Call for submissions to What Design Can Do’s Make it Circular Challenge
When it comes to the climate crisis, there’s no time for cynicism. With millions of people already experiencing the effects of a warming planet firsthand, we need to move forward with optimism and momentum.
This is the driving force behind What Design Can Do (WDCD)’s fourth challenge in partnership with the IKEA Foundation: the Make it Circular Challenge.
This global design competition calls on all innovators to submit their boldest climate solutions using circular design.
Winning proposals will be made into reality with an impact-driven development program. The end goal? To create products, services, and systems that are both user-centered and earth-centered, showing that a circular future is not only imaginable — but actionable.
The Hidden Power Of Creativity
Most economies today are based on a linear model, where value is created by producing and selling as many products as possible. The problem is, it operates on the assumption that infinite growth is possible on a finite planet. Today, we are seeing just how wrong this assumption was, as we face an accelerating climate crisis.
Yet when looking ahead at the route to a circular society, many people only see obstacles that they would rather not or cannot take on. One of the most important challenges is to convince them that we can create a new world that makes our lives not less but even more fulfilling.
“Many people become lost in the face of so much outrage, fatigue, and disinterest. But not creatives,” says Richard van der Laken, co-founder and creative director of WDCD. “The ability to imagine is the creative community’s ideal domain: seeing what does not yet exist, taking on a challenge, forging ahead with optimism.”
Make It Circular
We have an opportunity to shape a radically different future: one that’s restorative and regenerative by design. A circular society takes the circular economy one step further and considers the social and ethical dimensions of how people live their lives, from sun up to sun down.
“At the IKEA Foundation, we believe designers and creatives using circular principles can deliver tangible solutions that tackle climate change, waste, and pollution,” says Liz McKeon, Director – Of planet at IKEA Foundation. “We believe design can help create a brighter future on a liveable planet. Just as importantly, design can also motivate the public to want to belong to that world.”
That’s why the Make it Circular Challenge asks designers to deliver new materials or technologies — and create new possibilities. Participants can submit their project proposals online for free from 11 October 2022-11 January 2023 via the Challenge website.
How To Apply
The Make it Circular Challenge provides in-depth design briefs presenting original research on circularity and highlighting opportunities for designers and entrepreneurs alike. Participants will submit projects across themes: what we eat, what we wear, what we buy, how we package, and how we build. Check the Challenge website and follow What Design Can Do on social media for future updates about events in the open call, such as workshops, webinars, and tutorials with tips on applying.
In 2023, a jury of leading experts in design, social impact, and climate action will select at least 10 winners. Winning ideas are turned into reality with €10.000 in funding and a global development program co-created with Impact Hub Amsterdam. Including online training, mentoring sessions, and a Bootcamp. This program will support the winning teams in further strengthening their projects, and propelling them through 2023 and beyond.
About What Design Can Do
What Design Can Do (WDCD) is an international platform that advocates for design as a tool for social change. Since 2011, we have undertaken numerous activities to promote the role of designers in addressing the world’s most pressing societal and environmental issues. To date, WDCD has hosted 15 successful conferences in Amsterdam, São Paulo, and México City. In 2016 WDCD launched an ambitious design challenge program that engages the creative community with urgent societal issues such as the well-being of refugees and climate change. So far, the program has resulted in €10m in funds raised by initiatives post-program.
The Make it Circular Challenge is active in six cities around the world: Nairobi (with partner Kenya Climate Innovation Center). Moreover, Tokyo, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (with partner Mandacaru Design), Delhi (with partner Quicksand), Mexico City, and Amsterdam.
For more information, visit What Design Can Do.