Key competencies for design in a circular economy: Exploring gaps in design knowledge and skills for a circular economy

Deborah Sumter*, Jotte de Koning, Conny Bakker, Ruud Balkenende

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In a recent study, we identified seven key circular competencies for design: (1) Design for Multiple Use Cycles, (2) Design for Recovery, (3) Circular Impact Assessment, (4) Circular Business Models, (5) Circular User Engagement, (6) Circular Economy Collaboration, and (7) Circular Economy Communication. These were derived from small‐scale studies with designers working in the Netherlands. We set out to assess to what extent this set of seven competencies is recognized by an international group of designers and to evaluate whether any competencies are missing. We used an online survey to collect data from 128 respondents from 25 countries working on circular economy projects. The survey results showed that respondents use and have expertise in all seven competencies and they stressed the practical importance of two new competencies: Circular Systems Thinking and Circular Materials and Manufacturing. The resulting set of nine key competencies is the first internationally verified, coherent set of key circular economy competencies for design. This set will strengthen the pedagogical base of design for a circular economy and will guide the development of circular design methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number776
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Circular design
  • Circular economy
  • Competencies
  • Design education
  • Product design
  • Sustainability

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