• 14
  • MAY
  • 2019

The Sustainability Challenge

In November 2018, we teamed up with industry giant BASF to set some of our early career researchers an innovation challenge. Working in small teams, we asked them to come up with solutions to three of the biggest problems facing the future of farming globally.

Whichever innovation route you follow, you’ll need to be open to new ways of tackling problems.

We always knew that the first step in our Sustainability Challenge was going to be the hardest – getting teams of scientists to step out of their comfort zones and approach problems in a completely new way. So, we brought in Design Thinking guru Sarah King from consultants We Are Unstuck to loosen them up a little.

Here’s some of her top tips:

Try new things

Don’t be afraid to be pushed outside of your comfort zone; if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.

Be part of something

Collaborating with others allows us to create something bigger and better than we could have achieved individually.

Release your creative mojo

Brainstorm and really fire out those initial ideas – going for quantity over quality.

Explore beyond the obvious

Good ideas can come from anywhere – so look outside your day to day for inspiration.

Be a maker

It’s easy to talk about ideas but it is much harder to make them happen. A prototype brings ideas to life, then early feedback identifies what worked and what didn’t work.

Make mistakes

Mistakes happen all around us and are often seen as failure. In Design Thinking we see things differently. Mistakes allow us to make progress because they create an opportunity to learn.

“If creativity is the generation of new ideas, and innovation the exploitation of those ideas, then design is what links the two”