Designing for Sustainability in Creative Companies: An explorative multiple case study on how sustainability commitments impact the design process

Clara Vasconcelos Munch-Holbek & Shantal Göres

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis is positioned in the intersecting theoretical fields of creativity and constraints and aims at generating new knowledge on how sustainability commitments impact the design process of creative companies. Through an exploratory multiple case study of four creative companies in architecture and fashion that have integrated sustainability commitments into their practices, this thesis investigates the creative process of designing for sustainability within the setting of the creative industries.
To address our aim of research, a multiple-case study on projects at the two architecture studios JJW Arkitekter and GXN as well as at the two fashion brands Schulz By Crowd and CARE BY ME was conducted. Through within-case and cross-case analysis, the paper presents how sustainability commitments, both those defined by the company as well as those formalized by official certifications, affect different phases of the design process.
When companies decide to commit to sustainability, certain constraints arise, which influences the design process. The sustainability commitments added complexity to the design process by introducing constraints in two phases of the creative process: 1) product and process constraints in the task or problem presentation and 2) product constraints in the response validation phase. These constraints are likely to impact the creativity of the individuals involved in the design process by impacting their task motivation as well as raising the need for enhanced domain-relevant skills. This need was met through the involvement of different stakeholders throughout the process, which on the one hand allowed for the commercial viability of the designer’s creative ideas and on the other resulted in an increased need for collaboration. Besides constraints connected to the implementation of sustainability commitments, considering the use of the final product was discovered as an unclassified constraint, which impacted the design process by highlighting the companies’ potential to nudge sustainable behavior through design solutions.
With the insights of companies that have integrated sustainable practices into their business model, this study may serve as an inspiration for other companies interested in, but less familiar with the complex concept of sustainability.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages121
SupervisorsMark Lorenzen