1.2 Sustainability Co-Design: Sustainability, Leadership and Co-Design

The second week of the first module of the Sustainability Leadership Programme consisted of two live appointments. In this section, you can review and rewatch the content of the week.

Framing Sustainability and Leadership

Why a Sustainability Leadership Programme? Why not just tell you straight what you need to become a sustainable destination? We believe that in order to make a real change, we need to become real leaders and advocates of the good we can do by changing the way we operate now and thinking about how sustainable practices can be adopted throughout the tourism industry.

Introduction to Sustainability Co-Design

You can check the slides for Part 1 and Part 2 of the presentation by clicking on each of them.

1. Framing Sustainability and Leadership

Why a Sustainability Leadership Programme? Why not just tell you straight what you need to become a sustainable destination? We believe that in order to make a real change, we need to become real leaders and advocates of the good we can do by changing the way we operate now and thinking about how sustainable practices can be adopted throughout the tourism industry.

During Week 1: Introduction to the Sustainability Leadership Programme, we have framed a bit what it means to be a leader and concretely drive the sustainable development of your destination.

When we think about Sustainability, there's a clear set of values that can be identified and is commonly shared by the majority of organisations. Let's see them together:

Collectivity

When thinking about developing a strategy, we need to look at the destination as a whole, considering all the players, how they are affected and what we can do to change the way things are. It is also about persuading stakeholders to jump on board by creating the right set of incentives.

Contribution

Let's also think about how we can contribute to sustainable development beyond the limits of our own destination and industry, looking at how models that work can be adapted and replicated by other destinations. Leadership is about sharing solutions to challenges with the wider industry. The crises have brought up new ways of working together: that's when we started talking about Co-ompetitiveness, working together with your competitors, to share knowledge, skills and best practices.

Transparency

We should be open and transparent in the way we report our sustainability efforts to the public. Rigorous and consistent ways of reporting, sharing the impact and the journey are just some of the ways you can build a sustainable and transparent brand. The pandemic has made people more data-savvy and curious about the numbers and figures a company generates and this is a good way to show reliability to consumers.

Open Data

Data is also something that can be shared with a broader audience to create a network that is more knowledgeable and competent, by increasing accessibility and interoperability. It is possible to build a richer story thanks to data.

Responsibility

As leaders, we have the responsibility to build authentic relationships with industry stakeholders as well as maintain a strong commitment to our values through the entire value chain. And this sense of responsibility needs to be conveyed to and amongst all parties.

Respect

Respect is about recognising the real needs of communities and building positive impact by measuring and reducing the negative impact on the environment. Respect is also reflected in how we support the global commitments to carbon reduction and neutrality.

Innovation

Ultimately, the role of DMO as leaders in their industry is to plan and implement smart and innovative solutions, like re-imaging mobility and investing in positive impact tourism activities. Innovation can also help us rethink immersive and transformational experiences with creativity: innovation can be a drive that allows visitors to meet local communities, and understand their impact on the destination.

Excellence

One of the roles of DMOs and destination leaders is to drive the creation of centres of excellence where knowledge is shared across the industry. In other words, by creating clusters of organisations with common expertise and interests and developing deep knowledge in sustainability together. It is key to identify partners and key stakeholders that can transfer expertise across the industry.

The Leadership Journey

The first step of your Journey to frame leadership is defining your values, mission and vision as a tourism professional, as a DMO, as a destination. Despite framing some specific values that are related to sustainability, it is impossible to select pillars that are valid for every destination. It is down to the DMO to define the right set of values, mission and vision and see how everybody in the local tourism industry can align under them.

Once the right values have been identified, it is time to start building the right team culture.

By creating an environment that fosters participation, development of individual skills and knowledge and supports inclusivity and diversity, it becomes easier to align under the same values and work for common goals. The next step is, in fact, Action: starting to push that sustainable message out there, and create a space for debate and invite people on board so that we can act together.

Leading action means finding the right incentive to bring people on board and open up a collective debate on the position we take to protect the destination.

