The Spaceship Podcast is part of an Impact Entrepreneurship Masterclass called The Spaceship. We're enabling status quo rebels to tackle our world's toughest problems through business. This podcast is where we bring the theory to life by featuring thought leaders and impact entrepreneurs from around the world.
Ep010 - Human Centered Design VS Planetary Design - Anna Várnai & Shuya Gong from IDEO
Anna Várnai and Shuya Gong are two designers at the global design agency IDEO. They talk about what is Human Centered Design and how it goes with Planetary Design. IDEO uses Human Centered Design to create solutions with a positive impact and shape a global change.
Anna: We need to redefine the stories that we tell us, and if we see ourselves as part of nature, actually everything that serves humans and humanity, so it doesn't serve consumers or paying customers, but it actually serves humans, would hopefully also serve nature.
Laura: This is The Spaceship Podcast.
Clément: This podcast is brought to you by the special master class where we support change-makers and entrepreneurs in their journey to solving big challenges our planet is facing. Here we bring the theory to life by featuring thought leaders and impact entrepreneurs from around the world.
Laura: How do we design the future? How do we try to tackle the challenges the world is consistently facing, the human challenges and the environmental ones. Now, this is what we're talking about in this week's episode with our guests Anna Várnai and Shuya Gong from the global design agency IDEO.
Clément: Anna Várnai and Shuya Gong, so first of all, we are really glad to have you in the spaceship podcast. So thanks a lot and welcome.
Anna: Hey, thanks for having us.
Shuya: Yeah. So excited to be here.
Clément: You both work at IDEO, a global design company, known for its commitment to creative, positive impact, which is why we are so excited to speak to you both. And both of you work together, Anna you're a senior design lead, consultant and facilitator, and Shuya you are head designer at IDEO co-lab exploring how emerging tech and societal trends change systems.
Shuya: We're multi-purpose here.
Anna: Yeah, that's very true. It's usually hard to put it down, like to one title or two.
Laura: Why is it so hard to have one title when you're doing what you're doing? Or maybe even describe what you're doing. If you had to pick one title right now,
Anna: I would pick the title of design researcher and in a way I sometimes describe it that is part-time reporter, part-time storyteller or anthropologist and therapists. So I think that already might give you an answer why it's hard to like put it into one role because depending on the project and the challenge, there are different skillsets that are needed and different roles I step into.
But usually in one sentence for a living, I try to understand why people do the things they do and how we can design better products, services, or systems that actually resonate with them and help them thrive in the end
Laura: Does design in the way you're both talking about it, is this a more democratic way of thinking about the word design?
There are boundaries to it and the way you're speaking about it, it seems like it's something that's just everywhere. You can design anything. You can design the way you pour your tea into your mug. Can you just maybe elaborate a little bit on that?
Anna: There are two ways how I think about it, and there's one way when I see the word of "to design", I think that is an innate human capability that every one of us is designing if we're changing the state of something. So in a way it's understanding what's the current state and changing it to a different state. And then through the history of design as a practice, it professionalized. It was industrial revolution, so design was very much about white Western people making stuff and product.
Now we realize how much trouble it also causes, and what are the negative effects of designing if you don't think about the whole context. I hope that design and kind of like its next evolution will go a little bit more back to not designing new stuff, but in a way, designing the relationship between people or people and nature.
Shuya: There are two moments in many designer's lives. The first one of like capital D design, which is like, "I'm a designer"....
Ep009 - The Solution Appetite - Tessa Clarke and Olio
Tessa Clarke talks about how she created Olio, the app that is ending food waste. Olio connects people to others in their neighbourhood to share surplus food. She reflects on her journey creating a simple MVP to reaching 4 million users.
Tessa: It is possible to test your hypothesis without spending a penny
In the early days. You just need to find the super, super early adopters. They are people who you don't have to sell to, the minute you tell them you have got this thing that can solve their problem, they want to kind of rip it out of your hands and they don't care what it's called. They don't care what the colors and the design and the branding is. They just want that problem solved.
Clément: You are listening to Tessa Clarke, co-founder and CEO of Olio. In this episode, we'll be talking about food, and how she created and developed a simple solution to help fix this complex issue.
Laura: This is the spaceship podcast, part of the spaceship masterclass, where we support change-makers and entrepreneurs in their journeys to solving big challenges our planet is facing.
Here we bring the theory to life by featuring thought leaders and impact entrepreneurs from around the world.
And in this episode we met Tessa Clark to talk about her startup Olio . The Olio app connects people to others in their neighborhood to share surplus food. When you think about how much food goes, uneaten at our dinner tables, or it gets thrown out by local supermarkets. There is more than enough to go around and that's not to mention the fruits and vegetables that we harvest from our own gardens that we sometimes don't even know what to do with. I mean, there's only so many carrots that one can eat
Clément: Tessa started only in 2015 in the UK with a very basic version of the app.
And it was a pretty quick success. Now, all you has more than 3 million, 600,000 users. That means we are talking about almost 20 millions portions of food shared through the app.
