Tech net zero – start by understanding the problem

Is it about reducing tech’s carbon footprint – or tech reducing the public sector’s footprint? Or could it be both, asks Jess Neely?

19 May 2022

M-SParc's building on the island of Anglesey with views of Snowdonia
M-SParc – a science park attached to Bangor University – is a partner in the climate discovery, which began at its Anglesey base

Getting started

We kicked off the Tech Net Zero discovery – looking into technology’s role in meeting Wales’s climate goals – by pulling together core team members from Perago and M-SParc at M-SParc’s impressive building on the island of Anglesey. The discovery team will mainly be working remotely from bases across Wales but we wanted to meet face to face in the beginning.

Anglesey, with its views across to Snowdonia National Park, was an amazing place to start! We used this session to focus upon ways of working, make sure we agreed on the brief and start to focus on the challenge – including looking at:  

Understanding the problem 

As with every discovery, before getting started we needed to make sure we really understood the problem we were trying to solve. 

A lot of our discussions so far have been to outline the problem, or subject, that we will be investigating. And to start doing that, we needed to understand the differences between:

We started some user journey mapping, using our existing knowledge of what people working in digital and technology do – including procurement professionals and various digital practitioners.   

It seems that decisions about use of digital and technology often intersect with sustainability. So we’re looking forward to starting our user research to reveal more about where these areas overlap.

[a user journey map] A whiteboard with sticky notes mapping the user journey for reducing the carbon footprint of tech
The team started with user journey mapping, using their existing knowledge of what people in digital and technology do

Multidisciplinary benefits

It’s been fascinating to bring our different skillsets and approaches together to work on this problem, which is one of the real benefits of a multidisciplinary team. We spent some of our time together sharing our knowledge of Agile delivery, running discoveries, user research and net zero.   

We’ve also been linking with the team at CDPS to keep them up to date with progress and share our thinking so far. We’ll keep working closely with CDPS, who are overseeing the project, throughout the discovery. We’ll also be sharing our progress publicly through blog posts and show & tells.   

Net zero worldwide 

In the next 2-week sprint, we’ll be continuing desk research into how digital and technology contribute to carbon emissions and how they can reduce it. We’ll also be exploring good practice elsewhere in this area – in Wales, the UK and globally.  

And we’ll start recruiting people who deliver public services across Wales for our user research. We’re interested in talking to people such as climate change managers and digital or IT leaders. 

If you’re in one of those categories and are interested in helping with our user research, please email us or direct message us on Twitter.

Jess Neely is service design and research lead at Perago

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