Session 7

BREAKING OUT THE SILOS! Engineering is an art – Novel perspectives in Circular Economy
Nani Pajunen1, Riikka Mäkikoskela2
1Program from Aalto University to Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, Finland; 2Aalto University School of Arts, Finland

The present state of environment has been achieved by acting rationally and linearly. Environmental improvements have been promoted in the same way. However, the traditional, rational and linear thinking has not worked in order to achieve significant change towards sustainability. The transition towards circular economy cannot be made the same linear way that we have used to, trusting only a market economy and economic growth. We claim, that the biggest obstacle to change is the silos, the social structure, in which each sector operates separately and intersectoral collaboration is limited.
Industry is facing significant change, from process related environmental thinking to material and product-based environmental thinking. Engineers, especially material engineers, have an important role to play in the transition towards sustainability with the decisions which have lifelong influence and even longer on environment and society (Pajunen, 2015). But engineers cannot solve this challenge by themselves. We need all the experts of the different fields of the society together fight back the current economy based on overusing and wasting natural resources.
In this study, we break out the silos. We combine two disciplines, engineering science and fine arts to promote sustainability and circular economy. We bring the cyclic artistic thinking into engineering science and environmental research. We have tested the working method in the case study with the sandwich panel of construction industry. The study was carried out in the three workshops and two of them with the method of artistic research (Mäkikoskela, 2015). The new research combination makes the existing information visible in a new way, targeting to change attitudes and ways to act by means other than traditional linear rationality. In this paper, we present reflections and reactions of this approach.