Design for Conservation is a systemic approach to innovation that draws from design methodologies to find solutions to challenges that arise from the interaction between people and the natural environment.
It understands that humans are just one species of a complex ecosystem that needs equilibrium to thrive.
D4C is an iterative process comprised of 5 core activities that can overlap and change order.
The best start is to do them in the following order: (re)connect, understand, propose and test, deploy and measure impact. And repeat as necessary: learn, evolve, adapt, just like a natural system.
The strength and challenge of D4C is the (re)connection step, since it is central to all other activities.
Showing up as we really are, using empathy, staying vulnerable and passionate about our project ensures that we embody the connection to an ecosystem that needs to be healthy for all of its parts to thrive. This state of mind (or mindset) will allow us to use make the best of our personal skills in a collaborative process.
By re-connecting participants to their true nature, their community and their land, as part of complex natural systems, D4C fosters the necessary mindset for committed, creative and adaptable problem solving.
Steps to Reconnect
To yourself and with your team.
To your community/the community you are designing for.
To your land/environment.
- Agile: Purpose map
- Deep: Adaptive leadership
Understanding environmental issues requires systems thinking, embracing ambiguity and re-connecting to the sources. In order to do unbiased research we have to unlearn our pre-conceptions and understand that the experts can be the people closer to the land, the species, the problem.
Steps to Understand
Unlearn/let go of assumptions
Diagnose the problem
- Agile: Agile LCA
- Deep: Life cycle assessment (LCA)
Getting inspiration form natural systems is one of the oldest approach to problem solving. Sourcing in slow , ancestral knowledge while making use of the latest technologies can yield highly innovative, yet resilient ideas.
When prototyping rapidly and roughly one can cut costs on testing, learning from early failure and iteration, learning while doing and adding definition to initial ideas.
Steps to Propose and Test
Prototype and test
Select and commit
- Agile: Multispecies Design Cards
Deploying means further defining your ideas in order to bring them to effective action. This activity is comprised of tools that will help materialise your project, wether for-profit or non-profit, most of these work locally and start small before scaling and replicating.
Steps to Deploy
Plan your pilot
Define a Business model
Create influence groups
- Agile: SLOC impact planner
- Deep: Live prototyping
Measuring impact is one of the most important tasks in environmental projects. Here, the Agile-to-Deep approach becomes very useful, allowing teams to use agile versions of impact measuring techniques that require less resources to apply.
Steps to Measure Impact
Definition of Depth, Breadth and Target
Plan for Resilience
Strategise for Evolution
- Agile: Ecosystemic services canvas
- Deep: Environmental Impact Studies