UMIO and City of Maastricht develop a common sustainability roadmap

On December 6, a team of students and staff from UMIO’s Service Science Factory (SSF) presented the results of a project that looked at how the University and the City of Maastricht can operate more sustainably by working together. The eight-week project, Collaboration Agenda 2030, focused on possible synergies between the two.

Maastricht’s municipal government and university are the city’s largest employers, so it makes good sense to join forces in as they develop their 2030 organisational sustainability roadmap. A project of this kind will only work if it involves concrete initiatives.

Student participation as a key ingredient

One of the reasons the City chose to work together with SSF was the involvement of students from Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE). Student participation is a key ingredient in SSF programmes like this, as it enables our partners to profit from fresh insights based on the latest academic research. Especially where it concerns a subject like sustainability, which inspires many students.

The challenge

The team considered how the University and the municipality together can improve acquisitions, reduce their carbon footprint, create climate-neutral operations, adopt more inclusive behaviour and ensure employee wellbeing—all of which falls under the heading of sustainability.

Design Thinking

SSF uses their own method for creating innovative solutions, called the Double Diamond Approach, which is rooted in design Thinking. It considers the greater context when designing a solution and consists of the steps “Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver.”

Design Thinking

“The project is typical for the Service Science Factory approach in that it uses the Design Thinking methodology,” said Carmen Vonken, Project Leader and Service Design Trainer at UMIO’s Service Science Factory. “We start the challenge by investigating the existing situation thoroughly and follow up with creative ideation sessions—a process of brainstorming and rapid prototyping to deliver tangible and concrete solutions at the end of eight weeks.” On October 8, a team of nineteen students started interviewing stakeholders. They studied the academic literature and best business practices to prepare for the co-creation session. In the final step, the ideation sessions brought about a variety of solutions that were further developed into a number of concrete concepts.

Sustainable Maastricht

It was clear to the team that the City and the University are missing out on opportunities. But, by working together, they can leverage synergies to attain some much-needed goals. The team has dubbed the new partnership programme Maastainable—Our Internal Sustainability Journey. It will support knowledge sharing and encourage parties to join forces, teach and learn from one another, and generate ideas together in the fields of sustainable sourcing, sustainable usage, employee wellbeing, and team cohesion.

The Future

“The project went extremely well, and the first meetings between Municipality and University, to implement the findings are planned” Carmen concluded. “The challenge now is how to create ongoing human and financial support for Maastainable.”

Make Service Innovation work for you

How can organisations create innovations that make use of important trends? How can firms incorporate the customer perspective into business and design processes? What are things to take into consideration when it comes to implementing a sustainable innovation?

With a focus on service design and innovation, UMIO offers valuable insights into what is needed to develop enduring innovations that allow organisations to evolve in the 21st century and beyond.

UMIO has assisted a wide variety of organisations including Siemens, Ziggo, LIOF, the Province of Limburg, Puratos, L1 Radio and TV, Canon, Volkswagen, Chemelot, Scelta, and many more.

To find out how to make Service Innovation work for your organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact Carmen Vonken.