Author Archives: Ben Anderson

Circular economy is about growth, not guilt

IMG_0532Ben Anderson, a designer from Louisiana, USA, has won a place on Bradford University School of Management’s pioneering Innovation and Enterprise for a Circular Economy MBA after winning through a contest at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Disruptive Innovation Festival. Here he shares his thoughts on the festival and the circular economy movement.

I’m a product designer and I had started to develop a real interest in the circular economy concept, both professionally and as a consumer, and when I heard about the Ellen McArthur Foundation’s Disruptive Innovation Festival I jumped at the chance to get involved.

I was really interested in seeing how I could apply circular economy thinking to my role and decided to get involved in as many sessions as I could. The one that really stood out was the Bradford University School of Management’s Higher Learning Group which offered extra content to the festival and was a great opportunity to connect with people on the same page and share ideas.

That group hosted a few challenges and one of those was to do a presentation on what the circular economy means to the average consumer. It was a challenge I relished tackling and, as a result, I won a place on the MBA.

I’m not sure where the MBA will lead me, but it will be great to learn from the experts and pioneers. I’m really looking forward to getting insights from the innovators and being part of a community where I can share ideas and join discussions with like-minded others.

Circular economy thinking

I’m fascinated by circular economy thinking and about the idea of sustainable design and taking responsibility for the life of a product. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is at the forefront of thinking on this topic and the festival introduced me to some fantastic new ideas.

The presentation was a lot of work but it was great to think about how I can influence others and then live as sustainably as possible through circular economy thinking. I want to be able to help businesses and designers to understand and buy into the circular economy.

Companies need to take responsibility and they need to redesign the whole system for a long-term and sustainable view.

The great thing about the circular economy is that it’s different from the sustainability agenda. The circular economy is optimistic and encourages companies to grow and increase profitability. It’s hopeful and ambitious, rather than just saying slow down.

The circular economy is something to get excited about rather than feel guilty about and that’s fantastic for businesses and consumers alike.

A sustainable future

I benefited from the DiF in more ways than I can tell, and the Bradford learning group really compounded that experience. I enjoyed connecting with lecturers and participants, and look forward to more of that with the MBA program.

I’m very open about the MBA. I just want to go along in this direction and see where it leads. The fact that it’s an MBA from Bradford also means it will make a big difference in helping me move my career more towards the circular economy.

I’m really blown away by this scholarship and I promise it won’t be wasted. My hope is to take the value of this program and multiply it out in the world.