Green IO
#32 - How systemic thinking can empower sustainable design? with Sylvie Daumal and Thorsten Jonas
February 13, 2024
How can we make systemic design operational for sustainable design? 🔧Systemic design is dedicated to handling complex systems, complex questions, and complex issues. Sounds familiar with Sustainability? But if things are so complex how digital product people willing to design sustainably can embrace them? In this episode, we dive deep into the world of systemic design and how it can help us increase digital sustainability. Don't miss out on insights from Sylvie Daumal (acclaimed author of 'Design d'expérience utilisateur' ) and Thorsten Jonas (founder of the SUX Network), as Gaël Duez discusses the operationality of systemic design in Tech.
How can we make systemic design operational for sustainable design?

🔧Systemic design is dedicated to handling complex systems, complex questions, and complex issues. 

Sounds familiar with Sustainability? But if things are so complex how digital product people willing to design sustainably can embrace them? 

In this episode, we dive deep into the world of systemic design and how it can help us increase digital sustainability. Don't miss out on insights from Sylvie Daumal (acclaimed author of 'Design d'expérience utilisateur' ) and Thorsten Jonas (founder of the SUX Network), as Gaël Duez discusses the operationality of systemic design in Tech.

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Sylvie and Thorsten's sources and other references mentioned in this episode:



Gaël (00:17.)
Hello everyone. Welcome to Green IO, the podcast for responsible technologists building a greener digital world, one byte at a time. Every two Tuesdays, our guests from across the globe share insights, tools and alternative approaches enabling people within the tech sector and beyond to boost digital sustainability.

You know, when I discuss with fellow digital sustainability enthusiasts about sustainable design, I often hear these statements. It's systemic. We need to see the big picture beyond our own company, our own clients. We need to fundamentally change the way we think about design, if we want to design for a better future. We must move from human centered to planet centered design. I couldn't agree more. But I also recall a conversation I had some months ago with a researcher in economics. We were talking about Donella Meadows’ book, « Thinking in Systems », and her position was, well, let's say abrupt. It's a good idea on paper, but it's not operational. You cannot modelize it. So, I was wondering, how operational is it for us working in the digital sector? How do we transform into actions the statements which I listed previously? And to answer these questions, I'm glad to be joined today by two experts in systemic design: Sylvie Daumal and Thorsten Jonas. 
Sylvie is based in Paris and she is somehow a rockstar in France when it comes to systemic design, a field she has been invested in since the early 2000s. She wrote a book last year, « 58 tools for systemic design », a very technical book, which has been acclaimed in the French design community. And on a more personal note, I'm so happy that we managed to record this episode, which has been rescheduled four times, I think -  record broken.

Gaël (02:20) 
Thorsten is based in Hamburg. He has been in UX design for almost 20 years, if not more than 20 years, and he founded Sustainable UX Network two years ago. A community who has gathered an impressive momentum with more than 2000 very active members across Europe, and all over the world. We share quite a lot with Thorsten, who is a fellow podcaster, a fellow speaker, a fellow community builder, and whom I see the name popping up on every cool event I'd like to join. And yet, we didn't manage to meet until today, despite me spending quite a lot of time in Hamburg when I was working with my former colleagues. So, welcome Sylvie, welcome Thorsten. Thanks a lot for joining Green IO here today. 

Thorsten (03.01)
Thank you very much for having me. 

Sylvie (03:04)
Thank you, Gaël. 

Gaël (03:07) 
So, the big, big question I stated in the introduction: how can we make systemic design operational? And maybe, before jumping on the question, maybe we should remind ourselves, what is systemic design and why is it useful? Sylvie, do you want to start maybe with some kind of a definition?

Sylvie (03:32)
Systemic design is dedicated to handling complex systems, complex questions, complex issues. It is used mostly when you have questions about any kind of subject that involves many people, that involves many bots. The fact is that systemic thinkers are people who have a special angle to see things. The system is not really existing on its own, it's just the way that you see things. And what is the big characteristic of the system, is the fact that to identify many, many parts in a situation and all the parts are in interaction, one with the other. That's the reason why it is most of the time very complex, because it creates what we call causal loops. It means that one cause can have a consequence. A consequence will have a cause on another part of the system and so on.

So... at the very end, you can see that every action, every interaction has a consequence on the whole system. So, it's a way to really envision the whole situation. But most of the time, all the problems are complex. 

Gaël (05:11) 
Which makes it useful also for digital design, digital services. Thorsten, I think that's something that you've advocated again and again and again in your public speaking these last years, that we need to embrace systemic thinking also when we design digital services. Could you maybe elaborate a bit on this?
Thorsten (05:36)
Sure. I think one of the key things of UX design is that we focus on the user, right? We want to build great experiences, great products for our users. And that's what we advocate for. And that's what we try to make other stakeholders understand, that it's valuable to focus on the user and to fulfill the user's needs. And we have been doing this for many years. The problem is, by focusing so much on the user, we totally forget about all the other actors that are somehow influenced by the product, by the experience that we build. So all the tools we use in UX are not taking into account the systemic context of the product, of the experience that we build.

And another actor could be a human being could also be the planet, the environment, whatever, everything that is influenced by what we build. And I think this is a really big problem, because very often someone or something else pays the price for the good user experience that we build for our users. Let's say I build a nice service and a nice app for ordering my groceries from home. There are several big services out there that do this, and their advertising is pretty aggressive. 

You could say, it's a good user experience and it's very convenient for the user. I'm just sitting on my couch. I can order my groceries via app and then maybe 30 minutes later, someone shows up at my door and the only thing I have to do is walk up to my door and pick up the stuff. But who pays the price? Well, it's the delivery riders that are not paid well, that for a long time are even not employed, but so-called ‘self-employed’. These services have a very aggressive pricing policy, so it cannot be matched by the small grocery stores we have here in our big cities, etc. So, for the convenience and for the great user experience, someone or something else pays the price. And that is something I think we in UX for too long have not taken into account. And as I said in the beginning, it's not part of our tool set, and we need to enhance our tools and maybe create new tools to put this into our work, in the first place, to understand the systemic context, to understand the consequences, and maybe the unintended consequences of what we build, in order to be able to do it better, do a better job there and in the end do less harm. 

Gaël (08:36) 
And how would you do that? Do you have some tools that you like to use? And I know we could drop it later, but let's drop it earlier because it makes some impact, I would say, in the design world, with Apple in its last conference using, I think, at that scale for the very first time, a non-human persona there with ‘Mother Earth’. And I'm not going to comment on the message itself, but more than the way they conveyed the message, which was using a non-human persona. Is it a tool that you've been using some time, Thorsten or do you think about other kinds of tools? 

Thorsten (09:23) 
This is one of the tools. Because the great thing about non-human personas is that we use a tool we are very used to, from our daily work, and just reframe it a little bit to give other actors in our system, let's say, a voice. And it's always easier to use an existing tool and to enhance it, than introducing a totally new tool. It's easier for all of our processes. It's easier for our work with stakeholders. As you said, there were so many wrong things about this, but still it was very helpful for people like us because now people like us can go to clients or wherever and say, hey, what about non -human or non-user personas? And maybe in the past people laughed at us when we said, hey, let's make a persona for mother nature or for the environment or for trees or the river. Now we can say, hey, yeah, but that's what Apple did and nobody's laughing anymore. So, I still see a big advantage that Apple does this. 

