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KLM Cares

KLM believes in sustainability and has been listed as the number one airline in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 11th consecutive year. (2015)




The Expo, The Finale.

Before the Expo:

Here we are, at the final lap and the final leg of the program. We are in the final sprint and we have to deliver so much, from designing the exposition to submitting the research paper!

This is the time to showcase all the work we had done so far. The road to this expo wasn’t so easy. It was full of patience and perseverance. We divided all the tasks wisely among us. Sarita was responsible for the Smart bins to function properly. She was writing and rewriting the codes for the sensors on Arduino till they did what they were suppose to do. She was also responsible for the promotional video and Andrew helped her with the editing.

Andrew was finishing up with the monitoring tool which we named as “Scrapalyzing app”. He was making it an interactive app so that the audience at the expo could understand it better via interaction.

Camila was responsible for all the visual layouts and refinement of the process visually. She also made the layout of the E-shop which was then named as “Scap Shop”.  

Camila and I were also responsible for the designing and making of the exposition. There were few tasks that we all had to do together. I was responsible for illustrations. I was also responsible for the laser cutting and rapid prototyping using machines. Research paper was also in my domain.

We got the opportunity to talk to Aline Alonso, author of Collaborative Playground: Design education as a means to foster collaboration between designers and public bodies. Discussion with her was very useful. we understood that the more we worked the more gratifying the expo was going to be.

On the day of the Expo:

The expo was set up. We decorated our area with plastic waste from KLM Scrap Plaza to portray how messy and unclean the world of the  plastic waste is! We had  a promotional video for everyone to see

and a research poster on display to give a brief idea of the concept.

Everybody who visited us during the expo really liked the project. We got an awesome response.

After the Expo:

We presented the final concept along with the prototypes to KLM Scrap Plaza. Our client loved the concept we presented. They loved the involvement of the technology in the process.

We also provided them with the implementation road map to help them proceed. Five months of hard work, sincerity, team efforts and creativity were respected and appreciated and that is success!

I would like to conclude by saying that “All’s well that ends well”

We can see the Iceberg!

Happy New year!

A little recap:

After the review for the sprint 4, we were clear about our goals for the coming sprint. Our clients liked the concepts and ideas we provided them and they were ready to implement it in future as long as we made certain improvements and provided them with the implementation road map. We planned to go meticulously, step by step to refine and finalise the organisational blueprint.

Just before the holidays:

Sprint 5 was one of the shortest sprints. In this short period, Andrew finished the first draft of the wireframes for the Monitoring Tool. Monitoring tool is an application for employees at KLM Scrap plaza and its providers to collect data about the flow of waste plastic. Camila and I, refined the organisational blueprint to the extent that it will be pinned down and finalised. Sarita was working on the concept of E-shop.

After the every review and at the end of the sprint, we have a retrospective session wherein we discuss our shortcomings and scope of improvement for the team to successfully accomplish goals in the future sprints.We take this session seriously because we intend to learn from the mistakes we made in the past sprint and do better in the future.

Felipe Escobar is our coach and a facilitator. He is a mentor and a guide for this project. Under him we have been learning, improving and also making mistakes sprint by sprint. We follow his suggested method for retrospective that is a ‘Sailboat method’. We draw a sailboat on water with an iceberg in front of it, an anchor at the bottom in the water holding the sailboat at one place , not letting it move forward and the wind that is supporting the sailboat to move forward.

The idea is that we are the sailboat, the iceberg in front of us are the future hurdles, the anchor are the issues or the problems that are preventing us to grow or move forward in direction of success and the wind is the support system or the positive tasks that are leading us towards the final goal.

Every sprint we have been following this retrospective method. Initially there were more anchors and less wind to support the project. Gradually as the project proceeded, anchors became lesser than wind and icebergs. The biggest iceberg being the completion of the project before the deadline. Throughout the project, Felipe was helping us with everything and more. His honest support and valuable insights have been useful.

During this sprint, we also got to speak to an expert for the translation session. We were in discussion with Clarissa Biolchini. She studied Design and has a postgraduate degree in Art History. She also holds an MBA from COPPEAD / UFRJ. She is a Professor of the undergraduate degree in Design at PUC-Rio, FGV’s MBA Marketing and THNK School of Creative Leadership, Amsterdam. She is an author of the preface to Marc Stickdorn’s book “This is Design Thinking for Services” and co-author of the upcoming book by the same author, “This is Service Design Doing” to be released soon in Germany.

