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Service Design (MA)

Yalena Yang Sun

Yalena is a business innovator coming from a Economics and Finance education background and with three years of strategy consulting experience prior to joining the RCA. She is also a true global citizen with 13 years (and counting) of international experience spanning 7 countries.


Business and design make up the magic potion for my work. After 3 years in strategy consulting, I took a leap to join the RCA for more innovation and creativity.

It's been a wild ride - building a venture incubated by Accenture Song now, winning the RCA Grand Challenge 2022, the Entrepreneurial Journey 2022 Grand Challenge with Imperial College London, and being a finalist in the Autonomous Vehicle Cleaning Design Challenge with BP, I've realised how much I'm passionate about my new identity as an innovator.

Another secret ingredient of my career is exploration. I’m a true global citizen with 13 years (and counting) of international experience spanning 7 countries. I’ve also explored technology incubator, law firm, impact consulting non-profit, global financial institution, early deep-tech startup and more.

Now the next adventure awaits. I'm dedicated to work at the intersection of business and design and use this powerful combination to bring futuristic innovations to life.

Select innovation projects:

- Consumer Product Sustainability: imagine the future of sustainable sexual pleasure, building the venture now under incubation by Accenture Song

- Ocean Sustainability: RCA Grand Challenge 2022 Final Winner

- Social Deep-tech Venture Building: Imperial College Entrepreneurial Journey 2022 Grand Challenge Prize Winner

- Autonomous Vehicle Future Cleaning: RCA x BP Sparkling Challenge Finalist

- Clean Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS): graduation project building a community-based EaaS venture

- Sustainable Mobility Business Design: for Brompton Future Product Research team, recommendations in implementation

- Carbon Zero Research: independent research paper on China’s Climate Strategy, available upon request

- Social Entrepreneurship Research: researcher for Aspect by Research England

If you’re interested to learn more about my projects / want to connect, don’t hesitate to say hi at :)


Disrupting traditional norms and regulations, WeBility is a transformative service that harnesses the cheaper community solar electricity to deliver affordable local services. Our innovative local hubs, meticulously designed to cater to local community needs, become epicenters of electric mobility and various community services. WeBility democratizes solar energy, the cheapest source of electricity, for everyone - irrespective of income bracket or housing situation. WeBility redefines energy accessibility, driving a sustainable future for all.

team picture
The amazing team The great pleasure of working on this team together had Amruta Supate, Juilee Ingle, and Yalena Sun. Coming together from diverse backgrounds and countries, we complemented each other's skill sets and supported each other to bring this project to life.
Some context on the current energy system.
Our collaborative design process
WeBility concept

Sustainable Pleasures

Accenture Song came to the RCA with the brief to create innovation in the entertainment and leisure industry with particular consideration of our century’s sustainability challenges.

Despite the increased awareness of environmental damage and sustainable practices in economies and societies, the latest UN climate report paints a frightening picture of the future. The message is clear: Immediate action is needed by everyone.

Our project is under a strict confidentiality agreement with Accenture Song who wishes to push our designs from conception to company. As a result of this partnership, the brand name, concepts, designs, prototypes, research and development, business plans, marketing strategies, and other proprietary information cannot be shared in the WIP Show 2023. But stay tuned for more to come!

Our service and product designs, which focus on the design and development of a new type of sex toy and service, have expanded the notion of sexual pleasure beyond traditional norms globally. The design revolutionizes the way society think about sex toys, sexual pleasure, and communication around sex.

The great pleasure of working on this team together had Allison Bajet, Juilee Ingle, Emma Nadol and Yalena Sun. Coming together from diverse backgrounds and countries, we complemented each other's skill sets and enriched team discussions with different views and experiences to push this project further.

Ocean Sustainability

We were tasked to explore the theme ‘Into the Ocean" to design outputs that work directly in the ocean. We focused on ocean architecture that can help marine life while engaging humans on land.

Afterlife is a transformative death care company that uses human bone ash & other sustainable materials to build memorial reefs that support marine life while continuing the life legacy of the deceased.

It was our greatest pleasure to be selected as one of the three winning teams for the RCA Grand challenge - the biggest single-institution postgraduate design competition in the world.

I had the great pleasure of working with the talented Felix Chen from IDE, Cody Kullman from Textile Design, Elva Yuhan Liu from Fashion Menswear Design, and Haoyue Lin from Product Design. Our diverse backgrounds helped create this incredible sparkle to make After Life come to life.

Autonomous Vehicle Cleaning

As we move to autonomous mobility, we anticipate a shift from car ownership to mobility-as-a-service (MaaS). Ride-hailing autonomous vehicle (AV) fleets will need to be cleaned.

How might we help AV fleet owners provide comfortable & clean rides?

We focused on addressing AV cleaning from the root - preventing AVs from getting dirty in the first place, through behaviour change, all while creating an enjoyable ride experience.

We're proud to be selected as one of the finalist design proposals by BP.

I had the great pleasure of working with Fumito Kawai, a talented Japanese Service Designer with years of experience in the auto industry.

Carbon Neutrality Independent Research

I have always been fascinated by the rising trend of "Carbon Neutrality". So I took the opportunity to dive into this topic through the following two research questions for my independent research dissertation.

1. Why is carbon neutrality a top strategic priority for China?

Using a multi-dimensional analysis of the implications of China’s domestic & international situation due to carbon neutrality, this paper analyses how strong the motivations are for China to become carbon neutral. If China fails, the world will fail to address the climate crisis. This section is for people interested in China's carbon neutral future, how the world will change consequently, and what might go wrong during this transition.

2.What is a systemic view of carbon neutrality?

Given the complexity of carbon neutrality, cross-disciplinary collaboration is crucial. However, many designers, without a related technical background, often struggle with identifying the design opportunities & interventions to contribute meaningfully to carbon neutrality. This section proposes a systemic view to connect the key concepts of carbon neutrality for designers to gain a high-level understanding & better navigate design efforts.

Research paper available upon request.