5 minutes with… Louise Nash
Ahead of our Auckland: Planet Centric Design workshop, we spoke with the facilitator (& Circularity founder) Louise Nash about her journey from linear to closed-loop, disruptive bravery, and what participants can expect from the workshop.
What inspired you to start your Circularity?
I reached a point in my career where I wanted to use my skills for a greater purpose. I always had a strong connection with the natural world and was increasingly concerned by the impact consumption was having on everything – our soils, our oceans and every living creature within.
I felt there was a significant opportunity for those of us in the creative industry to bring our skills to the wicked environmental problems we faced. Communication and design are fundamental to creating the behaviour change required, but none of this was at the forefront of the briefs designers receive.
I started a Masters of Tech Futures to explore what I might create at the intersection of design, technology and mother earth.
I discovered the work of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the circular economy. That lead me to conduct over 200 interviews here and around the world. Reviewing which ‘tools and strategies’ existed to help businesses transition from a linear take-make-waste approach into a closed-loop circular model.
From this research, I created the Circular by Design methodology and began running sprints using this method. Businesses started to enquire about how we could help them transform.
I registered Circularity so I could build a brand that would become a framework for work in this new space. My matra became #NOTONMYWATCH
What’s the most disruptive thing you’ve ever done in your professional life?
I once spent an entire events merchandise budget to commission ice sculptures for a Disney movie launch in Canada, instead of the wasteful stickers, posters, flags etc. I sat through many meetings afterwards hearing people saying “but it just melted and we were left with nothing” I couldn’t face the rubbish that was leftover anymore, so I felt an executive decision needed to be made!
Seriously though, life is pretty disruptive, and that’s half the fun. The other half is riding the wave to the other side.
Twice I have left a high profile, well-paid job to start my own business because I felt so passionate about doing something of greater meaning.
For people who want to tread more lightly on the planet, what is one actionable thing, everyone can do today to support a shift towards a circular economy?
Create a cycle of life in their own home, office or factory – collect and compost your food scraps, feed your soil and grow your food, feed that back into the cycle once again.
How do we encourage our linear-thinking clients to join us on a circular journey?
LOVE THE PROBLEM – Human beings are naturally curious about the world around us. Take clients on an impact journey by breaking down their products and process.
- What are they made of?
- What happens during sourcing, production, distribution, retail, use and disposal?
- What are the impacts?
Then dazzle them with circular inspiration, to show them what is possible. Empower and enable clients to help create the change you want to see.
What does your dream collaboration or project look like (who do you want to take circular)?
I would love to take on an ocean circular design project where we radically redesign the business of farming our oceans for food to become regenerative and supportive of nature’s incredible system. Nature has all the answers.
What can participants expect from the Planet Centric Design workshop?
- I will be sharing our Circular by design methodology through two exercises – a product breakdown and a systems map.
- Inspiring examples of circular materials, systems and businesses from around the world
- The chance to become part of a local community of circular designers