Zühlke – Empowering Ideas

Sustainable product and business model
Our Projects

Sustainable product, design and business model

A manufacturer of audio systems for children is working with Zühlke to reduce the carbon footprint of its product and develop new, future-proof business models.

Executive Summary

  • Improved carbon footprint through life cycle assessment
  • More sustainable products are more appealing to target groups and promote customer loyalty
  • Implementation of new, sustainable, future-proof business models

A more sustainable product and business model

Audio systems for children combine a child-friendly interface and selected content in innovative audio devices. With awareness of and demand for more sustainable products on the rise, Zühlke was tasked with enhancing the sustainability of the product. This meant analysing the compatibility of the existing product with ecodesign and circular economy principles, and developing ideas for new, more sustainable business models.

Life cycle assessment drives optimisation

As preparation for an initial workshop, the project team put the existing product through a life cycle assessment (LCA), with the aim of identifying the biggest environmental impacts. Zühlke and the client together ran a three day workshop which used a range of techniques to generate ideas for improving the reusability, repairability, remanufacturability and recyclability of the product. Techniques used included the circular design toolkit, brainstorming and the gallery method. To enhance the product’s circular economy credentials, workshop participants looked at the possibility of implementing a new, rental-based business model and analysed the business case.

Sustainable product and a new business model

Together with the client, Zühlke developed a range of concrete strategic options for the product and associated services. To validate the future business model, the team put together a plan to use pretotyping and a specially developed website to test whether the new concept would be appealing to customers. The approach used enabled the project to boost product sustainability and lay the foundations for new business models in the shortest possible time.