xxxx Project


“People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” The ultimate goal of linear economy is profit, maximization and growth. This system is based on two devastating misconceptions. One is that the earth's resources are infinite. From climate change to the collapse of social structures, there is a direct connection with human consumption habits. This leads to a global crisis. Although the situation continues to deteriorate, little has changed in human behavior. On the contrary, more is being consumed than ever before. Due to the consumer habits of the affluent society, it is impossible to distribute resources fairly. With the current extent of material use, there will no longer be sufficient resources for future generations - consumption at any price. This renders the existing economic system unsustainable. But why don't we change these consumption habits? This question leads us to the second misconception. In consumption-oriented societies, especially in the western world, it is conveyed that happiness can only be achieved through consumption and materialism. Being happy is the highest goal of human life. On average, every German owns 10,000 things, although usually only 30 percent of them are used and quite a few have never been used. Nevertheless, the number of possessions continues to rise. However, it has been proven that consuming in this way is not effective. On the contrary, overconsumption can also trigger limiting and overwhelming feelings. Materialism can lead to debt, envy, ingratitude and greed. Accordingly, overconsumption not only has a negative effect on the earth, but also on the human psyche and impairs the quality of life. The key to change is also the cause of the problem – human action. In order to counteract unconscious consumption habits, my master’s thesis deals with how more consumer awareness among consumers can be created.


I created the concept NOWN to motivate people to question their consumption behavior and learn healthy behavior patterns. NOWN is a unique, not-for-profit service, that makes it easier for consumers to sort through their belongings while promoting conscious consumption and social resource sharing. In this way, the previously mentioned negative effects can be minimized and positively reinforced. The aim is to promote long-term happiness and sustainability at the same time.


Since this design process requires a lot of understanding and empathy for the users and minimalism in German-speaking countries hardly has been researched, Empiricism I served to better understand this phenomenon. For this purpose, four qualitative expert interviews were conducted. It could sort out significant information on the subject and helped to develop the target group. The quantitative online survey was used to check theoretically researched assumptions on the topics: well-being, consumption and minimalism. In the course of this, assumptions were confirmed without exception. In addition, obstacles that prevent people to sort out are uncovered. To better understand the topic of decluttering, its obstacles and to examine motivations and needs and to find possible solutions, four observations were made. These helped with the development of a support structure for users and in finding a concept in the design process. At the end of the design process, the concept was evaluated using diary studies. Based on the positive feedback from the target group and the mass of discarded possessions, the effectiveness and acceptance of the service system could be determined. The results of the study were not only important for product development, but also relevant for the business plan. The design testing and the competitor and market analysis revealed that NOWN has great market potential. In addition to the sorting trend, the re-commerce industry is booming. Since NOWN is the only service on the market that combines both, high demand can be expected.