Every regenerative product or service is born from a process of analysis and identification of the type of solution that we intend to offer. Many times, we have stalled along the way, have it not happened to you? What do we do at that time? To help you, I have made a compilation of 10 key aspects to take in consideration, when developing a product or service under a regenerative concept.
1. What’s the problem? What issue have you identified? For example: Excessive consumption of plastics, loss of marine biodiversity, pollution of rivers, etc.
2. What solution can you offer? What kind of solution will you offer with your product or service? What type of regenerative impact are you delivering (social, cultural, environmental, or economic)? Who are the main stakeholders?, being our Planet and Society, the main participants.
3. Who are your clients? Who will be your clients? Here, you must describe in detail the characteristics of your Buyer Persona (Profile of your Target Customer). What are their interests, their concerns? What places do they frequent? What kind of digital tools do they use to choose a product or service, which influencers or references in Regenerative Fashion do they admire?
4. Who are your competitors? With the current globalization, we currently compete with global brands, therefore, the competitive advantage must be closely connected to the regenerative value proposal that you offer. In this link, you can find some key tools to be able to carry out the evaluation of your competition. Take in consideration that a good start will be looking for market research reports like Statista, OMS, World Economic Forum among others related to our now days digital ecosystems.
Remember that in addition to evaluating what fraction of the market they lead, you must analyze how they are managing their strategic, operational and support processes.
5. Strategy of the Regenerative Product or Service: Here it is important to carry out an evaluation of the environment with a SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), PESTEL (political, economic, social, technological, ecological and legal environment, Porter Force Analysis, analysis of organizational capabilities the 7s and define if we choose to compete in an environment of high competition (RED) or BLUE ocean scenarios (minimal or no competition).
6. Define Key Processes: in the fashion sector are Research and Development, Concept and Storytelling of the product or service, but very essential is prototyping where we can quickly design, manufacture, and test the level of success of the new product or service and in addition to its final cost. One quote that resumes this part is: “Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.” — Robert L. Peters, designer and author.
7. Design and Concept: At this stage of the development of the concept and idea, agile and systematic ideation tools such as Brainstorming and Mind Maps come into play, as for the product development phase, tools such as Design Thinking, Design Tools such as Rhinoceros, Adobe XD, Sketch, Fusion 360 and others. Also type of digital technology that will be used for its fabrication such as laser cutting and engraving, 3D printing, milling, embroidery and digital fabric are used for prototyping and final manufacturing.
Finally, once the prototype has been validated, the production and marketing of the product proceeds. It should be noted that in this last part the marketing channels are today online, and marketing goes hand in hand with the development of a Digital Marketing strategy.
8. Selection of Technologies and Materials: This process is key because it will define the level of quality and alignment of the final product or service with the needs of the consumer. On the other hand, it will define the level of environmental, social, and cultural impact of the same. In this process, we will ask ourselves the following questions: Is the final product compostable? Is it biodegradable? What is the average lifetime of the product? What is the carbon footprint of your production? Estimated production time? Machine Hours, Man Hours; etc.
9. Costing, Financing and Production: After carrying out a detailed costing of the materials, labor, marketing and distribution expenses, production and administration, the correct thing to do is to carry out an economic and financial analysis of the product or service generated under 3 scenarios: the optimist, conservative and pessimist. Very important, define the percentage that can be financed with own resources and the percentage that will have to be financed by incubators, financial entities or subsidized by the State, if applicable.
10. Control and Monitoring: Here we analyze the results through an analysis of financial indicators, sales, production, quality, sustainability, social responsibility and very important the results of the surveys of our clients, because in the end it is about to determine whether our value proposition is meaningful to our customers and why.
It should be noted that aspects 1 to 6 generally correspond to the strategic processes during the generation of products and services, and that processes 6 to 10 correspond to the operational and support ones.
Conclusion, if you are in the process of developing a new product or service, the starting point is the problem or “pain point” identified (the need) and once the proposed solution has been validated through the prototyping process, you will be able to make your proposal of value is scalable through the development of steps 7 to 10. Another aspect to consider is that not all tools work for all projects, so the journey consists of identifying which ones really complement and will accompany you on your journey as a creator, researcher, bio manufacturer or/and entrepreneur.
The main (bio)material we used for our latest Bio Uncu Maker is based on Agar agar, a gelatinous substance made with an extract of red algae abundant on the Pacific coast of Peru and Chile.
