Developing The People’s Design Lab

Aim: The People’s Design Lab aim is to create a collaborative design team made up of members of the public to come together to tackle the issue of bad design and production of waste. It provides an independant feedback loop to manufacturers and utilises the support of experts to generate solutions to design out waste with the community.

ThePDL LOGOSummary: The Peoples Design Lab was initially launched in 2013 as part of Nesta’s Waste Reduction Challenge and developed by Cwm Harry alongside an advisory panel. It’s initial roots stem from a self movement in Capanonori Italy and a community in wales.

It believes that  “We all have the capacity & power to rethink, redesign and create for good” Facilitating and connecting to think, act and create to reduce our waste! It builds citizen engagement in sustainable design and constructive open dialogues between policy makers, businesses and academics to support translating their words and thoughts into actions. 

The Peoples Design Lab lets citizens create their own brief, supporting them to identify and bring together their concerns on wasteful products. It allows their agenda to be in lead, their views to be uncensored and through providing a supportive platform on the ground and online enables them to formulate their ideas to take shape.


Outcome: During the initial pilot hundreds of people were engaged online, on the ground and across 3 workshops held across England. These brought together members of community groups, design students, academics, and sector experts to rethink and redesign nominated products. This was all captured in a final report to Nesta. The redesigns highlighted the issues around product design and that sometimes the best route for change may not be just simply redesigning the physical product but engagement in standards, awareness campaigns, software or recycling systems.

Role: Initially as part of the advisory panel for waste and design, I am now supporting in developing a new strategy and framework for a Peoples Design Lab hub in the UK and alongside this advising and supporting the launch of it as a European wide project with Zero Waste Europe


Please get in touch if interested or to find out more!