Sustainable Business and Design Thinking
Work on planning new developments has taught me one thing is for sure. Achieving your business goals and sustainable outcomes cannot be done in isolation. Both are necessary elements for ensuring a secure and resilient future.
This is true whether you work in a business, a not-for-profit or other organisation, or as an individual.
Bringing about change requires fresh ideas to flow within a structured methodology enabling the capture, review and roll out of the collective vision.
There are various established tools which can be applied to implement innovation. These are useful for examining ways to both add value to your organisation and reduce environmental impacts.
Combining Life-Cycle Thinking with Design Thinking is a clear pathway to structure meaningful creative development.
There are unequivocal upstream gains (suppliers) and downstream benefits (customers), which are explained in the rest of this post. Firstly, what are Design Thinking and Life-Cycle Thinking?
Design thinking is a creative approach to problem solving.
There is a human-centered core in that the focus for organisations is on the people they are creating for. By having the users along the supply chain in mind, this leads to better products, services and communication of processes.
Getting started is about having a team of people involved and asking the right questions. The first question should be ‘what is it that you want to achieve for the user’ which should be followed ‘with with what are that person’s needs’?
Applying design thinking opens up options which can be assessed for their desirability, technological feasibility and economic viability.
Workshops allow people who wouldn’t consider themselves to be designers to access the creative process and use creative tools to address the challenges in front of them. Used effectively, the method embraces simple mindset shifts and enables problem solutions to come from a new direction, which is very rewarding.
Life-Cycle Thinking is about looking beyond traditional production and manufacturing to include the environmental, social and economic impact of products over their entire life cycle.
The main objective of Life-Cycle Thinking is to reduce a product’s footprint in terms of resource use, emissions to the environment and by uncovering ways to extend the useful life of the materials incorporated.
An additional positive outcome is the facilitation of improved communications. Internally, the links between economic, social and environmental factors are better understood between departments. Externally, consultation with stakeholders along the entire value chain raises consensus and reliability of service provision.
Both ‘thinkings’ undoubtedly add value when accessed alone.
But what happens when human creativity meets sustainability? The sum of the whole out-performs the parts.
The Added Value
Your organisation, and those you interact with will gain advantage by;
- Achieving greater insight into customer trends and how to respond to these,
- Strengthening ties with suppliers, thus consolidating and securing your future relationships,
- Establishing resilience and controlling risk by collaborating with supply chain partners,
- Adding value to your brand by reducing environmental impacts and sharing the achievements.
For Your Business
If you want more on Design Thinking combined with Life-Cycle Thinking as part of your Sustainability Programme, sign up for a bespoke workshop.
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This Innovative Design process is just one part of THE FOUR ‘A’ SERVICE Sustainability Programme.