But this is just, just one tool. And something that's very helpful for me is, when starting working on a product or on an experience, we are focusing so much on the user and user needs. And then maybe we try to align this with the business needs that someone else finds very important. And so, this is what we do. And I think we need to add here, what are the unintended, or maybe even known consequences of these things. So what are the negative impacts of these certain user needs? So this is a tool I use pretty often and, and actually a framework I was, and I still am, working on, to be able to see the user needs, and the business needs and then the same framework or in the same canvas, see, okay, but what are the negative consequences on a societal, on an ecological and also on a single human level? Because very often, we also build great user experiences, which are in the end harmful for ourselves. Looking at endless scrolling, looking at TikTok, YouTube, etc, trying to keep us inside of the platform as long as possible and stealing our time. So, this is a very helpful tool for me, mapping our user and business needs to the negative consequences of them. 
And the third tool I use very often is, and that's what I use before building the non -human personas, actually, it's also very simple mapping. Think about putting your product or your experience in the middle, and then think about all the actors, direct or indirect, that are influenced by the product that is built. So, it's a very simple exercise, but it creates a lot of transparency and visibility. And this is, from my experience, very important to do in the very beginning of the design process, because it helps open up our minds that are so focused on the users and so helps us to understand that there is so much more that we need to understand.
And one last tool that is very helpful is to use the user journey. We use this a lot in UX, and also adding additional layers. So, for example, which actors are influenced at this step in the user journey? What is the environmental impact at this step of the user journey? It breaks the very high level view from the beginning, down to certain steps in the user journey, which helps us to work on certain ideas to identify where we can do things better.

Gaël (13.39) 
So, if I wrap up the four tools you've listed, there is obviously the non-human persona. You would say that the first one you use is this kind of actor mapping, like full scale actors, both, direct and indirect, being impacted by the service.

Thorsten (13.58)

Gaël (13.59) 
Okay. And then you have this mapping and this is that's quite hard to explain. 

Thorsten (14.04)
I call it unintended consequence mapping. 

Gaël (14.07) 
Okay. This is what you, you go from the business need and the user needs and you go to the environmental and societal impact. 

Thorsten (14.17)
Yeah. You can, you can do this in two steps. You can also map the unintended consequences without the user needs and business needs. So this also works. But then the next step that is very helpful is to try to find connections to these metrics that we use every day. The user needs and the business needs. So that's why I put this in there, but you can do this in two steps. But yeah, it's unintended consequence mapping. And then the second step, map these to user needs and business needs or connect.

Gaël Duez (14:50) 
Sylvie, do these tools resonate a bit or do you tend to use other tools? I know that you've got 58 tools at your disposal, so you've got quite a lot. But does it ring a bell? Or are there different tools that you use? For the listeners, what I didn't say in the introduction, is that, of course, you know digital design quite well, but you're also an expert in the brick and mortar world, I would say. 

Sylvie (15:20)
Firstly, there are much more than the 58 that I described in the book. I had to do a selection, so I could easily add probably 40 more. The second point is that my question is a bit different from Thorsten’s question. My main concern is about the fact that in 2015, all the parties met in Paris for the COP21. And they all decided to sign what is now called the Paris Agreement. And according to this agreement, we now have six years to divide our greenhouse gas by two. It means that for me, any project that you can have now in a country, in a company, and could be any kind of territory, in school, wherever you work, must be in this trajectory. There is no way to think about the fact that everything that we are doing must help us to divide our emissions by two. My question is much more about how do we guarantee the fact that every project helps us to attain this goal? My question is very different from does it hurt someone. My question is, are we sure that we are going to a place where everyone can live? 

Gaël Duez (17:31)
You work as a consultant with many companies. So how do you manage these very important goals to be taken into account, and how systemic design tools help? 

Sylvie (17:55)
The fact is that you start with carbon assessment. I cannot tell for Europe, but in France it's mandatory. That's your starting point. And you check, from this document, that is most of the time a public document, where are the sources of emissions, and you work with all the people who are involved in this emission. It can be producers, it can be providers, it can be the company itself, it can come from many, many parts and you start asking the question, how can I do better? How can I remove things? Yes, the starting point. Also, most of the companies today are facing a lack in many things. We all know that all the raw materials, their prices have been increasing incredibly during the last few years. The question is, how can we still produce what we are producing if the prices are still increasing in the next months or in the next years? And the last point is, how can we be compliant with all the new rules and the new laws that are arriving, and that are also putting a big pressure on the companies? And for the tools that you use, you have many tools that have been created by a guy called Hasan Ozbekhan, when he was working with Alexander Christakis. These tools are called Structure Dialogic Design. They are based on the fact that you need to gather all the people who are concerned and make them talk and really discuss and make them imagine the solutions. And yes, that's the kind of tools that you can easily use when you're working on such issues. 

