The Great Recovery

The Royal Society of Arts

2011 onwards

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Our current linear model of ‘take-make-dispose’ is throwing up major economic and environmental challenges. Risk to our supply chain is increasing, and the cost of materials is rising sharply, putting pressure on businesses to change. We need to shift towards more circular systems and good design thinking is pivotal to this transition.

In order to make this shift, designers need to consider the system as a whole rather than focus on individual components or products. True co-creation is crucial from those involved in these lifecycles: designers and material experts, manufacturers and resource managers, brands and retailers, consumers, policy makers and government, investors & academics all working together. Our mission is to create a neutral space where all disciplines around the circle in the diagram below can learn from each other so that we can create initiatives which move us towards a circular economy.

The Great Recovery, launched in September 2012, is building new networks to explore the issues, investigate innovation gaps and incubate new partnerships. Sophie Thomas is currently heading up the Great Recovery project as part of her part –time role of co-director of design at the RSA.