Product, Service & Design Innovation
Design Awards Seek Cradle to Cradle Products, Circular Fashion Innovations

Two design challenges are back and accepting new entries for products designed to help enable a sustainable future.

The non-profit H&M Foundation is accepting applications for the second edition of its Global Change Award through October 31st, 2016. The competition is seeking early stage ideas that present new circular approaches for the fashion industry – whether by changing the way garments are designed, produced, shipped, bought, used, or recycled – by adding disruptive technology or using a new business model.

There are three competition categories open for applications: circular business models, circular materials and circular processes. The categories will respectively cover ideas on how to reuse, repair, share, digitalize or extend the life of products; new fibers, recycling techniques, leather substitutes, etc.; and new methods around chemicals, water and dyeing as well as 3D-printing, demand-driven manufacturing, and more.

An expert panel will review the applications between November 1st, 2016 and March 26th, 2017 and select a total of five winners who will share a €1 million grant. How the grant is divided between them will be determined by an online public vote between March 27th and April 2nd, 2017. The winners and results of the online vote will be revealed on April 5th, 2017. All five winners will get access to a one-year innovation accelerator provided by the H&M Foundation, Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, which will begin in June 2017. The accelerator is designed to help ensure the innovations can stand on their own as quickly as possible, and to maximize their impact on the industry.

The inaugural Global Change Award launched in 2015 received more than 2,700 applications from 112 countries. Last year’s competition focused on textile innovations; the H&M Foundation decided to add project categories to encourage ideas from a broader scope for the second iteration. Neither H&M nor the H&M Foundation take any equity or intellectual property rights in the innovations.

“After seeing so many fantastic innovations from around the world with the potential to transform the fashion industry, we have been very eager to open up the next round of the Global Change Award,” Karl-Johan Persson, board member of the H&M Foundation and CEO of H&M, said in a statement. “I am also honored to welcome some new members to the expert panel such as Dame Ellen MacArthur, who besides making solo sailor history in 2005, has immense knowledge about the transition to a circular economy.”

“By bringing together innovators to develop positive solutions, the Global Change Award is a great example of the approach needed to create change, and help shift the fashion industry towards a restorative and regenerative circular economy,” said MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which recently accepted H&M as a Global Partner. “I am excited to join the expert panel to help find the next five innovations that can be truly game-changing.”

Other members of the expert panel who will help decide the five winners of the Global Change Award 2016 include returning judges Amber Valletta, Ellis Rubinstein, Rebecca Earley, and Franca Sozzani, as well as new judges David Roberts, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute president Lewis Perkins, Vikram Widge, and Johan Kuylenstierna.

Meanwhile, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is accepting entries for the Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge through December 1st, 2016. Presented in partnership with Autodesk and made possible by the Alcoa Foundation, the Challenge seeks ideas for innovative products that can remain in perpetual cycles of use and reuse.

Entries are invited across four categories: Best Professional Project, Best Professional Project, Best Use of Aluminum, and Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360 Software. One winner will be selected for each category, and each winning project will receive US $2,000.

To be eligible, designers and students must complete a free two-hour online course, Designing Cradle to Cradle Certified Products for the Circular Economy. The course will cover the core principles, strategies, tools and real-world examples of designing for circularity. After completing the course, entrants can develop their designs and submit them online. There are no entry fees for the Challenge.

A judging panel of designers, sustainability professionals and industry leaders will determine the winning entries, which will be announced in January 2017.

This is the fourth in a series of six global design challenges slated to run through the end of 2017. Previous winners have included innovative new approaches to furniture, a faucet, a helmet, a public transit seat, shoes, packaging, and more.


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