare
SHEET 03

The following worksheets will keep track of all ideas and help to map different concept elements to identify gaps and opportunities. It will also help teams to engage with other ideas and foster a creative exchange

Realignment: The project helped me understand my ability as a design researcher and strategist. I was assuming a different culture at its core issue with several other judgment, but retaining the purpose of understanding and being unbiased helped me identify not just a secure problem area but also a solution that could make a difference. The research process was challenging as I had constant learning of different stakeholders throughout the project. COVID-19 did affect the design approach, but I was able to identify my ability to shift and find a solution by conducting the virtual workshop. As I progressed towards a design solution that was more fulfilling through the toolkit, I learned how to make a toolkit prototype and eventually make it as a final deliverable within three weeks. This project challenged me but made me a flexible and robust designer who can find the best possible solution to any problem within a limited time frame.

Click here to check the entire process book.

WHAT I LEARNT

Let's connect

If you want to learn more about my work, or just want to grab some coffee, I'd love to chat  me@aashnapoddar.com