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Key global challenges and opportunities for
scaling up upcycling businesses in the world:
Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM)
workshop preliminary analysis
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) 2023
Conference at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland
(31/05/2023 - 02/06/2023)
Upcycling
 Promising approach to extending the life span of products, components and materials
 Transforming used/waste products, components and materials into a product or
material of higher quality or value than the compositional elements
 ‘creative’ or ‘advanced’ forms of repair, reuse, repurpose, refurbishment, upgrade,
redesign, remake, remanufacture, recycling, etc.
 Main practices in the circular economy
 Reducing solid waste and increasing resource efficiency
 Reducing industrial energy consumption
 Creating new job opportunities
 Reducing material costs
 Still a niche practice
 Scaling up for full potential
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Upcycling value chain
 Understanding interrelated and self-
reinforcing challenges critical for
scaling up
 Consumers’ negative perception of
upcycled products  demand  price 
sales  limited market  few good
quality products  consumers’
perception (UK textile and wood
upcycling businesses)
 Factors impacting upcycling
successes across industries and
countries largely unknown
 Which challenges/opps to prioritise?
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Study overview
 Aim: identify critical global challenges and opportunities for scaling up
upcycling businesses worldwide
 Methods
Literature review
Online questionnaire
Global challenges and opportunities for
scaling up upcycling
6 global challenges and 6 opportunities
ISM workshops
Prioritised and structured challenges and
opportunities
METHOD
OUTCOME
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Phase 1: Literature review
 Identify global challenges and opportunities
for scaling up upcycling
 February – March 2021
 Nine (9) common categories of
challenges and ten (10) common
opportunities for successful upcycling
across industries and countries
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Phase 2: Online questionnaire
 Select up to six (6) key global
challenges and opportunities
 July – August 2022
 Upcycling experts in AHRC-
funded International Upcycling
Research Network
 14 responses (67% response
rate): 9 academics + 5
practitioners from 12 countries in
5 continents (Africa, Asia,
Australia, Europe, and South
America)
 Answers with min. 50%
Phase 3: Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM)
 ISM online workshops
 ISM: qualitative and interpretive method to structure various factors into a
hierarchy based on the importance of the factors and visualise the interaction
between these factors to help decision-makers in tackling these factors in order
 Two online workshops in September 2022
 Invitation to: the same 21 AHRC-funded International Upcycling Research Network
members who expressed interest in the study participation
 Participants: 9 academics and practitioners from 7 countries (Botswana, Kenya,
India, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, and the UK) of 3 continents (Africa, Asia
and Europe)
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Phase 3: ISM workshop procedure and analysis
 Workshop procedure: aims and objectives  6 challenges  challenge 1 
challenge 2  challenge 3  chal 4  chal 5  chal 6  6 opportunities 
opportunity 1  opportunity 2  opportunity 3  opp 4  opp 5  opp 6 
feedback on the workshop
 Whether the presented factor would influence other factors
 Individual opinions  group agreement
 Note taking and video recording with the participants’ consent
 Analysis: SSIM (Structural Similarity Index) RM (Reachability Matrix)  MICMAC
(cross-impact matrix multiplication applied to classification) analysis
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Results: 6 key global challenges and opportunities
Key global challenges
C1. Limitations from the materials (e.g., inconsistency, damage)
C2. Lack of facilities/equipment
C3. Time-consuming processes
C4. Consumers’ low awareness of upcycling
C5. Consumers’ negative perception of upcycled products
C6. Limited legislation, standards, and warranty
Key global opportunities
O1. Improved material provision
O2. Targeting high-opportunity product categories
O3. Suitable technologies, techniques, and innovation in production
O4. Varied stakeholder involvement (e.g., large brands, local authorities)
O5. Involving citizens in upcycling initiatives/events
O6. Awareness-raising activities (e.g., campaign, communication, training, education)
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Results: Key global challenges SSIM
 Structural Similarity
Index (SSIM)
 V: challenge i will influence
challenge j, but not in both
directions.
 A: challenge j will influence
challenge i, but not in both
directions.
 X: challenge i and j will
influence each other.
 O: challenge i and j are
unrelated.
