Impact Goal Rush
Impact Goal Rush

Episode 16 · 8 months ago

Erica Purvis - Cultivating positive impact and circular design

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sustainable Design and Business Strategist, Erica Purvis talks to us about designing for the circular economy to create postive impact. She shares how she transitioned from a career from mechanical engineering to become a business coach. Erica runs Technical Nature and works on sustainable and circular projects as well as coaching small business owners who wants to be more circular. Based in Reading, UK, Erica is passionate about local circular initiatives in her local Reading area and hosts the Circular Coffee Conversations

Connect with Erica Purvis

Technical Nature 

Circular Coffee Conversations 

Welcome to episode number sixteen ofimpact go rush, and in this episode we talk about designing sustainableproducts for the circular econoy and low and welcome to the impact Gorushpodcast. This is the podcast for impact Fontrepreneus. This podcast aims toamplify the voices of impact contropreners addressing the Unitedmetions Global Gos ecayd, the sustainable development ghost listeningto fellow impact entrepreneus on their journey. In this new go rush of makinga bigger impact, get inspired to learn how to entrepreneurship. You can growyour impact to make the world of better place, leave a legacy and live a moremeaningful life. I'm your host Wontine. In this episode, I have Erica purviseof technical nature and host of the circular coffee conversation Ericagives us an overview of the circular economy and her personal journey frommechanical engineer to sustainable design and business coach. If you'vemissed the previous episode episode number fifteen, we had sue Jackson orfuture proof. Your Business Talk about how businesses can have a socialmission and the heart of their business. Welcome to the impact Gorash Erica,Pervis, Youre, sustainable design and business strategies. Welcome to theshow. Thanks for great fee here, why is it important for businesses to be moreimpact, driven and working towards the sustainable development goals? Yeah bigquestion to start off with their, but I think almost you know, zooming out ofOusistance and on r planet an onowwhat what's going on, I would say you knowbusiness really should be a part of of thinking about. How do we create healthand well being from all improve people's quality of life around theworld, not just to select very much rich vewposentially and do that on on a flourishing planet,O swell so alongside government, which you know when you think aboutgovernments e what should tbaybe about not necessarily just growth and GTP,and all of these things that we've got...

...lost about, but you strip it all backand think. Well, what what's the point- and I think business should really havea point of you- K, w contributing just like citizens, just like government toto making sure that this is a healthy inhabital planet for all now and in thefuture and the sustainable development goals, I suppose of the best frameworkwe have to support businesses. You know working out howthey can be take that role and using some of themas their front drivers they connected totheir. Why in their purpose, but also when you look down across all of them,how can they also consider which ones might we actually be having a negativeimpact? And how can we actually make sure that we're not doing that?Otherwise, you know you'll have some businesses improving one Ol, anotherone's, improving, a different one and and then potentially having negativeimpacts, onother so yeah? I think it's it's vital that the businesses are partof our collective human goal to really improve the lives on this planet. Wehave yeah, it's so important to be thinking, polistically and making sureyou know actually hamming the other goals. I guess, like unexpectedly, so one ofthe key areas that you'r your really focused in is really the circulareconomy for people who don't know what is the circular economy? Why is itimportant to be designing circular products yeah, so my backgroundactually is a product designer or mechanical design, engineer and andwhat I learned about to really started questioning when I was even studying.It really was this idea of all this stuff that were designing that werecreating that werewere selling people are buying and then doing somethingwith has all made from the earth resources which are extracted from theground and then maybe at the end, just discarded, hopefully potentiallyrecycled. But we don't even do that...

...really great. You know so that theinsideration or landfild and things like that and when you look at that,that is really what we call almost a LINEAC economy and that's really how alot of businesses work these days. You know they concentrate on the sellingaspect or the design for manufacturing and and then selling it, but not reallylooking down the stream and thinking about the end of life or new life. Sothe SECO economy is really looking particularly around very much of themoment. Product base, businesses or business models around that andthinking about how do we shift that take make waste mentality of a lot ofthe way that the economy works at the moment to thinking about it more as acircle and if you think about it, it's also sometimes called cradles to cradleor rather than the cradle to grave. So, if you think about how could youpotentially renew products at the end of their life or extend their life or make them more repairable, maintainableModula? All of these different techniques that, as a designer or asthe business, you should be considering and building in as much as possible?Ultimately, so younow going right back to that front, end to reduce or eveneliminate the need to continually extract from our from our worlds inmany ways, from cutting down trees in the amazons and all around the world,which is the worst it's you know being in about ten ten years to copper mines,lithiamine batteries, all of these different plat things that are in oursmartphones are in all of our different products. You know they come fromsomewhere and there is a huge environmental impact as well as oftenethical considerations around some of the ways that weare still extractingand taking from the earth as well and polluting as we go so really the SECoconomy. Is it's rethinking a lot of that? But how do we reduce that demandside, both through better design...

