Silvia Barbero and Amina Pereno
Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino
Europe’s transition to a circular economy is as much an environmental, economic and social necessity as it is an opportunity for European companies and citizens. Despite encouraging promises, many barriers hinder the circular transition of European companies, especially small and medium enterprises, which represent the bulk of Europe’s industrial fabric. The presentation shows the case study of the ‘DigiCirc’ project (call H2020-INNOSUP) that creates and coordinates innovation ecosystems involving a broad range of stakeholders to foster connections and collaborations supported by digital tools. The role of systemic designers in the project mainly focused on stakeholder selection and engagement and the training of participants on circular economy knowledge and systemic approach methods. The authors offer some reflections starting from the project’s experience to understand how design, in particular systemic design, can contribute to creating digital innovation ecosystems and how it can help enterprises overcome the barriers identified in the literature and past experiences. The aim is to open the debate on sustainability transitions and practical co-design experiences with stakeholders to foster those transitions. Authors are addressing design scholars and practitioners dealing with innovation and transition of socio-technical systems within industrial and cross-disciplinary environments.
KEYWORDS: systemic design, circular economy, innovation ecosystems, open innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs