VIDEO: 60-second sustainability skill – The Disruptor

In part four of our series of sustainability skills videos, Swarovski's new vice president of sustainability Dax Lovegrove explains the importance of using disruptive innovation to drive positive change within your organisation and beyond.

This series of short videos breaks down some of the essential skills and techniques that sustainability and CSR professionals can utilise to take their abilities onto the next level; delivered through 60-second pitches from a selection of highly-experienced sustainability leaders and advisors.

Each video features a different sustainability expert discussing a particular skill, with the series running throughout edie’s ‘Sustainability Skills Month’, which concludes with the Sustainability Skills Workshop on 30 November.

VIDEO: 60-second sustainability skill – The Disruptor

In the above video, Swarovski’s vice president of sustainability Dax Lovegrove discusses the role of ‘The Disruptor’ within a sustainability team. What skills are required for a sustainability professional to disrupt current ways of thinking and move an organisation’s CSR strategy beyond compliance to one that gives it a competetive edge?

Lovegrove joined the jewellery retailer in August, having previously worked as director of sustainability and innovation at Europe’s largest home improvement business Kingfisher. In this video, Lovegrove uses his expensive experience across a variety of industries to explain that being an effective disruptor is all about ensuring that your organisation does not slip into an ‘efficiency’ agenda. 

“Sustainability is much more than good housekeeping,” Lovegrove said. “It’s about breakthrough activity and breakthrough innovation. 

“First, point out what is good housekeeping. Second, point to innovation that can bring strategic advantage. Then, highlight the disruptions in the marketplace. And point to the business cases and the market opportunities around big areas of innovation.”


Dax Lovegrove’s top tips on disruptive innovation in sustainability

– Go beyond the basics. A ‘good-housekeeping’ mindset is of course a necessity when managing the sustainability of your operations and your supply chain, but the danger is that you just fall into doing that and nothing else. You need to ensure you’re going beyond the basics and thinking about how you can change current ways of working.

– Pick your battles. Whether it’s eco-design, the sharing economy or connected products – whatever is most relevant to your sector – you first need to identify the priority areas of innovation, and then choose your battles. You’re not going to win all of them, so choose the ones you know you can win.

– Understand your sphere of influence. At Swarovski, I’m now working in a creative industry so I must think about how I can change the thinking and actions of people in the fashion world – whether that’s designers who are up and coming; our business-to-business base or our stalls on the high street. Each requires different levels of ‘disruption’.

– Identify the big issues you can tackle. In jewellery and fashion, it’s about how we can move away from the ‘throw-away’ society and make things that last and fit within a circular economy. So, I must think about how we can disrupt and innovate to drive that change. What’s the biggest sustainability challenge in your sector? And how can businesses in that sector do things differently to overcome that challenge?

– You must collaborate to innovate. Extending on that last point – innovation is always challenging within any organisation, so the key thing is to identify the common areas that a number of businesses are seeking to tackle, and then look to work with those businesses to tackle it together. Disruptive innovation happens much quicker and more effectively if people are working together to deliver it.  

edie’s sustainability skills month and workshop

The month of November sees edie shift the editorial spotlight from green building to sustainability skills, ahead of the edie Skills Workshop on 30 November in London (find out more and register to attend here).

From presentation skills and building the business case to the power of influence and persuasion, this month of exclusive videos, features and podcasts will pro-actively address the sustainability skills gaps and lay the foundations for businesses to take the next steps in their sustainability journey.

Read all of our sustainability skills content here.

Luke Nicholls

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