Circular economy ­—

We are facing severe global environmental challenges – to which there are no simple answers, but circular economy is definitely a part of the solution. Recently, we have seen this demonstrated at COP21 in Paris and in the UN’s new sustainable development goals. But the potential in circular economy does not end there. If we are capable in business, as consumers and as a society to innovate and transform our way towards a circular economy in time, the potential is enormous. By 2035, in Denmark alone, experts estimate a potential growth in the gross national product of between 3.6 and 6.2 billion DKK, in addition to an increase of more than 7000 new jobs and a significant reduction in both CO2 and material consumption.

This is why The Danish Design Council have chosen to initiate a project on circular design, with a focus on small and medium sized businesses in Denmark. There is an enormous untapped potential in the small and medium sized businesses of Denmark, but how do we unfold their potential? How do we secure their added value and resource efficiency? The businesses need help in coming up with a solution – and in this solution circular economy and design play an essential role. The Danish Design Council will show the way with support from The Danish Industry Foundation and assistance from upcoming design talents.

The project consists of three 24-hour Hackathons, during which groups of Danish design students and entrepreneurs try to find a solution to a challenge posed by a company, and then have to come up with a solution, with resource optimization and added value for the companies as a high priority.  The concepts from circular design have to be at the core of the solutions the groups come up with. The goal is to come up with a concrete solution to the challenge the business faces.

To conclude on the project, a conference will be held focusing on how businesses can create additional value through the use of circular design. Business leaders and designers have been invited to the event to give insight on circular economy and how they have used circular design to stimulate growth in their production. Additionally, the best ideas from the three Hackathons will be introduced during the conference.

The three Hackathons has taken place in Vejle on March 18th 2016, in Sønderborg on September 22nd 2016, and in Copenhagen on October 25th 2016. The conference was held at Christiansborg Palace on January 24th 2017. Collaborators on this project: Danish Design Center, Aalborg University, Dreyers Foundation, Chora Connection, The Danish Industry Foundation, IKEA, SDU, Danfoss Drives, Vejle Municipality and Climate-KIC.