I have obtained an ESRC new investigator grant “Slow design driven innovation”

Our globalised models of production and distribution, coupled with a culture of overconsumption has led to a system that is not sustainable. This system has been responsible for climate change, biodiversity loss, natural resource degradation, ethical issues, poverty, excess waste generation, inefficient energy use, and increased the vulnerability of many developing communities in which these globalised products are manufactured. Measures must be taken to reduce these polluting and unethical practices that negatively impact on environment and society, and to work towards sustainable production and consumption.

Slow design driven innovation is a potential solution to this problem. Slow design aims at reducing the exploitation of natural and human resources, celebrating their value, and increasing the lifespans of products based on quality and local traditions, in addition to outlining a model of alternative responsible consumption which confronts the current paradigm of "more and cheaper is better". "Slow" design enterprises are socially innovative because they are addressing social problems, but currently they lack appropriate business models that sustain organisational functions, support hybridity, empower stakeholders and take into consideration the social and environmental contributions that these businesses make. To date, business model literature has been designed to satisfy a market-oriented ambition, rather than to address societal issues.

In response, this ESRC project will develop "glocalised" "slow business models", and theorise the design and innovation practices that will reduce the exploitation of natural and human resources, whilst increasing product lifespans and driving innovation based on quality, local traditions, and sustainable values. This research will make a significant impact by proposing research-informed business models for UK enterprises, demonstrating to SMEs how to adopt sustainable solutions, and craft-organisations how to glocally compete. I will work with the craft councils and the network of small enterprises in Midlands to disseminate results and present the findings to ad-hoc workshops for SMEs and craft enterprises in UK and Vietnam. After the interactions, I will ask for feedbacks and organise short interviewees on what policies/regulations might be needed to put in place to facilitate and encourage the adoption of a sustainable design driven innovation, in order to produce policy which will positively impact on the adoption of sustainable innovation.

For more information visit https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=ES%2FS006060%2F1

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