As the last step of the journey, we have "Results". Of course, this step is closely related to what values you identify.

So now it is up to you to identify the 4 key pillars of your Leadership Journey.

2. Learning Design Techniques in Sustainability Leadership

We have created this programme to help destinations become sustainability leaders, for which you'll need to appropriately apply design techniques. In the second part of the live session, we have explored how design-thinking can be a pretty handy method to drive collaboration in your industry.

This introduction to Design Thinking is a great way you can prove yourself to be a designer, as you can tell the difference between an object and an experience... if you are confused or not sure about this, re-watch the recording where we guide you through this process.

The secret of working with design thinking lies in empathising with whoever is affected by a particular challenge in order to find a solution that can benefit them. In the sustainability spectrum, we need to consider the industry objectives and what we want to achieve as a destination (you may find the previous part useful for that) and align human and environmental needs, finding the perfect balance between what people want to enjoy an improved experience and its impact on the environment.

There are also some techniques that can help you better understand challenges and spark a debate to find the right solution. The first technique is to state a challenge and a problem clearly - you will never be able to start discussing implementation in your sustainability strategy if what people are struggling to do now isn't clear. Also, you might want to get to the root cause of that challenge. A quick and fun activity to do so is to take your challenge, write it down on a piece of paper and ask yourself and your team why 5 times before you can all agree to get to the root cause of your problem.

To identify a challenge and ultimately solve this challenge through design thinking it is essential to conduct design research. You are probably familiar with the Scientific Method: observing, reflecting and making. Through design research, you can make sense of your observations - for example, the challenges your users are facing - and reflect on them in order to start ideating solutions.

Some of the recommendations and tips we presented in the presentation will be particularly useful to run the activities included in this programme, so we truly recommend you scroll up and watch the video at the top of this page and stay tuned for the upcoming activities.

Starting the Sustainability Leadership Journey

After introducing the key themes for this module, we met for a live discussion. You can watch the recording and follow along on the Mural board we published below. Feel free to complete the exercises as long as we go through the content. You can also use the comment section below to share your thoughts and questions.

Access the Mural to see what we discussed:

Framing Sustainability and Leadership

Why a Sustainability Leadership Programme? Why not just tell you straight what you need to become a sustainable destination? We believe that in order to make a real change, we need to become real leaders and advocates of the good we can do by changing the way we operate now and thinking about how sustainable practices can be adopted throughout the tourism industry.

Introduction to Sustainability Co-Design

You can check the slides for Part 1 and Part 2 of the presentation by clicking on each of them.

1. Framing Sustainability and Leadership

Why a Sustainability Leadership Programme? Why not just tell you straight what you need to become a sustainable destination? We believe that in order to make a real change, we need to become real leaders and advocates of the good we can do by changing the way we operate now and thinking about how sustainable practices can be adopted throughout the tourism industry.

During Week 1: Introduction to the Sustainability Leadership Programme, we have framed a bit what it means to be a leader and concretely drive the sustainable development of your destination.

When we think about Sustainability, there's a clear set of values that can be identified and is commonly shared by the majority of organisations. Let's see them together:

Collectivity

When thinking about developing a strategy, we need to look at the destination as a whole, considering all the players, how they are affected and what we can do to change the way things are. It is also about persuading stakeholders to jump on board by creating the right set of incentives.

Contribution

Let's also think about how we can contribute to sustainable development beyond the limits of our own destination and industry, looking at how models that work can be adapted and replicated by other destinations. Leadership is about sharing solutions to challenges with the wider industry. The crises have brought up new ways of working together: that's when we started talking about Co-ompetitiveness, working together with your competitors, to share knowledge, skills and best practices.

Transparency

We should be open and transparent in the way we report our sustainability efforts to the public. Rigorous and consistent ways of reporting, sharing the impact and the journey are just some of the ways you can build a sustainable and transparent brand. The pandemic has made people more data-savvy and curious about the numbers and figures a company generates and this is a good way to show reliability to consumers.

