Blog process

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This final blog will discuss my process on the blog, it will say how I proceeded on different aspects, what got me stuck and other findings during last ten weeks.

Circular examples

To get a better understanding of the concept circularity, examples of circular products are looked for. Those concepts were discussed on three aspects; circular design strategies, business model and product life cycle. It was interesting to see examples of how products could be designed, but also to get an idea of the current situation of the market. I found out that many products are Cradle 2 cradle, so they used renewable materials. Difficult for these products was to find a right strategy and business model, because these products are not completely circular.

Product analysis

To get a proper product analysis I went to some hockey stores, and called more of them. Also did I ask questions to field hockey players, and looked at my own experience. Quite soon I found out that making the material of the hockey stick circular would be very difficult. So I started looking at other possibilities. An interesting analysis method was by looking at reasons to buy, methods of using and reasons for a new stick. During the analysis I also bumped into things and needed to do new analysis. The question about the focus group, if it would be juniors, seniors or both came up often. This decision was very important for the possible concepts, as these target groups have different needs. When continuing with analysis about both groups and brainstorm sessions the decision was made to focus only on juniors. Also with the concept extend some changes were made due to further analysis. The business model for example changed from classic long-life to hybrid.

Circular Design Challenge

Formulating the design challenge was different then I was used to, as we first did multiple analyses before the challenge was stated. This led for me to some fuzziness and unclarity. Normally is the design challenge formulated in the beginning, and a start to design from. During this process the challenge was formulated in a later stage what might delayed the process a bit. During the process my design challenge changed a bit, this was mainly due to the changing focus group. I started with every field hockey player in the Netherlands, and ended with only the juniors. This due to the big differences between the junior and senior players.

Circular Design Strategies

During sessions the six circular design strategies were discussed. This helped as an inspiration and as a guideline on where to get ideas from. Some strategies were easier to grasp than others. For example the strategies ease of maintenance, upgradability & adaptability and dis- and reassembly looked a bit the same. Coming up with different ideas for them was therefore harder. Interesting was to get back to the strategies after having worked with the business models and the concepts. More strategies than I had expected came back in concepts, for example the concept Extend, where four different strategies were found.

Business Model archetypes

For my design challenge it was very clear what business model fit with what concept. The only problem is, not every business model could be integrated with a concept. A business model that did not fit that well was for example the gap-exploiter model. On the other hand did the business models also gave the opportunity for new ideas. For example the leasing model, a service that enabled reusing hockey sticks.

Combining the business models with the design strategies was hard sometimes. For example with the leasing model, where no new stick is designed and therefore in my first opinion no design strategy has been used. Other strategies and business models were easier to fit together, as with the sleeve model combining attachment with the hybrid model. The concepts changed a bit for the business model. Different ways to put a product to the market were thought off and finally a financial model was made to show the feasibility. Because not a lot of numbers were known it was difficult to make an estimation for the price.

Final Concept Design

After every session a few concepts were chosen to further develop. These decisions were often made based on the feasibility of the concepts and own capabilities. For example when I started session three I had three different concepts. During the session it became apparent that one concept needed a lot of technical detailing. This could not be given by me in time and therefore the decision was made to continue thinking out the business model and strategies, but not the total concept. I did decide to keep multiple concepts, and not focus on only one. This because I like the variety and the possibility to show that there are more possibilities to redesign a product for circularity.

One concept I had was about sensoring with the product. I saw multiple opportunities, as the Australian team for example was already measuring data with GPS underneath their shirts. But this concept did not have a clear link with circularity. The concept could still be included in other concepts, to make other concepts more valuable. But for a concepts on itself it was too far away from helping hockey sticks get more circular.

New design challenge

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After having worked with the design strategies and business models several ideas popped up. With these ideas also came a clearer goal. Primarily my design challenge was: ‘How can the differences of usage life and technical life of hockey sticks be brought closer towards each other?’.
This challenge aimed at all the people who use a hockey stick. A clear difference was already found in the beginning in this target group; the juniors and the seniors. With almost 250.000 players in the Netherlands in total are the juniors the bigger group with 165.000 players. 85.000 players represent the seniors group.

For the circular design challenge is decided to focus on juniors. This group is bigger, and has big opportunity, as kids often need a new stick because they overgrew their old one. With this new decision added will the design challenge change in :’How can the differences of usage life and technical life of hockey sticks for juniors be brought closer towards each other?’

 

Design brief

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The world of field hockey is very big in the Netherlands. With almost 250.000 players the sport can be divided into two big groups. The juniors and the seniors. The juniors represent 165.000 players of the total group and seniors 85.000 players. Hockey sticks for juniors and seniors are handled in different ways, for example juniors need a new stick because their old one grew to small, seniors often need a new stick due to wear. Nowadays, almost every person plays with a composite hockey stick.Materials often used are carbon, fibre and epoxy. These are materials that can not be recycled easily.

To give first direction to the project, a session has been held with designers and students to work with different design strategies, published in the book Products That Last. Many solutions have been produced, like a modular hockeystick with people being able to customise their hockey stick, or a smart hockey stick that is able to measure e.g. speed and distance.

All these solutions were very broad, but to give extra direction a design challenge will be stated. This challenge is: how can the differences of usage life and technical life of hockey sticks be brought closer to each other? The focus groups in general is hockey players. But there is a big difference in buying decisions, usage and end of usage decisions between the junior and senior players. Therefore the juniors and seniors will be researched separately.

Strategies that fit the best with the proposed solutions are design for trust and attachment and design for durability. Other strategies will not totally be out of the picture, but focus will be on these two. Six weeks are left for this project. For now, I am busy with discovering options and possibilities with regards to the first solutions and structuring these possibilities in the different focus groups. Next week a new session will be held discussing the circular business models. After that one solution will be chosen and further developed, with a goal of a prototype in the end of the project.