Gaël Duez (20:18)
And among them, could you give us one example of a tool you used, just to grasp it, because it might sound a bit blurry for people not being familiar with a systemic design. And I know that for you, it's extremely concrete. 

Sylvie (20:37)
Okay. Like in UX, Design, systemic design starts with research. So a long time researching, exploring the issue and from this research you create what is called a ‘white book’. And a ‘white book’ is a kind of synthesis of the problem, of the situation, of the context. This tool is given to all the people that participate in a workshop. This is a very simple tool. You can create it in, I could say, almost any kind of design project. But the fact is, that it gives to all the participants pieces of information that most of the time they do not have, because they have their own expertise, but they do not know everything about the subject. It helps to align all the participants of the workshop to have the same level of information. That's a very easy and simple tool that any designer can create. 

Gaël Duez (21:51)
Thorsten, the emphasis that Sylvie has put on people talking to each other, is it also an issue you've experienced? Or is the flow of exchanges more natural within tech companies? 

Thorsten (22:20)
It's a very good question because, well, let's start with how do people work together on digital products. And that's a whole topic on its own. And as long as I do my job or my work, I see these problems everywhere. How do people work together and how good and how do people try to understand other stakeholders in the project, etc. So this is still a big problem space. And what I find very interesting about this question, finally we are talking much more about it. We have these fundamental environmental and societal problems that we need to solve, and we need to create or make sure us and even more so the next generations, that we have a future. So how can we better work together on these problems?
In an ecosystem, like a company, where we already sometimes have problems working together efficiently, or let's say in a good way. That is a huge challenge, I think. How can we bring people together? And that means not only people from one profession, like the designers, but all the people, in my case, that are somehow involved in the digital product. And so one thing that I found is that we need to find ways and tools where we can gather people around.
One example from my work, I named it before, is the user journey. The user journey is a tool UX designers use every time. It's a very good tool to bring in other people from other professions, because it's very easy to understand. If you have set up a user journey already, you can easily use it to discuss, like I said before, the negative consequences, the impacts of certain steps of the user journey, with all kinds of stakeholders. And that's, I think for us, as designers, that's an important role that we have. I think we can be the connectors. We can help bring people together, and work together on these problems, because we have the tools that help to make things accessible and understandable for all kinds of different stakeholders.

Gaël Duez (24:55)
We have the tools, both Sylvie and you have listed some, with different flavors and colors, which is very interesting. But do we have the mindset? Don't we still have very often today a pushback, that everything that we do in a sustainable way is more expensive, is more complex, is more efficient, is more sexy, whatever. Isn't it that we are facing an issue with a narrative around sustainable design, and beyond sustainability at large?

Thorsten (25:32)
We definitely do. And that is a huge problem. We need a mindset shift in, well, first, as I explained in the beginning, for us as designers, how do we see our digital design? How do we see user experience? So that's a personal mindset shift for us. But we also need a mindset shift. I mean, that's one of the big, I would say, societal questions. What is value in our society? And this is, this is a huge economical, huge topic we could talk about for hours, but I don't want to make it too big an issue here. But the thing is, as we said, the big problem is that especially from the business side, there is the strong narrative that acting sustainable is a good thing, but it's expensive and that it's not necessarily good for business. And well, the thing is, this is in fact not true. Sustainability is good for business. See Patagonia, for example. And what I also often say is, that especially in the EU, where regulations are coming, it's essential for your business to act sustainable, because otherwise you will get huge problems with regulations. And what I often do is I tell people, or ask people, hey, you might have heard about the regulations about accessibility, about web accessibility. And everyone knows about these challenges. And the same thing will happen with web sustainability, for example, or with digital sustainability. And then people will understand the need of doing these things. I think it's important for us to work actively on changing these narratives on helping people to understand, on stepping in, and countering wrong narratives, because there are many wrong narratives, such as sustainability is just expensive and nothing else. And this is also an important part, not only for designers, but for all of us. To step out of our comfort zone, to step out of our standard daily work. And I sometimes say it's not about designing the next product or the next experience. We need to use our gift, our tools, our knowledge, to design the world around us. And we design things with stories. We are all storytellers, and there are so many wrong stories out in the world nowadays. And I think we need to use our gift to tell the true stories, and to change narratives for good actually. And this is a huge challenge I think we all face (not only designers), but one where we as designers also can play an important role. 

