ECONetwork blog

This blog has been set up to share some of the ongoing research from the ECONetwork feasibility study that is currently being run by the Ecodesign Centre in Cardiff. The blog will also allow for ongoing comment by the design sector in Wales while allowing the Ecodesign Centre to keep the study as transparent as possible. This blog isn’t the network and will not be facilitating the development of the network until the completion of the feasibility study.

More details of the study can be found on the “About” page.

You can also find some resources and links to extra information on the “Resources” page.

The Ecodesign Centre would like to extend its thanks to the Welsh Assembly Government for providing the resources that allow us to conduct this study.



The Ecodesign Centre hosted the second ECONetwork “Ideas Lounge” in Cardiff on the 23rd of July. This event brought together some leading designers to continue the discussion on how a network on ecodesign and sustainability could be developed for Wales.

During the event we had a selection of presentations and provocations related to sustainability and design (see presentations below). Leyla Acaroglu, a visiting research associate from Australia, gave a presentation on planned obsolescence and design. Julian Skyes, design director of Hoffi, made a presentation on a project exploring the possibility of opening a retail space dedicated to cradle-to-cradle products. This project is related to his MA. Angela Gidden of attic 2 gave a personal reflection on design and role of brands in consumption.

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I attended the Cumulus conference in London last week. The Cumulus association is a global network of leading design schools and institutions. The main themes of the conference related to new contexts for business, meaningful collaboration, interdisciplinary design, participation, co-creation and the new creative economies. Although it was mainly design educators there were interesting key-notes and panel discussion from the likes of Sir Ken Robinson, Bill Sermon (Vice President – Design, Nokia Multimedia), Clive Grinyer (Director of Customer Experience in Europe, Cisco), Mariana Amatullo (Designmatters) and Prof. Peter Higgins (Land Design).

some interesting things I wrote down to reflect on for the  ECONetwork..

  • pop-up design studios
    students designing their own curriculum
    accidental leadership
    business model innovation to reflect the NOW
    socio-enterprise training for design professionals
    creating real experiences
    convergence (communication/time)
    “the future is unknowable but not unthinkable”
    role of interaction design
    strategic capacities for new designers (identified by Nokia etc) – empathy, humility, curiosity, responsibility
    attitude of design
    undoing pre-conceptions
    new design for new economies
    napkin manifesto of D-School
    mobile pop-up classrooms
    radicalisation of education (away from modernist mindset)
    T-shaped skills profiles but with broad knowledge and deep moral values instead of technical specialism

“try to relax and enjoy the crisis”

Hannah undertook some research to uncover some of the interesting design networks across the UK, how they operate, how they are financed and whether or not they address sustainability and ecodesign.  This information is invaluable for us as we start to formalise ideas for the network in Wales. It is also important for us to have our eyes open to all the good projects other organisations are running – especially if there is potential for collaboration.

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To support the research workshops and meetings we have also set up 3 surveys to collate responses from various individuals and organisations.

You are invited to respond to these questionnaires.

In-house designers – click here
Design consultants – click here
Support organisations – click here

This mindmap is a representation of most of the items discussed and collected on post-its during the first workshop.

Please comment and add more items that you wanted to contribute and we will add them.

Click on image for full size version..

mind map

mind map

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ECONetwork photos