More than 20 years of experience on research and higher education about Design and System Innovation for Sustainability

The Lab

LeNSlab is a Research Lab coordinated by Professor Carlo Vezzoli, active within the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano university for more than twenty years, working with research and educational activities focused on design and system innovation for sustainability.

The LeNS Network

LeNSlab is part of the Learning Network on Sustainability, an international network of Higher Education Institutions aimed at the development and the diffusion of the design for sustainability discipline in worldwide research agenda and curricula with a multipolar, open access ethos.

LeNSLab team is composed of professors and researchers from the Design Department of Politenico di Milano, coming from the product, fashion, communication and product-service system design areas.

News

LeNSlab Polimi

Design Department
Politecnico di Milano
Via Candiani, 38/A – 20158 Milano
tel: +39 02 2399 7203

 

LeNSin – the International Learning Network of networks on Sustainability

2015-2019

Promoter and coordination of the EU-supported (ERASMUS+) project.


Multipolar and open network of networks for curricula development on Design for Sustainability, focused on Sustainable Product-Service Systems (S.PSS) applied to Distributed Economies (DE), funded by the European Union Erasums+ program (multiregional with 36 universities as partners and associate partners from Mexico, Brasil, South Africa, India, China and in Europe UK, Finland, The Netherlands, and Italy).

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LeNSes – the Learning Network on Sustainable energy systems

2013-2016

Promoter and coordination for the international research.


Multi-polar and open network for curricula and lifelong learning capacity development on System Design for Sustainable Energy for All (SD4SEA) focused on Sustainable Product-Service System applied to Distributed Renewable Energies (DRE), funded by the European Union Edulink program (bi-regional with Africa).

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Sustainability Maker

2012-2015

National coordinator for the international research, funded by the European Union Life+ program.


The Sustainability Maker project, promotes open innovation, crowd-sourcing, crowd-voting, crowd-funding platforms, and an online marketplace for Sustainable Solutions (www.sustainabilitymaker.org – www.innonatives.com). The platform combines a website and mobile application, to connect people who have identified sustainability-related problems with those who like to help to develop creative problem-solving solutions and support their implementation.

The SuM project has published on the platform several Design Challenges related to climate change, energy, resource efficiency, water, food, and agriculture/land use, urban environment, waste, and recycling; and encourages the innovation community of the Sustainability Maker platform to develop solutions to solve these problems. The ideas/concepts/solutions submitted are voted by the crowd (crowd-voting) and sustainability experts. The best solution(s) can be implemented either by the external actors who formulated the challenge or by other members of the platform and additional stakeholders (e.g. crowd-funding).

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TANGO – Towards A New interGenerational Openness, Project

2011-2013

National coordination for the international research funded by the European Union Culture program.


In this European level culture project, contemporary, sustainable and accessible design meets different European audiences of different age groups. The project brings forth issues of creativity, social design, and sustainability, and promotes intergenerational dialogue in three European countries: Finland, France, and Italy. The project explores different forms of sustainable design and how users, consumers, and audiences of different ages perceive them. One of the main results of the project is traveling exhibitions named TANGO, aiming at being a lab and a window to diffuse sustainable innovations.

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LeNS – the Learning Network on Sustainability

2007-2010

Promoter and coordinator of the international research, funded by the European Union Asia Links program, EuropAid, bioregional with Asia.


The Learning Network on Sustainability – LeNS is a 3 years project, involving 7 design schools in Europe and Asia, to develop an Asian-European multi-polar network for curricula development on Design for Sustainability focused on Product-Service System and to contribute to curriculum development, in a reciprocal understanding of cultures, by promoting a new generation of designers (and design educators) capable to effectively contribute to a transition towards a sustainable society.

LeNS promotes a new shared and articulated disciplinary ground on Design for Sustainability focused on Product-Service System, through a series of exchange activities and pilot courses at the partner institutions. LeNS has produced an open learning e-package, a modular package of teaching materials (texts, slide shows, audio, video, etc.) and tools for designers that design educators worldwide are able to download (free of charge), modify/remix and reuse (copyleft).

LeNS also promotes diffusion activities targeting the design community worldwide. As a project spin-off, the following affiliated HEIs network was established: LeNS Africa, LeNS South America, LeNS Central America, LeNS Oceania, LeNS German Speaking Languages, LeNS China, and LeNS India.

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SCORE! – Sustainable Consumption Research Exchanges

2005-2008

Coordinator of the design area for the international research, funded by the European Union, 6° Framework program.


Sustainable consumption and production (SCP) is key policy priority world-wide. In our view, sustainable consumption and production structures can only be realized if experts that understand business development, (sustainable) solution design, consumer behavior and effectiveness of (policy) instruments work together in shaping them. Furthermore, this should be linked with the experiences of actors (industry, consumer groups, ecolabelling organizations) in real-life consumption areas.

