The green revolution
‘When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go where we've already been’ says Bruce Mau, that’s why when we were called in to design Smart Comp for ACEA – the integrated multi-utility company leader on the Italian market – we knew the process had to be our main focus. When you design something doesn’t exist, rushing to the drawing board limits you immensely.

A new approach focused on proximity.

The idea behind Smart Comp is diffused composting, ‘a new approach focused on proximity, which closes the gap between where the waste is produced and the place where it is processed. Diffused composting targets large customers (shopping malls, cafeterias, airports, stations and hotels) managing daily considerable quantities of organic waste.
Organic waste is transformed into compost where it is produced, reducing CO2 emissions, eliminating collection and processing costs.’

Citizens and users learn greener and more sustainable behaviors creating a virtuous circle.

Our task was to design the ‘mini composting plant’ that would have made all this possible.

‘equipped with sensor technology that transforms organic waste into compost on the spot, using an aerobic process producing ready-to-use fertilizer in approximately 90 days.’

Co-design for the circular economy

Instead of starting from a white intimidating sheet, fascinated by the complexity of the theme and its newness, we set up a series of design sprints and co-design workshops involving our design team, service and interaction designers, company managers, partners and users in order to design the user experience first and the machine after.

We tend to engage clients by ‘thinking for them’

As designers we tend unconsciously to engage clients and stakeholders by ‘thinking for them’. It is a possible approach, but is distancing those we design for. On the opposite side of the spectrum, engagement, through interactive participation, results in unexpected opportunities and sense of ownership.
Our human-centric process proved to be successful, for the first time a compost plant is not operated by experts but by people that know nothing about it, that are producers and consumers at the same time.