How might we develop a sustainable service system that enables CERN as well as potential industries to leverage the UN’s sustainable development goals to address the biggest Microplastic pollution issue in the environment facing us today?
My Role /
In the project, my duties were to define the research plan, from setting goals and objectives, conducting qualitative interviews with users and key stakeholders, creating the research materials, synthesising the data gathered in the field research, uncovering key insights and opportunities areas and eventually creating digital service prototypes and the business model.
Research insight report
Concept system and stakeholder map
Partnering with CERN in Geneva, the birthplace of the World Wide Web and the Large Hadron Collider to examine how service design can address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using the most exciting technologies to emerge from the most respected centres for scientific research.
Our challenge was seeking to develop the future innovative service proposition that enables disruptive technologies from CERN and collaborate with the potential industries like fashion industries to leverage the UN's sustainable development goals to transform address the biggest issue of microplastic facing us and the whole environment today while doing so in a way that is economically and socially sustainable. In terms of the big move of the project, Corallo not only has found the design interventions in the public sector but also utilise behaviour change theory to raise the awareness of customers.
We worked on the project by double diamond method during the research phase, we defined a sustainable design opportunity based on insights uncovered in the benchmark study, user researches, expert interviews and technology trend analysis. Our team and several brilliant scientists from CERN did work hand in glove for this project. It created a precedent to transfer and apply design thinking knowledge to the world leading scientific research centres.
In order to validate the design proposition and test the concept, we created a prototype video as low fidelity validation material and invited expert and potential clients from potential industries and technology side to have a testing with quick interview individually. After these sessions we were able to depict the whole comprehensive system map and user journey and iterate the value propositions.
@ The Guardian, 2017
Research Insights and Highlights
Watch the video to understand the research insights of microplastics issue
Microplastics are the tiny pieces of the plastic particles existing in our surroundings, and the size definition is less than 5 mm in diameter. Therefore, it's hard to be aware of for people and it still unable to enter the current plastic recycling system.
The tiny particles come from a variety of sources, including cosmetics, clothing, and industrial processes and they get into the ocean every year and even passes the food chain to damage our health. It would be a big trouble since these tiny plastics do not be decomposed for many years and also realise toxins attached to it as wildlife can be harmed by eating the plastic.
Wastewater treatment plate is the end of the journey of microplastics, this is, it's the significant point sources discharging microplastics particles and fibres to the environment. It is also detected in the sewage sludge to contaminate the landfills.
Over 98% of collected microplastics ( including microfibres, polyester, polyethene etc.) can be recycled to fashion industries. Therefore, the fashion industries are of extraordinary interest in joining the business as they can benefit from it to get a reusable material and also gain the corporate social responsibility(CSR) and brand image.
extremely small pieces of plastic debris in the environment resulting from the disposal and breakdown of consumer products and industrial waste as less than 5 mm in diameter.
The definition of microplastic
Current ecosystem of microplastics
How might we create a technology-based service system to bridge the needs of the fashion industry and public sector in order to fully close the loop of the microplastic recycling circle?
NOUN [mass noun]
Tiny bits of plastic measuring 0.1μm - 5mm
Watch the video to understand how does Corallo work
Corallo is a brand new recycling system service which aims to create a restorative cycle that minimises the harmful influence of the microplastics on the environment, on the health of human beings and other creatures, thanks to fashion industries and public sectors like wastewater treatment plate which collaborate and innovate towards a new circular economy of microplastics.
The service system allows microplastics to be collected in the wastewater treatment plant and then be contributed to the fashion industry for manufacturing new products by using the emerging technology from CERN as the collected microplastics are suitable to produce the main material of garments with recycled microplastics system. Furthermore, by reconnecting the product line to fashion industries, it can arouse the customer's awareness and improve their engagement of environmental protection.
System map of Corallo
What kind of social impact bring in this topic?
Corallo believes the sustainable system service can scale the business potential. Also, from the research, we pointed out that if we return 10% of the microplastics from the wastewater treatment plant in Europe and North America, it contributes 26.8 million pounds of microplastics to fashion industry every year. It makes the micro-movements have macro-impacts for the whole environment.
Re-shaping the plastic recycling system and trying to creating business value for sustainable service design. Corallo fully closes the loop of the circular recycling system for the fashion industry and public sector. There are plenty of reports and evidence show the fashion brand like H&M, Adidas, Patagonia and G-Star RAW already start to recycle plastic waste as a new material for their products. For example, the H&M Conscious Exclusive has partnered with The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel to develop technologies to recycle clothes made from textile blends into new clothes. It strongly proves that Corallo is an on-trend, ethical system service.
The impact of Corallo for the society, economy and environment
WIP Show in RCA
Worked with the hub of innovation and their knowledge transfer team aka. IdeaSquare in CERN to apply design and more specifically service design techniques to create new propositions really is the exciting task for me. However, since we need to obtain the scientific knowledge from the talented scientists in the such a short time. We were thinking how to transfer the " engineering language" to "service design language" to work with these world-class elites, and anticipate all the design possibilities that are implemented in society. We conducted separate expert interviews in CERN in two days and collected the findings afterwards when we back to London. The experts were friendly and all willing to talk to us at that time, but they were not familiar with Service Design methods and always curious about what they can do to engage and contribute to the project. My takeaway for this project is: in terms of the research phase, I will organise a participatory design focus group workshop to invite experts. I think there are two benefits of the method:
1. The form of focus group encourages people to exchange their own professional knowledge with others. Therefore, as a researcher in the design project, we can obtain the technical knowledge in the short time. Also, we can import the basic knowledge of Service Design and related methods to them, let them know how to cooperate during the project.
2. Organising a focus group, participator can discuss the issue together and we can get the various opinions from different fields. It helps the research can be more comprehensive to inspire the world's most innovative companies and interested governments and the third sector to exploit groundbreaking technologies.