Change management: the human side of sustainable design

“It’s not so much that we are afraid of change, or so much in love with the old ways, but it’s the place in between we fear… it’s like being in between trapezes… there’s nothing to hold onto.” – Marilyn Ferguson

Several drivers such as rising prices of raw materials, novel international regulations on enviroment and social issues, energy prices, depletion of resources, etc., account for growing awareness of sustainability within governments, the market and business.

Companies that develop, produce and commercialise innovative products have a prominent role in the incorporation of sustainability in the product development process. Recently, several success factors and obstacles for this type of integration process have been observed. These include factors which are closely related to the structure of the organisation and others linked to personal and emotional aspects.

change-managementIn fields like change management, this human side of the integration process is considered as an important issue (as seen in the image). Therefore, knowledge from that field might support the implementation of sustainable design criteria in business. The formulation of a clear added value of sustainability issues might already improve this integration process.

References: Verhulst, E. et al (2007) The Human Side of Ecodesign from the Perspective of Change Management, “Advances in Life Cycle Engineering for Sustainable Manufacturing Businesses”, pp 107-112.
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