E-waste – an environmental threat

Anne says: There’s a lot of focus on climate change as we head into the COP26 conference in Glasgow later this month. While we expect our governments to commit, plan and guide changes that will make a difference, we can personally take some responsibility and look at how we recycle or reuse our electronic devices. In 2019, a UN study estimated the world generated 53.6 million metric tonnes (59.1 million tons)! In Australia and New Zealand that’s 21.3kg per capita. You can also take a look at the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership for more statistics.

Now, look inside your “drawer of shame”, is it full of cords (for unidentified devices), reusable batteries, old mobile phones, maybe other antique devices (that probably should be in a museum)?

This article highlights a number of issues about how we dispose of our devices and accessories. Did you know gadgets with unremovable batteries (like mobile phones) can start a fire if they’re crushed in a compactor? Less than a quarter of our personal e-waste is “verifiably” recycled – in other words, they could have ended up in the general rubbish or waste disposal systems, or exported as second-hand products (often to developing nations).

What can we do? Well, we could expect the producers of electronic products to provide ways for us to return items when we upgrade or just want to get rid of them. But… they need to be transparent about how that will be achieved – what do they do with the products once we hand them in and how is that verified?

Or…we could reuse them ourselves!
Some of these ideas I hadn’t thought of, but do make a lot of sense! Ideas like digital photo frames, to dedicated video calling stations, to security cameras – who would have thought!!

Or… we could get them recycled, responsibly!
Depending where you’re located, most local governments have special e-waste programs, so start there. A number of electronic stores and computer brands have programs as well – just check that they’re using verified recycling processes.

And then there’s batteries – they’re trickier. They might be included in the local government strategies and some retailers may have battery drop off boxes. Just remember, they’re toxic and they can burn or explode under certain conditions.

Now, revisit that drawer – what can you repurpose? And what can be recycled, responsibly?
And while you’re at it – when you get back into your workplace, why not ask some questions about how your company is managing e-waste and is there a verified process for disposal?

Read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/09/28/how-to-recycle-repurpose-e-waste/

Conventional brainstorming doesn’t work. Try this method instead

Jakkii says: Ah, brainstorming. Everyone’s favourite! Or not – when was the last time someone in a meeting said ‘let’s brainstorm some ideas’ and everyone thought ‘oh yes, the perfect method!’? Probably never, let’s be honest, most especially for the more introverted folks in the room and the people who prefer to have some time alone with their thoughts before they feel ready to jump in. Not everyone works well being put on the spot, and while there is something to be said for ‘first thing that pops into your mind’ type situations for idea generation, brainstorming is likely to be most effective when you have the right people and the right conditions.

Enter the 6-3-5 method of brainstorming. Now, you may already be familiar with this technique, but based on my experiences with meetings and workshops, there’s every possibility you’ve not heard of it before, or if you have, you’ve not seen it put into practice.

The 6-3-5 method isn’t new – according to Wikipedia, it was invented in Germany in the ’60s. It essentially aims to provide a framework that encourages divergent thinking among the group, while providing space and opportunity for individual thought and work. You will get the best results from this method if you start with the right 6 people – you want 6 people in the room (whether in person or online) who have the expertise you need to work through the problem at hand.

Those 6 people are presented with a problem, and asked to sketch out 3 different solutions to the problem (draw, write, or a mix). These solutions are then handed to the person on the left (or next on the list in a virtual space), and each individual reviews the ideas and adds to them, building on the ideas. Then the solutions are handed off to the left again, and again, until they’ve been rotated through the group 5 times and everyone has had the opportunity to work on every idea. 6 people, 3 ideas, 5 rotations, 6-3-5.

Once this is completed, you go through each of the ideas and allow people to talk about what they liked and didn’t, what works and what doesn’t, with each possible solution. Because everyone has had input, each idea may look completely different from the initial thought, so ultimately you are analysing group ideas, rather than those of an individual. This can be useful both for ensuring people don’t feel attacked if their idea is not well-received, or from the process being ‘hijacked’ by someone deeply wedded to their own ideas.

Like any workshop, you’ll need effective facilitation, and this is often best managed by someone independent to the group, whether an externally hired facilitator, an internal facilitator who is experienced in leaving their views and bias at the door, or perhaps even someone from a different area of the business with no vested interest in the problem or the solutions. Their role is to guide the conversation, allow space for everyone to participate, and help the group reach agreed outcomes, not to steer the ideas or solutions in any particular direction.

Have you used the 6-3-5 method? What do you like or not like about it? We’d love to hear from you – share your thoughts in the comments or on social media!

Read: https://www.fastcompany.com/90682223/conventional-brainstorming-doesnt-work-try-this-method-instead

At home

Jakkii says:

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace and the future of work

Remote work and the digital workplace

Communication, collaboration, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy and data

Big Tech, tech and regulation

Artificial Intelligence


Social media


This is interesting: Paradise lost: The rise and ruin of Couchsurfing.com

Things that make you go hmmm: She bought her dream home. Then a ‘sovereign citizen’ changed the locks.

Space: Scientists believe they’ve discovered a planet that orbits three stars

Podcast: The phantasmagorical future of work

Friday playlist: Social distancing distortion

Sydney Business Insights – The Future, This Week Podcast

This week: we’re on a break but we have something interesting in store for you, and it’s not just Mr Goxx the cryptocurrency trading hamster.

Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

08:10 – Unlearn computers

Listen: https://sbi.sydney.edu.au/unlearn-computers-on-the-future-this-week/

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