It's official: Meet the 17 teams from around the world working to rethink and redesign the way economies work in Wege Prize 2018!
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) Wege Center for Sustainable Design has announced the winners of Wege Prize 2017, the fourth iteration of the annual design competition challenging transdisciplinary teams of college/university students from around the world to rethink and redesign the way economies work.
The five finalist teams in Wege Prize 2017 presented their solutions to a judging panel of leading practitioners and advocates of design thinking and sustainability at the 2017 Wege Prize Awards, held on May 19 at KCAD. The teams’ solutions were evaluated on factors such as depth of research, technological and financial feasibility, alignment with circular economic principles, and potential for impact.
1st Place - $15,000
Team name: Kulisha
Maya Faulstich-Hon – Environmental Science, Brown University (Undergraduate)
Eric Katz – Business, University of Michigan Ross School of Business (Undergraduate)
Jon Luthy – Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan College of Engineering (Undergraduate)
Katie Matton – Computer Science, University of Michigan College of Engineering (Undergraduate)
Viraj Sikand – Environmental Science, Brown University (Undergraduate)
Solution: Kulisha developed a solution focused on working with food and beverage processing plants to convert their organic waste products into an insect-based protein that can be used in animal feeds and as an agricultural fertilizer. Their system integrates a type of insect called the black soldier fly into food and beverage plants to decrease disposal costs while creating additional value from waste that would otherwise be discarded.
The team has already secured a relationship with an Austin, Texas-based microbrewery, where they’ll soon begin testing a prototype of their system in an on-site facility.
“This solution is a genuine contender to solve two problems: eliminating a major food waste problem while providing a viable alternative to the current method of depleting fish stocks to generate the protein used in animal feed,’ said judge Colin Webster, an education programme manager with UK-based nonprofit The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “It was clear to the judges that a tremendous amount of effort has been put into the development of this solution. It’s on the cusp of being trialed in a major way, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how that unfolds.”
2nd Place - $10,000
Team name: SOMOS
Enrique Andrade – Industrial Design, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (Undergraduate)
Taylor Axdorff – Industrial Design, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (Undergraduate)
Ian Culver – Collaborative Design, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (Undergraduate)
José Sanabria Vindell – Renewable Energy Engineering, Autonomous University of Nicaragua Faculty of Science and Engineering (Undergraduate)
Alex Santiago Ramírez Cárdenas – Environmental Engineering, Autonomous University of Nicaragua Faculty of Science and Engineering (Undergraduate)
Solution: SOMOS developed a solution focused on helping small coffee farmers operating in Nicaragua’s Miraflor Natural Reserve halt the negative environmental impact of their production process while also taking advantage of the waste byproducts of that process to produce other raw materials which can be exported for additional revenue.
The team’s solution was informed by extensive localized research and observation. Team members from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University travelled to Nicaragua on several occasions to interview key stakeholders in Miraflor’s coffee production industry alongside their Nicaraguan teammates.
“SOMOS was succinct in both their presentation and the way they addressed our questions, and that allowed the strengths of their solution to come to the surfaces,” said judge Christopher Carter, an educator and nationally known sculptor who’s also a Next-Gen Board Member of The Wege Foundation. “What really impressed us most was the team’s on-the-ground approach; they went to the source of the problem and were deeply inspired by what they encountered. This solution could be adopted by other mountainous coffee farming regions, and that’s a great story.”
3rd Place - $5,000
Team name: Cheruvu
Nikhitha Rao Cheeti – Public Policy, University of Michigan Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy (Graduate)
Aniket Deshmukh – Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Michigan College of Engineering (Graduate)
Shamitha Keerthi – Resource Ecology Management, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (Graduate)
Samhita Shiledar – Chemical Engineering/Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan College of Engineering/School of Natural Resources and Environment (Graduate)
Kavya Vayyasi – Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment (Graduate)
Solution: Using their home country of India as a case study, Cheruvu developed a solution focused on the creation of a sustainable enterprise that employs crop science, machine learning, and crowd analytics to help farmers in India increase crop yields, mitigate risk, and improve their economic standing by providing them with access to high-resolution data on best agricultural practices, soil nutrients, climate, and satellite imagery.