Did you know that this biomaterial is biocompatible with human skin? And the fact that this considerably reduces the probability of an allergic reaction occurring?
Another amazing fact is that Agar agar bioplastics affect touch capacitive screens! Amazing, right?!
Our research and development process began with the generation of the biomaterial, which brought us many lessons learned that we want to share with our future bio makers:
Tip 1: Agar agar’s Powder form dissolves faster and more evenly
Agar is available in three different formats (bars, granules, and powder). Because agar needs to be heated to 90°C to dissolve properly in liquid, the powdered form is easiest to work with. If you are using bars or flakes, we suggest you break them into a powder first, using a coffee or spice grinder. The powder form dissolves faster and more evenly.
Tip 2: Start with a basic recipe and then try different combinations of Agar agar, Glycerine and Distilled water.
An additional thing to know is that a bioplastic made with Agar agar may ‘sweat’ when in humid weather. To prevent this, you may add a little bit of corn starch (corn flour) with Agar agar into the liquid that you are cooking it in.
There are many recipes, but you start your journey with those ingredients that you can find in your community or closest ecosystem, but also keep in mind what type of possible applications of your new biomaterial you can explore and validate further.
Tip 3: Check Ph of liquids vehicle and natural dyes
If you’re going to add some natural dyes, the best way to include them in your recipe is to add them at the end of the cooking process. In addition, it is very important that you monitor the level of pH of the liquid solution because Agar agar is sensible to acid pH levels and to the concentration of Calcium in the solution. Therefore for all your liquid ingredients make sure you always use filtered water.
Take in consideration that some natural colors can be thermosensitive (Spiruline and beet for example), therefore you must add them at the very end of your cooking process to prevent any fading.
Tip 4: Documentation and Registration of your Bioplastic Journey
This is key for documenting all the lessons learned during your bio-making journey. Excel sheets can help at the beginning for effectively following up a sample’s progress. Don’t forget to include photos. All the morphological transformations will be key for identifying each resulting biomaterial’s possible applications: rugosity, transparency, brightness, flexibility, hardness and density.
Tip 5: Natural dyes preparation
Colour’s selection depends on the concept of your bio project. But here you can find some very useful guidelines for preparing your natural dyes. For example, for our Bio Uncu project we decided to go for an Andean Palette of Colours made with Purple Corn and Annatto.
Tip 6: Bubbling control and heating
Having in mind Agar agar bioplastics cool quickly, it is very important to control bubbling before pouring the mixture into the molds. You can stir the bubbles with a spoon or pass the hot mixture through a colander. If you want to remove them in a professional manner, there is specialized equipment for it called Vacuum Bubble Removers.
Another very important method is by controlling the temperature of your preparation, just make sure it does not exceed the 90-95 Celsius degrees.
Tip 7: Surfaces of molds
Ideal surfaces for Agar agar bioplastics are glass, textiles with high thread counts of 250 or more and high-density textiles. It will depend on the type of transparency and texture you would like to accomplish.
Tip 8: Cooking Time and Volume
Cooking time will depend on the volume of your mixture. For samples between 300ml to 500ml the cooking time over moderate heat is approximately 30min and for volumes greater than 500ml the ideal cooking time is 40 to 45min. Do not forget to control the temperature and shake the mixture continuously to avoid the formation of lumps.
Tip 9: How to make an Agar agar bioplastic stronger
Researchers at Tuskegee University in Alabama found that adding nanoparticles made of eggshells to bioplastic increases the strength and flexibility of the material, potentially making it more attractive for use in the packaging industry.
You may experiment with adding other additives (fibers, organic waste; etc) that will make your samples more tough and resistant.
Tip 10: The drying and testing process
Agar agar bioplastics shrink a lot in size and thickness over time, and if left in a mold where it’s connected to wooden edges, will form cracks in the center. So, make sure to cut the agar free from the edges of the mold after the first 24 hours of setting.
Wait and dry, typically 2-4 days before you remove your samples from the mold. The morphologic and biomechanical tests of your samples must be done after the second week though.
One very important thing is to let the samples dry in a well ventilated, insulated and dry environment to prevent the samples from mold.
I hope these tips will be useful for you as a good starting point for your journey as future bio makers!
Is sustainable design enough nowadays, is it a part of the solution? Or a part of the main misconception problem?
