When sustainability is discussed within the digital tech industry, the conversation often revolves around electricity use. Typically “how can we reduce electrical consumption in data centers or on end-user devices, and how can we decarbonise it?”.
This is great progress, but the industry is in danger of overlooking the big, more difficult questions.
Questions like: what exactly are those paradigms, systems and root causes that have got us into a rapidly warming climate? And how has this industry been culpable? And how does it continue to be culpable? What do we need to change?
DoingtheDoughnut.tech was conceived to support people within the digital tech industry to:
Using the excellent Doughnut Economics framework as a vehicle to generate these discussions and understanding with the digital tech sector, we ran three pilot workshops to explore how we move beyond fixating on carbon emissions.
The Creating City Portraits guide provided a whole ton of inspiration on how to start this. But instead of regarding a place, we wanted to think about an industry: the digital tech industry.
We began designing the workshop and came up with three core questions that seemed valuable to explore.
29 people working within the digital tech sector joined three pilot workshops to explore these questions. The workshops were 2.5 hours each and were designed for between 6 and 10 participants, with 2 facilitators.
It started with a round of introductions between the attendees which provided a good chance for people to get to know each other. The main part of the workshop split attendees into two groups and asked them to explore the lenses using a Miro board to facilitate the session. Each of the lenses encouraged attendees to explore the pains they see in each of the dimensions, and ideas or vision for changing that in the future.
YES! After hosting these workshops, we felt that the Doughnut provides a friendly, accessible – and non-ideological – way of encouraging people to address fundamental and possibly radical concepts of sustainability, for example challenging economic growth, consumption and waste.
Our workshop attendees were prompted to discuss a vision for the future for each of the 21 dimensions. In this regard, the discussions between the attendees questioned many of the fundamentals of tech industry business models.
These are the four common tech strategies that our attendees highlighted as needing to shift if the digital tech industry is to become more sustainable:
The digital tech industry doughnut flower diagram is a visual representation of the conversation amongst our attendees from the pilot workshops. It draws inspiration from the well-known Doughnut Economics approach of quantifying the doughnut.
The outer petals represent the ecological boundaries. The darker the shade of green the more this came up as a pain point during the discussion. The inner stamens represent the social foundations and the longer and darker the stamen the more this issue featured in the workshop discussions.
We wrote all of our findings and a more detailed methodology onto a website called: DoingTheDoughnut.tech. We hope our work may inspire others!
Athènes, Αττική, Grèce
From business transformation consultant to capacity building facilitator for social entrepreneurs and climate communicator!
Dumbarton, Scotland, United Kingdom
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Ms Raworth's doughnut economics is a brilliant idea as we are reaching the boundaries of our planet.