Like SOMOS, the members of Cheruvu developed their project largely through on-site interaction with those most affected by the problem they were trying to solve. The team, composed of five students originally from India who are currently pursuing their graduate studies at the University of Michigan, conducted extensive interviews with farmers in India who are struggling to maintain profitability, as well as other key stakeholders.
“We were really struck by the depth of the ground fieldwork undertaken by Cheruvu. The team was able to prototype their solution in a real-world context, and we were touched by how much they cared about helping small farmers compete in what is an increasingly complex and evolving industry,” said judge Gretchen Hooker, a biomimicry specialist with the Biomimicry Institute. “Moving forward we’re interested to see how their solution can help farmers reduce their dependence and chemical fertilizers and encourage them to adopt a circular model that prioritizes the ongoing health of the soil.”
The other two finalist teams—EcoReturns and Remade in China—were each honored with a $1,000 Finalist Award for earning a place in the final stage of the competition.
EcoReturns, which included undergraduate and graduate students from the University of British Columbia, Yale University, and Lund University, focused on rethinking seafood production in ways that directly address the impact on marine ecosystems while promoting community involvement and consumer engagement. The team presented an investment model that enables individual and institutional investors to support marine ecosystem restoration and the adoption of sustainable, small-scale management practices in British Columbia’s fisheries while obtaining both ecological and financial returns.
Remade in China, an all-graduate student team representing Parthenope University of Naples, Beijing Normal University, and Delft University of Technology, presented a solution focused on the development of a modeling tool that can help urban environments develop food, energy, and water systems that unite policy and technology to meet consumer needs while maximizing both the value of resources and the systems’ ability to recover and reuse them.
Previous competitions were open exclusively to undergraduate students, but for 2017 Wege Prize was open to both undergraduate and graduate students worldwide. Teams were asked to create a solution to the following “wicked” problem: How can we create a circular economy? Each team – composed of five students and representing different academic institutions and majors of study – had to leverage its transdisciplinary makeup to collaboratively design and propose a product, service, business, non-profit organization, or other solution that could function within and help create a paradigm shift towards a circular economy.
Unlike our current linear model, in which we take, make, and dispose, a circular economic model is restorative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. Using a systemic approach, teams had to not only design a compelling and innovative solution, but consider its economics and viability within natural, social, and financial systems as well.
“All of the finalist teams in Wege Prize 2017 have displayed an extraordinary amount of courage, dedication, and compassion for the future of our world, and for that we thank them,” said KCAD President Leslie Bellavance. “I challenge all of our finalists to use their experiences in this competition to continue moving forward, to expand on their existing ideas and to remain fearless in building the future.”
The five finalist teams were chosen out of an original field of 25 teams representing 38 different academic institutions from 17 countries around the world. Over the course of seven months, teams developed their ideas from a one-page proposal into a multifaceted design solution informed by their own research, ideation, and experimentation as well as direct feedback from the judges, culminating in the final presentations on May 19.
“With the inclusion of graduate students for the first time in this year’s competition, we were thrilled to see an increase in participation and geographical reach as well as many teams combining undergraduate and graduate students,” said Gayle DeBruyn, KCAD Sustainability Officer, Collaborative Design program chair and Wege Prize organizer. “As the competition grows, so too does the commitment of the teams and the strength and cogency of their ideas. As we congratulate this year’s winners, we also look forward to the incredible possibilities that lie ahead.”
Thanks to the continuing support of The Wege Foundation, Wege Prize 2018 will be open to any undergraduate or graduate student in the world and will again be focused on the circular economy.
Team registration will open in August 2017, but those interested in participating are encouraged to begin building their teams and brainstorming ideas now by connecting with other potential participants on the Wege Prize Facebook Group. Educators and other professionals who are interested in contributing their expertise are encouraged to contact email@example.com for more information.
Details about Wege Prize 2018 will be revealed in the coming weeks on wegeprize.org.
Wege Prize, a uniquely transdisciplinary design competition based in West Michigan focused on rethinking and redesigning how our economy works, has selected five teams of college/university students from around the world to move on to the final stage of the fourth annual competition.
In the fourth annual Wege Prize, 25 teams of five students will collaborate across institutional and disciplinary boundaries, use design thinking principles, and contend for $30,000 (USD) in total cash prizes by developing solutions to “wicked” problems
through the lens of the circular economy.
It's official - Wege Prize 2017 is here and it's bigger, better, and reaches farther than ever before! Here's what's new for this year's competition:
Winning team combines proven waste treatment processes into a hospital system that minimizes environmental impact via minimal modifications to existing infrastructure
Winning team combines cutting-edge waste management technologies with robust urban agriculture initiative to combat poverty and lack of sanitation in Kibera, Kenya’s largest urban slum
Winning team develops plan to help Ugandan social enterprise generate power from papyrus manufacturing waste with renewable energy technology
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) Wege Center for Sustainable Design has announced the winners of Wege Prize 2016, the third iteration of the annual international competition challenging transdisciplinary teams of undergraduate students to design a product, service, or business model that can function within and facilitate a paradigm shift toward a circular economy, an economic model in which resources and capital are regenerative.
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) Wege Center for Sustainable Design has been awarded a $444,000 grant from the Wege Foundation to continue running the Wege Prize student design competition for the next four years.
Wege Prize, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD) uniquely transdisciplinary design competition focused on the circular economy, has selected five teams of undergraduate students from around the world to move on to the final stage of the third annual competition based on overviews of their solutions to a “wicked” problem. Now, those solutions will be critiqued by a panel of leading practitioners and advocates of design thinking and sustainability.
"Intelligent Assests: Unlocking the Circular Economy Potential" - a new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Our friends at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation continue their leadership in circular economic thought and scholarship with Intelligent Assets: Unlocking the circular economy potential, a new report released in collaboration with the World Economic Forum that explores the potential of pairing circular economy principles with the information generated by intelligent devices.
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD) Wege Prize, a transdisciplinary design competition for undergraduate students focused on the wicked problem of creating a circular economy, has revealed the 16 teams participating in the 2016 competition.
Our friends at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have recently released some key pieces of research and thought-leadership that are movingthe circular economy discussion forward!
Wege Prize has a new look for 2016 - not only is this year’s competition opened up to an international level, but we’ve made some big changes to the format as well that will make Wege Prize 2016 a truly immersive and engaging experience!
When teams register for Wege Prize 2016, they’ll also be required to submit a 500-1000 word research plan that outlines the problem or opportunity they’re interest in addressing. We’re not expecting teams to identity and defend a specific solution in their research plans, but rather tell us where their interest lie and build a framework of research that will ultimately help them develop their solution.
REFINING THE PROCESS
Rather than a single submission deadline, this year’s competition will feature multiple submission deadlines, with the required deliverables increasing in scope and complexity at each deadline. To help teams adapt, we’ve built a feedback loop into each stage of the competition. After each submission deadline, teams will received constructive feedback on their work directly from the Wege Prize judges that will help them refine their solution as the competition progresses.
This built-in support system will help teams engage in a design thinking process to identify and addresses flaws in their solution, empowering them to maximize their collaborative potential.
Check out the design brief to learn more about the process.
TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE
The timeline of Wege Prize 2016 has been drastically expanded from previous competitions in order to help participants build stronger teams and to facilitate more effective collaboration. With more time to network, research, ideate, test, experiment, and refine, teams will be more likely to develop effective and well-considered solutions.
Check out the competition timeline for complete details.
Remember team registration opens August 1, 2015 – head to the Wege Prize Community Forum, create a profile, and start building your team today!
Wege Prize 2016 was recently featured in a great article from Inc. Magazine that explores the competition's big ideas and takes a look at the winning solution from Western Sustainers!
Check it out here: http://www.inc.com/maureen-kline/how-to-create-a-circular-economy.html
Assembling in-person for the first time since forming teams in January, undergraduate competitors from the three transdisciplinary finalist teams in Wege Prize 2015 presented their solutions to the wicked problem of creating a circular economy. The winners were named on March 28 at the second annual Wege Prize Awards, where the teams presented their innovative solutions to five internationally-known judges, as well as public and online audiences.
This year’s competition again challenged teams of five to revolutionize the world’s linear economic models into ones which are regenerative by designing a product, service, or business model that could function within and help create a circular economy – a model in which resources can be re-adapted for use without limiting the desirability of products or the flow of revenue. Now in its second year, Wege Prize was held on a national level, and teams were again required to represent at least two different academic institutions and at least three different academic disciplines.
