The future of sustainable design

The Guardian recently launched the “Sustainable design hub”. In light of this new hub, The Guardian’ reporter Jenny Purt wrote an article on the future of sustainable design. You can find the full article here, I would like to share some excerpts.

“Imagine the power of placing sustainability at the heart of those design decisions, making it a ‘must’ rather than a ‘maybe’ in every product, service or creative solution. The impact could be vast.”

Sustainability is very often approached as an add-on. We take existing companies and business-models, ad a sustainable coating and hope the result will lead to a change in consumer behavior. Last summer I wrote a post about putting sustainability at the heart of what you do, you can read it here.

“Tackling the knowledge gap that exists between designers and the materials they use, will be vital to finding eco-friendly alternatives to the most unsustainable components within supply chains.”

The biggest problem we’re having right now is that most of us, including most designers, are very technology-oriented. The hope to find one-size-fits-all-solutions and keep things as they are is still the usual way of dealing with design. Of course technology can help us in reaching things like a circular economy, bio-based materials and all that, but it’s always a means, never the goal. Sustainability is about behavioral economics. Behavioral economics call for behavior-changing products. Behavior changing products call for behavioral innovation. Designers should start to learn more about psychology, how the mind works, and how to trigger change in people. More info on behavioral economics can be found here.

“People-centered design also has huge potential to change behaviour. From a product that makes a green option more appealing to a feature that enables easy repair, designing with user action in mind can create natural shifts in behaviour.”


About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.

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