Sustainability Research and Strategy



 # Sytems Thinking  #Design Methodology  #Sustainability Thinking  # Feedback Diagram

Sustainability Thinking

The focus of this conceptual project is on developing a systematic thinking to approach sustainable opportunities in product design. The outcome is a visualisation / map of the diverse influences of a product on the planet, cultures, the user and its product development.


... in progress

The systems map demonstrates the sustainability competence of a product by relating the individual influences to each other. The diagram translates the complexity of all product's influences into a manageable visualisation.


Making valuable decisions for sustainable solutions with an overview of risks and opportunities

The design methodology evolved during the sustainability project How Sustainable Is Bhar. To express the level of sustainability of a product, it is important to analyse individual factors such as functionality or user behaviour, cultural equality or the ecological balance.


The tool is designed to understand connections and relationships of the product's influences. The comparison of the facts about the different product characteristics within the diagram visualises the modification of the individual factors when another one changes. A proposed sustainable action can have a negative effect on other areas of sustainability which will be visible in the tool. The diagram can help to develop a balance, but also to detect opportunities for radical steps.


The term sustainability became important after the introduction of the 17 Sustainability Development Goals by the United Nations in 2015. These goals refer to different topics and are necessary to reach a balanced society and nature. They create a context of the individual challenges and provide benchmarks for future decisions. The diagram divides the goals into the four categories People, Planet, Development and User.


During the development process, every designer makes decisions on the product's appearance, performance, production methods, budget, etc. However, before introducing future behaviour or wealth, it is important to create a global understanding of additional opinions like of scientists, manufacturers, cultural advisors, or users. Here it is interesting to see how the individual stakeholders and in what context they are related.

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