Print Email Facebook Twitter CUSTOM SUSTAINABILITY: Design an analysis tool that Spring Associates can strategically apply for sustainability consulting during client meetings Title CUSTOM SUSTAINABILITY: Design an analysis tool that Spring Associates can strategically apply for sustainability consulting during client meetings Author Willekes, E.E. Contributor Smulders, F.E.H.M. (mentor) Kester, L. (mentor) Bakker-Wu, S. (mentor) Faculty Industrial Design Engineering Department Product Innovation Management Programme Master of Science Strategic Product Design Date 2012-05-31 Abstract This thesis was performed in cooperation with the Amsterdam-based strategy-consulting firm Spring Associates. This firm is specialized in providing strategic support for a wide range of companies in financial services, new business development and sustainability. However, Spring Associates is facing difficulties in efficiently attracting new clients in the latter segment. The firm invests a disproportionate amount of time and effort in preparing client meetings to make sure they convince the potential client of the firm’s knowledge and problem solving skills. An internal analysis revealed that this approach is not satisfactory, mainly because of the need for in-depth knowledge to determine relevant items for the specific client, and the need to increase client focus during these meetings. The aim of this thesis was to design an analysis tool that Spring Associates can strategically apply for sustainability consulting during client meetings. This thesis focused on the food industry as this high-impact industry directly influences our lives, economies and the environment. Many researchers studied the theoretical definition of sustainability, its implications for the food industry, and company specific ambitions and motivational factors. It can be concluded that sustainability has many definitions, of which the ‘Environment, Social and Governance’ dimensions abstractly explain its broad scope. The ‘life cycle approach’ identifies more concretely how sustainability may affect each step within a product life cycle. However, the exact implications of sustainability in different businesses, and the food industry in particular, remain ambiguous. For example, identified company drivers for sustainable development appear to be highly diverse and theoretical frameworks for implementation and integration are often too abstract to be applied in practice. These conclusions led to the definition of research questions for further qualitative research on sustainability in practice. A total of 14 interviews were conducted with representatives of companies in all steps of the food industry cycle. The main findings described the general top-down integration process of sustainability within these companies, i.e. strategic incorporation is often followed by departmental implementation. Furthermore, all aspects of a company, such as growth drivers, strategy, chain position and company type, influence their sustainable development scope. It is demonstrated that companies’ ambition, strategy and implementation methods are important input parameters for the degree of their challenges and opportunities for further sustainable development. The study has also revealed some interesting market developments in the food industry in particular that highly affect their sustainable development processes. The above insights were evaluated in the synthesis phase, which determined the framework for the final analysis tool design. This framework focuses on the first meeting(s) between Spring Associates and their potential client, as this meeting determines the first impression of both parties and the wish for a follow-up. The framework specified the recommended approach and steps for this meeting. Spring Associates’ employees were closely involved in the steps of the tool design process, namely: user-oriented product development, internal concept testing and beta tests. After and during each step, the analysis tool concept was challenged, prioritized and optimized. The three beta tests demonstrated clearly that the analysis tool prototype performed highly satisfactory for both parties in all different test situations. Spring Associates and the client users provided their useful feedback of the tool effectiveness. This resulted in the final tool design: The Spring 360°. The Spring 360° is an A1 discussion document that effectively facilitates the co-identification and co-evaluation of a client’s situation and sustainability ambition during the first client meeting(s). The tool consists of seven identification steps that are organized in the same top-down way as the food industry integrated sustainability: starting with abstractly discussing ‘What is your vision on sustainability?’ to ending concretely ‘What methods do you apply for sustainable development?’. This client-focused approach allows for effective analysis of the client situation, value propositions of Spring Associates and thereby an efficient follow-up strategy. Recommended preparation efforts are similar to Spring Associates’ current approach, making it easily implementable. The final deliverable consists of a Spring 360° template, and a thorough preparation manual, implementation and follow-up strategy. Subject consultingsustainabilityanalysis toolstrategyfood industry To reference this document use: http://resolver.tudelft.nl/uuid:f0492b60-ae66-45f7-8b48-134ecce8cc9f Embargo date 2013-05-31 Access restriction Campus only Part of collection Student theses Document type master thesis Rights (c) 2012 Willekes, E.E.