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Results: Key global challenges RM
 Reachability Matrix (RM)
 SSIM  binary matrix
 if the (i, j) entry in the SSIM is V, then
the (i, j) entry in the RM becomes 1,
and the (j, i) entry 0.
 if the (i, j) entry in the SSIM is A, then
the (i, j) entry in the RM becomes 0,
and the (j, i) entry 1.
 if the (i, j) entry in the SSIM is X, then
the (i, j) entry in the RM becomes 1,
and the (j, i) entry also 1.
 if the (i, j) entry in the SSIM is O, then
the (i, j) entry in the RM becomes 0 and
the (j, i) entry also 0.
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Results: Key global challenges MICMAC analysis
 No autonomous challenges (weak
drivers, weakly dependent and relatively
disconnected from the system)
 No dependent challenges (other
challenges need to be addressed first)
 No driver challenges (strong driving
power but weak dependence power)
 All challenges within the linkage cluster
(strong driving power and strong
dependence; any action on each will affect
others and have a feedback effect on itself)
Results: Key global challenges RM into levels
 Partitioning of the RM into different
levels (iterations 1 to 3)
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Results: Key global challenges ISM model
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Results: Key global opportunities SSIM and RM
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Results: Key global opps MICMAC and RM to levels
Results: Key global opportunities ISM model
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Discussion and conclusion
 All key global challenges and opportunities are interlinked
 Key opportunities reflect key challenges: ‘involving citizens in upcycling
initiatives/events’ (Level 3 Opp) whereas ‘consumers’ low awareness of upcycling’
(Level 4 challenge)
 Preliminary analysis of the study based on limited sample
 3rd ISM workshop in PLATE 2023
 Issue in bundling of data, ignoring different contexts
 No comparative analysis between different industries/countries/continents
 First priority intervention: involving citizens in upcycling initiatives and events
for awareness raising activities (e.g. campaign, communication, training,
education) addressing ‘consumers’ low awareness of upcycling’ and ‘consumers’
negative perception of upcycled products’
 Second priority intervention: ‘improving material provision’ and addressing ‘time-
consuming processes’ by ‘suitable technologies, techniques, and innovation in
production’
Acknowledgements
 AHRC Research Networking grant for International Upcycling Research Network
[grant number AH/W007134/1]
 Staff Innovation Allowance from De Montfort University (DMU)
 DMU Faculty (Arts, Design and Humanities) Enhancing Research Culture fund
 Guy Bingham, Stuart Lawson, Kelley Wilder, Kate Cheyne, Siobhan Keenan, Deborah
Cartmell, Heather McLaughlin
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
WS4 1.30-3.00 PM on Friday 2nd June
WS4 – Identifying key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up
upcycling businesses using Interpretive Structural Modelling
 Workshop 4 / T004
 Friday 13.30 – 15.00
 Aim: identify critical global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling
businesses worldwide, utilising Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM).
 Organisers:
– Dr Amal Abuzeinab, De Montfort University, UK
– Dr Kyungeun Sung, De Montfort University, UK
– Prof Richie Moalosi, University of Botswana, Botswana
 Target audience: global experts and key stakeholders in sustainable production
and consumption focusing on upcycling-based and/or circular businesses
 Target number: 15-20
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
International Upcycling Festival 2024
https://upcyclingfestival2024.our.dmu.ac.uk/call-for-papers/
International Upcycling Festival 2024
 Aim: showcase the network activities and outcomes, expand the network, and engage
businesses and consumers for direct impact
 Full paper submission by 31 July 2023
 Call for other contributions open in October 2023
 Day 1 on Thursday 1
1th April 2024 (9am-5pm) at DMU: academic presentations and
discussions
 Day 2 on Friday 12th April 2024 (12pm-9pm) at LCB Depot: engaging businesses
and consumers for awareness raising, knowledge transfer, new data collection and
networking through a public lecture series, stakeholder workshops, family-friendly
activities
 Installations: Poster presentations, film screening, mini exhibitions, etc.
 Gala dinner: informal networking between advisory board and network members
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Dr Kyungeun Sung
Senior Lecturer in Product Design
De Montfort University
Gateway House, Leicester, UK
Email: Kyungeun.sung@dmu.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)116 207 8498
Website:
https://www.kyungeunsung.com/home
Dr Amal Abuzeinab
Senior Lecturer in Architecture
De Montfort University
Gateway House, Leicester, UK
Email: amal.abuzeinab@dmu.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)116 250 6089
Website: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-
dmu/academic-staff/art-design-
humanities/amal-abuzeinab/amal-
abuzeinab.aspx
Thank you. Any questions? 
Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world
Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab

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Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world: Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) workshop preliminary analysis

  • 1. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world: Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) workshop preliminary analysis Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab Product Lifetimes And The Environment (PLATE) 2023 Conference at Aalto University in Espoo, Finland (31/05/2023 - 02/06/2023)
  • 2. Upcycling  Promising approach to extending the life span of products, components and materials  Transforming used/waste products, components and materials into a product or material of higher quality or value than the compositional elements  ‘creative’ or ‘advanced’ forms of repair, reuse, repurpose, refurbishment, upgrade, redesign, remake, remanufacture, recycling, etc.  Main practices in the circular economy  Reducing solid waste and increasing resource efficiency  Reducing industrial energy consumption  Creating new job opportunities  Reducing material costs  Still a niche practice  Scaling up for full potential Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 3. Upcycling value chain  Understanding interrelated and self- reinforcing challenges critical for scaling up  Consumers’ negative perception of upcycled products  demand  price  sales  limited market  few good quality products  consumers’ perception (UK textile and wood upcycling businesses)  Factors impacting upcycling successes across industries and countries largely unknown  Which challenges/opps to prioritise? Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 4. Study overview  Aim: identify critical global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses worldwide  Methods Literature review Online questionnaire Global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling 6 global challenges and 6 opportunities ISM workshops Prioritised and structured challenges and opportunities METHOD OUTCOME Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 5. Phase 1: Literature review  Identify global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling  February – March 2021  Nine (9) common categories of challenges and ten (10) common opportunities for successful upcycling across industries and countries
  • 6. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab Phase 2: Online questionnaire  Select up to six (6) key global challenges and opportunities  July – August 2022  Upcycling experts in AHRC- funded International Upcycling Research Network  14 responses (67% response rate): 9 academics + 5 practitioners from 12 countries in 5 continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America)  Answers with min. 50%
  • 7. Phase 3: Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM)  ISM online workshops  ISM: qualitative and interpretive method to structure various factors into a hierarchy based on the importance of the factors and visualise the interaction between these factors to help decision-makers in tackling these factors in order  Two online workshops in September 2022  Invitation to: the same 21 AHRC-funded International Upcycling Research Network members who expressed interest in the study participation  Participants: 9 academics and practitioners from 7 countries (Botswana, Kenya, India, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, and the UK) of 3 continents (Africa, Asia and Europe) Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 8. Phase 3: ISM workshop procedure and analysis  Workshop procedure: aims and objectives  6 challenges  challenge 1  challenge 2  challenge 3  chal 4  chal 5  chal 6  6 opportunities  opportunity 1  opportunity 2  opportunity 3  opp 4  opp 5  opp 6  feedback on the workshop  Whether the presented factor would influence other factors  Individual opinions  group agreement  Note taking and video recording with the participants’ consent  Analysis: SSIM (Structural Similarity Index) RM (Reachability Matrix)  MICMAC (cross-impact matrix multiplication applied to classification) analysis Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 9. Results: 6 key global challenges and opportunities Key global challenges C1. Limitations from the materials (e.g., inconsistency, damage) C2. Lack of facilities/equipment C3. Time-consuming processes C4. Consumers’ low awareness of upcycling C5. Consumers’ negative perception of upcycled products C6. Limited legislation, standards, and warranty Key global opportunities O1. Improved material provision O2. Targeting high-opportunity product categories O3. Suitable technologies, techniques, and innovation in production O4. Varied stakeholder involvement (e.g., large brands, local authorities) O5. Involving citizens in upcycling initiatives/events O6. Awareness-raising activities (e.g., campaign, communication, training, education) Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 10. Results: Key global challenges SSIM  Structural Similarity Index (SSIM)  V: challenge i will influence challenge j, but not in both directions.  A: challenge j will influence challenge i, but not in both directions.  X: challenge i and j will influence each other.  O: challenge i and j are unrelated. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 11. Results: Key global challenges RM  Reachability Matrix (RM)  SSIM  binary matrix  if the (i, j) entry in the SSIM is V, then the (i, j) entry in the RM becomes 1, and the (j, i) entry 0.  if the (i, j) entry in the SSIM is A, then the (i, j) entry in the RM becomes 0, and the (j, i) entry 1.  if the (i, j) entry in the SSIM is X, then the (i, j) entry in the RM becomes 1, and the (j, i) entry also 1.  if the (i, j) entry in the SSIM is O, then the (i, j) entry in the RM becomes 0 and the (j, i) entry also 0. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 12. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab Results: Key global challenges MICMAC analysis  No autonomous challenges (weak drivers, weakly dependent and relatively disconnected from the system)  No dependent challenges (other challenges need to be addressed first)  No driver challenges (strong driving power but weak dependence power)  All challenges within the linkage cluster (strong driving power and strong dependence; any action on each will affect others and have a feedback effect on itself)
  • 13. Results: Key global challenges RM into levels  Partitioning of the RM into different levels (iterations 1 to 3) Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 14. Results: Key global challenges ISM model Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 15. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab Results: Key global opportunities SSIM and RM
  • 16. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab Results: Key global opps MICMAC and RM to levels
  • 17. Results: Key global opportunities ISM model Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 18. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab Discussion and conclusion  All key global challenges and opportunities are interlinked  Key opportunities reflect key challenges: ‘involving citizens in upcycling initiatives/events’ (Level 3 Opp) whereas ‘consumers’ low awareness of upcycling’ (Level 4 challenge)  Preliminary analysis of the study based on limited sample  3rd ISM workshop in PLATE 2023  Issue in bundling of data, ignoring different contexts  No comparative analysis between different industries/countries/continents  First priority intervention: involving citizens in upcycling initiatives and events for awareness raising activities (e.g. campaign, communication, training, education) addressing ‘consumers’ low awareness of upcycling’ and ‘consumers’ negative perception of upcycled products’  Second priority intervention: ‘improving material provision’ and addressing ‘time- consuming processes’ by ‘suitable technologies, techniques, and innovation in production’
  • 19. Acknowledgements  AHRC Research Networking grant for International Upcycling Research Network [grant number AH/W007134/1]  Staff Innovation Allowance from De Montfort University (DMU)  DMU Faculty (Arts, Design and Humanities) Enhancing Research Culture fund  Guy Bingham, Stuart Lawson, Kelley Wilder, Kate Cheyne, Siobhan Keenan, Deborah Cartmell, Heather McLaughlin Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 20. WS4 1.30-3.00 PM on Friday 2nd June WS4 – Identifying key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses using Interpretive Structural Modelling  Workshop 4 / T004  Friday 13.30 – 15.00  Aim: identify critical global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses worldwide, utilising Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM).  Organisers: – Dr Amal Abuzeinab, De Montfort University, UK – Dr Kyungeun Sung, De Montfort University, UK – Prof Richie Moalosi, University of Botswana, Botswana  Target audience: global experts and key stakeholders in sustainable production and consumption focusing on upcycling-based and/or circular businesses  Target number: 15-20 Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 21. Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab International Upcycling Festival 2024 https://upcyclingfestival2024.our.dmu.ac.uk/call-for-papers/
  • 22. International Upcycling Festival 2024  Aim: showcase the network activities and outcomes, expand the network, and engage businesses and consumers for direct impact  Full paper submission by 31 July 2023  Call for other contributions open in October 2023  Day 1 on Thursday 1 1th April 2024 (9am-5pm) at DMU: academic presentations and discussions  Day 2 on Friday 12th April 2024 (12pm-9pm) at LCB Depot: engaging businesses and consumers for awareness raising, knowledge transfer, new data collection and networking through a public lecture series, stakeholder workshops, family-friendly activities  Installations: Poster presentations, film screening, mini exhibitions, etc.  Gala dinner: informal networking between advisory board and network members Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab
  • 23. Dr Kyungeun Sung Senior Lecturer in Product Design De Montfort University Gateway House, Leicester, UK Email: Kyungeun.sung@dmu.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)116 207 8498 Website: https://www.kyungeunsung.com/home Dr Amal Abuzeinab Senior Lecturer in Architecture De Montfort University Gateway House, Leicester, UK Email: amal.abuzeinab@dmu.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)116 250 6089 Website: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/about- dmu/academic-staff/art-design- humanities/amal-abuzeinab/amal- abuzeinab.aspx Thank you. Any questions?  Key global challenges and opportunities for scaling up upcycling businesses in the world Dr Kyungeun Sung and Dr Amal Abuzeinab