Welcome to day 1 of our February Futures Forecast. For each day of Feb we will be sending out short notes on organisations, products or concepts that chase away the grey tail-end of winter. These could not only make daffodils bloom, but also provide food for thought as you plan your year and look for new ideas in sustainability and innovation. If this is exciting enough to lure you out from under your duvet, you might want to sign-up here to receive February Futures Forecasts directly into your in-box: https://6-heads.com/
Our theme for today is making sustainability sexy (and lucrative).
A few years ago I was looking at how to encourage consumers to be more energy efficient in their homes. The Head of Ventures for Unilever advised me to “Think like Apple”. I didn’t crack it – but a few years on – an Apple breakaway team have launched and sold a radical solution to improving energy efficiency in the home.
The Nest team say they make “unloved products beautiful”. Along with other home-based products, they have developed the Nest learning thermostat. In a very sexy, Apple-ish manner this device allows residents to better interact with and control their home heating systems. This device controls 50% of the load and saves up to 20% energy. Not only have Nest made it easy and desirable for people to use less energy at home, but they have also built an aspirational device that gathers useful personal data from 1000’s of homes – one of the reasons behind their recent sale to Google for $3.2bn.
Andy Baynes from Nest says they follow a few key design principles:
- Meet customers where they are going (not where they are)
- Keep the solution tangible – keep dialoguing with customers about their experience
- Keep design simple and apply design thinking to the whole experience (e.g. include installation, box design, etc.)
- Make it rewarding (e.g. through customer ‘payback’ schemes for load sharing)
- Iterate – keep it fresh
How can we apply these principles (and smart business model) to other ‘boring’ aspects of sustainability?