The Great Recovery is a project run by the RSA and supported by Innovate UK. It looks at the challenges of waste and the opportunities of a circular economy through the lens of design.

We question the systems of ‘take, make, waste’ manufacturing and provide practical, design-led solutions through our programme of events, resources and publications. Our aim is to pursue a more circular economy, and we explore challenges, investigate innovation gaps and incubate new partnerships in pursuit of this goal.

Our current linear model of manufacturing is throwing up major economic and environmental challenges. Risk to our supply chain is increasing, and the cost of materials is rising sharply, putting pressure on businesses to change. We need to shift towards more circular systems and good design thinking is pivotal to this transition.

In order to make this shift, designers need to consider the system as a whole rather than focus on individual components or products. True co-creation is crucial from those involved in these lifecycles: designers and material experts, manufacturers and resource managers, brands and retailers, consumers, policy makers and government, investors and academics all working together. 

In September 2014, The RSA Great Recovery opened its Innovation Hub at Fab Lab London. This provides a neutral space where all disciplines in the circular network can learn from each other and create practical initiatives which move us towards a circular economy.