Tips for Sustainability Challenges

By Marianna Canino

Posted on

Here at Wazoku, we aim to “Change the world, one idea at a time.” At present, there isn’t a greater issue to overcome than that of climate change. Therefore, in recent years, we’ve seen a high volume of the challenges run on our platform focus on the area of sustainability.

For those of you unfamiliar with Wazoku, we’re a market leader in the innovation space. We operate an enterprise-grade innovation platform that allows our customer organizations to combine open innovation and idea management principles.

With the global nature of the issue, having access to as wide a net as possible in which to capture potential solutions to sustainability problems is of critical importance. By providing one platform in which organizations can communicate with their internal crowd and external solvers, Wazoku offers a simple, comprehensive way to deliver continuous innovation.

What Works Well:

This ambidextrous approach to innovation that allows companies to source solutions from many different internal and external ecosystems has proven successful in generating sustainability solutions on a small and large scale.

One of our most successful small-scale sustainability solutions came through our work with British supermarket chain Waitrose. When sourcing ideas for improvements they could make to their everyday ways of working, an in-store employee had a suggestion that reduced the length of their paper receipts by 12cm. Reformatting the layout of these receipts has saved the organization more than £165k annually and justifies the complete remodeling of Waitrose’s innovation practice that Wazoku was central to.

Sustainability ideas that our customer organizations receive don’t just deliver cost savings, though. Italian renewable energy firm A2A used our platform to gather ideas for a redesigning of their substations to achieve their goal of supporting the transition towards more sustainable methods of energy consumption. Having gone through unsuccessful rounds of supplier-led discussions of possible solutions, they used our global crowd of problem solvers.

The successful idea suggested a complete redesign of underground substations to reuse existing devices, laid out compactly, and requiring minimal maintenance. Seeing the wide-reaching potential of such a design, A2A was able to secure a patent for this solution, making them a market leader, and providing a solution for the industry at large.

In both instances, solutions were attained from areas of the business ecosystem that had historically been overlooked. By breaking down the siloes and barriers that were in place and adopting a mindset that was open to ideas from anywhere, both Waitrose and A2A were able to resolve their problems more efficiently and more effectively than would have been possible without the Wazoku platform.

Problems and How to Overcome Them:

Some of the problems that companies have encountered before using our platform aren’t instantly overcome by the adoption of Wazoku. Certain barriers, such as a lack of innovation enthusiasm, existing ‘antibodies’ that resist any change in an organization, or challenges that aren’t focused or specific enough can limit the success that a business can achieve with the platform.

Thankfully, a lot of these issues can be overcome by ensuring that the challenge planning considers them. Recognizing the importance of incentives and how these can be amended to suit solvers at different stages of the organization has proven effective in building enthusiasm for participation.

However, companies often overlook the introduction of similar incentives for those participants that evaluate or implement solutions. This is particularly important, as those individuals are often the ‘antibodies’ in an internal ecosystem.

Similarly, when it comes to dealing with issues around challenges that lack focus or specificity, we work closely with our customer organizations to ensure the messaging and the framework of the challenge – in particular, time frames – restrict the amount of unfocused or unhelpful submissions they receive.


In this blog, I’ve aimed to highlight how, using the Wazoku platform, companies are breaking new ground in their sustainability efforts. I’ve shared examples of challenges that we’ve run with our clients that have delivered small scale as well as industry-wide change and discussed how our platform allows our clients to circumnavigate some of the common hurdles that have historically restricted their sustainability innovations.

I hope that this piece has shown how our Challenge-Driven Methodology can be utilized to businesses, whether they have existing sustainability departments or not, and that our experience in this area uniquely positions us to elevate the efforts of any business in this area.

By Marianna Canino

Marianna is the Director of Customer Success at Wazoku. When she isn't helping our customers make the most of their innovation programs, Marianna loves to go to concerts, travel the world, and is a keen surfer!