Last July 14, twenty companies met to deepen in the design of products and business models for a circular economy, in the framework of the Barcelona Design Week, within the cycle Shift or Shit.
The session, organized by Lúcid, EIG and D!OS, had the objective of sharing knowledge with manufacturing companies and guiding them in the mindset necessary to face a change of concept in the way they design and commercialize their products.
Key to this was the testimony of David Tapias, R&I Manager at Fluidra, who explained the in-depth work they are carrying out, in collaboration with EIG in terms of strategy and with Lúcid in product design.
The day, presented by Juan Mellen, President of D!OS, began with an explanation of the conceptual framework and design approach by Cristina Sendra, Technical Director of EIG, and Marc Fabra, Co-Founder and Design Director of Lúcid .
Cristina stressed the importance of adjusting expectations to achievable goals, without losing sight of the vision, in a process that must integrate different aspects that affect all areas of the company. She also pointed out the importance of ensuring that the materials used are safe and healthy at all stages of their life cycle as a key to any circular design.
From there, step by step advance towards the global vision of the system in which it is to be inserted, to ensure that it provides services adequately, both in the function intended for its use and at the end of its useful life.
"At EIG, we do not work to achieve products that have less impact, but that regenerate ecosystems, the economy and improve people's lives," explained Cristina.
Marc pointed out that designing for the circular economy in the field of product requires a fundamental change: to move from thinking about the product and its function and aesthetics to thinking from the business model. That is, designing products that can respond and function in the new economic context.
In this way, by insisting on the systemic perspective, the problems that we face today with products designed for the linear economy are avoided at the design stage. Marc explained, in fact, that 80% of product impacts are defined in the design phase .
David told us about the context in which Fluidra decided to deepen this innovation process, framed in its ESG strategy. He pointed out as an essential aspect the direct and permanent involvement of the Group's general management, actively leading the change, as well as the involvement of multiple internal teams, supported by external experts.
"To innovate in the product, you have to believe it and create the culture, bet on it from the management, with structure and resources."
As lessons learned, he noted that in applying the Cradle to Cradle approach to product analysis, they discovered that very little is actually known about both the material composition and the supply chain behind it. This also makes it difficult to reduce upstream impacts and to manage traceability and transparency of information.
David also explained that, in his company, they had to standardize and set their own circularity criteria and divided it into real concepts associated with concrete values . In his case, they defined numerically how much longer the products had to last, what percentage of recycled material they had to have, the percentage of recyclability and how much more repairable the products had to be, among many other indicators.
"Each company has to define with real values what it means to be circular. It worked very well for us to allocate how much more repairable, recyclable or durable our products should be," said David.
The attendees had the opportunity to talk with David, who generously shared in detail his experience. The large number of questions and the interest aroused made the initial part of the event last half an hour longer than planned.
We then moved on to the working session, where all the companies had the opportunity to challenge themselves to think disruptively in order to devise circular joint ventures .
The dynamics began by identifying the strengths and opportunities of each company to put them together and, from there, to understand how they fit into a broader and more diverse system. After about 40 minutes of work, 5 joint ventures emerged that we are not going to share here, because surely some of them will materialize in a business for the future.
We hope you can join us for future sessions! 🙌