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10 System Design for Eco-efficiency

10.5 Strategic System Design for Eco-efficiency We have seen now which opportunities can give system innovation to the sustainable product and service development. Returning to the role of designer we should first explain, which kind of innovations we are speaking of here. They are radical innovations, not in the strict technological sense as much as in new interactions and partnerships between different stakeholders of the satisfaction system (life cycle(s)). Innovations that can lead to convergences of economic interests between the participants are characterised by system eco-efficiency. Because of this, introducing system innovations within design for sustainability requires new skills. First, it means that we have to learn to design integrated products and services. This brings up an issue that is relatively new in current design practice and requires designers to learn how to design the stakeholder configuration, in order to find solutions that might combine the economic and environmental interests. It is not so much the technical details of the products as the relationships between different stakeholders that have to be designed. It has also been said that in the end we have to learn and design in a design environment together with various companies, NGOs, public institutions and, of course, users6. All these new abilities have to rejoin design activities with strategic design, demanding competence for participating in design and for identifying promising interactions between the actors of a determined value constellation7. These developments have already started to lead to a convergence of design and environmental sustainability and the strategic design field. The term strategic design for environmental sustainability has been coined, which coincides with the term system design for environmental sustainability. But the main point is that design for environmental sustainability has to acquire and integrate the methods and tools of strategic design or system design (and vice versa)8.

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Cf. Vezzoli et al. (2006); Vezzoli (2007). Cf. Normann and Ramirez (1995). Analysis of this topic was in Part I.

Design for Environmental Sustainability  

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