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SEPTEMBER 2012

ISSUE ONE

Welcome to our rst headsUp, a quarterly publication that shares innovation for sustainability insights, activities and trends. As this is our rst edition we have dedicated it to telling you all about us and what we have been working on.

The future is already here


business. Products displayed included a rentable Christmas tree (www.littlechristmastree.com), a chair made from reconstituted leather (www.eleather.com), and a childrens bicycle designed to grow with them (www.orbea. com). Products came from large companies e.g. Pumas vegan shoes, and small enterprises e.g. PET:cell jewellery. Some were technical e.g. IOBAC magnetic ooring, while others were simple e.g. upcycled childrens clothing.

We do
Inspire: Creating campaigns to shift mind-sets
We run participatory campaigns that engage and inspire stakeholders to inform change. Recent example: Bringing to life sustainability for M&S suppliers.
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Demonstrate: Collaborating to accelerate radical change


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If we dont look ahead we wont have a business Mike Barry, head of sustainable development at M&S told a group of suppliers recently. Supplier conversations have evolved from a focus on cost and risk reduction to include opportunities for growth. The challenge is to make these future opportunities both tangible and desirable. M&S asked 6heads to bring sustainability to life, across their supply chain. To achieve this we created a number of positive ways for M&S to engage with their suppliers to inspire them towards innovation for opportunity. Our innovation programme

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We drive collaborative ventures and engage with social enterprises to catalyse sustainable change. Recent example: SwitchNet, a proposed funding platform, bringing together business, NGOs, factory owners and IT to drive energy efciency in China.
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included extensive research, discussion and an innovation Suppliers could explore the day. We used various innovation exhibition, touch and read about techniques, including diverse products, and apply the ideas perspectives, role play and gained from to their own ranges. backcasting to originate, test and develop ideas. The display and communications you put together were powerful Plan A Supplier conference: and engaging. An exhibition of emerging N. Black, DeBeers sustainable product trends. One of these ideas came to life M&S Take Aways: in the form of an exhibition, which showcased more than 1) People learn most through 40 examples of everyday, inexperiential learning. market products from around the world. These were organised 2) Trend categories support against specic innovation understanding and application. trends, including New models, 3) Positivity is a powerful Design for longevity, Waste motivator. as a resource. and Social

Activate: Creating & implementing Solutions


Through workshops and innovation programmes, we help clients understand issues, shift products, services or processes and transform operations. Recent example: Exploring passion brands with Alara and developing brand support tools.
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From research to real life


backgrounds, and their complementary skills range through nance, marketing, entrepreneurship, design and analytics. In addition to the six founding members, 6heads also has an intake of new heads from the Imperial College MSc each academic year. These new heads bring with them fresh thesis research and new ideas to challenge our thinking. If you would like to work with us,nd out more about us, or share ideas, please get in touch: Email: info@6-heads.com Website: http://6-heads.com/

Innovation toolkits
6heads with Julia Bindman, have designed a toolkit for organisations to use to grow their innovation capability. First used by Global Giving (www.globalgiving.co.uk), the two part tool-kit can be applied to personal and organisational practices and challenges. The rst session provides participants with a fresh view of their abilities, their organisations, the innovation opportunity and a series of booster creativity exercises. The second focuses on idea generation and effective implementation. They are available on: www.6-heads.com.

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Learn: Building capability for change


We run training and skill-building programmes to enable organisations to solve problems for themselves. Recent example: Developing an innovation and insight webinar series for Global Giving, providing tools and training to build internal innovation capability.
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6heads is an innovation for sustainability community. Started by six Imperial College graduates in 2011, it explores sustainability challenges, trends and concepts, and co-creates practical solutions to help transform current practices, structures and models towards a more sensible, sustainable future. The heads come from diverse cultural, academic and work

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Q: Can more gold be extracted from a tonne of gold mine ore, or a tonne of mobile phones?