It was a pleasure to talk to her. The meeting was one of a kind for many reasons, firstly, because it was snowing heavily in Amsterdam on that particular day and we had to conduct the discussion session in a cafe near HvA. Secondly, because Clarissa’s insights about our project were an eye opener. She provided her comments honestly, showcasing the harsh reality of our project. She showed us a way to improve and that was indeed a successful translation session.

This is an Organizational design

We have this culture at MediaLab Amsterdam wherein each team prepares Monday-lunch for other teams. It is a cycle and this time just before the sprint review we had our turn to prepare the Monday-lunch for everyone.

We were going to prepare Indonesian cuisine and Andrew was the head chef (he was just following his mother’s instructions).

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the lunch and we couldn’t thank Andrew’s mother enough for her generous support and help.

Apart from that, now was the time to look at the whole picture and showcase each problem that we were tackling with the solution that were offering. Specially, after focusing on defining the destiny for the sorted plastic at KLM Scrap Plaza in the previous sprint we realised that it was necessary to show the bigger picture to our clients. The wholesome view as we call it.

We refined the waste journey map and service blueprint. In short we improvised their existing process from handling of plastic waste to sending it to potential recycling (down-cycling/up-cycling) partners. During this refinement we also realised that what we are actually designing is an organizational blueprint. Hence, we decided to call it as an Organizational Design project from here on.

During our journey on this project we targeted 3 main issues and those were:

1. KLM Scrap Plaza and its providers do not have a method to sort the plastic waste.

2. KLM Scrap Plaza and its providers do not monitor the plastic waste that comes and goes out of their units.

3. Finding partners that provide transparency and sustainable handling of plastic waste.

As a solution to these problems we offered:

1. Smart bins

2. Analysed their current plastic flow in and out of the KLM Scrap Plaza and defined elements and functions for the monitoring tool. During the analysis it was found that the data was incomplete. Hence, for the year 2016, the percentage of plastic waste is inaccurate manifesting the fact that data monitoring was essential.

3. Providing information of potential partners for down-cycling, up-cycling and introducing a platform such as E-shop to sell used or waste plastic as a raw material to individuals and industries.


In this sprint we had many tasks to accomplish. Sprint goal was clear and sub-goals too. Camila and I were responsible for contacting potential partners. This list of potential partners will contain as much information as possible. Information such as the types of plastic waste their company accepts, the procedure it follows to downcycle/up-cycle the plastic waste, the rates they offer to purchase the plastic waste and other facilities they provide such as transportation etc. It was not difficult to gain the information but it was time consuming and required persuasion.

Many companies were reluctant to give exact figures. Some provided us with the cost of purchase while others mentioned that it is very subjective depending on the material and quantity. It was overall a nice learning experience for Camila and me. We had the opportunity to use our business administration skills to gain more insights and  develop a strategy for organizational design.

Also, Simone Martens was our translation expert for this sprint and her networking experience and insights were extraordinarily helpful to our project. She got us connected to few other companies and organizations recycling or up-cycling plastic waste. We couldn’t have expanded our knowledge without her contribution.

Sarita was focusing on Smart bins. Her motto was to learn and replicate the functionality of the sensors. Along with one of the coaches, she was iterating various codes to get the sensor feedback.

 Andrew on the other hand was responsible for the monitoring tool with complete functionality.

He studied the user, their needs and understood the environment of the user too for the site map. This site map helped us understand the factors of the monitoring tool and its use in the organizational design.

Together we finalised the entire process with the steps and key points. We also defined the connection between various factors and functions such as the communication between the monitoring tool and smart bins.

Expert’s view and Concepts

We have a translation session at the mid of every sprint. This session is held particularly to gain insights and information from an expert in a field related to the work we are conducting during that sprint. This is an opportunity to showcase our status in the project and get reviews about it from an outside perspective. Also, this sessions provides us with the scope of improvement for the rest of the duration of the sprint.

For the translation session during the 3rd Sprint, our expert was ‘Camila Lima’. She is an Interaction and Graphic Designer with professional experience of more than 13 years. One of her most challenging project was to work as an Experience Designer in the area of Brand Management at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee. During the translation session, the insights she provided were very useful. She opened a different horizon for us to explore.  

As we already know how the agile method works. We have to improvise with every new sprint the outcome of the previous sprint. The outcome of the last sprint focused on sorting of the waste plastic received at KLM Scrap Plaza. We requested our clients to sort plastic according to different objects and colours. So, this sprint was more focused on what to do with the sorted plastic. We held brainstorming and ideation sessions to find a sustainable, ecological and affordable destiny for the plastic waste at KLM Scrap plaza.

