United Sustainable Tomorrow
United Sustainable Tomorrow is an initiative that aims to leverage the principles of Sustainability to strengthen local small-businesses in the Savannah community. We hosted two co-design sessions and a networking event in order to foster connections and conversations between key players. Through our extensive research process, we were able to discover compelling insights about sustainable practices in Savannah.
Gain a comprehensive understanding of the sustainable landscape of Savannah and the small businesses that are operating within this market. Develop a method for supporting sustainable small business in Savannah.
Framing the Project
Before we began our project, we took some time to align on the goals of the project, the anticipated deliverables and the structure of the team. Next, we read "The Big Green Opportunity: For Small Business in the US", which is an eye-opening report showcasing the incredible growth of the "green industry" and sustainable ventures. If you're interested in learning more, please enjoy a download of the report below!
In order to "learn the language" and make wise decisions throughout the project, we first had to build our understanding of what Sustainability is. We read books by visionary, Peter Senge as well as academic journals and reports. We also extensively researched sustainable small businesses in Savannah, and the systems they are affected by. We also had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing several of the “champions” of sustainability in Savannah. These expert interviews helped us gauge whether or not our beginning steps into the research process are in the right direction.
After completing our research, we began the process of synthesis and affinitization. The underlying insights were then revealed.
In addition to our research, we hosted three events to gain feedback from key stakeholders. Co-design is a powerful tool in human centered design, because it allows the designers to discuss and create directly with the users they are designing for. Not only does co-design aid in the discovery of genuine user needs and preferences, it also gives the stakeholders partial ownernship of the process, thus making them more engaged for the remainder of the project.
After gaining a thorough understanding of sustainability in Savannah and how it impacts small businesses, we were able to develop some initial concepts based upon the insights gleaned from our research. We developed concepts using the "Crazy Eights" rapid brainstorming method, as well as group ideation techniques.
Prototyping: Green "Speed Dating"
After discovering one of the key factors our clients were missing was the ability to network with other Sustainists in a meaningful way, we were able to select a concept to implement. In order to foster connections between key stakeholders, and business owners in Savannah, we decided to host a "Green Speed Dating" event. We invited several clients from diverse industries to meet, eat dinner together and chat about Sustainability in a casual, yet engaging way. We were also able to share our insights with the remaining clients who were not present at the co-creation session, and gain more feedback on our overall process.
In order to ensure our research findings will live on and continue to be useful, we also created the U.S.T. Sustainable Adoption Companion. This booklet is designed as toolkit with thought-provoking activities to guide readers along their journeys of adopting more sustainable practices.
(Click to download PDF)
The United Sustainable Tomorrow process book includes a detailed narrative of the process and methodology of the project. The book also includes models and synthesis of data, resulting in insights.