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WEGE PRIZE 2017


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WEGE PRIZE 2017


What is Wege Prize?

Wege Prize is a yearly student design competition that gives teams of five the chance to collaborate across institutional and disciplinary boundaries, use design thinking principles, and contend for $30,000 (USD) in total cash prizes, all while helping to show the world what the future of problem solving looks like.

The PLAYERS

College/university students from all over the world will compete in transdisciplinary teams of five, representing different academic disciplines and different academic institutions.

Both undergraduate and graduate level student are eligible to compete. 


PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS

The Challenge

 How can we create a circular economy? 

Each team must leverage its transdisciplinary makeup to collaboratively design and propose a product, service, business/non-profit organization, or other solution to a wicked problem that can help us transition from a linear economic model to a circular economic model.

READ THE 2017 DESIGN BRIEF

The Prizes

Winning teams will split the following awards evenly between their five members:


First Place: $15,000 (USD)

Second Place: $10,000 (USD)

Third Place: $5,000 (USD)


PAST WINNERS


WEGE PRIZE 2017 timeline


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What is the circular economy?


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What is the circular economy?


the basics

The economic model of extract-manufacture-disposal relies on vast reserves of expendable resources and an environment that can absorb unlimited waste. But simply reducing waste and the consumption of limited resources is not enough. A circular economy is one that is restorative by design, and which aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. A circular economy provides a tightly looped, restorative economic cycle where resources can be re-adapted for use without limiting the desirability of products or the flow of revenue.

 

the ellen macarthur foundation

In 2009, Dame Ellen MacArthur created The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a non-profit organization with the aim of inspiring a generation to re-think, re-design & build a positive future through the framework of a circular economy. The Foundation has a wealth of resources you can utilize to get up to speed on the ideas, practices, and terminology behind the big idea of the circular economy.

The video 'Re-Thinking Progress' from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation explores how through a change in perspective we can re-design the way our economy works.

The essence of the circular economy lies in designing goods using technical materials to facilitate disassembly and re-use, and structuring business models so manufacturers can reap rewards from collecting and refurbishing, remanufacturing, or redistributing products they make.
— Ellen MacArthur
Graphic provided courtesy of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Graphic provided courtesy of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

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RESOURCES


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RESOURCES


THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

A circular economy is one that is restorative by design, and which aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. A circular economy provides a tightly looped, restorative economic cycle where resources can be re-adapted for use without limiting the desirability of products or the flow of revenue. To learn more, check out the links below:

TO READ

The Circular Economy – an overview from The Ellen MacArthur
Circular Economy Case Studies from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Circular Economy Resource Map - an interactive multimedia resource collection from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation

TO WATCH

The Circular Economy: From Consumer to User, from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Cradle to Cradle Design – TED Talk by William McDonough
Ellen MacArthur: Learning and the Circular Economy, from Learning Without Frontiers


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WICKED PROBLEMS

A wicked problem doesn't imply a sense of 'evil,' but rather denotes a problem that is considerably resistant to resolution. Efforts to grapple with one aspect of a wicked problem often reveal or create other obstacles that must be considered and overcome, hence the importance of transdisciplinary collaboration. To learn more, check out the links below:

TO READ

Excerpt from Wicked Problems Worth Solving by Jon Kolko
"Wicked-Problem Solvers," from the Harvard Business Review
“Wicked Problems and Social Complexity,” excerpt from Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems by Jeff Conklin

TO WATCH

Start With Why – TED Talk by Simon Sinek
Got a Wicked Problem? First, Tell Me How You Make Toast – Ted Talk by Tom Wujec
Is This the Future of Global Food Systems? from the Disruptive Innovation Festival


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DESIGN THINKING

Design thinking is a human-centered approach for the development of ideas, business models, strategies, products, services, and brands. This technique pursues innovation through an alignment of consumer needs, sustainable manufacturing, and opportunity. To learn more, check out the links below:

TO READ

Design Thinking Methods, from Stanford University's D School
DesignKit, a multifaceted design thinking resource from IDEO
Design for Action by Tim Brown and Roger L. Martin, from the Harvard Business Review

TO WATCH

What is Human-Centered Design? by IDEO
Design Thinking Virtual Crash Course from Stanford University’s D School
Designers – Think Big! – TED Talk by Tim Brown


BIOMIMICRY

Biomimicry is the idea that complex human problems can be solved by imitating the systems, models, and design elements of the natural world. By looking to the natural world for inspiration, we can develop solutions that benefit both people and the plant. To learn more, check out the links below:

TO READ

What is Biomimicry from the Biomimicry Institute
Biomimicry Examples from the Biomimicry Institute
AskNature - interactive resource from the Biomimicry Institute

TO WATCH

Biomimicry in Action – TED Talk by Janine Benyus
Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture – TED Talk by Michael Pawlyn AskNature Nuggets – short videos from the Biomimicry Institute


BUSINESS MODEL DEVELOPMENT

Regardless of what your team is working on - a product, service, business/non-profit organization, or other solution - you'll need to develop a detailed business model that proves the viability and profitability of your idea, as well as its alignment with the circular economy. As you develop your business model, you'll need to be able to identify its strengths and weaknesses, as well as any risks you may face and how you plan to address them. For more information on how to develop a business plan, check out the links below: 

TO WATCH

The Business Model Canvas Explained, from Strategyzer
What is a SWOT Analysis? from Bplans
How to Scale Up Your Business, a presentation by Verne Harnish from Gazelles
Why it’s Time for Doughnut Economics – TED Talk by Kate Raworth


MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGIES

As your team develops a solution, you'll need to detail the resources/materials - technological, biological, and/or capital - incorporated into your solution, provide justification for their use, and illustrate their alignment with the circular economy. Check out the links below to learn about innovative ways you can incorporate materials and emerging technologies into your work: 

TO READ