Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Introducing our Challenge

The challenge we will investigate using the Design Thinking approach.

For the purposes of experiencing the Design Thinking process we have created a challenge based in the sustainability goals. Specifically #12.

  • Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Now this is still a large space to work in so lets narrow it down a little more to make it more accessible for each person.

Part of goal 12 is to reduce food waste, and reduce waste generation.

Your challenge therefore to explore is:

How can your community* reduce food waste and/or prevent waste going to landfill.

*For the purposes of this exercise you may define community as the area you live in, your family and extended family or your workplace.


Your first task is to understand the context with which we are working in so can you find answers to the following questions for your area:

  • How is waste defined? Are there different types of definitions for different waste types (e.g. inorganic waste, food waste… etc)?
  • Why is waste a challenge?
  • What types of waste are there in your community? Do you know how much of each type of waste there is?
  • Where does your waste go to?
  • What waste management services does your community provide?
  • What are common barriers to implementing waste management programs in your area?
  • What are ways different countries deal with their waste (See if you can find examples or case studies of some ways that a country different to yours deals with their waste).

Make short notes to answer each question backed up by some source – this source could be your observations or from a secondary research source.

You should spend about 45 minutes on this activity.

This article is from the free online

Design Thinking for Sustainable Development

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education