The Make it Circular Design Brief

Read everything you need to know about applying to this Challenge, and what it means to design for a circular society. Dive deeper into the various challenges and opportunities that are involved in the transition, see examples of existing circular projects and find out what we’re looking for in a winning idea.


The Make it Circular workshop kıt

From global to local

How do approaches to circularity differ around the world? Together with local experts and researchers we looked into the most urgent issues facing communities in Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, India and The Netherlands. We encourage you to use these local perspectives to make your ideas sharper and more impactful

Design criteria

The Make it Circular Challenge is all about designing circular ways of living that help us tackle the root of the climate crisis. We are looking for ambitious, design-led initiatives and startups that reduce carbon emissions by cutting waste and rewriting the relationship between people, the planet and all the species who call it home. At the end of the open call, an international jury will review the best and brightest proposals according to the following criteria.



What can you say about the (potential) impact of your idea or initiative? Here, you can help the jury understand the difference you are trying to make by offering some quantitative and/or qualitative data to back it up. Scroll on for a few impact ‘indicators’ you might want to consider while making your submission. You’ll find a more complete breakdown of all indicators in the downloadable design briefing.

  • Environmental impacts. Are you able to estimate the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that is produced (or prevented) by your initiative? Can you demonstrate the amount of  resources and/or waste that it saves? If applicable, can you tell us about how your initiative regenerates — rather than depletes or pollutes — our natural ecosystems?
  • Cultural impacts. Does your initiative have the potential to influence policies about sustainable production and consumption? How do you imagine it will shift people’s habits and/or attitudes? Can you describe the impact it might have on the way society values things like novelty, growth, and throwaway culture?
  • Social impacts. Are you able to demonstrate how your initiative impacts the people that make up its supply chain — and beyond? How do you advocate for diversity and inclusion in your organisation? Does your design account for ideas and experiences outside the dominant Western narrative?


Here, we want to know what makes your design exciting and extraordinary. Is the idea fresh and innovative? If it builds on an existing solution in any way?Do you have good visuals to make your story more tangible and engaging?

We’ll also be looking for how you track or measure the impact of your design along its entire value chain. What improvements in resource extraction, production, distribution, consumption and waste handling can you attribute to the design of your project?


We believe that the best solutions are rooted in real challenges and opportunities. What can you tell us about the specific context of your initiative? What kind of research have you done into the communities or economies you are working with? Have consulted experts to ensure your proposal is feasible: technically, economically, politically and socially?


This criteria is all about how your initiative — and its impact — might evolve in the future. Maybe your initiative is small and developed for a specific location or community, but does it have the potential to be scaled up to benefit the many? Do you have a long-term vision for your initiative?


Lastly, we are looking for initiatives that invest in collaborative relationships and networks. You may have started your project alone, but have you surrounded yourself with the right people to make it happen? Are you part of a team or in the process of assembling a team that is up to the job?

stages of development

The Make it Circular Challenge is open to projects in different stages of development — from new ideas to existing enterprises. Which stage describes your submission best?


Idea stage

Submissions in this stage display a compelling and convincing vision, but only a rough proof of concept. Your team may be small, but you are ready to take your project to the next level.


Testing stage

Submissions in this stage are more developed. There is a proof of concept, a core team and a long-term vision. Your focus is on developing a high quality product, service or system, and on building a solid business case to make it a success.


Evolve stage

Submissions in this stage are considered existing social or creative enterprises. Your focus is on sustainable growth: expanding market or public adoption, strengthening your organisation, securing funds and increasing impact.