In order to comprehend how to use methods and tools orient design towards sustainable solutions, it is useful to use as a benchmark, a simplified scheme of phases of development of products, services or systems that lead to sustainability oriented concepts, design and related engineering.
Series of tools have been developed that could be applied during different phases of development. It is rather obvious that integrating necessary requisites for sustainable outcome, i.e. appropriate methods and tools, during the initial phases of development is rather efficient.
The tools and methods are meant to assist the designer to accomplish three specific objectives according to Vezzoli, C. :
New design capabilities are required by the designers to orient the system design practice towards innovative sustainable solutions, satisfactions, interactions and relationship between the stakeholders. Hence, it is clear that we need methods and tools to support system design for sustainability.
Various research projects have been funded in the European Union over past few years with the aim of developing and testing methods and tools for system design, the main ones being:
SusHouse (Strategies towards the Sustainable Household) is an EU-funded research project concerned with developing and evaluating strategies for transitions to sustainable households. Three household functions are being studied in the SusHouse project: Clothing Care, Shelter, and Shopping, Cooking and Eating (previously known as Nutrition). With the help of stakeholders from industry, government, universities, and public interest groups, the project formulates normative scenarios of possible developments of these household functions for the year 2050 focusing on the necessary technological and cultural innovations that contribute to the sustainable household. The project was carried out by six research teams from five countries – Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom – from January 1998 to June 2000.
PROSECCO intends to develop an integrated, modular innovation management system for product-service co-design (PSCD) projects in dynamic networking contexts. SMEs, Start-UPs and modular units of large companies are seen as end-user target group whereas all other knowledge-workers and creative constitute an intermediate group. Application areas for the PROSECCO results are management of: a) PSCD innovation-related processes and; b) resources and competencies in innovation networks. With innovation as trigger for economic growth, the project will have an important impact on current as well as new employment by keeping European SMEs competitive in enhancing their innovative capacities and in supporting their networking flexibility as well as their capacities to respond proactively to market demands. The consortium includes partners with various profiles and from four European countries.
Today's consumption patterns ask for HiCS, i.e. customised solutions for specific customers in specific contexts of use and
in specific socio-cultural and physical habitats.
The MEPSS project develops a methodology that helps the industry to set up and analyse newly developed product service systems. SERI is a member of the scientific peer review group.
The project focuses on the following aspects:
The project offers a tool for companies for the implementation of new product service systems in line with their business goals, their consumer’s needs and with the aim to reduce negative environmental impacts.
The project has been built up around three main theoretical concepts: ‘PSS design and implementation (system innovation)’, ‘Assessment of impact’ and ‘Success and failure factors’ addressing six major issues:
PSS Design and implementation
Assessment of impact
Success and failure factors
SusProNet is the first European Network on Sustainable Product-Service Development and plays a central role in the field of Product-Service-Systems (PSS) design and development. SusProNet is funded under the European Commission’s Fifth Framework Programme. The Network’s aims are to exchange, analyse, complete and make easily available information on best practice on Sustainable Product-Service Development, identify research needs to create excellence in Sustainable Product-Service Development in Europe, and, by this contribute considerable to various EU policy objectives, such as Integrated Product Policy, Sustainable Development, and competitive growth. The SusProNet Consortium consists of over 30 organizations.
LeNS, the Learning Network on Sustainability, is an Asian-European multi-polar network for curricula development on Design for Sustainability focused on product-service system innovation. LeNs is a 3 years project (15/12/2007 - 15/12/2010) funded by the Asia Link Programme, EuropAid, European Commission, involving 7 design schools in Europe and Asia. LeNS aims at contributing to human resources and curriculum development, in a reciprocal understanding of cultures, by promoting a new generation of designers (and design educators) capable to effectively contribute to a transition towards a sustainable society. LeNS ambition is to promote a new shared disciplinary ground on Design for Sustainability trough a series of exchange activities among the partner institutions. LeNS consortium will jointly produce an open e-learning package. It will also promote a series of diffusion activities targeting the design community worldwide.
50 ‘ways of working’ by University of Brighton Faculty of Arts researcher Dr Jonathan Chapman for ‘The Puma Sustainable Design Collective’ (PSDC) enhances the ecological performance of their products, processes and thinking. These ranged from some fairly technical tools and methods such as ‘zero waste pattern cutting’ or designing for ‘low chemical impacts’, through to psychological tools such as ‘object as educator’ or ‘emotional durability’. Represented by a series of icons, these ‘50-ways’ live on today in the Puma studios.