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The good, the great, and the… winners!

Marijn Mennes

When a two-month global scouting process for eight companies seeking solutions to their sustainability challenge, results in selection day to pick your #1 solution provider.

Do you remember that we've started Impact Nation to help companies with the practical side of making their business more sustainable? If so, you might also remember that to do so; we started with a Challenge Shaping Workshop. In February and March, we defined the most urgent (pre-COVID-19) sustainability challenge for each company. Our promise: We'll help you find a solution, and we'll help you implement it in your daily practice.

Today, it's been eight weeks since we've started scouting globally to solve the participants' main sustainability challenge. We'll share a great lesson from this process, and announce the winning matches. 

Lesson 1: Scouting for solutions is easier with a specific challenge

We've previously written a guide on how to determine your companies' main sustainability challenge, that's here. For the eight participating companies in Impact Nation, we facilitated a 3-hour Challenge Shaping Workshop. We organized several physical events in February and March and started scouting globally for solutions to those challenges at the beginning of April. 

It feels weird to write down while we're still amidst COVID-19. But that once was a thing: get up early, drive to the other side of the country to come up with a sustainability problem for your company. And drive back after the workshop being "fully stoked", as Guus - CEO of Militex - told us. 

Now the practical result of such a workshop is a challenge. It's phrased in the form of a question so that your mind starts figuring out solutions almost naturally. It also helps other people think along with what you want to achieve most. Below is an example of one of the participants, Hempflax, a hemp farmer and processor:

How can we bring commercially viable hemp-based products to market in the fashion industry by collaborating with an innovative hemp fiber processing partner?

You can see that this challenge has four parts. 

  1. First, there's the pricing aspect. A possible solution needs to be "commercially viable"'
  2. Second, there's the ultimate goal: "bring … hemp-based products to market";
  3. Third, there's the potential offset market: "the fashion industry";
  4. And lastly, there's also a direction for a solution, namely: "by collaborating with an innovative hemp fiber processing partner". 

This is an excellent example of a concise and specific challenge. Any company that has a possible solution for the ultimate goal - point two above - can be checked by points one, three, and four. 

Now, this doesn't mean that those solution providers are easy to find. Perhaps the desired technology does not exist yet. Or, only a part of the challenge can be solved. Or, there can be a solution, but it can be too costly. So you need research further to be able to lower the cost. 

In any case, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. It's all tailor-made. And that's why it's hard to make your company more sustainable. Hopefully, by telling stories of success, we can inspire and help others along the way.

In sum, a specific challenge consists of several parts and an end goal. These parts serve as checks to be able to score (companies with) a possible solution on viability. If you phrase your challenge as a question, your mind starts focusing on solutions somewhat automatically. 

On to the winning matches

Now back to this week. Crowdsourcing, the practice of finding solutions or information by enlisting the services of a large number of people, is not new. But discovering global opportunities for collaboration during a COVID-19 crisis to make your company more sustainable is somewhat groundbreaking.

Nevertheless, eight companies that own a sustainability challenge met with their top three possible solution providers this week. They got to know each other through Whereby, had a short deep-dive into the practical side of possible solutions, and chose their #1 for the remaining Impact Nation program.

As of today, we can announce the first companies that will start their 100-day discovery together. Here's the list with the challenge owners in white, and the solution providers in black.

Impact Nation - Sustainability Matches

Here's the full list:

Militex chose ClearCircle

Wereldhave chose Anerdgy

Johan Cruijff Arena chose Chooose

Vogels chose Mango Materials

Hempflax chose Altmat

CentralPoint chose Qingtech

Vrijdag Premium Printing chose Bio4Life

and ReintenInfra chose Madaster.

Keep an eye out for more details on the outcomes of these matches on this website.

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