Student Projects


Sep 2012 – April 2013

Climate Smart Projects

As part of the curriculum, students from the undergraduate class – COMM 388(formerly COMM 486J) Design Strategies for Business Innovation – designed a co-creation workshop for businesses that are continuing the greening process after having worked with Climate Smart. The purpose of the 2-3 hour workshop was to help businesses further expand their greening potential. As a result out of the workshop, the student teams formed deliverables for the business. The idea is to bring business value through this process.

MET Fine Printer

MET Fine Printers is an environmentally progressive commercial carbon neutral, zero-waste printing company.

Objective: To identify the ideal client for MET Fine and the ideal communication channel for its clients. Scott Gray, the Brand Director of MET Fine, did not want the workshop to simply attempt to educate the company on how to become “greener”.

Process:  Before the workshop, the student team had meetings with the MET Fine team to better understand the printing process and the uniqueness of MET Fine. The student team also conducted market research on potential clients on their choice of printing companies, as well as a survey to gauge the sentiments people have about MET Fine’s online website in comparison to some competitors. Additionally, the student team also prepared a ‘Sustainable Printing Process’ document. Focusing on the MBA timeline created by Ideahack Creative, the student team had a discussion on MET’s current sustainability communication with the participants during the workshop.

Result: The student team identified that the company’s ideal client is one that is highly brand oriented, sustainable, philanthropic, and ethical. They also discovered that the MET Fine executive would like its company to be viewed as a communications solution company rather than simply a commercial printer, a long-term goal MET Fine is seeking to achieve.

Fall 2012 Final Deliverable

Van Houtte Coffee Services

Van Houtte Coffee Services is a company with big commitment to sustainability. It provides coffee services for work and home, and also operates as cafes too.

Objective: To identify key areas for expansion and improvement in the greening process. In particular, the student team focused on ways to increase customer engagement and increase the use of the electric vehicle.

Process: The student team went through an overall process that reflects a design thinking process. They started off by gaining a better understanding of the Van Houtte Coffee business, followed by identifying current projects and areas of strengths and weaknesses, identifying Van Houtte’s possible future projects, narrowing down projects to focus on during the workshop, and lastly, mapping out a workshop roadmap.  In the workshop, the student team went through the Van Houtte’s greening process, had breakout sessions with the participants on the main problems, and spent time prototyping. The team also utilized design techniques such as ‘Ask, Try, Do’ and ‘6 Hats’. Overall, the student team found that narrowing down their deliverables was the most challenging step, and learnt that taking a more flexible approach in the beginning would be helpful.

Result: To improve customer engagement, the team suggested sponsoring a Sauder Case Competition, creating ‘The Van Houtte Experience Truck’, designing interactive employees’ T-shirts with QR codes, and revamping their E-statements.  Additionally, the team came up with a prototype of a weekly schedule for the vehicle. Instead of focusing on how to maximize the use of the electric vehicle, the team was now more concerned about putting together their insights, and if a second vehicle might be needed.

Fall 2012 Final Deliverable

Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities

Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities owns and operates retirement residences in Metro Vancouver.  

Objective: To develop green planting initiatives to reduce carbon emissions from their largest source – the transportation of food to the three retirement homes owned by the group. The CEO, Peter Gaskill, proposed that the residences begin to grow fruits and vegetables on premise to negate transportation costs.

Process: In order to encourage employee participation and generate excitement in the new green planting initiatives, the student team used techniques such as ‘Ask, Try, Do’, ‘Idea Prototyping’, ‘Word- Concept Association’ and ‘Thinking Hats’ as part of the brainstorming process. The student team also prepared pre-workshop preparation notes to anticipate expected challenges as a way to insure success with participants. As a follow up to the workshop, the student team also conducted ‘extreme’ user interviews with the participants, and had guided tours of the participant’s day-to-day spaces and activities.

Result: The student team took away ideas to build on their discussion of the new planting initiatives. In particular: space limitations, purchase of nearby plot, variety of crops, expanding the deck, growing food on the roof, concern about maintenance, and ‘The Gardening Club’ as a starting point.

Fall 2012 Final Deliverable

Climate Smart Project

Climate Smart is a social enterprise based in Vancouver, BC, that empowers and enables organizations to reduce their emissions, strengthen their business, and build a resilient economy.

Objective:To discover what tools or activities would be valuable for Climate Smart in alumni engagement initiatives, including a spotlight on the Climate Smart seal.

Process: The workshop process came in two parts.  Firstly, in order to enhance alumni engagement, the student team worked with Climate Smart to develop a list of potential alumni engagement initiatives. To do so, they generated their ideas by using tools such as ‘Brainstorming’ and ‘6 Hats of Creative Thinking’. Then they used  techniques such as the ‘Option Evaluation Matrix’, ‘Rapid Prototyping’ and ‘Share’. Secondly, in order to understand the barriers to seal use and develop methods of overcoming these barriers, they had brainstorming sessions to understand the perceived value of the seal, discuss seal use channels, and the barriers to seal use. The student team also carried out an alumni survey.

Result: The student team focused on the bigger picture of increasing number of Climate Smart clients. For the alumni engagement initiatives, the student team specifically suggested a tradeshow for environmental sustainable businesses, an interactive matrix – a visual framework and search engine for alumni to find local and sustainable businesses, and an online member directory. Simultaneously, the interactive matrix and the member directory will also overcome barriers of use to increase seal use.

Fall 2012 Final Deliverable