...products, but also you really need tolook at the business model and the surrounding systems and infrastructuresaround it to kind of facilitate that andnow one of the things is reallydifferent. Psyches within this circular economy, and I know, there's differentthings that are fairly new. Like we manufacturing. You know these differentcycles that are not as commonly loan like. Could you share a bit about that?Oh getting into that the ECO ECO jargon yeah, because I think yeah it S. it'simportant to share that yeah. There's a lot of different. I suppose almostcircular strategies really developing a I'm just doing o course at the momentof Tha, that's from a kind of a university development that has lots ofterms around cascading materials. Where you know one products, waste onmaterial might then go and cascade down to be used by another product termslike remanufacturing that you mentioned there in is often used by businesses orproducts that are then able to. Potentially you K O take back a productafter its reache, its his you know, useful life or as broken down orsomething, but remanufacturing is almost when you completely take theproduct apart again and re wemake it we manufacture, t from those parts, butmaybe with a few new ones as well, so that there are newane terms between youknow refurbished, which is its maybe getting a bit more of a facelift andpartly remanfacting, but maybe not quite asmanufacturing from thebeginning of terms like upcycling, where maybe you're taking kind of oneproduct and then adding new value to it in a different way,whether it's painting or yeah. I think I hear Andand people and businesseeslike that are now beginning to also integrate some of these other types ofbusiness model. Sor of turns into some of the things that they do...

Patagonia. Just recently, h ve havebeen you know: recrafting ND, they call it recrafting their fashion, so tacingpatty it Goniea Colos, maybe taking them apart, but then using the materialgetting to create new ones as well. So for me, to be honest, I don't Idon't get too worried about the naming of the naming of things sometimes becauseI think when you step back and sometimes environmental sustainabilitycan be almost a bit overwhelming or a bit like, sometimes trying to makesomething more difficult than it potentially is yeah and you kind ofstep back and say well. Actually, quite a lot of this is commonsense. Quite alot of this is stuff that generations before or all the generations stillremember doing, make do mend all of these kind of things or refilling. Youknow that was the nome a lot of thesedifferent kind of ways of living. How was is the norm still in ind some othercultures rplaces around the world, but we kind of got lost in thisindustrialized, fast, moving economy that it shifted towards with plasticsand packaging, and you know all of these buy and and continually yet by and upgrade kind of elementswheretheyr actually in the past, and even as the designer and mechanicalproducts from vacum cleaners or washing machines, and things like that.Actually, they also used to be designed to be repaired better or you know,maintained and things like that, but actually the business models- and youknow things- had shifted to to this more kind of fast moving elemental ofbuying more yeah, so t a they tend to be words that are, that starts with Fme: Yeah Oll, ours, always in or IATS. We call Ryou touch bit about yourcareer path, but what is your toptip for anyone who is looking to enter intoa career in design enduring and sustainability yeah, I think, what'sNice is that is a career now...

I think, before you couldn't actuallyreally find so much of things like that or even in product design orengineering degrees, th t they wouldn't necessarily have that, but I haveactually seen- and actually I work with some universities- and you know thereis more and more learning earlier on and even down into schools now aroundsustainable design, or you know, ways or roles that you can play a part tocreate positive change as well. I think for me, I think it's really interestingto think about what success means to you or what you know. What is Happeninis what to go and what you realize s that quite a lot of s kind of educationand university. You know that it's all that, like Oh, get a IG job and moneyand all of this kind of system around that tells you that that's what youshould be aiming for, but I think when you step back and you take the time sowell, what actually is a good life for me or what kind of things thatreally do I enjoy givg me happiness. It's working with people feeling aboutwhat I'm doing is making a difference, and things like that. So I think it'salmost you know stripping it down. What are those fundamental things thatreally you know get you excited t what makes you happy, but also have thatthat purpose behind it and then thinking well what what rout could thatbe to take or do that forward? For me, I mean, when I studied, and didmy firt start my first job I was. I was hired just that the product designedengineer nothing to do with sustainability, but actually my I just brought my interests or wentto events evening things, lots of other stuff that excites me and brought thatinto my role and then that grew from there as well. So I think there's lotsof disers like formal boots and degrees or or fup things, but actually, ifyou're excited and you're interested in something a lot of just reading andyeah going out and meeting people that...

...are doing things that you're interestedin it's often a good rate yeah. I mean personally remet actually at eventsright and we've man each other for many years, and it was through thise eventsthat we were Welwe were sort of pad off and then we kind of caorganized and yeah. So it's been, I think, that's a that's kind of a veryimportant part for most people to learn and actually step out of thetraditional dop rules and and sort of explore what you enjoy and and learnabout sustainability. I mean, I think, with sustainability, there's so muchchange happening and everything is really still in flux and we're stillndeveloping so much new new technology, new new approaches and so yeah yeah. Ithink it's quite interesting at the moment to see you know the huge riseand public awareness, and particularly probably you know, in the in the ECOliving and in the home lifestyles, and what can I do in my kind of privatelife, but I think it's really interesting to think about what whatabout all of these people that are beginning to think about what am Idoing at home and how does that affect my private life? But then actually willwhat can you take to work? And how does that, like all of these different rolesreally and going right back to your question at the beginning, you knowaround the sustainable development goals as like are their businesses ortheir roles or their work into linked as well, and I think it's quitedifficult to to live a life. That's o! That's not interlinked. You know vewone thing at home and super te stable, then go off and do a job that doesn'tactually also align with your value sor or your passions as well. So I thinkit'ud be really interesting as some of that filters out into the roles thatpeople do in businesses or changing roles and deciding to set up new, and Ithink that's also what you're saing and where I like, actually to work. A lotis with startups and small businesses and almost community grass througtthings that happen, because that that's...