While aSustainable Design seeks to reduce negative impacts of the environment, and the health and safety of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimise waste, and create healthy, productive environments. Its main approach is to eliminate and reduce potential negative impacts in the future of society and the environment.
The term “regenerative” describes processes that restore, renew or revitalise their own sources of energy and materials (ecosystems). Regenerative design uses whole systems thinking to create resilient and equitable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature.
Therefore, any technical, social and perceptual innovation can be achieved by applying a Regenerative Design approach, because it is more integral and responds to our nowadays needs which not only look for eliminating and reducing negative impacts, but for restoring all existing damages too.
vation, a result of a co-creation project where designers propose projects with food scraps using artisanal techniques and digital fabrication. They collaborate with agents from Poblenou’s neighbourhood in Barcelona to promote a local circular economy ecosystem.
So, which other regenerative brands, initiatives or projects do you know?
Carol Sanford, author of The Regenerative Business and director of Carol Sanford Institute.
World Economic Forum: Regenerative business: a roadmap for rapid change.
What is Regenerative Tourism? How is connected with Regenerative Fashion?
It is always good to disconnect, unlearn to continue learning, reconnect with nature, but above all to observe and respect her, because she is the best teacher.
Tourism has been one of the sectors most affected by the current Pandemic, but you know what? Regenerative Tourism (Textile Routes, Gastronomic Routes, Yoga and Meditation Retreats, Rural and Community Tourism for example) can be the key to economic reactivation with a positive and exponential impact.
Do you know what is Regenerative Tourism? How can we get together tourism and fashion for developing a Regeneerative Tourism Experience?
1. According the New York Times article called: “Move Over, Sustainable Travel. Regenerative Travel Has Arrived” Regenerative Travel/Tourism is “leaving a place better than you found it.”
2. Sustainable Tourism aims to counterbalance the social and environmental impacts associated with travel. But any Regenerative Tourism Initiative aims for socio-economic, cultural and environmental wellfare.
3. Regenerative Tourism is a group of economic or recreational activities that we do in a Regenerative Fashion.
4. Regenerative Fashion Experiences are part of a regenerative culture, where ancestral good practices of farming, weaving, embroidery, pottery, painting, dying among other artistic expressions are learned, respected and preserved, while its ecosystem of development is well maintained and culturally, socially, economically and environmentally regenerated.
5- Three characteristics of a Regenerative Tourism Experience will be:
Awareness Tour Groups must be managed properly to make sure that Regenerative Awareness is guaranteed.
Educational and Collab Experiences, instead of visiting attractions in a certain natural area, make sure all stakeholders involved (authorities, tour operators, communities, tourists and others) understand the importance of preserving and regenerating those natural areas by generating activities where tourist are introduced into the best ancestral practices of farming, arts and crafts, medicine and why not cooking.
Effective, clear and concise Waste Management, Eco Efficiency and HSE Procedures.
So, Tell Us, how can you start a Regenerative Toursim Initiative in your community? How can we monitor a Regenerative Fashion Innovation Impact then?
Sources: – What is regenerative tourism? And how should we deliver it? https://bit.ly/3ijkbav – In Bali, locals are turning from tourism to seaweed farming | UpLink https://bit.ly/3wJ4JJL
Another of the materials of the Peruvian jungle is an aerial root known as ¨Tamshi”. With this fiber, baskets, brooms and baskets are made. In turn, the Tamshi is also used to join the logs in the construction of huts for the communities. Similarly, there is the fiber of the Chambira palm, used by the Yaguas tribe to make clothing, hammocks, bags and fishing nets.
The vegetable fiber of “Tamshi” plays an important role in the life of the rural population of the Peruvian Amazon, since it is common in the construction of houses, household utensils and handicrafts; however, very few are aware of the need for its preservation and management. Due to excessive use, the species is seriously threatened; However, with proper management, it can contribute to generating economic income and preserving the Amazonian tropical forests.
The name “Tamshi” is assigned to a group of plant fiber species, such as “Wire Tamshi” (Heteropsis linearis, Kunth), “Cow Tamshi” (Heteropsis oblongifolia, Smith), “Huasi Tamshi” (Heteropsis spp.), ” Tamshi Lamas “(Heteropsis spp.),” Tamshi Basket “(Thoracocarpus bissectus (Vell.) Harling), and others. These species have in common being hemi epiphytes with long, cylindrical, wire-like roots that hang or are attached to the trunks of trees over 20 meters high in primary forests.
The “Tamshies” are native species of the Amazonian forests climax or in apogee, they are not in secondary forests. Tamshies are non-timber forest products, they have multiple uses and applications. In rural areas it is an important construction material that replaces wire and is used as a tie material to hold “beams”, for example.
It is highly resistant to the attack of fungi and insects. Its use is also common in the weaving of baskets, mats, beds, hats, and other utensils and fishing materials. The “tamshies” depending on the thickness and characteristics of the species, are also used in the construction of fences for the protection of animals, assembly of beds in replacement of bed bases, lines to dry clothes and as raw material for the manufacture of handicrafts in different communities native. In urban areas it is also widely used in the manufacture of furniture, as it perfectly replaces the well-known wicker fiber.
Currently, the pressure exerted on this resource forces rural inhabitants to look for these species in areas increasingly distant from the traditional centers of production, becoming increasingly scarce and rare. However, in this situation, very little is known about the basic aspects of its taxonomy, biology, ecology and physical and mechanical characteristics.
In Peru and neighboring countries, inventories of abundance in non-intervened forests in neighboring countries have been reviewed, as well as the results of the inventory carried out in the Palma Real Native Community and the experiences in making handicrafts, using Tamshi as raw material.
A clear example of good practices for the use of this natural fiber is that developed by the artisans of the Palma Real Native Community in Madre de Dios, since they have developed habits of use that allow the sustainability of the resource. This is an empirically learned management, which has been transmitted from generation to generation. Other native communities that we can mention are the native communities of Nanay in Loreto and Puerto Esperanza of the Asheninka ethnic group in Ucayali.
IAAP Tamshi: Otro producto no maderable de los bosques amazónicos con importancia económica: https://bit.ly/3apXL52
Biomimicry is one of the main innovative approaches that is currently used for sustainable fashion design. There is a rapidly growing demand for an effective sustainable design approach in fashion, architecture among other industries, and without compromising the needs of future generations, but very few have proven effectiveness at a macro scale. This is because innovative biomimicry is still an emerging discipline in a development phase. So how upcoming technologic innovations are being inspired by nature and developing the “new normality garments and accessories”?
Shielding Technology inspired by Nature
Over thousands of years, nature and animals have continuously evolved to overcome challenges and adapt to everchanging environments. Here are two good examples: Goldenberry‘s calyx is a great example of the amazing natural shielding properties. If Goldenberry’s fruit is left inside the intact calyx’s husks, then fruit’s shelf life at room temperature can last up to 45 days, maintaining its firmness, acidity, lower ethylene production, less weight loss. The calyx is definitely inedible. A second example is melanized fungi, since It has been demonstrated that it exhibits protection against ionizing radiation and the protective effect of melanin can be transferred to organisms that do not produce the pigment.
Additionally, there are inspiring technologies that will affect our everyday lives like Camouflaging Material’s inspired by the Octopus’ skin and Adhesion Systems based on Gecko’s gravity defying grip.
All above demostrates that biomimicry applied into sustainable design will soon deliver a new generation of products and services that are changing the way we interact each other and with our ecosystems during this “New Normality” post Covid19 context.
New Normality of Fashion Garments and Accesories
According to WGSN Future Consumer 2022 Report, the COVID19 pandemic is the biggest global driver of change seen for a long time, resulting in the evolution of numerous consumer attitudes. Therefore, most sectors are being pushed to adapt, as we are faced with a reality that demands from people and businesses alike flexibility, resilience and mostly creativity.
Another market research institution Opinno revealed, that if any business aims to adapt to the new “normality”, then they must become agile sustainable innovators and continuously co-create with clients. One of the 10 trends that has been mentioned is Social Hypochondria: Wellness, Health and Hygiene. For this reason future technologic revolutions like quantified people, assisted diagnosis, personalized treatments, telemedicine and wearables are getting more relevance.
There are many advances applied into the fashion industry looking for delivering clothing with enhanced skin functions, such as shielding towards different external hazards, sensation, thermal regulation and absorption of vitamin D. For instance, textiles made with bioplastics, bioluminescence bacteria, nanofibers and biosensors, complemented with coded sensors have set the minimum base for the future smart clothing.
Therefore, since there is a growing need for fashion garments and accessories, that work with nature to create a regenerative ecosystem at all levels, then designers must become more loving, aware, respectful with nature for a more sustainable future.
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