Eco-Design Thinking for Personal, Corporate and Social Innovation

Reimagining Design and Innovation

  Sustainable Engineering; holistic skills for the empathic and creative design engineer for designing a better world sustainably      

Hubert Rampersad, Ph.D.

“Companies do design and innovation theater instead of actual sustainable design and innovation”.— Hubert Rampersad

“Empathy is just what is needed to make the world a better place for all animals and humans. Personal integrity is the foundation of empathy, in which there is no room for ego”. — Hubert Rampersad

Owing to the lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 crisis, it is about time to design a better world that is characterized by empathy, personal integrity, no corruption, no racism, respect for nature, working smarter, circularity, a changed role of HR, good governance, and ethical leadership. The significant feature in this better world entails SUSTAINABILITY, that is, sustainability in sustainability, innovation, design, HR, leadership, diversity & inclusion, corporate governance, family businesses, oil & gas, and management & design innovation education, as shown in this Figure.


“Sustainability is a holistic and ethical system in which humans and nature can exist in harmony for a very long period of time”– Hubert Rampersad

Designing this better world requires a new way of thinking. Please read my related articles “How to Design a Better World” and “Design For Sustainability“.

designing a better world



“It’s about time that the Nobel prize committee establishes a Nobel Prize in Sustainability. When Alfred Nobel died in 1896, climate change was not yet an issue. His vision only included the fields he thought that was worthy at the time. He couldn’t have foreseen that climate change would totally change our lives and that this prize would be necessary to stimulate brilliant scientists and leaders to focus on creating a better world sustainably. I am sure, if Alfred Nobel were still alive, he would have envisioned the creation of a Nobel Prize in Sustainability. This prize is more important than the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobelnobel Prize in Literature. Without a Nobel Prize dedicated to Sustainability and Climate, we are missing a crucial opportunity to save our planet” — Hubert Rampersad

Read: “Nobel Prize Committee Should Establish a Nobel Prize in Sustainability”.

Remember what Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. I call this new way of thinking eco-design thinking. Eco-design thinking is the creative process of empathizing with yourself, the end user, and the environment. I refer to my new book “Eco-Design Thinking for Personal, Corporate and Social Innovation; How to Become a Disruptive Eco-Design Thinker Like Elon Musk“. This book is about reimagining design and innovation.

3D groot

The starting point in this inside-out and outside-in eco-design thinking model is: All knowledge starts with self-knowledge, all learning starts with self-learning, all innovation starts with personal innovation, and design thinking without personal integrity and self-knowledge is not empathic and not sustainable. Thus, eco-design thinking starts with aristotleself-knowledge; knowing yourself. Remember what Aristotle said: Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Elon Musk, the disruptor, learned a lot from Aristotle. 

Traditional design thinking approaches taught at Stanford, MIT, and Harvard are not suitable for designing a better world. There are so many products badly designed, such as the rollout of vaccines in America, Citibank that lost $500 million because a user-unfriendly tool for managing loans, and the $2 trillion F-35 project. This Figure shows the top-10 causes of bad designs.

Top 10 causes of bad designs

Traditional design thinking approaches lack sustainability because they are neither authentic nor holistic. Moreover, they are mainly process-driven, and focus on analytical thinking, such as how to follow design steps, organizing cozy meetings, how to complete related tasks in certain order, and how to use design tools. These approaches do not inspire imagination, creativity, and innovation effectively and sustainably. Cozy meetings are not needed to generate innovative ideas. However, you are more creative when you work on your own rather than in groups. The best ideas come when you are alone! Nikola Tesla generated tons of innovative ideas when he was alone. Stephen Hawking made great discoveries from his wheelchair and Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity while in social isolation.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is newton.jpg


Remember what Nikola Tesla said: Being alone is when ideas are born. This is the secret of innovation”.  Albert Einstein said the same: “Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living”.  Elon Musk embraces these two statements.