SEPTEMBER 2012

ISSUE ONE

Blog for change


As well as our project work, 6heads also leads a thriving blog platform on which the heads and our wider community discuss and comment on current and upcoming trends, challenges and activities around innovation towards sustainability. Below are some excerpts from these blogs. To read these and more in full please go to: www.6-heads.com. For a company, the choice to cannibalise its own market in an attempt to design products and services for poorer consumers is risky. But if products can be sold at low margins and high volumes, the rewards can be great. Transparency either happens to you or it happens with you; a business has to choose. The Sharing Economy encompasses anything from skill swopping, home exchange, time banking and recycling to the peer-to-peer rental, a fascinating new disruptive economic model. In increasingly complex times the ability to listen, to analyse, to empathise, to question, and to generate novel and useful solutions are sought after capabilities for the workforce and for enlightened and active members of the community. The paradigm needs to shift from value for money to value for many. http://6-heads.com/

Transitioning to a better tomorrow


The Transitionator can be used to solve pressing organisational challenges and unlock new opportunities. It is designed to challenge existing thinking, support sustainability thinking, increase the scale and scope of ideas, and educate participants in innovation and sustainability. Please contact us for further information: info@6-heads.com

Bigger thinking for better solutions Tim Jackson calculates that in order to avoid catastrophic climate change we need to reduce reliance on carbon by 128x (Tim Jackson, Prosperity without Growth). This means signicantly increasing the scale of innovation in order to develop business models, processes and mind-sets that decouple our economy from carbon. 6heads has been developing tools to help catalyse thinking on this scale. Working with a varied and energetic team, and advisors

including; Dr Mike Tennant from Imperial College, Giles Hutchins The Nature of Business author and Scott Stockwell from IBM, we have created a concept called the Transitionator. The Transitionator is a structured innovation process that takes diverse participants through a series of experiences that supports them in developing break-through ideas. It differs from other innovation processes by focusing on producing ideas that are transformative and by being strongly grounded in sustainability knowledge.

Our Heros

East london furniture For using waste as a resource. East London Furniture make custom furniture from 100% recycled materials found around the streets of East London, diverting waste from landll. www.eastlondonfurniture.co.uk

Can your breakfast change the world?


step strategy for Alara to increase customer brand engagement. First clarifying and articulating the brand belief to customers, then using story- telling to bring this to life. Scaling a small sustainability champion through effective communication. Hidden amongst the warehouses and railways behind Londons Kings Cross Station is a ourishing permaculture garden and vineyard home to Alara Wholefoods, the producer of a range of organic mueslis, cereals and porridges (www.alara.co.uk). Founded by Alex Smith in 1975, Alara are driven by a vision of systemic change in the way food is grown and eaten - starting with a more sustainable breakfast. The Challenge: How can Alaras deep sustainability commitment and ethical practices help its product stand out in a cluttered marketplace and mainstream sustainable breakfast choices? Communications expert James Payne, a new head, working with 6heads, developed a twoFor step one, a one day workshop was created, using the Passionpoint methodology (Edwards & Day, 2007). The team synthesized market analysis, qualitative in-depth research, and key global customer trends to support creative techniques used to identify and develop a vepart brand belief. The process helped Alara to articulate their values (truthfulness and food activism for people and planet) and their differentiated business capability (exible manufacturing systems to deliver naturopathic food forever). It also allowed them to take a fresh look at their customers (t and energetic with an optimistic, wise outlook) and highlighted a key external trend (accelerating over- consumption). From these four ndings a clear Brand Belief was distilled: Living Food Leads to Thriving Lives Living food encapsulates . nutritious, alive ingredients (many seeds and berries in the muesli will grow if planted!), and Alaras commitment to encouraging people to grow their own living produce. Thriving Lives reects the health benets of eating a nutritious, balanced diet and the ecosystems supported by organic farming. The next step is to develop the core story and bring the brand belief to life using powerful communication techniques, including archetypes and the heros journey.
Alara Take Aways: 1) Scaling small sustainability champions may be easier than turning around large established businesses 2) A clear brand belief is a strong foundation for a cohesive customer and employee engagement programme 3) Authenticity is a powerful differentiator

The word on the street:


6heads were a fantastic team to work with a complete breath of fresh air. They not only brought energy, intellect and a bottomless pit of creative ideas to the task, but showed absolute tenacity and perseverance in seeing the project through a valuable combination! Helen Mctaggart, Manager of Sustainability Delivery, M&S I am very excited by the results of the workshop... I was surprised to have gained so much from the one day. Ive a purer perspective of my brands identity and am looking forward to developing a story that delivers clearly our message of sustainability to the customers. Alex Smith, Alara owner

A: Mobile phones. So maybe its true: landlls are the mines of the future.