Company Visit Deloitte – Reducing Food Waste with Design Thinking

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of all food every year gets wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production through household consumption. Design Thinking is an approach that enables collaborative creativity to solve complex problems holistically and user-centered. At the same time, in a world with ever-growing dynamics and increasing uncertainty, Design Thinking helps to develop relevant offers and thus create more value for customers. connectUS was given the opportunity to find possible solutions for the emerging problem of food waste with Design Thinking at Deloitte Switzerland.

Have you ever heard of an app that enables farmers to sell their surplus harvest? Do you know the smoothie “Barry” which is solely produced from non-sellable fruits? Both are examples of possible solutions developed by students during the workshop, that demonstrate how to reduce food waste. Overall, the workshop was a mix of lively discussion and productive idea generation that demanded from the student to think out of the box.

It was the fourth day of the Preparatory Seminar, on which we were able to attend this dynamic workshop and where we could implement right away from our knowledge to practice. Saskia Haller, who is a former project team member of connectUS, warmly welcomed us at Deloitte’s headquarter in Zurich. After a short introduction from her side, Berkin Özcan, Senior Consultant in Digital Experience and Innovation, took over and started to explain how the workshop is going to look like. The afternoon was divided into a theoretical and practical part. Starting off with the theory, Berkin Özcan stressed that Design Thinking consists of three pillars which are: Mindset, Processes and Tools. The idea of “Mindset” is that people and businesses think in a way where customers and users always have priority. Next, “Tools” which are representing this mindset are created and finally used in the “Process” to design or redesign a solution to a problem.

After having received some precious inputs about Design Thinking, the students were asked to participate, and everyone was highly engaging with each other. The objective was to present a solution at the end of the day on how to reduce food waste in Switzerland by using the “Design Thinking” approach. For this purpose, the students were paired into groups and the task has been broken down into seven steps.

First, the students were asked to cluster the potential customers and to identify all stakeholders. Next, personas which are representing the average characteristics of a stakeholder group were developed. With the help of these personas, the students were then able to create a journey map that displays the touchpoints between the user and the product or service. Before pitching their solution, all groups of students had the possibility to quickly fabricate any physical model that turns their innovation into a product. While several students used a flipchart to present their solution, others employed their creativity to build a tangible prototype.

After numerous flipcharts, a lot of soul searching, brainstorming, and discussions, every single group of students presented their solution in an inspirational and vibrant way. With many useful tools in mind, connectUS is ready to continue fighting against food waste, and is aware of the fact that everyone can make a difference.