Gaël (28:38)
Staying with this mindset idea, something stuck in my mind - it was something that we discussed also previously before this recording - is we need to reduce everything, we put something in production, so we should get rid of something else. And this is a very counter-intuitive narrative compared to, I would say the gross culture that is still the majority approach, in almost all companies and even public services. 
So how do you manage to change a bit the perspective, to change a bit the mindset that, hey, when you release something, you should also consider getting rid of the equivalent, if not more? Because as you said previously, the Paris Agreement, minus 50 % carbon emissions, on top of many other environmental impacts to be reduced, so how do you help people having this slow painful change of mindset? 

Sylvie (29 :45)
I wouldn't say that is a painful change of mindset. The point is, as I said, companies are facing many, many new constraints. The first one is, as I said, the shortage of raw materials and the fact that the price of energy is increasing incredibly. So the point is for the same amount of production they pay more, and they cannot have the price of their product increase in the same way. So most of the time the people that I meet are already aware of the fact that they need to change the way their business is run today. They know that they are facing shortages, they are facing many other different issues, like the fact that the European Union decided to have a plan called the FIT 55, which means that they decided that our emissions must be reduced by 55% in 2030 - it's in six years, it means there will probably be many, many new European rules, and companies know that they will need to be compliant with these new rules. So to me, they already know that they need to be much more sober than they used to be, and they also need to find a way to keep their business flourishing in a very difficult context. To me it's not a big deal, because people in companies are aware of all this. So the questions they are asking today are how can we have energy bills that are cheaper? How can we save energy? How can we do things better? And also they need to recruit people and it's very difficult to recruit young talent today if you're not engaged in a very social and environmental policy. So yes, it's also very good for their, what we call the, the brand of the company. 
Gaël (32:29)
So that's interesting, because both of you, you've listed external pressures such as legal, recruitment issues, supplier prices, as triggers for action. And eventually it's not a question of how aware am I that climate change or biodiversity collapse is a threat to the survival of humankind, but it's, hey, it's already on us, so we have to do something. But to do something, we need to embrace a new way of thinking and re-incorporating those external constraints in a way to design things, products, and services. Am I right to draw this parallel between what you've said to both of you? 

Sylvie (33:18)
Exactly the point. It's not about a moral point of view. It's much more about the business concern. 

Thorsten (33:27)
One problem that I see very often is, and I agree with you Sylvie, that there is the awareness of let's say the big problem of the climate catastrophe, for example. What I see very often is a missing awareness on the level of, okay, but what's my part in this in detail? Change, unfortunately, is still too often driven by economic pressure. That's the way we all need to use to push business leaders and decision makers. But I would also love to have this discussion about, okay, what can be the additional values to the existing ones or to the existing big value of growth that we have? And how can we align them with these? And I have no answer to these, but I think that's a core question we should work on, or have to work on. 

Gaël (34:26)
And there is also the question of the timing of this value. My point being what we value today, like making energy affordable for the entire humankind was a very core value of the development policy in the UN. And we realize now, and I think this is something that Sylvie, you told me before, that very often, systemic design today's problems are the consequences of yesterday's solutions, and the same goes as you carry on into the future. My point about affordable energy for everyone, which in itself, is a goal that I would fully support, is that it created a massive boom in energy extraction, and energy consumption was even an indicator of economic and societal progress. So when we value something today, how do we make sure, or how do we at least start thinking that it might not be what we value tomorrow? And it could be one of my final questions. How can some systemic design tool help us answer this question of the ‘future versus present’ assessment of what is valuable? 

