Collaboration Barriers in the Implementation of Design for Environment: Case Studies from Small and Medium UK Enterprises

By Philippe Francois Marius Radlovic and Peter Ford.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

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This paper considers product development interaction and collaboration issues in the implementation of design for environment (DfE). The research used a multiple case study methodology to investigate collaboration and relationships within product development teams. Interviews within a multiple case study research were used to identify the links between poor adoption of DfE principles, communication, collaboration and knowledge management. The study was carried out across the product development teams of twenty British small and medium sized companies. The paper presents an overview of the preliminary findings drawn from an ongoing comparative analysis of these case studies to highlight the impacts of organisational factors on DfE implementation within product development teams. It is argued that further research should focus on how knowledge acquisition and transfer within small and medium enterprises can better support the necessary collaboration in DfE.

Keywords: Design for Environment, Product Development, Collaboration, Knowledge Management, Case Study

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.1-6. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 291.674KB).

Philippe Francois Marius Radlovic

Research Assistant and PhD Candidate, School of Design, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

Research Assistant in Design for Environment, my work focus is on Environmental Supply Chains. I am also completing a PhD in “Design for Environment Collaboration” in the area of the paper proposal. My main research activities include investigating the use of Design for Environment principles in small to medium sized British companies and their supply chain. I am particularly interested in the interactions and relationship between customers, product development teams and suppliers when integrating environmental concerns in projects. I also work on European and national funded projects dealing with design and the retail industry where I train product design teams on Design for Environment and Supply Chain Collaboration Advantage. My background is in Product Design, with skill and knowledge in Environmental Management Systems and Life Cycle Management.

Prof. Peter Ford

Professor of Design, School of Design, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

My work is being drawn more and more toward the ‘effective’ knowledge transfer of the latest product design methods, techniques and thinking between the University and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within Leicestershire and the East Midlands. This work has led to a number of key DMU initiatives. These include the DMU Regional Design Unit (Design Unit), Improving Business by Design (IBD), the Resource Efficient Design (RED) Initiative and the New Product Development Centre (NPDC). This work is starting to have a significant impact on Leicestershire’s design and manufacturing economy. The local design community has benefited from the direct investment of funding in design projects and to date IBD alone is set to increase annual business turnover of the region by over £1.3 million and in so doing, the creation/retention of over 20 jobs. These activities are helping establish De Montfort University as a key player in how to effectively undertake business engagements and knowledge transfer in the context of design.