Human-Centred Design has served us well as an innovation strategy over the last decades, making things better for people and more profitable for business. Today there is growing and widespread concern about the impacts of all this innovation on a third ‘P’ – the Planet. To innovate for a sustainable future we must transform our model from Human-Centred to Humanity-Centred Design.
Last week Unilever announced research showing that one-third of consumers now purchase its brands based on their good social and environmental performance, but went on to suggest that brands are missing an opportunity from not promoting sustainability effectively. Getting this right could unlock a further $1trn market opportunity for sustainability innovators.
Global diversity is in crisis. Scientists have recently announced that our planet is in the middle of the sixth global mass extinction event and this time it’s man-made. Not since the time of the dinosaurs have so many species been under threat and it’s not just the environmental infrastructure which should be giving us cause for concern.
Today’s pace of life can make you feel like you are strapped to the top of a rocket. With more and more screaming for your attention, we barely have time to send that long forgotten birthday card, let alone to sit down and think about the long-term effects of our innovations. But what if your latest and greatest innovation turned out to damage the lives of millions instead of improve them as planed? What if your proudest moment was also your most heinous?
The Arctic has been warming twice as fast as the global average, and a new low was set for Arctic sea ice last year. Although the environmental concerns in the region are mounting, economic opportunities have also ramped up.
Creating new solutions with people, not for them, can help drive radical innovation in the public sector. By focusing on citizens’ own experiences and resources, co-creation can help identify truly valuable services. Public managers should embrace co-creation to deliver better services and outcomes at less cost.
''Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen. The evidence on the seriousness of the risks from inaction or delayed action is now overwhelming. We risk damage on a scale larger than the two world wars of the last century. The problem is global and the response must be a collaboration on a global scale.'' (Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics, at Royal Economic Society Manchester, November 2007, guardian.co.uk)
We have flipped the calendar and entered a new decade. It is a month since the closure of COP15, and we are still analysing results. Innovations were claimed to be the drivers required to reduce CO2-emissions. And, in this context, COP15 kicked off an innovation management process, involving heads of states, and a steering committee, and it was hoped would show the way to a better tomorrow. What went wrong and why did it go so wrong?