For better utilisation of time and skills we decided to split the tasks among ourselves. Camila was preparing the waste journey map, stakeholders map and service blueprint. Waste journey map was going to help us understand the flow of waste within the KLM Scrap Plaza. She highlighted the pain points and the positive points. It gave us a better overview of the current process and also provided with scope for improvement. Stakeholders map was very important.

We knew who all were involved and it was necessary to visually design the data. Each stakeholder plays an important role and without the detailed stakeholders map it is usually difficult to connect all the stakeholders together at their position within the process.

As this is also a service model it was immensely necessary to draft a service blueprint. Our plan is to improvise the current service.

Andrew was working on personas. Our user is KLM Scrap Plaza and its employees. To enhance the user experience and to come up with an user-centric design, studying user behaviour, identifying user needs and forming personas plays a major role.

Andrew was also helping Camila from time to time as it was mandatory to finish these tasks before the deadline for all of us.

Sarita was responsible for defining destiny for engine covers (PP or Tarpaulin plastic). Engine cover is a composite object which is not only made up of PP plastic but also has metal clips and nylon straps.

Usually,recycling companies are reluctant to dismantle or take apart all these components of the objects hence making engine covers and similar composite objects difficult to recycle. It is the question of availability of labour, time and equipment to dismantle and sort such composite objects.

Thus, as a team we felt it will be a better destiny if we could up-cycle the engine covers. Some ideas for up-cycling were to make raincoats, traveler bags, cushion covers etc.

I was responsible for defining the destiny for wrapping plastic at KLM Scrap Plaza. Wrapping plastic as we know is not accepted by most of the recycling companies because it clogs the machines. Only a few recycling plants prefer taking the wrapping plastic which consists of plastic bags and foils, bubble wrap and mostly packaging plastic.

After the ideation and brainstorming session,it was decided that maybe it is better to up-cycle the wrapping plastic. Schiphol Airport being one of the busiest airports in the Europe, it ranks fourteenth in the world for passenger traffic. KLM has been following the norms of sustainability since a long time and they would like the passengers to know about their initiatives. To help KLM achieve this goal we selected the ‘waiting area’ as our space for exploration. Initial concepts were to make installations, plastic park or furniture for the waiting area. The motto was to keep people entertained while they are waiting and also spread awareness about KLM’s sustainable approach.

Finally, the concept of furniture for the waiting area at Schiphol Airport was selected to improvise further.

We were focusing more on giving a better destiny to the waste plastic at KLM Scrap Plaza. This was because we focused on refining the existing sorting system at KLM Scrap Plaza in the previous sprint and now it was equally important to find out what can be done with the sorted plastic.

Inspiration from Field Research

We have been keenly following ‘Precious Plastics’ since the beginning of our project with KLM Scrap Plaza. Hence, we decided to set up a meeting with one of their chapters ‘Precious Plastics Den Haag’ at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Suzanne Koops manages the ‘Den Haag’ chapter for ‘Precious Plastic’. She was a very kind and generous host for accepting our invitation to see the project she has been working on since past few months.  It was our first field research trip.

Previously we had only been studying, observing and researching at our client’s site and Medialab. We were excited to see the recycling machines and the range of products that can be made using these machines on our field trip.

The best part of field research trip is that we get to learn having fun. After the meeting with ‘Precious Plastics Den Haag’, we visited the Museum Boijmans which was exhibiting a special kind of exhibition at the time called as ‘Change the System’.

Personally, I am thrilled to see the fine entanglement of my skills while I am working for #teamklm2017 and #klmcares. I see how beautifully I get to use my analytical skills of being a Mechanical Engineer and my technical knowledge and why it is necessary to extract and use all this data for user research, user need and user experience. As each day passes by, I am having a deeper understanding as to why these fields which are so diverse in their own existence must come together to solve the user problems to satisfy the user better, day by day. This doesn’t just go for me but for my entire team. We all must take our background experiences in hand and walk ahead to tackle each issue that comes our way.

Our second filed research trip was at Dutch Design Week at Eindhoven.

This is an annual event to inspire and promote various trends in Design industry and to blend it with business.

We got to see many creative ideas. Another fun part was that we did not just go alone but along with VR team.

It is wonderful to see at one thing from a different perspective. Visiting DDW with VR team was one such experience for us. We were so focused on how to recycle the plastic that we had forgotten the fun of trial and error. The diversity factor that is offered at Medialab is something to be taken advantage of. Taking a break sometimes help and even though we were there to take inspiration from various industries which dealt with plastic recycling, we did involve ourselves into a wholesome experience of DDW.

Finally, we were able to gather some information for potential partners and some ideas for plastic waste.

We started our 2nd sprint from 2nd October.

All the sprints begin with sprint planning which includes goals and sub-goals and all the sprints end with retrospection. We decided to visit KLM Scrap Plaza on 5th October with the intention of figuring out their top 5 voluminous plastic objects (white bottles, foams, pallets, engine covers and wrapping plastic). The conclusion from 1st Sprint led us in this direction. KLM Scrap Plaza receives many random plastic objects and to sort all at once was going to be a tedious task. To narrow down our focus and research we wanted to select only those objects which are either large in volume or are often dumped at KLM Scrap Plaza.

After the 1st Sprint research and dynamics it was clear that whether KLM Scrap Plaza was interested in upcycling and/or downcycling of their plastic waste, sorting of the plastic waste into different types of plastics and colours was inevitable. All the study we carried out indicated that it is necessary for the plastic to be sorted according to its type for recycling process. It is even better if it is further sorted according to its colour. So, we gave an emphasis on sorting of the plastic as a prototype for the 2nd Sprint. It became necessary for us to train and educate the employees at KLM Scrap Plaza to sort the plastic waste according to its appearance if not by type.

To make them understand this procedure of sorting we decided to make an informative video. Also, to incorporate this sorting method into their daily working life, we insisted on prototyping a working sorting system at their site. This would mean they will be using this sorting system on daily basis and would provide us with the necessary feedback.

The first meeting and Sprint 1

Scrap Plaza is a small unit inside the KLM corporation. It was founded in 2006 as a maintenance sector for the aeroplanes that flew via Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Initially their focus was just to maintain the planes.

Gradually they also started providing materials such as metal, rubber and electronics parts to the recycling industries which used to be left over after the maintenance. They offer maintenance services to 35 to 40 customers. In the few recent years KLM Scrap Plaza has gotten more plastic waste from maintenance parts than before. They wanted a solution for this plastic problem. They wanted a better process to get rid of this plastic waste which will be beneficial for the KLM corporation and it may help KLM Scrap Plaza expand to accommodate more projects and lot more recyclable material. But more importantly they wanted to dispose of the plastic in a responsible way. KLM is one of the most sustainable airlines in the world and they want to continue being the same.

We visited KLM Scrap plaza for the first time on 14th September, Thursday. It is located deep inside the Schiphol airport. It did take us some time to locate it after clearing the security. It was a small unit with few employees. They gave us tour of the entire unit, explained what they did there and showed us how they worked. Basically, as they are into engine maintenance, there are many parts that they cannot get rid of until the specific airlines request them to do so. It is all about security and following the protocol of safety.

We saw which components they sort, different kinds of materials they sort and how they have a perfect plan of sustainable disposal for all the different materials they deal with except plastic. We also got the opportunity to see GEnx 777 engine and it was fabulous. We took pictures with different plastic objects they receive as waste and interviewed them. Our motto was to gain as much information as possible from the client.

As it was our first meeting we tried to stick to the formal question and answer session for gathering the vital information.


After the first meeting we began to plan for our first Sprint together. Sprint planning is the most important part of the SCRUM process. It took us one whole day to plan the entire sprint which consisted of a sprint goal, sub-goals, methods and processes to accomplish those goals and finally the minimum viable product as deliverable. Another important aspect in the SCRUM process is the definition of being done. To consider a task as complete it must satisfy its own definition of being done and only then that task will be accepted as complete. The goal for the Sprint 1 was to ‘Create an interactive prototype in 3 weeks to show the current process at Scrap Plaza and stakeholders and define the user of KLM’s Scrap Plaza so that the possible intervention points can be derived’. To accomplish this goal, we used methods such as Photo safari, one-on-one interview, literature review/ secondary research, stakeholder map, actor’s map, brainstorming and build the prototype.

The above picture shows the Sprint planning sheet.

During this Sprint, we tried our best to understand the process of plastic recycling in general. We also looked up for start-ups, companies and communities dealing with plastic waste. As a deliverable, one of the prototypes were the Flash-cards with information about the potential partners. The motto was to satisfy the user need of finding potential partners to form a corporate bond. Also, to provide a simple user experience. These flash-cards were handy to use, simple to understand and provided appropriate information to encourage the strategic decision making.

