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Picking and Choosing; Selection and Framing of Briefs for Circular Design Students Projects
Developing a successful design brief which focuses on the current growing environmental problems, challenges the current dominant systems and enables circular solutions is a hard and complex task. Briefs are an integral step for framing the design projects and they require a systemic approach to facilitate desired sustainable outcomes from projects. While there are studies exploring the preparation of successful briefs, there aren’t many that focus on design brief development in circular economy education. This paper examines the design brief development process of eleven product design projects from four consecutive training programmes in four European universities in collaboration with sixteen companies. These eleven projects were developed for circular design internships conducted as a part of the Learning for Innovative Design for Sustainability (L4IDS) Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance project. L4IDS project aims to create better learning environments for the circular economy in universities and enterprises. In this paper, developing briefs is regarded as a creative process aiming to provide a guide to support students and enable effective learning, facilitate creativity and inspire innovation for the circular economy. Throughout the four internships, the brief development process has evolved together with the internship structure based on the data collected and feedbacks provided to the subsequent internships by the previous ones. Extended schedules including reflections of internship supervisors, evaluations of interns and companies were one of the methods used to deliver effective feedback. Considering the briefing process of these eleven design projects, the main steps for brief making for circular design were identified including the objectives, selection of industry partner, detailing and aspirations of clients. Initially, the paper will outline how design briefs changed throughout the consecutive internships and for different kinds and scales of projects. Then, it will discuss their differences in terms of facilitating the design process through the field notes and observations of the internship supervisors. As a result, suggestions on how to develop design briefs for the circular economy will be presented. Although it is not possible to design a brief template applicable to all kinds of projects, the outcomes of this paper will be used to develop a guide for preparing design briefs for the circular economy.