Title SInnDesign - Sustainable Innovation through Design
Project Number 2013-1-ES1-LEO05-66254
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
SInnDesign is an international project aiming at the development of training materials and tools on design for sustainability (DfS) for 3 sectors related to the “Habitat cluster”: furniture, textiles and building materials, leading to innovative and competitive solutions.
The overall goal is to provide VET institutions and companies with comprehensive, high quality and updated materials on DfS and innovation, and thus reinforcing the competences of trainees and professionals in the field, increasing employability and contributing to the competitiveness of the sectors in the framework of sustainable development challenges.
The training materials are composed by: the Manual on DfS and Innovation, the DfS, the Background materials and Innovation Tools, the Resources Centre, the Catalogue of Good Practice and the Manual for Teachers and Trainers.
All materials were tested on real work cases in pilot training and demonstration workshops with the target groups in partner countries.
Measures to improve the sustainability of buildings are a priority in EU policies. This requires the appropriate choice of building materials and products that are used indoor, and design plays a major role in this context, since it is at the design stage that the sustainability profile of products is mostly determined.
Therefore, the aim of SInnDesign was to develop training materials and tools for design for sustainability (DfS) of furniture, textiles for the habitat and building materials, leading to innovative and competitive solutions. It was a Transfer of innovation of other projects, primarily InEDIC – Innovation and Ecodesign in the Ceramic Industry (www.inedic.net) and the ECODESIGN PILOT, a practical software tool for identifying and implementing Ecodesign measures into products (www.ecodesign.at/pilot). In SInnDesign the results of these projects were transferred to new sectors and countries and there was an extra focus on important topics for companies in the context of a globalised economy: social criteria in design and innovation.
The consortium includes organizations from Portugal, Austria, Denmark and Spain, with recognized experience in international projects in the area of sustainability and innovation in the target sectors. Besides the Applicant Organization, the Management Coordinator and the Core Partners, responsible for the contents development and the coordination of national activities, there are also Associated Partners (AP), with specific roles in the project: some were dedicated to support the test and validation of SInnDesign in companies and other AP supported the integration of the results in national VET systems.
Besides the partners in the consortium, which covered a wide range of players on the habitat cluster and VET systems (incl. policy makers), national networks were established, involving businesses, VET institutions, design centres and technological institutes, for consultation and project dissemination.
The project is expected to have a significant positive impact in lifelong learning in the partner countries and in EU, promoting employability and new skills for a green(er) European economy.
The overall objective of SInnDesign was to develop training materials and tools for the systematic integration of sustainability considerations (environmental, social and economical) in the design process of products belonging to the habitat domain (furniture, textiles and building materials), leading to innovative and competitive solutions for the habitat. It is expected that SInnDesign contributes to Europe’s innovative potential and competitiveness, developing a dynamic knowledge-based economy capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs an greater social cohesion.
The specific aims and objectives of SInnDesign are:
-To contribute to the qualification of VET students and professionals already in the labour market on sustainability and innovation in the three target sectors, thus supporting the European strategies on sustainable construction, on the one hand, and contributing to quality lifelong learning, on the other;
-To support and promote the dissemination of design for sustainability and innovation contents in training and education through (i) the integration of the SInnDesign training materials and tools in existing curricula of relevant courses of the European VET systems of the participating countries, and (ii) new curriculum development, promoting its harmonization;
-To supply designers and other professionals involved in product and service development of the above mentioned sectors with the specialized skills for the practical implementation of design for sustainability and innovation in companies;
-To promote the integration of design for sustainability and innovation practices in companies involved in the pilot training sessions, demonstration workshops or any other dissemination activities (namely the national networks);
-To support the competitiveness of the project’s target sectors in Europe, creating added value to the companies;
-To contribute to the knowledge in sustainable development in the participating countries, according with the goals of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
Through these objectives the project foster the cooperation between VET and the labour world, in the context of the challenges of competitiveness in a globalized economy. The nature of the consortium (a partnership of academia, research and technology centres, VET representatives and business associations and companies), together with the proposed national networks ensured such endeavour.
The methodology proposed for this project consisted on the performance of a situation analysis (baseline study in each partner country) to evaluate the concrete needs of Design for Sustainability (DfS) and innovation know how in the target sectors, the establishment of a strategy and guidelines for the integration of SInnDesign results in partner countries’ VET systems, the development of the SInnDesign training materials and tools (SInnDesign Manual, SInnDesign Tools, SInnDesign Background materials, SInnDesign Resources Centre, SInnDesign Catalogue of Products and Manual for Teachers and Trainers), their test through pilot training sessions and workshops, and finally the evaluation, refining and editing of such materials.
The companies and other target groups' representatives engaged in the project by the consortium participated in the pilot training sessions and were invited to test the DfS and Innovation tools in their real-life situations. The results and experiences were discussed and presented in the demonstration workshops. All these initiatives, that took take place in parallel in the four project countries, provided vary valuable insights regarding the quality and applicability of the SInnDesign materials and tools.
The SInnDesign training materials are available in the project website, which is a very useful resource for information about the project and a learning tool to assist in-classroom training and self-learning.
Besides the methodological approaches shortly described to ensure the quality of the results, adequate methods for an effective project management and a high multiplying and dissemination effect were adopted.
The SInnDesign Manual on DfS and Innovation, the SInnDesign Background materials and the SInnDesign Tools were structured according to a step-wise approach to product development, as advocated for instance by UNEP’s publication “Design for sustainability: A step-by-step approach” (2009) and Roozenburg and Eekels method for product innovation (from their book “Product Design: Fundamentals and Methods”, 1995). This stepwise approach facilitates the application of active learning principle, since the students and trainees will be able to apply the sustainability related methods and tools in a product development process. An 8 steps method was used in InEDIC and was applied to SInnDesign with the necessary changes to accommodate social criteria and more radical innovation.
As a whole, the work plan for SInnDesign consisted of the following work packages:
WP1 - Situation analysis
WP2 - Integration of SInnDesign Materials into the national VET systems
WP3 - Development of the SInnDesign training materials and tools
WP4 - Pilot training and demonstration workshops
WP5 - Evaluation, harmonization and editing of the SInnDesign training materials and tools
WP6 - Dissemination and ensuring multiplying effect
WP7 - Project management and meetings
material for open learning
program or curricula
Product information The main outcomes of SInnDesign are the state-of-the art training materials and tools: the SInnDesign Manual on DfS and Innovation, The SInnDesign Background materials, the SInnDesign Tools, the Resources Centre and the Catalogue of Good Practices. These results are available for the training of professionals involved in product development from the three sectors and also as vocational training units (or parts thereof) in the national qualification catalogues of the participating countries. For this purpose, there was a specific workpackage on the integration of SInnDesign outputs in partner countries’ VET systems, which resulted on the definition of National and Sectorial Training Strategies, a Manual for Teachers and Trainers and a Guideline for the integration of DfS in VET. All the development work was based on an initial review of training needs and opportunities in this field.