A design management organizational approach to tackling opportunities and challenges of a circular economy implementation in an established business by observing, understanding, and applying people’s feedback to generate change.


Sensing problem

The Fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries and one of the most prominent waste creators. It is estimated that if western consumption patterns are adopted worldwide, a two-to-threefold increase in the extraction of raw materials will happen. (Liedtke et al., 2013) Thankfully, in a world of growing sustainable consciousness, the topic of waste and its management is ever-growing; for that reason, one of the most popular megatrends is the Circular Economy (CE). A CE implementation strategy’s objective is achieving a fully regenerative economy and natural environment. However, implementing this trend is complex for the number of stakeholders necessary for adaptation. Therefore, using Victorinox AG as an example, this design project poses the question of how implementation can occur in an already established company that currently faces no imminent threats yet desires to innovate but does not know where it should start.



By applying diverse design methods, it was found that there is hesitancy in implementing change from Victorinox that derives from the lack of external pressure to abide by the current trends. Therefore, by understanding the mentality of the people for whom this design intervention is created and those who will design the intervention, this design research project could estimate the value creation and threats of implementing a circular economy at Victorinox Travel Gear.



Based on primary research, it was found that due to how the company works and the lack of department power to implement change, the best strategy would be to intervene from a “bottom-up” approach, where a solution could be presented to upper management, making the concept more accessible and when being visualized and, therefore, better chances of being accepted. This strategy was suggested and tested to empower the department and foster involvement within departments. Therefore, the intervention idea is a mono-material backpack line – a Victorinox travel gear product made from mono-material that, when it becomes waste, can be re-grinded with other recyclable goods. However, the final prototype created for this design research project was a pitch to the upper management where the Product Development Team could persuade them of the innovation and investment opportunities and show the process taken with the travel gear team to find this intervention.


The images shown serve as visual tools to best understand the complexity of the topic and put into perspective how the system functions. Each image represented a step in the design research project and was made for illustration and clarification purposes. Additionally, the short video includes an overview of the physical Werkschau and how the intervention can be interacted with when seen in person.


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