Future Proof through
Design and Innovation
The design stage is where the opportuni-
ties for improvement are the greatest

Product

The second step in the resource effectiveness transformation process is ‘Product’. To a large extent, the environmental impact of products and services is determined in the design stage. Therefore, this is where the opportunities for improvement are the greatest. To make sure that the product portfolio is optimized for success in a resource-constrained world, companies should analyze the current portfolio, and adapt it through changes in product design, or more radical innovation.


Portfolio Analysis
First of all, the existing product portfolio must be reviewed in terms of its environmental impact. While footprinting under ‘Positioning’ focuses on the whole company, here the focus is on individual products and product lines. It is important to understand which products are relatively ‘green’ and which are ‘dirty’, and therefore exposed to regulatory or market risk. Read more


Product Design
The outcomes of the portfolio analysis can be used to set the priorities for product (re)design activities. In some cases, it may be sufficient to replace a limited number of ingredients or change a limited number of product features, but if the environmental impact is significant, the product may have to be redesigned from scratch. To achieve resource effectiveness, designers must think holistically in order to optimize environmental performance along the entire lifecycle of a product, from extraction of raw materials to the disposal stage. Read more


Innovation
The way societies currently use resources is highly inefficient and wasteful. Therefore, taking existing products and tweaking them will likely result in marginal improvements. There is tremendous potential for radical innovation to create new products and business models that more fundamentally address resource effectiveness. Read more


At the end of step 2, the company will know how to adapt its product portfolio in order to be successful in a resource-constrained world.