Sustainable development is development that does not only meet the needs of the present generation, but does it without harming future generations. Sustainability is basically about making the world a better place for everyone today, without destroying or harming the possibilities for the generations of tomorrow.

What is development?

Development is basically progress that creates growth and advancement. Some may see development as a positive change always, but that is not always the case.

Development is a natural and desired part of life and is generally a good thing. However, not all development is positive. If the development happens at the expense of the environment, people or the society as a whole, it is not a sustainable development, and therefore not a development that should be pursued.

When is something ‘sustainable’? 

So, when is something actually sustainable? That’s a difficult question to answer, not least because the definition of ‘sustainable’ varies. Generally, a good way of figuring out whether something is sustainable or not, is to ask yourself: “Can we do this over and over again forever?”. If the answer is no, then what you’re doing, is not sustainable. 

For something to be defined as sustainable, it has to not negatively impact the environment or the society as a whole. For sustainable businesses and organizations, this means that both environmental, economic and social factor needs to be considered when making decisions. 

What is sustainability development?

With a basic understanding of what development is, and when something can be considered sustainable, the preconditions for understanding the concept of sustainability development, are present. 

Sustainability development is about designing solutions fit for a thriving future for life on Earth. Solutions that not only meet the needs of the current generation, but also the needs of future generations. Thus, sustainability development is about designing inclusive, healthy and life-oriented solutions. 

Sustainability development is important for a variety of reasons. The main reason is to help curb global challenges. As a side benefit, sustainability can drive business success. Being sustainable as a business, and working actively with sustainable development, can enhance the image of the business and create strong brand loyalty among customers and other stakeholders. Furthermore, being sustainable as a business can help reduce costs, improve energy efficiency, increase employee retention and recruitment as well as improve investment opportunities. In short, by stepping up sustainability, organizations future proof their business.

To work with sustainability development

The million-dollar question now is “Why don’t all companies and organizations focus on sustainability development, rather than classic human-centered, optimizing development strategies? The answer is complex, and the main reason is most likely lack of knowledge, tools and frameworks. 

Working actively with sustainability development requires a deep conception of what sustainability is and how design and sustainability can be reconciled. 

A great way to achieve this, is by attending Kaospilot’s four-day professional program, Design for Sustainability. In this course, you will be equipped with the most relevant frameworks and models from the field of sustainability science, to grant you a better understanding of how to design and innovate practices, services, products and systems that promote sustainability.

The course is for anyone who wish to be able to design better solutions, whether you’re a leader, product designer, project manager, consultant or similar. You do not need to have previous experience with sustainability nor design practice to attend the course, as you will be introduced to these concepts on the course. 

Kaospilot is a globally recognized disruptive business and design school located in Aarhus, Denmark. The school offers various courses within the fields of project management, creative design, business design, co-creation, entrepreneurship, social innovation and more.

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