1st place - $15,000
Team name: Western Sustainers
Cara Givens, Biomedical Sciences, Western Michigan University College of Arts and Sciences
Elijah Lowry, Geography, Western Michigan University College of Arts and Sciences
Kelsey Pitschel, Mechanical Engineering, Western Michigan University College of Engineering
Max Hornick, Public Relations, Western Michigan University College of Arts and Sciences
Ramon Roberts-Perazza, Civil Engineering, Western Michigan University College of Engineering
Solution: Local Loop Farm – This agricultural system is designed to act in symbiosis with its surrounding community, utilizing hot composting, hydroponics, and other innovative technologies to produce fresh, healthy, local, and affordable fish and vegetables while upcycling waste and eliminating many of the negative impacts associated with existing food production and consumption.
“Impressive research and analysis by this team, and in speaking with them afterward we were excited to hear that plans are underway to implement their project.” – Judge Ellen Satterlee
2nd place - $10,000
Team name: Pixelation
Alexandra Vasquez Dheming, Production Design, Savannah College of Art and Design
Karla Ronaszegi, Industrial Design, Savannah College of Art and Design
Lynae Brooks, Architecture, Savannah College of Art and Design
Ryan Parrish, Industrial Design, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University
Taina Fuzaro Bercho, Industrial Design, Savannah College of Art and Design
Solution: No Waste Delivery (NOW) – this food delivery service is designed to change the food consumption and purchasing norms of the urban office worker by reducing packaging waste, food waste, and delivery service fuel emissions.
"We really appreciated the research that Pixelation did in terms of what solutions already exist, both in the US and abroad, and that they attempted to establish circular flows of resources where existing food delivery services hadn't." – Judge Gretchen Hooker
3rd place - $5,000
Team name: The Originals
Christa Iscoa, Architecture, Savannah College of Art and Design
John Worthley, Energy Engineering, Penn State University
Laryssa Tertuliano, Industrial Design, Savannah College of Art and Design
Marina Busato, Industrial Design, Savannah College of Art and Design
Philip Han, Collaborative Design, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University
Solution: Organikos – this service, which combines an energy efficient in-home composting appliance with a user experience-driven web platform, is designed to remove the barriers that make composting difficult and inaccessible.
“What impressed us the most about The Original's solution was that it didn't attempt to do everything on it's own, but rather identified possible collaborations with existing services that could help it succeed. That kind of systemic thinking is exactly what students should be engaging in.” – Judge Nathan Shedroff
Evaluating each team on factors such as research, innovation, and feasibility, judge Colin Webster remarked, “We were all impressed by the enormous amount of time, energy, and research the teams put into their projects, but Western Sustainers’ depth of research and systemic understanding of the solution they’d designed was what ultimately set them apart,” said Colin Webster, Wege Prize judge and Education Programme Manager with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-based organization that’s a global leader in circular economic thought, education, and development. “In all the teams, there was a real willingness to collaborate and engage with very complex concepts and ideas, and most importantly, each showed a desire to improve their solutions beyond this competition and to continue to refine their understanding of the circular economy.”
Colin Webster – Education Programme Manager, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Michael Werner – Green Chemistry and Restricted Substances Manager, Apple Inc.
Gretchen Hooker – Biomimicry Specialist, Biomimicry Institute
Nathan Shedroff – Program Chair, MBA in Design Strategy, California College of the Arts
Ellen Satterlee - CEO, Wege Foundation
Wege Prize 2016 Goes International, Starts Now
All five judges will return for Wege Prize 2016, which is moving to an international level. Next year’s competition will be open to undergraduate students anywhere in the world. Those interested in participating are encouraged to begin networking and connecting with possible mentors and teammates now. More information about Wege Prize 2016 will be revealed in the coming weeks on wegeprize.org.
“We want to thank our esteemed judges and all of the brave, bold, and passionate students who rose to this year’s challenge, and we look forward to the new connections, collaborations, and ideas that will emerge as we transition to an international level,” said Wege Prize organizer Gayle DeBruyn. “The sooner students begin making connections, finding mentors, and brainstorming possible solutions, the better, because Wege Prize 2016 starts right now.”