Laura: We are really, really interested Tessa,to hear a little bit more about how you tested the appetite for this solution. I mean, the problem of food waste is clear and the statistics are very, very poignant, and I am very curious to know how you actually went from understanding this problem to testing whether or not people were interested in even considering this idea of sharing.
Tessa: Yeah. Great question. And we went through a pretty methodical process, actually a quick bit methodical process. So I had an experience when I was moving country and found myself with some foods that the removal told me I had to throw away. But being a farmer's daughter and someone who has a keen appreciation for just how much hard work goes into producing food. I wasn't prepared to do that. So I kind of set out into the streets to try and find someone to give my food. To cut a long story short, I failed miserably. I went back to my apartment and not to be defeated, I smuggled the non-perishable food into the bottom of my packing box. And that was the point at which I realized this was crazy the lengths I was going to avoid throwing away perfectly good food. And I knew there was an app for everything, and I couldn't believe it wasn't an app where I could just easily post my food and neighbors living nearby could request it and pop around and pick it up.
So that was the sort of light bulb moment, I guess, if you like for, for the concept of Olio the first thing my co-founder session I did was to research the problem of food waste to find out if this actually was a problem bigger than my personal experience. And we very quickly discovered that it's an enormous existential problem with a third of all the food we produce globally each year being thrown away meanwhile, 800 million people go to bed hungry every night who could be fed in a quarter of the food that we waste in the Western world. And then the environmental impact of food waste we discovered was absolutely devastating. If it were to...
Ep008 - The Past, The Present, The Future - Laura and Clement
Laura: Hi! This is Laura.
Clement: And Clement,
Laura: Co-founders of the Spaceship Academy, and the hosts of the Spaceship Podcast. We are so glad you joined us for our first season. Thank you so much for listening and supporting the show. Right now, we’re recording and preparing for a huge shift for season 2.
Clement: Big things are coming! We’re moving towards more structured and tailored episodes on topics from The Spaceship Curriculum.
Laura: So, if you’re struggling with developing your business plan,
Clement: Or wondering how to think about scale
Laura: Our new season will be tailored towards the important and sometimes challenging questions that come with launching an impact enterprise.
Clement: As we look forward we are also reflecting on what we learned from our season one guests!
We talked about some cool things this season, like how to seek inspiration from those facing the problem --
Linh: So the more you talk to the people that you want to serve, the more ideas you have, and they actually can even tell you to do different things. And at first, as it's kind of the mother of your idea, you'll be like, "Oh, I'm not going to do that." But if you, if you ask ten people and eight of them tell you to do certain things differently, then maybe there's something you need to consider.
Laura: Or learning to take out time for play!
Moses: And we had one objective on lazy day. If you will call it an objective, it was to do nothing. Honestly, one of the hardest things I had to do every week was just literally have no schedule and nothing to do on a Monday, but I think that's the idea of play: giving space for spontaneity and, you know, just doing nothing.
Clement: How to seek motivation when things get complicated
Sharath: There's always what I'd call a jujitsu point in a system, right? Where there's a role. There's a kind of person in the system who is very close to tipping, right. They really want a better outcome on the motivation side. But something is conspiring against them.
Laura: how to use inspiration from the past to look to the future
Laure: We asked ourselves, before facing our waste crisis, how did we used to live? How did we used to consume products? And so we went back to this idea of the milkman, where at the time packaging was an asset for the companies. So it was in their interest to make these assets as durable as possible. Not because of the environment...because at the time in you know, late fifties, sixties, it was not yet an issue, but really because of economics. So the milk bottle had to be durable to be reused many, many times because it was simply an asset that would depreciate over time.
Clement: And especially rethinking the potential for business to do good in the world
Matt: We don't live in a world right now where governments habitually make sensible, ambitious decisions about the public goods we need to create and then efficiently go about creating them. So, if we could pass those mandates to private companies who can do good while also doing well, if you can create a business model where doing the right thing is profitable, then you've won.
Laura: We can’t wait to jump into season 2!
Ideas are Cheap, Execution is Expensive - Linh Le
Linh Le is building a system that encourages coffee drinkers to use and return their coffee cups to eliminate single use plastic. She reminds us to approach potential customers with an open mind, to do our due diligence prior to launch, and that ideas are cheap, but execution is definitely expensive.
Reinventing the Milkman - Laure Cucuron
Laure Cucuon, general manager for TerraCycle Europe discusses innovation in the circular economy and scaling the new project, Loop. Loop is an e-commerce platform partnering with your favorite brands to produce durable, and thoughtful packaging that combats single-use waste.
Challenging Yourself to Do Nothing - Moses Mohan
Moses Mohan guides huge multinational corporations and organizations integrate mindfulness and compassion into the workplace. He brings thoughts and wisdom from his days as an ordained Zen monk, reminding us of the importance of play, spontaneity, and mindfulness. He reminds us that mindfulness is "always mindful of something," and that you can always bring more awareness and intention to what you do.
Much needed conversations
Laura and Clement are wonderful. They’re having such time relevant conversations that empower and equip you with the knowledge to make an impact in the world. I love their podcast so much and can’t wait for more episodes 🤗