what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge

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the 13 finalists of what design can do’s make it circular challenge

 

The wait is over. What Design Can Do (WDCD) announces the thirteen winners of the Make it Circular Challenge, representing original strategies for building a more circular society. Initiated in partnership with the IKEA Foundation, the competition enters an exciting phase as finalists gain access to a €10.000 award and development training package designed to launch their ideas into action.

 

All winning projects can be viewed online, here!

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Guiding the Runoff (Mexico): an adaptive reuse and urban renewal project in Tijuana, Mexico

all images courtesy of What Design Can Do

 

 

For 2023, the Make it Circular Challenge is What Design Can Do’s fourth climate action challenge in partnership with the IKEA Foundation. Launched in October 2022, the design competition called for bold solutions to. The Challenge provided in-depth design briefs presenting original research on circularity and highlighting opportunities for designers and entrepreneurs alike. Over 650 participants submitted projects across themes: what we eat, what we wear, what we buy, how we package and how we build.

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Balena (Israel): a new kind of bioplastic that is both durable and compostable

 

 

creativity, feasibility, scalability & teamwork

 

Tasked with selecting the winners was an international jury comprising twelve leading experts in design, climate action and entrepreneurship, including Arthur Huang (founder, Miniwiz), Bas van Abel  (founder, Fairphone), and Corine Gray (Unreasonable Group). Deliberating together both online and in-person, the panel selected thirteen winners from a shortlist of 50 high-potential nominees. In the end, the winning projects won over the Jury by exceeding expectations across the competition’s five criteria: impact, creativity & design, feasibility, scalability, and teamwork.

 

‘This year’s (2023) selection process was very competitive, not just because there were so many engaging and innovative ideas—but also because we recognize how urgent and complex the circular transition really is. The winning projects reflect this in their diversity and vision, and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact they’ll have, both individually and together,’ says WDCD’s co-founder and creative director Richard van der Laken. 

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Nivogo (Türkiye): a pioneering circular economy startup refurbishing and recirculating products collected from users and partners

 

 

Entrepreneurs worldwide were asked to come up with circular products, services, spaces and systems that would help us tackle the root of the climate crisis. Participants were encouraged to submit their projects in one of five categories, representing key value chains and industries like consumer goods, packaging or food. The winners are divided among these categories, but also closely relate to the three fundamental aspects of circularity: designing to last, working with nature and using what already exists.

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Alterist Marketplace (United Kingdom): a community-led platform for upcycled products

 

 

The first is all about taking the long view and learning to think about how products can be designed in terms of its entire lifecycle. This approach can be seen in projects like Alterist Marketplace (United Kingdom), a community-led platform for upcycled products, Nivogo (Türkiye), a pioneering circular economy startup refurbishing and recirculating products collected from users and partners, and Balena (Israel), a new kind of bioplastic that is both durable and compostable.

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Craste (India): packaging from crop residue using circular fiber technology

 

 

The second approach is a matter of working with nature and bringing about a more-than-human approach to design. This was a particularly popular strategy used by winners like Mujō (Germany), a biodegradable packaging made from seaweed, Apidae (Mexico), a system of breeding boxes for pollinating insect, CoolBricks (the Netherlands and Uganda), a bio-stabilized brick made from cow-dung, Landless Food (Hungary) a project that highlights the issue of food insecurity and explores the potential of microalgae to regenerate extinct flavor families and revive culinary traditions, and LibreWater (Germany) an Open Source purification device that can make nearly any water drinkable at a household level.

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Saathi (India): biodegradable sanitary pads made from banana fiber

 

 

Lastly, there were also projects that focused on reuse and recovery, looking at how we can create new value out of discarded or neglected materials that already exist. This includes Resortecs (Belgium), a startup that is developing solutions for textile disassembly and recycling, Guiding the Runoff (Mexico), an adaptive reuse and urban renewal project in Tijuana, Mexico. In particular, three projects looked at how crop waste could be used to create new products: Rethread Africa’s (Kenya) textile solution uses maize husk residue to reduce resources and emissions. Saathi (India) offers biodegradable sanitary pads made from banana fiber, while Craste (India) creates packaging from crop residue using circular fiber technology.

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
CoolBricks (the Netherlands and Uganda): a bio-stabilized brick made from cow-dung

 

 

WDCD OFFERS €10.000 in funding TO EVERY WINNER

 

Following the announcement,  the aim is to work on strengthening each winning idea, deepening their potential impact, and putting their ideas into action. All the winnings teams receive €10.000 in funding, and access to a development programme co-created with Impact Hub Amsterdam. This begins with a week-long bootcamp, and is tailor-made for the special blend of change-makers present among participants. The thirteen projects can expect mentorship on a range of skills they need – from developing a viable business model, to impact-assessment and networking. Combined with exposure and publicity, the programme is set to provide unique support for the thinkers, doers and makers of the new economy.

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Apidae (Mexico): a system of breeding boxes for pollinating insect

 

WDCD-winners-designboom-fullwidth02

Landless Food (Hungary): a project that highlights the issue of food insecurity and explores the potential of microalgae to regenerate extinct flavor families

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Resortecs (Belgium): a startup that is developing solutions for textile disassembly and recycling

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WDCD-winners-designboom-fullwidth

Mujō (Germany): a biodegradable packaging made from seaweed

 

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
Rethread Africa’s (Kenya): textile solution uses maize husk residue to reduce resources and emissions

what design can do reveals the 13 winners of the make it circular challenge
LibreWater (Germany): an Open Source purification device that can make nearly any water drinkable at a household level

 

 

project info:

 

organization: What Design Can Do | @whatdesigncando

name: Make it Circular

partner: IKEA Foundation | @ikea_foundation

winning projects: Alterist Marketplace (United Kingdom); Nivogo (Türkiye); Balena (Israel); Mujō (Germany); Apidae (Mexico); CoolBricks (the Netherlands and Uganda); Landless Food (Hungary); LibreWater (Germany); Resortecs (Belgium);Guiding the Runoff (Mexico); Rethread Africa’s (Kenya); Saathi (India); Craste (India) 

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