...where a lot of really interesting ideascome from, but also intelingt, covid, and things like that. We've also seen areal rise in support for local and community businesses and initiatives, nd kind ofthinking about smaller smalles circles around that as well cool. So Erica.Could you share ves? What is the circular coffee conversations that youhost and for people who are wont to find a more it's Akelly, a YoutubeChannel? So could you tell us more? What sort ofconversations are you having yeah so with another friends and Copendic fromreding where I live, Sothi Sagal? We had started voluntarily running thesecular economy club in redding in the area in November. Two Thousand andnineteen did a few events where we actually gotto meet people and meet up, and you know back in the day, butbut then with coverds and all of youknow lockdowns and things like that mean that we weren't really able to getkeep the mentum over going and, to be honest, actually for quite a few months,we were quite tired, yeah. I think a lot of us didn't really feel the energy to toreally get anything going and an connect, but we really wanted to tosomehow bring people together and do ar what we could to continue conversations,but also create a safe friendly space for people to to join from home with acoffee or a cup of tea, and we've had cakes and biscuits along the way. So we decided to startjust as a simple circular, coffee and conversation it's by weekly on aThursday at eleven o'clock. So the idea is, you know you can take a break fromwhat you're doing and join. We keep them short kind of fifteen minutes chapwith the guest and then another fifteen minutes or tend to that. The liveaudience can ask questions and things as well and then stop it and that's youknow, keeping them short and sweete in...

...that you take a coffee as well, andalso we've got a mix that we wanted to reach out to maybe not the usualsuspects in the circular economy, but also now really what who's doinginteresting, stuff, locally wwe're living and invite them in and reallykind of profile, local businesses or organizations or campaigns, alongsidesome other kind of other organizations that might be selling or or doing other things around theredding area as well. So yeah, it's been, it's been really nice to have arange of a range of people join. We get nice feedback in terms of its yeah. Noone needs slides. No one really needs to prepare every anything. Although wedo ask one thing is for people to bring a circular conversation, starter, sokind of a physical object or something that represents them thei. You know theorganization that they might work for or some of their beliefs around seculaeconomy, sustainable design. So it's always interesting to see what physicalobject people have brought to really get the conversation going as well.Awesome thetis such a cool channel to be checking out. So, if you'reinterested, please check out the your Youtube Chenna circular, coffeeconversations so Erica to close off like any final advice or anyone, who'slistening o. So I think particularly around I suppasmy background as s sustainable designer and I've done a bit of kind of soulsearching in like how to be a designer in a world that doesn't really needmore stuff. You know what Rollcan can you you play and Ithink the important elements for me that come out and fow their skills orwar parts that you have are to always question. You know on different levels,O from the product level, but second back that the business and the systemlevel as a designer, it's quite difficult, sometimes because you'reworking with companies that might have a brief. You know you don't sometimes get todesign every anything you want, or you...

...might have great ideas. But how do youyo W make that happen, but I would say, don't be scared to question and see howfar where you can take somebody potentially on a journey with youdeeper into into their thinking about designing new products or circularproducts and systems, and the other side is around enabling andfacilitating so so being able to to bring people together and ideas,empower others to to create and wh t what they want. I mean some of what Ido, or even just locally. where I live, it's it's how you can be a ill as acitizen on an abler with your skills to help others design the best solution,because often locally or in other sectors. You know the experts af there.They might just need some helpful guidance or facilitating like that. SoI think it's yeah. It's an interesting role, at's a designer! That's reallycool! Thank you very much for being a guess on Impat Goras at BYEA. Thank youawesome. So ther you go. That was Erica pervise of technical nature. What'sbeen your biggest takeaway from this episode, let us know in the commonsection on our Social Media Pagh if you haven't subscribed yet please do suchquite. This will really help us grow our podcast and if you can think ofsomeone that would benefit from listening to this podcast, please doshare it with them. In the next episode, we have just burst: tinehousing ofauroboroughs DOT wooks and they work with CEOS and executives on theirjuning towards a sustainable circular economy. If you are a business owner orCEO of a company with physical products, you want to listen into this nextepisode to learn how you can take your first steps towards the circuliareconomy so tune into next week's episode. Thank you very much forlistening into the end of this episode. We really appreciate you. This is theimpact go rush. My name is Wunton and I'll. See you in the next episode.

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