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Weaving the planet perspective into the fabric of Service Design

We realised we first needed to understand the intersection between corporate sustainability goals and the customer journey. We tried to pinpoint the stages of the journey that held the greatest potential for influencing the service’s environmental footprint. We called these moments the “Moments of Planet Impact.”  For instance, consider a restaurant chain that wants to reduce food waste. One of the Moments of Planet Impact would then be the moment that the customer orders, as over-ordering has a direct impact on food waste.

Experimenting with these Moments of Planet Impact quickly made us realise that often enough, we don’t know why customers make a choice or what they would need to be enabled to change their ways. So we started to identify and plot our knowledge gaps regarding sustainable consumer behaviour and motivations and called these our “Planet Knowledge Gaps”. Take, for example, a fashion/retail company in pursuit of increasing the longevity of their garment. They would need to understand why some people take better care of their products than others, as well as the underlying motivations, abilities and triggers/barriers to do so. 

Having an overview of the Moments of Planetary Impact and our Knowledge Gaps helped us understand where in the journey there is potential to redesign the service — the “Planet Opportunities”. Take, for instance, a consumer whitegoods brand that wants to help its customers save energy. Right at the start of their buying journey, they would like to help their potential customers understand the long-term financial benefits of purchasing a more sustainable (and more expensive) appliance. 

The placement of these “Planet Opportunities” oftentimes overlaps with the “Moments of Planetary Impact” but that is not a given. There are plenty of examples where to prevent impact, something had to change earlier on in the journey. 

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Anna van der Togt Lead Service Designer

As Lead Sustainability for Livework, Anna coordinates across clients and projects to ensure our designers structurally update their mental models, approach and toolset to integrate the ecological perspective. 

As a pragmatic environmentalist, she draws from over 6 years of experience in complex service/system innovation projects and transformation programs at companies like JPMorgan and Adidas. She leverages this background to work as a catalyst 0f change for the better.

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