Open Data

Data is also something that can be shared with a broader audience to create a network that is more knowledgeable and competent, by increasing accessibility and interoperability. It is possible to build a richer story thanks to data.

Responsibility

As leaders, we have the responsibility to build authentic relationships with industry stakeholders as well as maintain a strong commitment to our values through the entire value chain. And this sense of responsibility needs to be conveyed to and amongst all parties.

Respect

Respect is about recognising the real needs of communities and building positive impact by measuring and reducing the negative impact on the environment. Respect is also reflected in how we support the global commitments to carbon reduction and neutrality.

Innovation

Ultimately, the role of DMO as leaders in their industry is to plan and implement smart and innovative solutions, like re-imaging mobility and investing in positive impact tourism activities. Innovation can also help us rethink immersive and transformational experiences with creativity: innovation can be a drive that allows visitors to meet local communities, and understand their impact on the destination.

Excellence

One of the roles of DMOs and destination leaders is to drive the creation of centres of excellence where knowledge is shared across the industry. In other words, by creating clusters of organisations with common expertise and interests and developing deep knowledge in sustainability together. It is key to identify partners and key stakeholders that can transfer expertise across the industry.

The Leadership Journey

The first step of your Journey to frame leadership is defining your values, mission and vision as a tourism professional, as a DMO, as a destination. Despite framing some specific values that are related to sustainability, it is impossible to select pillars that are valid for every destination. It is down to the DMO to define the right set of values, mission and vision and see how everybody in the local tourism industry can align under them.

Once the right values have been identified, it is time to start building the right team culture.

By creating an environment that fosters participation, development of individual skills and knowledge and supports inclusivity and diversity, it becomes easier to align under the same values and work for common goals. The next step is, in fact, Action: starting to push that sustainable message out there, and create a space for debate and invite people on board so that we can act together.

Leading action means finding the right incentive to bring people on board and open up a collective debate on the position we take to protect the destination.

As the last step of the journey, we have "Results". Of course, this step is closely related to what values you identify.

So now it is up to you to identify the 4 key pillars of your Leadership Journey.

2. Learning Design Techniques in Sustainability Leadership

We have created this programme to help destinations become sustainability leaders, for which you'll need to appropriately apply design techniques. In the second part of the live session, we have explored how design-thinking can be a pretty handy method to drive collaboration in your industry.

This introduction to Design Thinking is a great way you can prove yourself to be a designer, as you can tell the difference between an object and an experience... if you are confused or not sure about this, re-watch the recording where we guide you through this process.

The secret of working with design thinking lies in empathising with whoever is affected by a particular challenge in order to find a solution that can benefit them. In the sustainability spectrum, we need to consider the industry objectives and what we want to achieve as a destination (you may find the previous part useful for that) and align human and environmental needs, finding the perfect balance between what people want to enjoy an improved experience and its impact on the environment.

There are also some techniques that can help you better understand challenges and spark a debate to find the right solution. The first technique is to state a challenge and a problem clearly - you will never be able to start discussing implementation in your sustainability strategy if what people are struggling to do now isn't clear. Also, you might want to get to the root cause of that challenge. A quick and fun activity to do so is to take your challenge, write it down on a piece of paper and ask yourself and your team why 5 times before you can all agree to get to the root cause of your problem.

To identify a challenge and ultimately solve this challenge through design thinking it is essential to conduct design research. You are probably familiar with the Scientific Method: observing, reflecting and making. Through design research, you can make sense of your observations - for example, the challenges your users are facing - and reflect on them in order to start ideating solutions.

Some of the recommendations and tips we presented in the presentation will be particularly useful to run the activities included in this programme, so we truly recommend you scroll up and watch the video at the top of this page and stay tuned for the upcoming activities.

Starting the Sustainability Leadership Journey

After introducing the key themes for this module, we met for a live discussion. You can watch the recording and follow along on the Mural board we published below. Feel free to complete the exercises as long as we go through the content. You can also use the comment section below to share your thoughts and questions.

Access the Mural to see what we discussed: