You work for a medium-sized corporation that produces products from coconuts. Originally, the firm only produced coconut milk and cream, but it has branched out over time and now also produces coconut water, oil, lotions, and other related products from what was originally viewed as waste.
The business still creates large volumes of coconut husks and shells, most of which end up in the local landfill or burned in open piles. New legislation is being enacted which will significantly increase the cost of disposing organic materials in the landfill, while levying larger fines for the burning of that waste.
Your leadership team has become aware of environmental issues in recent years and has been looking for ways to reduce the firm’s environmental impacts in general. You are asked to lead a project that will to research possibilities for re-using the rest of the firm’s waste and to look for ways to do so that are as environmentally-friendly as possible. They also gave you a second mandate of finding a way to make the changes not make the firm worse off financially by the changes.
In looking at ways to divert this waste from the landfill, so that it might be put to more productive uses, you’ve been asked to first discuss the firm’s core competencies. From there, you can start to dig into possibilities.

Points for reflection:

  1. Come up with a list of possibilities for the waste. Don’t worry about viability at this point. Try to come up with a list of as many ideas as possible that the team could then research and adapt.
  2. Now discuss the products you are already creating to see if there are adjacent possibilities or other ideas that come to mind.
  3. Review the list. Where are the pros and cons of different ideas? Can any of the ideas be combined? Are there any ideas that don’t seem possible or are unlikely to work? Start to narrow the list down by removing the obvious non-starters.
  4. Focus on on a few good possibilities. Which ones offer the best benefits? Which ones would be easiest to maintain? (If you were doing this in a real business, you would discuss potential partners and things like their ability to serve the need, reliability, etc.) How would you go about testing the viability of those options in terms of your ability to produce the products, as well as market interest?

This is a fictional case study.

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