Sylvie (35:58)
I would say that probably we must not think about tools, we must think about processes. Actually, the point is not only about tools, it's about the fact that you succeed in gathering all the people around the table. It means that when you are organizing a workshop, and there are many, many tools that you can use in a workshop, the big point of systemic design is you need to have people that represent all the parts that are involved in the problem, and you need to have them discuss and exchange, not only fight you know, but exchange, because the main point is, you need to have in your workshop the people that will implement the solutions that they are thinking about. That's the main point. It means that it's not a top-down process where you have tools, and you think about anything, and you design on your own as a designer. The point is that your work is to make people work together, exchange and imagine different solutions. And from this work, they will implement and give themselves the solution that can work. And that's the main difference, because in systemic design, you are not designing anything. You are just designing intervention in a system. And your work is to have people concerned. Osbekhan said something, that it is not ethical to intervene in a social, technical system without the permission of the participants, of the parties, of the stakeholders, and without their active participation. And that's the main process that we follow. And we have many tools that we can use in workshops. It can be a causal loop, where you show people how things are all connected. It can be leverage points, inspired by the work of Donella Meadows, where you can identify the places that are crucial to change the system. It can be many different kinds of workshop tools, as designers are used to having, because most of the time we have many, many tools.
But the main point is how can we gather people that are representing all the parts of the system. And our job is mainly a facilitator. We reformulate, we synthesize, we plan, we organize, but we are not designing a system.

Gaël (39:12)
So a designer in systemic design, doesn't design, but structures the discussion about the system. 

Sylvie (39:20)
Yes. And the intervention into the system. 

Gaël (39:25)
And I really love the question about bringing everyone around the table, which leads me to something super connected, which is: who's representing the future generations? And that might sound a bit crazy, but actually I know that in Wales, for instance, you've got a Commissioner for Future Generations, which means that there is someone whose job is to speak on the behalf of the people who are not yet there. So is it something that you played with a bit, because you mentioned it's very similar to what Sylvia described, but it was at the very beginning of the episode when you mentioned mapping all the actors, et cetera. Did you ever happen to map someone from the future? 

Thorsten (40:14)
Not yet, but I love the idea. Because I think it's a different level. And the first thing I wanted to say was, there are so many people looking from a UX perspective and looking from, we are focusing on the users so much, there are so many actors that are underrepresented or not represented in all the work we do as UX designers. So there is so much work to do to give them a voice. 

Gaël (40:48)
So, you know, for both of you, my idea might sound a bit crazy, but you could actually leverage it as an overtone window move, which is where you arrive at the workshop and you say, oh by the way, we need to gather everyone, including everyone from the future. And you've got this big reaction, what, what, what, what !? Ah, okay, okay, okay, I got it! So not everyone from the future, but at least everyone from the present. Okay, okay, that's good enough. That's good enough. And suddenly, boom, you've got a big win.
Anyway, Sylvie, you know, in your book, there is this chapter, system archetype chapter, which I love so much, because it's so useful to model big interactions etc. But my question is, did you ever manage to use it to go back to, for example, some executive committee, a mayor, a city council, whoever, and say, okay, you know, the issue you're facing at the moment is a tragedy of the commons, is the winner wins all? How actionable are these systemic archetypes? 

Sylvie (42:04)
We exchanged with Peter Senge, the writer of a book called the Fifth Discipline, who identified, I would say, patterns, because there are patterns in systems that are not working, these are patterns of dysfunctional systems. One of them is called the tragedy of the commons. And most of the time, it's something that you can meet when you have a common good for people, and everyone is using it and at the very end there is no more left for other people. It can be water, it can be whatever. What is interesting in Peter Senge’s work is that for each pattern we call the archetype of this dysfunctional system, he also identifies strategies. So, the ways that you can intervene in such a dysfunctional system. Most of the time we as the systemic designer know them, but we do not necessarily put them on the table with the clients, because sometimes they are very complex, and the clients are not able to handle it. It's not an easy tool that you can use in a workshop. So, most of the time we, as designers, have this pattern in our mind. And it helps us also to identify the good strategy. But it's not necessarily a tool that we share with all the people around the table, which is different from, I would say, a persona, or a customer journey, that most of the time are very publicly edited and publicly displayed.