As it was still our first Sprint, we had many pieces of the puzzle that were missing. To try to find and fit these puzzle pieces we thought of another prototype or rather a model to study and understand our client/user and that is ‘LEGO Serious Play’.


To customize it we also added post-its and other creative accessories as the tools to express the idea. We set the ‘LEGO Serious Play’ in a workshop format with 2 distinctive rounds.

First round was to portray the existing process of dealing with plastic waste at KLM Scrap Plaza which was held for 5 minutes and second round was to come up with an ideal process for KLM Scrap Plaza which was held for 10 minutes. Both the rounds were collaborative rounds with all the clients/users working together.

Conclusion from the Sprint 1 is that it was a successful sprint. We delivered the prototypes which benefited KLM Scrap Plaza and in return gave us more valuable insights about the client/user needs. It gave us direction to move forward for Sprint 2.

Maker’s Sprint

For us, Sprint 0 started on 5th September 2017. This was a demonstrative sprint hence called as sprint 0. It consisted of only 3 days. We were suppose to build a prototype that would initiate a discussion. First day was dedicated for brainstorming and ideation. Second day was dedicated for prototyping the ideas and final day was dedicated for presentation. Each team had to come up with minimum two prototypes which can lead to open discussion about the topics we were going to work on in future sprints.

As for us, it was the first time we were working as #teamKLM2017 and were learning about each other’s personalities and skills. After a session of brainstorming and trying to figure out to work out a way to incorporate everyone’s ideas we decided each one of us will make a prototype according to our perception of the concept briefing. We all will also help each other achieve the goal of completing the prototype in the given period of time.

We wanted to introduce topics for discussion such as concept of plastics used inside the aeroplanes, recycling of plastics, an interactive game for the KLM employees to give us more information of the project and to inform customers/users about the sustainable initiatives from KLM airlines.

The brainstorming session and expressing ideas via post-its.


Prototypes that we came up with are:

The sectional view of the interior of the aeroplane: The inner wall, overhead luggage compartments and seats.

This is was the concept to show which areas inside the aeroplanes are made up of plastic. (By Priyanka)

The recycle bin that helps the user sort the household plastics into recyclable and non-recyclable plastic waste by making sound when the user tries to put non-recyclable plastic into the recyclable section. (By Andrew)

the puzzle game to make the conversation interesting for the client that is KLM Scrap Plaza. The aim was to complete the puzzle by creating the KLM logo and with each step we got the opportunity to ask questions to the client. (By Sarita)

The mood board to inform customers about sustainable initiatives of KLM airlines. (By Camila)

We proposed a concept for recycling the plastic into 3D print filament. The idea was to follow ‘cradle to cradle’ approach where the plastic from KLM Scrap Plaza will be used to make 3D printed Dutch houses which are distributed among customers travelling from business class by KLM. (By teamKLM2017)



It was the beginning of the fall semester at MediaLAB Amsterdam for all of us. It was exciting, fun filled and overwhelming to start the internship program. We took part in workshops on various brainstorming techniques and design processes. We participated along with everyone irrespective of the teams. Here we engaged in team building activities. We were engrossed in the activities trying to understand each other’s pace. We wrote a breakup letter to a technological invention and blew many balloons. We made bridges from barbecue sticks between two tables without any support from the table itself! To make us understand about ‘Tinkering’, we had a workshop wherein we all had to make something creative from random stuff and one electronic component. All our tasks were timed. It was to encourage competitive spirit and act fast motto.

During these activities we were also introduced to the SCREAM and SCRUM agile processes. SCREAM is a structured new approach for T shaped professionals in multidisciplinary design projects. SCRUM is a subset of Agile process in which every Sprint that is an iterative cycle will be ending with a minimum viable product as a deliverable.

Andrew and Camila finishing the activity in the SCRUM workshop.

Everyone engaged in the tinkering workshop.

Tamara -one of the project coaches in MediaLab Amsterdam- is explaining the workshop.

Andrew is reading out loud his breakup letter to one of the apps he dislikes.

In the above workshop we were suppose to participate as teamKLM2017. This workshop was to make each other well acquainted within the team.

We are teamKLM2017 :)

We are TeamKLM2017 and for us the journey began on 30th August 2017. We are 4 members from different walks of life at MediaLAB Amsterdam, Netherlands. We are Andrew Lekahena from Netherlands, Camila Ferreira from Brazil, Sarita Lavania from India and Priyanka Bambarkar from India.

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