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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Jee Yoon Lee

com•pounds is a blockchain-based digital product identity management system that connects brands, retailers, and circular economy stakeholders for transparency in the beauty supply chain. It invites a response from the beauty actors in how we design, source, and build everyday products by facilitating collective management of materials and ingredients.

Despite interventions occurring in the blockchain scene by unlocking supply chain traceability during the point of sale for marketing purposes, com•pounds even intervenes after the point of consumption to help waste management and brands/retailers to collaborate with data exchange on chemical ingredients, material information, and other product attributes for the improving the closed-loop cycle. To achieve a circular outcome, multiple systems must exchange data about products in a standardized manner.

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Lower ground floor


Jee explores how art, design, and technology are implemented across various cultures and platforms. She is an interdisciplinary designer with a diverse academic background in media arts, creative computing, design, and engineering from Wellesley College, MIT, Royal College of Art, and Imperial College London. Her past experience includes MIT Media Lab, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is currently developing mercury detection technology as the co-founder of 80minus.

Decentralized technologies, processes, and material cultures exist at different scales but are also deeply interrelated. In this crisscross, Jee observes that distributed ledger infrastructure is not only changing how store and process information, but also instigating behavioral changes which is a key ingredient in the circular economy.

Compounds, media item 1

Beauty is the next fast fashion and the demand for beauty is ever-increasing. With the rapid pace and increasing supply and demand, the problems in the beauty industry that affect people, animals, and the environment cannot be ignored. 

The price we pay to buy one bottle of lotion comes with different costs. Consumers are paying for the bottle to not just use it for their skin, but also for the experience they have that comes along. 

Currently, consumers find a lack of information on the ingredients and its supply chain and recycling information. Lack of information is due to inefficient data collection and lack of incentive and motivation by the supply chain. In addition, this lack of information and incentive is one of the biggest barriers to recycling for waste management other than product contamination and variation. 

What com•pounds provides, media item 1

Instead of obscuring the life cycle of a product, com•pounds incentivizes beauty actors who participate in the blueprint of products to share their data. When every step of the process of manufacturing is complete, the beauty actors get paid. Through the platform, brands and circular economy stakeholders can draw their products’ data, which has been immutably recorded by the actors of the cosmetic blueprint.

Solution, media item 1

The relationship we have with products will change as we recognize the identity all bottles innately contain. The future com•pounds envisions is that the bottle acts as an agent, a vessel of information, a safe container for ingredients, a transactional bottle at the point of sale, and a block of supply chain history.

A beauty product will have a unique identification created and that id will be the id for the passport. The passport contains verifiable credentials that contain multiple attestations that authenticate characteristics including the ingredient and material specifications of each product. These credentials are issued by suppliers, held by brands, and verified by retailers; they are all stored in a permissioned blockchain.

Impact, media item 1
Impact, media item 2

Product documentation is often non-standard across companies and internally. Converting product documentation into verifiable credentials can unlock business efficiency and unprecedented traceability of goods in supply chains, as well as transparent material information that assists in recycling, disposal, and segregation of waste.

With the consistently resilient global beauty industry and the explosion of new products every day, there is an even bigger opportunity to seize upon. Data from digitized beauty products offer com•pounds to form credible information for consumers, brands, and waste management stakeholders to navigate new opportunities in the circular economy.