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Ikea’s Make it Circular Challenge invites designers and creative entrepreneurs

By Simone Preuss


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Image: Make it Circular Challenge by What Design Can Do and Ikea Foundation / WDCD

The Make it Circular Challenge is a partnership between Amsterdam-based non-profit organisation What Design Can Do (WDCD) and the Ikea Foundation, an organisation of home furnishing giant Ikea that tackles inequality.

For the fourth time, the challenge calls on innovators worldwide to submit solutions that tackle climate change through circular design. From today, 11th October 2022, to 11th January 2023, designers and entrepreneurs can submit their ideas for products, services or systems that should be both user- and earth-centered via the challenge website (makeitcircular.whatdesigncando.com). Winning proposals will be made a reality through an impact-driven development programme.

Sample project, Make it Circular Challenge. Image: WDCD

“Most economies today are based on a linear model, where value is created by producing and selling as many products as possible. The problem is, it operates on the assumption that infinite growth is possible on a finite planet. Today, we are seeing just how wrong this assumption was, as we face an accelerating climate crisis,” explains the Make it Circular Challenge.

According to WDCD and the Ikea Foundation, it is about convincing people that creating a circular world is possible rather focusing on the current obstacles. “Many people become lost in the face of so much outrage, fatigue and disinterest — but not creatives,” says Richard van der Laken, co-founder and creative director of WDCD, in a press release. “The ability to imagine is the creative community’s ideal domain: seeing what does not yet exist, taking on a challenge, forging ahead with optimism.”

“At the Ikea Foundation, we believe designers and creatives using circular principles can deliver tangible solutions that tackle climate change, waste and pollution. We believe design can help create a brighter future on a liveable planet. Just as importantly, design can also motivate the public to want to belong to that world,” adds Liz McKeon, programmes director - planet at the Ikea Foundation.

Sample project, Make it Circular Challenge. Image: WDCD

Those interested can submit their projects across five themes: what we eat, what we wear, what we buy, how we package and how we build, and 14 disciplines: architecture, biodesign, communications, farming, fashion, food, furniture, design (graphic, industrial, material, packaging, product), services and technology. The initiative’s social media accounts will have updates about events such as workshops, webinars and tutorials with tips on applying.

Sample projects include consumer goods and construction elements from consumer and industrial waste by Miniwiz from Taiwan, the first sustainable toilet paper Carinho Eco Green from Brazil, and Resting Reef memorial services from UK.

In February of 2023, a jury of leading experts in design, social impact and climate action will announce the nominees and select a minimum of ten winners, which will be announced in March. Winning ideas will become reality through 10.000 euros in funding and a global development programme co-created with Impact Hub Amsterdam, which includes online training, mentoring sessions and a bootcamp.

Circular Economy
Circular Fashion
What Design Can Do