Designing solutions for sustainability

19 May 2015

DNA is a design company with a difference. It focuses on helping businesses tackle complex, ever-evolving issues and is offering the chance for  five businesses to rethink the way they  deal with the concept of sustainability.

DNA as a company has 25 years on the dial. It began as a brand and communications-focused organisation but, says DNA’s Nico Neethling, over the years its mission has evolved. “We’ve realised the bigger value of design to businesses and the problems we’ve started solving are becoming more and more complex.”

Working with big names like BNZ and Trilogy, DNA carefully scrutinises a business’ operations in terms of the people that matter: the customers, the wider community and the staff. “Design is a human-centred problem solving method,” says Nico. Part of this is challenging assumptions, he says. “Any product or service is based on assumptions of what people need. Those are constantly shifting, and assumptions are likely wrong so you’re always going to have to iterate your product.” 

The company is offering a limited entry course for five executives or sustainability managers of medium to large companies, focusing on how design can be used to solve sustainability challenges. “Sustainability is so complex. There are new regulations, new demands, new technologies constantly evolving and challenging your markets and all kinds of market pressure, which means there’s pressure on your product. The normal analytical methods where we try to predict the future and build towards it don’t really work.”

“Sustainability managers and executives are now facing challenges where there simply is no precedent,” adds DNA’s Matt Ayers. “They’re holding a lot of things in their mind – collaboration, community, social and environmental factors. Then you have to try and sell sustainability internally. When you’ve got that level of complexity, multiple stakeholders and a lot of unknowns, that’s where the design process can help.”

Participants will come away with a knowledge of the design capability and how you can use it to face challenges in your workplaces, and the knowledge of design methods that you can start using straight away.

The course will be held on the 30th of June at 10am. For more information contact Matt Ayers,