Using Design Thinking to Ready Your Company for the Green Economy

Using Design ThinkingIn 2011, EY and GreenBiz Group conducted a survey of executives employed by companies generating revenue greater than $1 billion. In that report, EY shared that “76 percent of survey respondents anticipate natural resource shortages will affect their core business objectives over the next 3-5 years and that 65 percent of respondents stated their CFO has become involved in sustainability.” With interest in sustainability and CSR continuing to accelerate, many organizations are looking for ways to benefit and perform in the green economy. Why not start by using design thinking to start solving those problems?

For those of you familiar with design thinking, you might already know the process associated with growing meaningful ideas and solutions. As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post, design thinking is a six-phase process that puts people in focus. The first three phases are all about gaining a thorough understanding of the problem and the target audience. The other three phases are dedicated to working on solutions. Let’s see how this might look when we’re thinking about sustainability.

Define: Be sure to start by properly defining the problem you want to solve or the question you want to ask. In this case, you can start the conversation based on some of your sustainability goals (reduce carbon emissions, create more corporate good campaigns, etc) but get more granular and developed as the process goes on. You can use IdeaScale to source the issues that people most want to work on and define parameters for how you would like to solve them.

Research: This is where you want to do all sorts of discovery about the problem (interview people, review studies). Dive deep into the problem in order to learn more. You can even reach out to your community and have them share knowledge.

Synthesis: Remember everything that you just learned? Now you have to put it together. This is going to help you as you begin to FINALLY look for solutions that can actually generate results to those initial challenges.

Ideation: With a properly defined problem and a ton of knowledge resources, you can start ideating. This is a great moment to reach out to your crowd who is bursting with ideas about efficiency, new technologies or methodologies and are looking for a way to apply those changes. Ideation also means connecting and building ideas so that they become even more impactful.

Prototyping: It’s not enough to have an idea, you have to build it out. Invite your crowd to help you develop the first version of a product, process, or model.

Testing: With a working prototype, you can instantly start learning all over again. Maybe you realize you need to do more research or you want to to build on the prototype with new ideas (you can always go back to the previous steps), but as you test, you can continue to optimize. This will help you become more efficient and develop new modes of business that are cleaner, greener, and more responsible.

Want to set-up a sustainability campaign in IdeaScale? Contact our sales team who can get you started. 


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