Taking the Up-cycling Challenge
You have just started your new job in a manufacturing company.  You chose to come to work for this company because they are committed to environmental protection by resized/uploaded---tiny---images---leirasokba/800/800/fipl-ce-introduction.jpginvesting in recycling and ensuring that all waste products from their production process are re-used or re-purposed.  You have met with your team manager and are being shown around the warehouse facilities as part of your employee induction to the company. While you are walking around the warehouse, you see tens of cardboard boxes stacked up in the corner, all marked ‘Compact Discs’.  You enquire about the boxes with your line manager, who explains that they were bought by a company director some years ago. There was available from a Chinese distributor where the director bought 100,000 compact discs for €1,000; however, when the CDs arrived, it emerged that they were ‘un-writable’ and they have been sitting there ever since.  The boxes are taking up valuable space in the warehouse, but in-keeping with the ethos of the company, they cannot simply be thrown away, despite the fact that they are rather useless in their current state. 
You are required to work with a small team of colleagues (up to 5) to brainstorm ways that the 10,000 compact discs could be used by your new employer.  Through these brainstorming activities, you will develop a plan to use the compact discs to either develop a new product, or to be integrated into the production process of your company.  You will then present your up-cycling solution to the directors of the company and they will vote on whether or not they think this is a feasible and valuable use of the compact discs.
1. What is up-cycling?
So what do we mean by up-cycling? When we think of up-cycling, we often think of re-using and re-purposing materials so that they are not wasted – much like recycling.  But, according to Intercon Green, the difference between up-cycling and recycling is that with upcycling, we are “reusing a material without degrading the quality and composition of the material for its next use.” So for example, when a plastic bottle or cup is recycled, the composition of the material is changed to such an extent that it cannot be used as a bottle or container for its next use.  But with up-cycling, the plastic bottles or cups may be re-purposed to become hanging-baskets for plants, or shades for small lamps, etc.  Read more about the difference between up-cycling and recycling here.

Further definitions and explanations can be found at these links:
·  https://hipcycle.com/what-is-upcycling
·  http://naturallysavvy.com/live/what-is-upcycling
·  https://blog.pachamama.org/the-positive-impacts-of-upcycling

If you are struggling to understand how common waste products – like plastic bottles – can be re-used as part of an up-cycling project, these short video clips might give you some inspiration for what you could do with your compact discs:
· 38 Plastic Bottle Life Hacks 
· 100 Cool Ideas! Upcycling 
· 35 Ways to Upcycle Everything Around You 
· Upcycling Projects: Turn Your Trash into Garden Treasures 

There is even a short video which looks at up-cycling ideas for compact discs! Watch this video here to get some up-cycling inspiration.

2. Brainstorming techniques for group work
Now that you understand up-cycling and you know what your challenge will entail, it is time to start coming up with some ideas for how those compact discs could be up-cycled!
One of the most common techniques for coming up with new ideas is called brain-storming.  It works best in a group, because everyone comes up with as many ideas as they can and then all ideas are shared around, which may spark a new idea in another group member.  The activity involves setting a time limit of 5-10 minutes and, in that time, writing down every idea that comes into your head – the ideas can be silly, ridiculous and outlandish – it is most important in brainstorming that you don’t censor your ideas, because you don’t know what idea might work best when your group put your heads together.  After 5-10 minutes, each group member shares their ideas.  To read more about brainstorming techniques for group work, follow this link: https://www.mindtools.com/brainstm.html.
While brainstorming is the most common and widely practiced idea-generation technique, it might not necessarily be the best technique for your group.  Considering that you are trying to think of an idea to re-purpose compact discs, which is quite a difficult task, you may find that your group needs to use different activities and techniques to come up with a feasible and workable use for the CDs.  You can find a range of different group-thinking activities at these links:
· https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/creative-exercises-better-than-brainstorming
· https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/brainstorm-productive
· https://www.wrike.com/blog/techniques-effective-brainstorming/

When you have a list of all ideas that your group has generated, take some time in your group to narrow down which are the most realistic ideas, and which could yield the greatest benefit to your company and its customers or employees. You should end this activity with 3 or 4 good ideas. 

3. Idea evaluation techniques
Now that you have identified these up-cycling opportunities, you can move on to evaluating and assessing the quality of your group’s best ideas, so that you can choose which will work best for your company.

