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

The Exeter MBA

From September 2018 we’ll be changing the name of the programme to ‘The Exeter MBA’.  Moving away from the ‘One Planet’ MBA name doesn’t mean that we’re changing the ethos and content of a programme which has been increasingly successful both for us and our students and partners since 2011.  The change is a result of developments in our relationships with partners and our aim to bring the principles of the One Planet MBA to a wider body of potential students.

We intend to strengthen the Exeter MBA offering to address a growing group of potential MBA candidates and sponsors who recognise that good business is now in the mainstream.  They will look for MBA programmes that help them acquire the range of skills needed to drive forward the emerging business models we have developed in the One Planet MBA in a widening set of business, third-sector and governmental situations.

You’ll see ‘The Exeter MBA’ name appearing in our literature and communication over the coming months.

Post written by Stuart Robinson

Discovery in the landscape by Hugh St Aubyn

Part two of exploring creavity by Hugh St Aubyn

The theme of place continued in the talk through a discussion of another work by, Faye, carried out on a pilgrimage trail; the St Michael’s Way where visitors were encouraged to carry stones along the trail up a hill and leave them at the top with a view of the Mount. She asked the participants to imagine the stone represented an issue, problem, pain, or person that no longer served them. Carrying the stone accessed a ritual side of experience that spoke of hope, love, and purpose. This physical participation in the landscape helped change people’s perceptions by encouraging them to slow down, listen to the environment, and their reactions to it.

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Faye Dobinson, The Weight of Experience

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MBA Students Step Back in Time: A retreat to St. Michael’s Mount – By: Delfina Zagarzazu

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Picture Credits: Chayaporn Kongcharoenkitkul

Conscious of time with deadlines fast approaching in the next few days, we departed Exeter at 7AM to spend a day away from the books. Away from Devon, we  stepped into Cornwall – a first for many international students who had yet to explore all of the Southwest treasures!

The day was co-designed by Hugh St. Aubyn and myself to allow the 30 person cohort a creative and inspiring visit to balance off the business theory from class. We placed colourful and inviting signs to find the emerging leader within each of us.

Don’t ask what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people that have come alive

– Howard Thurman, Great Civil Rights Leader

The day promised to be filled with friends, nature, personal reflections and a beautiful historic castle to carry our minds away into imaginary stories and tales that made us step back in time – couldn’t have asked for more on a cold February morning halfway through Term 2 of our MBA.

The magic about St. Michael’s Mount is that you can only access it during low tide, something very rare in the 21st century of drones, planes and automobiles. The patience and timing for our visit set the pace for the day, as we removed our MBA ‘speedometers’ and tried to slow down to the pace of the tide to connect with the magic of the island and the castle.

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Reflections on Paul Polman’s vision

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Coinciding with the 5th Anniversary of the One Planet MBA, Paul Polman CEO of Unilever shared with Exeter graduates, faculty, business leaders and current students his thoughts on how a leading consumer goods organisation can thrive in a global world.

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Reflections: Tom Sisk, One Planet MBA Cohort member

The recently deceased English writer John Berger wrote “The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.”

We live in a world where financial wealth comes at a cost to us all (including the rich) when contrarian vested interests between shareholders and stakeholders are having destructive effects on the state of our planet. If our planet destructs, businesses too will become extinct and recent OPMBA guest and keynote speaker, Paul Polman CEO of Unilever understands this very well. Corrective behavior has to be a collaboration between corporations and the consumers they serve and the long term survival of businesses is only possible when the interests of both shareholders and stakeholders align.

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Shifting the paradigm in order to create value – Tom Sisk

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As individuals on the MBA, we are on a path to transform for the better, to give back to society and make a difference. The One Planet MBA promotes change and innovation and our lecturers and mentors have one year to provide us with a skill set that will enable us to transform ideas into real projects and execute change for good. 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

Being at the Spearhead of the Fintech Revolution

By Tico Altahona,
MBA student 2014/5

Too big to fail”, is how the importance of banks has traditionally been defined, as they are so large and interconnected that if they collapse, there would be a chain reaction that would affect the whole economy. They are the link that connects the economy and lets everything happen: from government policy (expand the circulation with credits) to buy groceries (payment services).

We are living in exciting moments because a revolution is happening right now. There are serious threats to the banks foundations, and I am happy to announce that I am part of it. The Financial Technology (Fintech) revolution has been made by start-ups that use Internet and mobile applications to side step banks. Companies like Droplet are now able to replace the traditional services offered ONLY by banks, in this particular case: payments with cards.

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The Extra Mile on the One Planet MBA

By Ernesto Altahona
Full-time MBA student 2014/5

 

I started to live my dream the day I arrived to the classroom; I strongly wished to be here because I felt some time ago that there was a “glass ceiling” blocking my career development. Somehow the path was obstructed and I knew I was missing the tools for breaking it, in order to develop my full potential, and I expected the One Planet MBA would give me the instruments to do this. Knowledge is the main argument for undertaking a MBA; you know that the teachers will guide you through a variety of disciplines and areas, in which you know beforehand you lack strong pillars. I expected a demanding level of evaluation, and these expectations were fulfilled. Many nights without sleep to deliver presentations, slide decks and essays are now in my luggage.
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Choosing Elective Modules: A Student Perspective

By Catherine Crane
Full-time MBA student 2014/5

Please take a moment to picture this…you are near to the end of the first term of the One Planet MBA at Exeter Business School. The Christmas break is just in sight and yet, before you celebrate, you will need to make some important decisions regarding your elective subjects for the second term.

This was my first major quandary on the One Planet MBA; I have an insatiable appetite to acquire new knowledge and a desire to learn as much as possible. Here I was at a faculty presentation, all staff and students together to watch the academic staff pitching their subjects in order to compete for students. It reminded me of a “dance off”, a lot of humour was brought in to illustrate the necessity of choosing their elective.

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