At What Design Can Do, we believe in the power of design to respond to the climate crisis with urgency, optimism and practical solutions. In Fall 2022, we’re launching our fourth Climate Action Challenge in partnership with the Ikea Foundation.


At the heart of the new challenge is the question: How can design make a circular way of life accessible and attractive to everyone?


Check back soon for more details.

What’s circular design?

Circular design is a model of creating products, services and systems that are intentionally restorative and regenerative. This means preventing waste by recovering and reusing as many products and materials as possible.


But it is more than just recycling — circular design is the key to a circular economy, an alternative framework that requires radical change in almost every sector. It is based on three key principles:

  1. Designing out waste and pollution
  2. Keeping products and materials in use
  3. Regenerating natural systems.

Does it work? Research suggests that yes — a circular system would have a positive impact on both the planet and the economy. If we made the transition today, we would halve the amount of CO2 emissions in our atmosphere by 2030.

Want to learn more?


How bad design is driving the ‘take-make-waste’ economy

A closer look at all the ways that we can do better


Circularity as a feminine principle

Thoughts on gender, design and the economy


5 ways to embed circularity into your creative startup

An interview with Manon Klein from Impact Hub Amsterdam