For designing a better world, sustainably, you need a new design approach and a new innovation approach in which personal innovation, personal disruption, and personal integrity are embedded. “Today’s complex world requires sustainable innovation. Traditional innovation approaches are not sustainable because they are not holistic. They are cosmetical, theatrical and cozy, instead of sustainable. They don’t fit in my definition of real sustainability: Sustainability is a holistic and ethical system in which humans and nature can exist in harmony for a very long period of time”— Hubert Rampersad. That’s why I launched my new eco-innovation concept, that makes the link to personal innovation, corporate innovation, and social innovation. This book also elaborates on my new eco-innovation model that promotes eco-innovation through eco-design thinking.2.0

Eco-design thinking for sustainable circular economy starts with personal innovation. It is about time to understand that without personal innovation you cannot be an emphatic eco-design thinker, and corporate innovation and social innovation will be cosmetic. Eco-design thinking includes imagination, which is a combination of convergent and divergent thought, and creative intuitive thinking. Creative intuitive thinking is iterative and cyclic, although analytical thinking is linear. Designing a better world requires a new way of thinking. The difference between traditional way of thinking and eco-design thinking is shown in this figure. It’s about a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. 


In this book, I have introduced an eco-design thinking model for designing innovative products and services that reflect all aspects of life effectively.  Eco-design thinking is an iterative, incremental, cyclic, and concentric model of exploring, ideating, prototyping, and executing. The different stages in the eco-design thinking model often form iterative loops and do not necessarily follow any sequence. Main model voor artikelenEach iteration reveals new insights. This process should be repeated until the designer’s and customer’s issues are on an acceptable level. Eco-design thinking is a circular and  iterative process that never ends; it’s a continuous process of testing and refining your design, while empathizing with yourself, the user and the environment. My eco-design thinking model is in line with Elon Musk’s iterative design process, which is a product or process creation technique that focuses on a cyclic process of prototyping, evaluating, analyzing, and refining. Instead of developing a huge expensive spaceship that could take humans to the red planet, he chose to build a smaller rocket and iterate on the design.SN Iterative design in the case of SpaceX includes checking the spacecraft, finding potential defects, repairing them, and developing the project. Similarly, eco-design thinking is all about iterations.  Elon Musk’s iterative design process could be strengthened with my eco-design thinking and personal disruptive innovation concept. This would help to design his rockets much better, cheaper, and faster. Thus, the most important missing link in Elon Musk’s iterative design process is personal disruptive innovation. In this book, the secrets of SpaceX, that is, to build its rockets so quickly and cheaper than its competitors, will also be disclosed.

Personal Disruptive Innovation-2My eco-design thinking model starts with personal disruptive innovation to understand, explore and (re)design oneself before solving the design problem. In my personal disruptive innovation article, I described in detail how to find your purpose in life and how to live a meaningful, better, happier, and healthier life, in business and private life. First, you need to inculcate disruptive skills and become innovative and empathic in order to be able to develop innovative designs for the end users. Disruptors are innovative entrepreneurs and visionary idealists. To become a disruptive eco-design thinker like Elon Musk, you need to get a good understanding about yourself and design issue before exploring the design problem. Personal disruptive innovation is based on this 4 stage model:


Read “4 Steps to Become Resilient and Cultivate a Growth Mindset“. This system unleashes your creative potential, creates new personal opportunities, disrupts your existing target market, and enables you to make a significant social impact. It is based on a framework and roadmap to build resilience, explore and (re)design your life, and develop your personal eco-design thinking brand and personal integrity. “The higher your personal integrity, the better your attentiveness, the better your empathic skills, the better your design, and the happier your customer”- Hubert Rampersad. I also refer to my related article “Reimagining Leadership“.

personal integrity new

Read also empathyHow to Cultivate Empathy”. 

Moreover, it entails spiritual and emotional intelligence, unlocking the creative potential within you, and disrupting the normal course of your life. By applying the personal disruptive innovation model according to this PDAC-cycle, you will able to become visionary, imaginary, innovative, creative, and empathic:


Personal disruptive innovation will not only help you reframe your thinking but also transform yourself to become a disruptor. In this way you will not think outside the box, you will think like there is no box. It is about reinventing yourself, unleashing your creativeLoner-2 potential, and changing your life by developing emotional intelligence and cultivating resilience within yourself. Personal disruptive innovation also entails a personal eco-design thinking branding system for effective storytelling in each stage in the design process.

“As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Transformation (DT) are the next wave ofLoner innovation to enable us to work better, smarter and faster, it’s important to focus on personal innovation to keep up with AI and DT, because machines and robots can’t replace human intelligence, thinking, creativity, and empathy.” – Hubert Rampersad

The included personal eco-design thinking branding blueprint is meant to strengthen your storytelling, and to distinguish and separate yourself from the crowd. It shows what an eco-design thinking professional should do to succeed in the design industry and in life. Eco-design thinking also entails aligning personal innovation with corporate innovation, alignment with yourself (to enhance personal integrity and empathy) and alignment with your design team (to enhance designer’s engagement), as shown in this Figure: 


For alignment with yourself, I refer to my article “Reimagining Leadership“. Remember what Einstein said: When you examine the lives of the most influential people who have ever walked among us, you discover one thread that winds through them all. They have been aligned first with their spiritual nature and only then with their physical selves.” Foremployee engagement at spacex alignment with your design team, please read my article “How to Enhance Employee Engagement and Design Team Performance at SpaceX and Tesla“.  Read also  “Aligning Personal Innovation with Corporate Innovation”

I believe in the importance of ethics in the design thinking industry and that the credibility and reputation of the design thinking profession are shaped by the collective conduct of individual design thinkers. Consequently, I have introduced in this book the Eco-Design Thinking Code of Ethics to help designers to use their best ethical judgment. ThroughCertified DT PRACITIONER !!!!! NEW this book, I have also introduced the Certified Personal Eco-Design Thinking Brand Coach Program and the Certified Eco-Design ThinkingDT code of ethics Practitioner Program for designers on how to coach and train other designers, effectively. With the related Personal Eco-Design Thinking Brand Coach Franchise program, you can grow your eco-design thinking coaching and practitioner business much faster by coaching design thinking professionals, managing their talents and unlocking their creative potential effectively. In this book, all these new unique design tools are being added to the standard design thinking tool kit to enhance the performance of design thinkers. Top Ten Traits

Eco-design thinking is environmental, technological, social, ethical, and cultural; it is a people-centered, holistic and multidisciplinary approach that fits to the new normal. I, therefore, provide the blueprint for establishing your own Eco-Design Thinking Lab to unlock the creative potential of your people and tackle complex design problems sustainably. You should bring your people and practitioners from all disciplines, perspectives, and backgrounds together in this lab to make a real impact in society. This initiative will engage the practitioners in tackling real-world challenges, sustainably, with the help of provided eco-design thinking tool kit.


I also introduced a free eco-innovation quick scan to measure your organization or design team in eight eco-innovation dimensions, and to discover how to work smarter and excel sustainably. I hope you enjoy this new eco-design thinking blueprint, as much as I love bringing it to you. I wish you lots of success on your voyage towards creating a better society by enabling it to learn, develop, and progress in business, science, and technology, sustainably. For additional information on this topic, please attend my related master class.

Read further “How to Embed SDG, ESG and Purpose in Innovation” and “How Universities Kill Creativity, Sustainability and Innovation”.

egs sdg

Prof. Hubert Rampersad, Ph.D.


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His live webinars:

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Further readings based on this book:  HOW TO DESIGN A BETTER WORLD | Personal Disruptive Innovation | Eco-InnovationRedesigning Your Life | Leading With Personal Integrity and Empathy | Eco-governanceEco-Diversity | Top Ten Traits of a Disruptive Eco-Design Thinker | How Mindful Meditation Boosts Creativity, Innovation, and ImaginationThe Future of HR50 Tips for Becoming a Disruptor


Dr. Hubert Rampersad is a Reimaginer of Sustainability, Design Engineering, Innovation and Management, a Disruptive Innovation Futurist, and a Global Crusader for real Sustainability. He is author of 25 books on design engineering, innovation, management, authentic personal branding, and entrepreneurial leadership, published in many languages. One of his books, Total Performance Scorecard, published in 20 languages was foreworded by Harvard Business School innovation professor Dorothy Leanard. He is a former MIT Sloan guest lecturer and has been featured on BusinessWeek:  …. read further About the author 

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Center of Excellence in Eco-Design Thinking

Miami, Florida, USA | | Whatsapp: +13053992116 | skype: h.rampersad | 

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