There are many different methods and techniques that your group can use to evaluate the quality of the ideas you have come up with.  The most common idea evaluation techniques include Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’, which works best in a group, and which encourages group members to consider ideas, and problems, from different perspectives.  Read more about the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ evaluation technique here and for instructions on how to use this technique in your groupwork. Mindtools has some useful advice for groups, which you can find here.
While this is a common technique to use and may well be a good activity for your group, now that you have narrowed down your ideas to the best 3 or 4, the best technique might be to conduct a group SWOT Analysis to test which idea is most suitable – so that you are left with only one idea that you will bring forward to develop a prototype.  Using a SWOT analysis, your group discusses and highlights the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats associated with your idea.  Read more about how to conduct a SWOT Analysis for a new product or service at these links:
· https://www.business.qld.gov.au/starting-business/planning/market-customer-research/swot-analysis/conducting
· https://www.swotanalysis.com/swot-analysis-product-example.html
· https://smallbusiness.chron.com/example-swot-new-products-73574.html

While these are perhaps the most suitable methods for evaluating which idea is most suitable for this up-cycling challenge, below are a series of links to websites, blogs, and videos which show different idea evaluation techniques, including the idea evaluation matrix, and how they can be used by your group.  Take some time to review these links and see what might work best for your group:
· http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/how-to-evaluate-ideas/
· http://www.destination-innovation.com/how-to-evaluate-ideas/
· https://hatrabbits.com/en/how-to-pick-the-best-ideas-after-a-brainstorm/
· https://www.smartstorming.com/and-may-the-best-idea-win-5-proven-tips-for-evaluating-and-selecting-your-best-ideas/

4. Prototyping
Now that you have identified which idea you and your team will bring forward for this up-cycling challenge, it is time to plan how you will test and develop a prototype for your use of compact discs. 

By definition, a prototype is an unfinished version of a product or service that can be used for physical testing – so there is no need for your prototype to be perfect, or even completely finished, but it should include all of the design elements of your up-cycling project.  To help you to plan how you will develop your prototype, you will find some useful guidance tips and planning templates at these links:
· https://innovationenglish.sites.ku.dk/metode/planning-of-prototype-testing/
· https://www.inc.com/guides/2010/12/how-to-develop-a-prototype.html
· https://diytoolkit.org/tools/prototype-testing-plan/
· https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/80678

Working in your group, you should use these links to sketch out your prototype, and even practice making an early prototype for your up-cycling idea.

5. Costing your new product/innovation
Now that you have developed a prototype of your project, it is important that you can provide company directors an overview of their return on investment if accepting your team’s up-cycling proposal.  There are various tools and mechanisms that will help you to estimate the cost of producing your product, and estimate if your up-cycling innovation is scalable and how much it could potentially make for your company.  Working in your group, you can use the following online links to guide you through the process of costing your new product or your innovative use of the compact discs, and establishing the return on investment for your company:
· https://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing-strategy/pricing/seven-ways-to-price-your-product
· https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/pricing-a-product
· https://smallbusiness.chron.com/develop-budget-new-product-service-38629.html
· https://www.eloquens.com/category/finance/return-on-investment-roi-calculator-excel-template/573
· https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/finance/return-on-investment-roi-formula/

6. Presenting your up-cycling solution
Now that you have completed all of the steps above, and your team has developed a plan for prototyping and estimating the return on investment to the company, it is time to present your up-cycling solution to the directors of the company. As this is a corporate presentation, use either PowerPoint or Google Slides to present your new idea, outlining the process you undertook to come up with this idea, and the rationale behind using the compact discs for this purpose.
Evaluation and Learning Outcomes
On the completion of this webquest, the learner will be able to:

Knowledge Skills Attitudes
· Fundamental knowledge of the definition of up-cycling
· Factual knowledge on idea generation techniques
· Factual knowledge on idea evaluation techniques
· Basic knowledge on how to develop a prototype
· Basic knowledge of how to cost a product or service
· Basic knowledge of how to establish return on investment
· Basic knowledge of how to prepare group a presentation
· Conduct research in online environments to complete a set task
· Use team-work skills to complete the project
· Apply negotiation skills in a group-work task
· Apply idea generation techniques to think of innovative uses for the CDs
· Apply idea evaluation techniques to assess the quality of new ideas
· Use organisational skills to complete the project at hand
· Execute a plan to build a prototype
· Practice financial forecasting to complete an assignment
· Present a solution at the end of the activity
· Develop an appreciation of up-cycling as a sustainable practice
· Work collaboratively with peers to complete a your up-cycling project
· Estimate how products can be re-purposed
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the circular economy is defined as “one that is 
resized/uploaded---tiny---images---leirasokba/800/800/fipl-ce-conclusion.jpgrestorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.” Within the circular economy, waste does not exist. As such, up-cycling is a key activity in the circular economy.  Up-cycling is the process of taking a wasted or unwanted product and re-purposing it so that it can be re-used or even re-sold to new consumers.  The process of upcycling can positively impact the environment by reducing the amount of waste products that need to be recycled, processed or exposed of - even recycling requires energy and water to break down materials; whereas up-cycling only requires people’s talent and creativity!
Useful links
About the difference between up-cycling and recycling:

About brain-storming and group thinking activities:

About idea evaluation techniques:

About the SWOT Analysis:
Useful guidance tips and planning templates for prototyping:
About the process of costing your new product: