Sustainability. A topic that everyone is working on. But what exactly does sustainability mean for all employees of your organization? We helped Stedin activate their sustainability strategy.
Every day, grid operator Stedin ensures that customers have access to energy. Of course, this also includes sustainable, future-proof business operations. Despite the enormous challenges of the energy transition, the company wants to take responsibility by emitting less CO2 and particulates, using materials in a circular way, improving biodiversity and offering everyone equal opportunities. How do you make sure everyone is on board?
A sustainable company is an organization where all colleagues feel why it is important to make sustainable choices and understand how they can translate this into their own work. That is why, together with Stedin employees, we developed a strategy design and various means to explain this clearly to the entire company.
All choices have an impact on sustainability
The theme of sustainability is extremely complicated. It affects many areas: from electric buses to sustainable cables, solar panels at stations and training underprivileged young people to become mechanics. There are different issues with the construction of new stations than with the replacement of assets or with malfunctions and maintenance of the network. And housing, company cars and vitality of employees also affect sustainability.
In addition to priorities such as reliability and security of supply, sustainability must also be taken into account in the final choices. Because the core tasks and making business operations more sustainable ultimately all serve the same goal: creating a future-proof society in which there is sustainable energy for everyone.
Inspire, take along, translate
That is why the entire company must realize that Stedin’s core task and sustainability can reinforce each other and not slow down or make it more difficult. And of course, when implementing a strategy, you want everyone – staff, engineers, IT, mechanics and everyone else – in the company not only to be aware, but to really feel the importance and understand why changes need to be made.
Stedin asked Flatland to think along with their strategy design and develop resources for all employees, so that they can see what they can do themselves.
- Inspire Stedin employees and include them in Stedin’s sustainability goals
- Showing coherence between Stedin’s various impact areas
- So that they can make their own translation of what sustainability means for their role
Our method and process
We first made an overview of the most important activities to make Stedin a sustainable and inclusive company. The Design Thinking method asks you to first take a step back and map out for whom and why you actually want to design something. In four sessions we worked in co-creation towards a structured story:
Kick-off > unraveling and clarifying the goal, target group and components
Clarity > defining the building blocks for a clear story
Story > structuring a story and testing the visual
Deliver > testing the delivery and check whether the story is complete
After we developed three different communication tools.
Working visually and in co-creation during sessions
As always, we work visually together during all sessions, in co-creation with the customer. By drawing everything, everyone’s ideas become visible. It provides insight into the differences and similarities: is everyone on the same page? Hugely valuable, especially in complex and abstract topics such as sustainability or inclusivity.
Drawings give room for individual input, everyone is heard. In online sessions, people view a drawing up close are close to a drawing and they can give immediate feedback and paste (digital) post-it’s. In this way, people build on each other’s ideas – because it immediately becomes visual and insightful. They refine each other’s proposals and this is how innovative ideas arise. This method unleashes creativity, energizes and speeds up the process of reaching agreement.
Different means, different purposes
After the strategy was made into a structured and clear story, we developed three different products. All with different goals. A visualization for a clear summary of the sustainability strategy, which makes the goals for 2030 clear. A tangible product, which you can hang on the wall so that everyone is always reminded of it.
In addition, an interactive website, where much more in-depth information can be found. More concrete explanation per component: the playing field, the core tasks, the supply chain, buildings and people. Finally, a striking animation, with which you can communicate the focus and urgency in a clear story from A to Z. You could say that the talk board communicates the what, the animation the why and the interactive website the how.
Total package with energetic sessions and multiple results
Visual strategist Tom van ‘t Westeinde is proud of the result, of all impressive designed means of communication, but especially of Flatland’s contribution to this important goal. We must tackle sustainability together, and he is pleased that our visual methods can give this process an energy boost.
“This project with Stedin also shows clearly what Flatland has to offer. Designing various products: visuals, interactive websites and an animation. But above all, what visual working generates during the entire process in terms of energy and effectiveness,” says Tom.
All communication under the same umbrella
Dirk Bijl de Vroe, sustainability manager at Stedin, is happy with the result. All new resources are being used enthusiastically and communication with all employees is taking place step-by-step throughout the year, always based on a different part of the interactive. “A completely new intranet page and internet page was also created on the basis of these resources. All in all, a new backbone for all communication about sustainability.”
Website - Stedin One Planet
Tom van 't Westeinde
Curious how our methodologies can help with your sustainability issue? Don’t hesitate to contact Tom.Contact
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