The Great Recovery:
Redesigning The Future

On Sept 17 we were lucky enough to attend the launch of “The Great Recovery: Redesigning the Future”, an exciting new venture, hosted and run by the RSA, London, in collaboration with the government’s Technology Strategies Board.

The project, which will run for 2 years, has been initiated due to the failings of our current linear model of industrial processes – “Take, Make, Dispose”, which deplete finite reserves to create products whose fate is, in the vast majority of cases, to end up in landfill or in incinerators.

This is throwing up major economic and environmental challenges. A staggering 98% of the resources that flow into the economy end up as waste within only six months. The UK alone produces about 290 million tonnes of waste a year. Risk to our supply chain is increasing, and the cost of materials is rising sharply, putting pressure on businesses to change.

We need to shift towards a more circular system, where waste does not exist and components are designed to fit within a materials cycle, intended for disassembly and re-purposing.

Collaborative partnerships and good design is pivotal to this transition. In order to make this shift it will require all parties working together – designers and material experts, manufacturers and resource managers, brands and retailers, consumers, policy makers and government, investors & academics.

Coinciding with The Great Recovery launch, the Technology Strategy Board have released details of an accompanying competition, “New Designs for a Circular Economy”. They are investing £1.25million into new design and business partnerships and are looking to help companies and designers think about products and the materials they’re made from in a fundamentally different way.

The Great Recovery will help to build new networks, identify the innovation gaps and incubate the new partnerships that will help to design future generations of sustainable products.