Why does underrepresentation prevent success in the circular economy?

Representation means that different people, different groups, different ways of being are being represented. Representation should move away from ideals. Ideals are for instance ideals on behavior, ideals on what people may like and dislike. How people are and aren’t, should and shouldn’t be. They are dangerous because they illustrate lifestyles that do not hold true, but they are perceived as such. That’s a barrier for innovation and success in innovation for circularity.

Where can we find underrepresentation?

We can find it in movies. We can find it very well on google. If you look up a picture on “single dads” and you will found mostly happy, caucasian dads playing with their happy child. It is difficult finding a picture of a non caucasian dad, who’d sit there alone in frustration, thinking how to take care for his child, thinking how to make enough money, being sad or frustrated, but also being happy with the role as father.

Why does this matter?

The circular economy is in a way “voluntarily”. Often nobody has to engage in it, because there are also linear business models. Yet, for many application such as fashion, furnitures and other products, the active participation of people is required. Now there are many business models, but they don’t take into account diversity, a lack of ideals. They offer rental services, they offer subscription services, they offer take back services, but they may not succeed. They may not succeed because of the lack of diversity in their business model thinking. The fact that someone with a low income might rather want to buy a cheap shoe as oppose to renting one over years because its sustainable. Not because they don’t want to, but because the reality “being stressed, having a small income” maybe does not want to make them to.

Culture serves as disabler and enabler in circular systems.

How to design for circularity?

You have to think about what people want and who people are 😉 Curious? You can contact me for a consultation.

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