Image of a woman on a split path in nature, choosing which way to go
Image of a woman on a split path in nature, choosing which way to go

Lateral thinking is our greatest tool in creating ideas that bring value. These ideas can be generated through thinking frameworks, sometimes called Design Thinking or Design with a capital D. It is the skills of the compassionate leader to create the right environment to nurture valuable ideas into existence, using thinking frameworks and the skills of empathy and communication to align decision making with the economy we want to build post-Covid 19.

As we reflect on 2020 and the events that have preceded the pandemic, it is clear that this ‘unprecedented’ event was very much on the horizon. Poignantly, Bill Gates delivered a talk in March 2015 titled ‘The next outbreak? We’re not ready.’ The World Economic Forum also delivered a similar message in its 2014 guide to possible futures called ‘Seeds of Dystopia.’ This survey predicted, unsurprisingly ‘a killer pandemic’ as well as ‘unmanageable deflation; a geomagnetic storm that wipes out the internet; global food shortages and unprecedented geophysical destruction’. If hindsight is anything to go by, the rest may be yet to come. Unfortunately, it is the result of human behaviour that we are living through a global pandemic and Covid 19 is just a very visible symptom of the planet’s ecosystems in collapse. …


We have an opportunity, to not only implement ‘growth methodologies’ for the benefit of business and commerce but to simultaneously apply an ethical lens to all decision making. Here are 4 common principles of growth that will get us there.

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In the ever-changing technological environment we are in today there has never been a greater need to stay ahead of the competition. It is a quick and scrappy approach that will inevitably lead to success and the book Growth Hacking by Morgan Brown and Sean Ellis lays out a methodology that has been implemented by teams such as Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Pinterest, YouTube, Groupon, Udemy, Instagram and Google. In understanding the process set out, teams can have the foresight to know that there is no silver bullet, instead, they must pursue a methodical approach to discovery. There will be inevitable failures along the way but also many winning ideas and it is the compound effect of multiple small wins that will ultimately lead to growth. Whilst the Growth Hacking methodology is nuanced and extremely detailed I have come to understand that the process of growth, in general, has some universal principles common across methodologies from software development to personal development. …


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The theme of 2019’s Service Design Fringe festival was ‘Designing in Times of Uncertainty’. This was a chance to gather together to talk through case studies about what more the field of Service design can do to not only create discourse around this subject but facilitate a more ethical and planet-centric approach to design.

Sustainability itself can be a problematic term. It can seem intangible, full of contradictions and hard to attain. But to make sense of ‘sustainability’ it is important to think of it in terms of systems. Everything is interconnected and by developing an awareness of this complexity we can better understand the bigger picture as well as the unintended consequences of what we ‘design.’ …


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There is a common misconception that the internet is a ‘green industry’ simply because it doesn’t use paper. In fact, data centres are poised to become the biggest polluters of this century and emission levels now measure higher than the airline industry. In understanding the impact of pixels on the environment, we as designers and creators of this nervous system that is the internet, can better understand our role in making it as efficient, reliable and usable as possible.

Common ways of measuring environmental impact such as carbon footprint analysis can be too long and convoluted to be folded into a teams existing work processes. Products like the Adobe suite are now reaching nearly 30 years old, should we measure its entire impact since version 1.0? …


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Share My Garden works with communities to encourage participation through events and gardening. We teach people the skills they need to grow their own food and develop a consciousness around our current food systems in order to make better choices.

Whilst modern day food production has done a lot to establish food security it has also caused a string of unintended consequences to people, animals and the planet as a whole. …


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The documentary Tomorrow begins with a harsh reality that i’ve heard in some shape or form before but never delivered quite like this. A report by Nature magazine in 2012 said that we are facing the sixth extinction ever on earth, death on a mass scale that hasn’t been seen since the time of the dinosaurs. This also included the prediction that the human race could also become extinct between 2040 and 2100. But, if we were to change our behaviour and consumption now, we could change this fate.

The documentary visits 10 countries and explores how creative initiatives are paving the way for sustainable change in the areas of democracy, education, economy and agriculture. In highlighting this kind of progress the documentary gives an optimistic view of the future that can inspire and set an example for the road to change. …


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Henk Wildschut photography | Our Daily Bread

“People are ready to respond to the story of food. They want positive actions they can engage in, and in their bones, they know it’s time to take personal responsibility and invest in more kindness to each other and to the environment.” Pam Warhurst, Incredible Edible

We as human beings struggle to see the consequences of our actions. These actions inevitably shape the world around us and with every change comes a series of unintended consequences. Take modern day food production. …


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Victor Papanek was a designer and educator, whose teachings on responsible design have not only stood the test of time — they’ve become more relevant today than ever.

Papanek believed designers have a social responsibility to only create products that are useful and environmentally friendly. By this, he means made from materials that suit the purpose and can be disposed of in a safe, eco-friendly way. The alternative, Papanek points out, are mass-produced, useless products that end up as garbage, cluttering the landscape and potentially polluting the air we breathe. For example, the electric carrot peeler was an unsustainable, short-term fashion item that had a long-term impact on the environment.

Instead of creating next year’s landfill addition, Papanek urges designers to design for real needs. Using lab goggles as an example, Papanek pointed out the flaws in many modern designs. Lab goggles are built from plastic and treated as disposable as they have a weak spot across the bridge of the nose, which breaks under pressure. This provides a clear opportunity to make goggles durable and long lasting. …

Zoe Lester

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