The sweet spot: Why spaceships can help us design for a circular economy

According to Dana Meadows (1992), to reach systems change, the most important element is to have the power to transcend paradigms.

This is hard to do with anyone, let alone MBA students.

This week, Adam Lusby, adjunct lecturer at the Exeter MBA and Delfina Zagarzazú, 2016 Alumni, piloted a 2 day workshop coined Generation Space, where 43 students worked on the mission:

“Scope and define the internal characteristics of a spaceship that can evolve to host 1000 people for 1000 years for generational interstellar space travel”                

By setting the context in a galaxy, students were allowed to enter a new paradigm without considering it, allowing re-design  to happen at many different levels of a system including food, water, manufacturing and health to meet the needs of life in space.

Using Design Thinking to guide the process, the exploratory phase of  it allowed students to push the boundaries of creativity whilst in ideation staying aware of the need to build a circular economy strategy for the underlying importance of closed loop design to keep resources in use through the voyage.

What is your strategy to ensure the continuous uptime performance of all your resources? In other words, how do you propose to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value during the voyage?

Further inspiration for circular design was enabled by Chris Grantham and Arianne Orillac who lead Circular Economy at IDEO in London who guided the spaceships to consider reiteration of product design onboard using circular economy strategy cards.

After prototypes and definition of spaceship purpose, teams were judged by an all women panel to put their circular innovations forward.

  • Hege Saebjornsen, Country Sustainability Manager, IKEA UK & IE
  • Lynn Maxwell, Sustainability Developer, IKEA UK & IE
  • Emilie Sandberg, Creative Leader, IKEA UK & IE
  • Arianne Orillac, Circular Business Designer, IDEO London

This project is part of the Corporate Challenge 2018 in collaboration with IKEA and IDEO.

Blog written by Delfina Zagarzazu

Partnering on Purpose

Slide1

Practical Insight into Data Analytics, one of the required modules on the University of Exeter’s One Planet MBA programme, is taught by Stuart Robinson, a former executive of Alliance Bernstein. In four intensive days, Stuart focuses on data understanding, preparation, modelling and evaluation. The module is enhanced by SAP’s Michael Jordan, one example of how business partners strengthen the academic modules taught on the One Planet MBA . At SAP, Mike has the curious title of Knowledge Transfer Architect. “His role is to give a practical angle to a lot of what students learn”, says Stuart. The other key partner in the module is IBM’s Jamie’s Cole, who opened the recent module with a discussion about Cognitive Computing and the Internet of Things. Continue reading

Global Challenges and the MBA

It’s great to see our new cohort of MBA students starting to get involved with the 2017 programme.  We started formal learning last week with a module in which we discussed global challenges: economics and inequality, social change, technology and climate.  Four expert guest speakers joined us to bring their perspective on each of these.  The speakers came from Oxfam, IBM the UK Met Office as well as our own academic team.

We’re a truly global group this year; people from 21 countries have come to Exeter to join the full time MBA.  This diversity brought a lot to our classroom debate; maybe too much, as most of the guest sessions ran over time with participants from different parts of the world contributing their perspectives.  It all came together on the last afternoon when each study group presented their views on the challenges.

I think this kind of debate is important at the start of an MBA where many of the participants want to build their ability to make positive change in the world.  Being clear on the challenges we face and hearing others’ perspective on these helps us understand and shape our own opportunities and the skills we look to gain from the MBA to pursue these.

Written By Stuart Robinson

The Global Challenges of our Times Call for New Business Models

The Global Challenges of the 21st Century – A post by Prof Nicolas Forsans

Once again in 2017 the World Economic Forum highlighted in its 2017 Global Risks Report the interconnections that exist between some of the most significant challenges that are shaping business and society in the 21st century. Those interconnections are represented below in their Risk Interconnection map.

Risk-interconnection-mapEconomic and societal challenges

Globalisation has lifted millions of people out of poverty by enabling people in emerging countries to take part in world trade. Deregulations and privatisations have encouraged competition and innovation, leading to declining prices and higher quality products while urbanisation and industrialisation in emerging economies have enabled 3 billion people to generate an income of at least $10/day.

Continue reading

The One Planet MBA puts the Circular Economy model to work

Circular Economy

Unilever sells some 400 brands across the world with 2016 revenues standing at some €52.7 billion. Despite the products’ vast popularity, much of its packaging ends up on landfills and oceans, not recycling bins. How can Unilever start reducing waste, especially from plastic, while putting the circular economy model to work? Gavin Warner of Unilever presented the challenge to the cohort of the University of Exeter’s One Planet MBA on Monday and by Friday the students were to present their ideas on how to repackage an item as ubiquitous as a shampoo bottle in order to create a solution fit for the circular economy. The quality of shampoo and its price, however, were to remain the same.

Continue reading

Thinking through the 4th Industrial Revolution

Slide1

“We stand on the brink of a revolution”, writes Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. A revolution so profound, it will “fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity this transformation will be unlike anything humankind has ever experienced before.” It may seem like Schwab is overreaching at first, but Adam Lusby, lecturer and Circular Economy Research Fellow at the University of Exeter Business School, says that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is indeed characterised by how new technologies are fusing digital, physical and even biological worlds. “This disruption impacts all disciplines, economies and industries. It will challenge what it even means to be human,” he says.

In the intense, four-day module appropriately titled “Leading in the 4th Industrial Revolution,” Adam, the module’s creator and lead, covers everything from Artificial Intelligence, robotics, digital manufacturing, blockchain, cloud computing, mixed reality, augmented reality and much more. The standard model of a module was also flipped. Instead students have the preceding weeks to first immerse themselves into online content, watch videos, complete assignments and even produce videos of their own.  Only at the end of a five week lead in, the cohort gathers for a four-day “living lab” of hacking and immersion in technology including Raspberry Pis, NodeRed, and BlueMix from IBM.

Accenture’s latest research shows that the new relationship between human and machine and its impact could boost productivity by as much as 40 per-cent, profoundly changing the very notion of how work is actually performed. In the United Kingdom alone Artificial Intelligence could add an additional $814 billion to the economy by 2035. The growth of 3D printing is also set to skyrocket. Gartner projects that 3D printing will grow from $1.6B in 2015 to some $13.4B by 2018. Some 67% of manufacturing is already using 3D printing, according to PwC, and it will only get faster, and cheaper.
Continue reading

Developing as a Fine Negotiator while Getting a Taste for the One Planet MBA

by Caspar Wilkinson

Caspar is an MSc International Management student at the University of Exeter Business School. He was invited to take part in the One Planet MBA‘s two-day workshop on Negotiating, Collaborating & Partnering, as part of the MBA’s flagship Personal Transformations module.Caspar Wilkinson

Realising your ambitions

As a student with a strong drive to succeed I was powerfully motivated to learn negotiating.

After attending an introductory MBA Masterclass I was keen to see more of what the One Planet MBA was all about. That’s the great thing about Exeter University, the lecturers empower you to realise your ambition, none more so than Nicolas Forsans, One Planet MBA Director. After some persistent negotiating (!) Nicolas kindly agreed to let me take part in the workshop and collaborate with fellow MBA participants over two full days. I was excited to be able to see world class teaching in action with powerfully practical benefits.

What would it be like learning negotiating for the first time? Would I be able to stand my ground against an impressive MBA cohort in a top UK University? What previous negotiating experiences could I draw on to add value to the class? I felt somewhat nervous and set about studying for the class a week in advance. Continue reading

FT Preview – Teaching the Impact of Climate Change to the Leaders of Tomorrow

What happened yesterday had been anticipated for a long time. The opening of the United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties (or COP21 in a nutshell) in Paris yesterday evidences how urgent the need to tackle climate change has become. A recent paper in Nature shows how horrendous the economic and human cost of climate change would be – with about a quarter of the world’s GDP wiped off by 2100 and the burden of the cost falling onto the world’s poorest countries left to pay the price for it.

Teaching the Impact of Climate Change to the business leaders of tomorrow

While the Financial Times gave editorial prominence (subscription req’d) to its coverage of the opening of COP21, it also features an article more focused on MBA programmes that that deliver a more sustainable approach to business and management education.

Continue reading

A challenging first month for our Class of 2016

It’s been an exciting, yet challenging start of the year for our full time and executive MBA participants. The first three weeks consisted in a unique, pre-MBA Foundation programme – covering all the basics to enable them to make the most of the year ahead. With Our Class of 2016sessions delivered by our One Planet MBA team consisting of academics and professionals, the focus was on the transfer of professional and study skills.
Our Speed Reading half-a-day session went down very well, and so did our sessions on digital learning and studying tools, helping participants organise and retrieve their thoughts through Evernote, Feedly and other multi-platform apps. The programme also included sessions on academic and business writing and provided opportunities for submitting their very first (non assessed) essay for friendly criticising. Continue reading

Launching the MBA’s Business Insights 2020 Workshops for Business Professionals

The One Planet MBA is all about helping professionals and business leaders reinvent Business Insights 2020themselves and thrive in a world that is increasingly volatile, risky, complex, interconnected, resource-constrained and digital. And it is precisely for that reason that we have partnered with Devon and Cornwall Business Council, the South West’s premier business organisation to launch our forward looking and cutting edge series of Business Insights 2020 workshops specially targeted at business professionals threatened by disruption. Each workshop link with individual modules on the MBA programme, and act as an introduction to the topic.

The series kicked off on Wednesday evening and focused on the theme of business model creation.
Continue reading