Since in the EU a network with these characteristics is absent, this project sets up a Co-ordination action on SCP, emphasizing “user awareness” for sustainable consumption, involving key expertise covering all relevant steps of the value chain in the priority consumption domain s Mobility, Agro-Food, and Energy/electronics. These domains contribute to over 70% of the life cycle impacts of household consumption, are a priority in the EU's Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP), and give good examples of user awareness schemes (e.g. labeling).

The CA is organized around a series of Workshops and Conferences. The first workshop will provide a general exchange of views. The second phase of the project gives sustainable consumption cases in the domains center stage. These are used as vehicles for a positive confrontation of insights from different science fields, leading to true best practice generation, suggestions for implementation of user awareness approaches, research programming, and development of conceptual insights. The science and consumption domains are covered by 8 WP leaders and 21 Participants and will involve a much larger community of SCP experts from industry, government, and science. A close liaison with UNEP, promoting a 10 Year Framework of Programs on SCP will be organized. Finally, the CA should have to build a permanent, self-supporting research network in this field.

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System design for sustainable pilot project

2007-2008

Coordinator of the design area for the research.


Focused on the development of System design for a sustainable pilot project aiming at an introduction of locally-based and long-lasting mobility system for low-income contexts in Africa, within the international research Global UNIDO Network of University Chairs on Innovation, involving some African and some European universities (among which the Politecnico di Milano).

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MEPPS. Product Service Systems Methodology – Development of a toolkit for industry.

2001-2004

Coordination of the design area for the international research, coordinated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), funded by the European Union, 5° Framework program.


The aim of this project was to develop an integrated methodology for the design of sustainable Product Service Systems (PSS), starting from three main thematic areas:

– PSS design (scenario development and sustainable PSS design)

– Assessment of environmental impacts (impact on micro, meso, and macro level)

– Success and failure factors (consumer acceptance, culture, and ethics)

These diverse approaches are converged in a unique methodology. The application of a common language as well as the definition of an ideal design process was crucial.

MEPSS is part of the Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme of the Fifth Framework Programme, coordinated by PricewaterhouseCoopers N.V. with eight partners and 14 subcontractors.

The dimension of this project is strictly necessary, as its strength lies in its multidisciplinarity. This allows the chance to achieve one of the principle aims of the research: the development of an integrated methodology and theory on PSS.

Every scientific group of the project will provide its contribution to the development of this integrated methodology. At the same time, all of the results will be tested by an internal peer group and applied to pilot projects by other industrial partners (part of a larger group of participants who are coordinated through MEPSS).

The project proved promising because of its approach and because of the concreteness of the expected results, which were possible thanks to the direct application of the results and to the test of the set of tools and methods through pilot projects. All of the project participants agreed that the complexity of the problems raised from environmental degradation can be faced only through a complex approach made up of many different contributions. Communication among diverse disciplines is only possible through a common language and the overcoming of diverging purposes (industrial and private needs vs. social and public problems).

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The UNEP ecodesign guidance package

2004

National coordinator for the international research, funded by the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP).


Preparation of the UNEP ecodesign guidance package: modules on Product Service Systems (PSS) and a module on internal communications.

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Product-Service Systems and Sustainability

2001-2002

Coordinator for the international research, funded by the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP).


Product-Service Systems and Sustainability, Orienting an ongoing trend towards sustainable solutions

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Strategies towards the Sustainable Household

1998-2000

National and clothing care area coordinator for the international research, funded by the European Union, Environment and Climate program.


SusHouse is concerned with developing and evaluating scenarios for transitions to sustainable households. It focuses on ‘Shopping, Cooking and Eating’,’Clothing Care’ and ‘Shelter’. The project was carried out by six research teams from five countries – Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom – from January 1998 to June 2000. It was funded by the European Union (Environment and Climate Research Programme Theme 4: on Human Dimensions of Environmental Change, ENV-CT97-0046).

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Competitiveness and Sustainability: Synergies and opportunities

1998

Contribution to the international research.


System innovation and new business Idea, for the preparation of the 5° Framework program, coordinated by the CIR.IS research Centre of the DITec department of the Politecnico di Milano, funded by the European Union.

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EXPRES: Extended Producer Responsability for Complex Product.

1995-1996

Contribution to the international research.


Research Analysis of the Socio-Economic and Technical Implication of Devising and Implementing a Policy on this Principle, funded by the European Union.

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Sole, vento, acqua, vegetazione e tecnologia avanzata quali matrici di un nuovo approccio progettuale al territorio, architettura e disegno industriale

2005-2007


Co-coordinator of the strategic design area for the national (italian) research, Sole, vento, acqua, vegetazione e tecnologia avanzata quali matrici di un nuovo approccio progettuale al territorio, architettura e disegno industriale (Sun, wind, water, vegetation and advanced technologies as bases for a new design approach to territory, architecture, and design), coordinated by the Reserch Unit Pianificazione e progettazione urbano-architettonica INDACO dept. Politecnico di Milano, funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR).Union.

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Package of 3 software multimedia tools

1999-2003


Promoter and coordinator of the national (Italian) research, Package of 3 software multimedia tools to support didactic activities on the themes of Life Cycle Design (LCD) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): Eco.cathedra, Eco.Oficina and Eco. disco, funded by the National Environmental Protection Agency (ANPA now ISPRA).

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Network of labs for environmental requirements of industrial products

1999-2002


Promoter and coordinator of the national (Italian) research, Network of labs for environmental requirements of industrial products. Establishment of a network of coordinated University labs as centers for students and for vocational training on the discipline of environmental requirements of industrial products, funded by the National Environmental Protection Agency (ANPA now ISPRA).

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Handbook for participatory design for sustainability

1999-2001


Promoter and coordinator of the national (Italian) research, Handbook for a participatory design for sustainability, for the integration of Life Cycle Design of product and participatory design in the framework of system innovation processes, funded by the National Environmental Protection Agency (ANPA now ISPRA).

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Multimedia didactic LCD software system

1999


Promoter and coordinator of the project Multimedia didactic LCD software system. Design and implementation of a multimedia software system to support didactic activities on Life Cycle Design (LCD) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), funded by Politecnico di Milano “Young researchers” program.

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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of products, services, and systems


The goal is to identify the critical features of a specific product, or those related to a sector of the market, in order to give it an environmentally sustainable profile. The environmental impact of the product/service/system is determined considering all the processes involved with its entire life cycle. Through a Life Cycle Assessment is possible to trace its environmental footprint and its specific contribution to the environmental effects (global warming, acidification, ozone layer depletion, etc.)

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Handbook of guidelines for low environmental impact design


The goal is to provide an operative support tool for environmentally sustainable product / service / system design based upon LCD (Life Cycle Design) strategies. The handbook, containing strategies and guidelines, is a practical guide to help the person who is carrying out the project to generate sustainable ideas. After the analysis of a product/service/system and the identification of its critical features, this useful and strategic tool allows a company to have innovative ideas and organize them in order of priority and effectiveness.

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Tools for product/service/system design and assessment for sustainability


The goal is to provide tools and procedures to help companies integrating environmental requirements within their product/service/ system development process. Starting from the analysis of the existing range of products and its critical features it is in fact possible to determine the competencies to acquire, the instruments to use, and the procedures to follow in order to introduce Life Cycle Design criteria in a company’s portfolio.

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Design support for product/service/system development and innovation


The goal is to help companies to design eco-efficient products, services, and systems by giving them operative support. The assistance is intended to generate sustainable concepts but, if needed, can cover the whole design process until engineering.

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Development of sustainable design orienting scenarios


The goal is to propose innovative models of development for companies and market sectors, foreseeing potential future scenarios that are socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. Visions and clusters of potentially sustainable ideas will be suggested, evaluated, and explained in detail.

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Training courses on design for sustainability


The courses offer constantly up-to-date information for the integration of sustainability requirements in products/service/systems. The goal is to provide competencies and a set of tools specifically designed for the reality where a company operates. The modules cover the themes of product Life Cycle Design, Life Cycle Assessment, System Design for Sustainability.

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Bonaveri (mannequins)


Life Cycle Assessment of a Mannequin and manual of guidelines for the environmentally friendly design of dummies funded by Bonaveri Unipersonale srl.

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Tetra Pak (beverage packaging)


Research coordination and development of Eco-efficient scenario development and eco-efficient product-service system design concept, funded by Tetra Pak.

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Kone company (elevators)


Coordination and development of the SEED research, Elevator Sustainable Eco-Design. Elevator-specific Ecodesign guidelines/checklists, funded by Kone.

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Area Tortona lab (exhibitions/events promoter)


Development of design assumptions for tortona design week/zone Tortona sustainable island, funded by Association Tortona Area Lab.

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NECTA vending (vending machine)


LCA of a vending machine, and the development of guidelines for the environmentally friendly design of the vending machines, consultancy commissioned by NECTA Vending Solution.

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Artemide (lightening)


Supporting the planning of a lighting fixture high eco-efficiency, with preliminary Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), prioritization of intervention and follow up evaluation of environmental improvements, funded by Artemis.

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ASM Brescia company (waste treatement)


Research coordination and development of Less waste: other ways of doing things. Design of waste reduction scenarios of products from the city of Brescia, funded by ASM Brescia.

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