Thorsten (44:13)
So, my first thought actually was that, taking the user journey or something else is something that is highly manipulated by many people and we want many people 12around the table, I still think from my very personal experience in doing many workshops, that as a good workshop facilitator, you are moderating, but you're also leading the workshop. And there are quite often situations where, as Sylvie also said, we don't say anything, or everything that we know, but try to give the context that is helpful, without throwing everything on to the table. And I think we do this as well. 
Also, if we work on the user journey, we want to bring all the stakeholders to the table, and we use this tool as a common ground to work on. I still think we, as the designer, we are not giving up all of the control of the situation. So therefore, my thought was, that it's maybe not so different because if we would give up full control of the tools that we use, and let everybody do whatever they want to do, it won't work. Maybe it's not so different. I don't know if this is a good answer, but that's my thoughts. 

Gaël (46:07)
This is definitely a good answer. I think we can close our very deep discussions on all these tools, and actually the focus should be a bit less on the tools and a bit more on the mindsets and on the way we gather people together rather than just focusing on the tool because if you gather just two people in the room with the most beautiful tool, I think we will miss the point with the systemic design approach. So thanks a lot, both of you.

But before you leave, I'd like to ask the traditional closing question, which is, would you like to share with the listeners one positive piece of news that you have heard or come across recently to create a more sustainable world? It doesn't necessarily have to be digital related, but of course, if it's digital related, it's always good. Who would like to start? 

Sylvie (47:09)
I can start. I have two ideas in my mind. The first one is an article from the UN that I read recently, about the fact that the Sahel is re-greening, for many reasons. The first one is that they have more rain there. And the second one is because they change the way they grow plants. So yes, for me it's very good news. And the other one is about regenerative hydrology, which is a subject I explored recently. And there are many very interesting experiments. So yes, it's very encouraging. 

Thorsten (48:03)
One thing that immediately came into my mind and which is not directly connected to ecological questions is, you might know that here in Germany, we have a huge issue with an extreme right-wing party. And there was this research recently, about a meeting, and how horrible things have been discussed there. And what gives me a lot of hope is seeing how many people were going out on the streets last weekend, the weekend before, and so 100,000 people going out there. So, the majority of the people have the right mindset. And maybe we all have different ways of doing things in detail, but we have the right mindset. And it's about how we can activate people. How can we make people understand, okay, here's a problem, we need to tackle this. And seeing that so many people are understanding that there is a huge problem, and this is a dramatic problem, we need to act now. And then people leave their comfort zone and go out to the streets. So, similar to what we have seen with the Fridays for Futures some years ago. Seeing this power of the people gives me a lot of hope, and it gives me a lot of hope to see we have to find ways to activate people for these major problems that we have, but it is possible. 

Gaël (46:07)
Yeah. And because they're minorities, they tend to be more vocal than the majority, but yeah, the majority of people are just good folks, especially when it's about surviving or making a species survive. 

Okay, so thanks a lot. Both of you. It was very interesting to have you on the show. I think I'm going to reread your book, Sylvie, with a new angle and re-listen to some of your talks, Thorsten, with the same approach. I think the overall approach and the. mindset with which we should embrace this complexity of understanding things in a systemic way rather than in a narrow silo way. Yeah, that was enlightening. So thanks a lot, both of you, for being on the show, and as usual, all the references to the books, the articles you've mentioned, etc., will be put in the show notes. And now it's time to say goodbye. So thanks a lot. 

Thorsten (51 :03)
Thank you, Gaël. Thank you, Sylvie. Really enlightening for me as well. 

Thorsten (51 :07)
Thank you very much, Gaël. And thank you Thorsten. It was nice.

Gaël (51:12)
Thank you for listening to this Green IO episode. In the next episode, we will talk about norms and standards. This is what everyone is asking for in the Green IT community. We want clarity on norms, clarity on standards, clarity on what is truly required. And I realized that, hey, not sure what is actually a standard or a norm. So I will be joined by Audrey Himmer, who's a former lead at AFNOR, the French representative of the ISO network, to talk about what are the norms and the standards which could be applied in the digital sustainability area. But most importantly, How do you build a norm? How do you build standards? Who are the stakeholders? How does it all work? And why do we have different standards, different norms? What are the different approaches? So it is a very unusual episode, but one that will bring light on a much needed topic, as a lot of us are required to boost digital sustainability.

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