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adidas re-act

SERVICE DESIGN  |  Design for the Future of Sport

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Inaya is a care service that acts as a platform for patients going through healthcare, offering both physical and digital toolkits to incorporate celebration into their journey and facilitating human behaviour change. 

In Arabic, inaya means to Care for someone.

We decided to focus specifically on celebration because as a team, we’ve seen & experienced it first hand by our relatives going through the healthcare process. For inaya, celebration doesn’t have to be big or shouty - it can be as simple as having cookies and coffee after a chemo session, or eating your favourite food or taking a fresh walk outside. And as inaya, we believe so much in the power of these small celebrations to have a huge impact on the treatment process.

Brief

How might we at adidas deliver a circular experience by 2025 that is authentic, credible and inclusive in supporting athletes’ goals and needs?

Can you help us develop and imagine a circular future for our brand that speaks to our current three strategic pillars of focus and prepares us for the world of the future?

Background
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adidas acknowledged that plastic waste is a problem and its environmental damage has reached a critical level. Their existing 3 loop loops strategy brings attention on using recycled materials, ensuring they are circular, and wherever this is not possible, ensuring the regenerative materials can be returned to nature with minimal environmental harm.

Adidas has committed to
reducing carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and removing virgin plastic by 2024. They also aspire to motivate consumer behavior in sustainability by 2025.

Approach
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The project took an iterative and exploratory approach.
 

The first half explored the problem space and involved various methods of conducting research such as shadowing, indepth- interviews, surveys including visits to museums and sports events. The second half explored the solution and involved tested our hypothesis through rapid prototyping techniques to develop and detail the service. 

Insights
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In terms of sustainability, adidas has been very active with their “own the game” strategy to reduce carbon footprint and other environmental impact created by their products. Although there is a lot of investment in sourcing raw material, manufacturing tools and techniques and reducing impact in the supply chain, we realized that there is little or nothing done to understand the end-of-life of products after their sale. This October 2021, adidas launched the Thredup initiative that encourages people to ship back what they don’t require anymore

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We realised that there was an evident lack of involvement of the brand with the community when it came to meeting sustainability objectives.

 

For adidas to be truly sustainable it would need to go beyond itself, its products and engage with the wider ecosystem in a meaningful way, or maybe even create the infrastructure if that is required. At the same time, it was essential to understand how to motivate consumers to adopt sustainable habits. It became evident that adidas can’t influence or change behaviours without making sustainability more inclusive, visible, accessible and doable.

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We studied consumption patterns and trends in developed vs developing nations, Research showed that the lifespan of products in developing countries was far longer than in developed nations before it is discarded. It became evident why developed countries produced the most textile waste globally, also making us question how their practices could be incorporated in developing nations.

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Going further in-depth, making maximum use of that which is already manufactured has proven to be the most sustainable practice. It limits the creation of more waste, loss of material and energy consumed to remanufacture what is already existing.

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We questioned why people did not get rid of shoes they no longer wore if they had any favourites and what made them special, how they imagine the end of life for them.

We realized that emotional attachments were the biggest faction for people to actively keep wearing. This emotional attachment was not related to the comfort or the look of the shoe but more importantly associated memories with it such as their first salary, a project they worked on, events they attended or even a victory.

If we enable customers to engage with the products in a way that their attachment to the product increases, there will be a higher chance of them not discarding the product that quickly, purchase less and possibly extend the life of their belongings

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adidas re-act. A physical space that helps adidas make visible to its customers their sustainability initiatives by offering concrete and actionable methods to delay the end-of-life for their product offering, in turn redefining the meaning of sustainability for their customers.

By
empowering customers to become agents of change and providing a physical platform to engage with it aims to change the way customers interact with products they own and transform customer behaviour and mindset towards what it means to be truly sustainable, unlike other brands that are believed to be greenwashing their customers about their sustainability initiatives.

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Testing Service Verticals
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We realized that the service required some form of incentives to engage people with the service.

 

Their choice of service heavily depended on the product and its condition, but it reduced their likelihood of a new purchase by upto 30% if they were satisfied with the service adidas was providing.

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Customer Segment
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We  identified 4 customer groups during our research who have different needs and challenges to buying sustainably. On the left we have Wensi and Amira, if buying less was a sustainable objective both would struggle with limiting the urge to buy every season. Whilst for Francso, who buys sustainably-made products and Samuel on the bottom right, who buys second-hand  products, claims of sustainability would need to be proven, for either could part with any money. 

 

It became evident that different parts of our service targets different customer groups. However, by adidas providing support to their customers, they would have the ability to change consumer mindsets based on their needs and requirements.

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Re-act adds value to not only to adidas and its customers but also the community at large. By making an accessible, doable and inclusive service, it makes visible the impact of their initiatives and empowers people to contribute to the planet.

 

Moreover, it supports the ThredUp service for adidas by ensuring a higher return of their products while aligning with the ‘own the game’ strategy that drives innovation. Longevity and inclusivity increase the reach of the brand to a larger audience and leverages the brands influence to redefine the meaning of sustainability in the sports industry

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While setting up the service could mean high infrastructure and logistics costs, being embedded in the existing ecosystem saves massively and optimize on existing resources such as off-cuts from production, the physical space and the development of the app. Adidas would own their revenue through increased brand engagement and reach and the services that re-act offers however it is unclear about its influence on the sales of new products.

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Reflection

As I continue to develop this project further, our key focus includes:

  • Continue to test and validate the journal and its activities to get more feedback

  • Develop a robust business plan

  • Test for impact

  • Develop the digital platform for inaya

  • Develop the inaya community and its working

Learning

Be sensitive

Empathy for the users, especially when dealing with sensitive topics is crucial. The choice of the design methods, attention to detail, being well informed and being patiently

Notice carefully

Often what a user says, and what they actually do, are really different and noticing them gives you the greatest insights

 

Understand your client

While pitching the project to a client, it is essential to understand their business goals, objectives and values; then align with them to create an impact