Hugo Spowers and Adam Lusby – The Circular Economy and Ecological Design

Venue: The Round Room, on Friday.

Rory Spowers in discussion with his brother Hugo, the automotive engineer behind the revolutionary Riversimple car company, and Adam Lusby from Exeter University, exploring the concepts behind the ‘circular economy’ and how ecological design can reshape our world
It often seems that many potential solutions to global crises, from renewable energy to regenerative farming, are disregarded as being ‘uneconomic’. But there is evidence that the tide is finally changing, as the inherent fallacies within an economic model designed for the Industrial Revolution – such as the notion of infinite growth on a finite planet – become increasingly apparent. New economic models are now emerging, such as the ‘Circular Economy’, shifting the emphasis from ‘quantitative’ to ‘qualitative’ growth and integrating what were previously disregarded as social and environmental ‘externalities’ within our economic equations. In discussion with The Re-Generation founder Rory Spowers, Circular Economy expert Adam Lusby and ecological design innovator Hugo Spowers, will expand on the principles of a new economics which puts people and planet before pure profit and the degree to which ‘whole systems thinking’ and ‘regenerative design’ might enable us to design businesses that are synergistic with ecological parameters – and are more profitable by doing so.

Hugo Spowers ran a business designing and building racing cars until environmental concerns led him away from motorsport. The focus of his MBA at Cranfield University was a feasibility study into bringing hydrogen fuel cell cars to market and he concluded that a step change in automotive technology is both essential and possible; the principal barriers are not technical but to do with people, politics and business inertia.

Hugo set up Riversimple to develop Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles; successive research vehicles have led to their first car designed for type approval, the Rasa, designed from a clean slate to be as efficient as possible while being affordable and fun to drive. Taking a Whole System Design approach to sustainability – financial, social and environmental – the Rasa will be supplied through an all-inclusive ‘usership’ model that makes energy efficiency profitable. Hugo is responsible for all the technical aspects of the cars and for the architecture of the business itself.

Adam Lusby is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the University of Exeter Business School. Adam is an architect by training which led him to focus on the emerging circular economy. He came to this through applying the design methodology of McDonough and Braungart’s, ‘Cradle to Cradle’. He is interested in the ‘thinking’ that exists on the ‘edge’ which has led him to work across disciplines and sectors with a curiosity around technology (physical, social, digital, and biological), complexity, and the ideas emerging from the fourth industrial revolution. He currently advises on circular economy, curates and develops educational content, and he is working to deliver projects in the areas of circular economy, entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity.