Communication, Collaboration and creativity key to unlocking a net zero Edinburgh

Thu, 08/26/2021 - 10:23

Edinburgh Climate Commissioner, Dairmaid Lawlor, an urbanist with a multidisciplinary background, and Associate Director at the Scottish Futures Trust. 

He highlights the importance of individuals, organisations and governments to continue to collaborate and communicate and think critically and creatively as we transition towards net zero.  


Ruben Putendura is an educationalist who has looked at ways to improve practice in learning and teaching that adapts to changing contexts. He asks the question: ‘how do we do things better?’.

He sees the way we practice change in terms of two key dynamics: enhancement and transformation.

Enhancement is about the different ways of doing current things better.

There are two ways of doing this, he says. First off, you can change your tools. Or, you can use new tools to do old things better.

The second dynamic is Transformation.  This is about new ways of doing new things, built on the confidence and learning of the enhancement strategies.

He suggests that this, again, is about two things. Either you can modify, so change the way we understand and go about tasks, or we can redefine. That is, to think of new ways of doing new things that were previously unimaginable with old technologies.

Change is a journey we need to all go on

Putendura was also interested in ‘pivotal moments’. These are the ‘Aha!’ moments when things click into place and can happen at any time, depending on the person.  

The key thing he says, is to see learning as a journey of small steps. A mix of enhancement and transformational moments.

To get to that pivotal moment, you need to learn the basics, play with what’s possible and build from there.

We need to use the tools we already have at our disposal

New technologies and developments on their own won’t bring about an inclusive net zero economy.

We also need to build, reflect and enhance the generations of knowledge and learning we already have. It is our past experiences, successes and failure, which will help our communities, businesses and governments improve, develop and transition towards net zero. 

And changing Edinburgh into a more inclusive, net zero city needs citizens, businesses and our leaders to understand which of the tools we already have at our disposal support their needs the most.

Small actions can lead to transformational change

Collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity cut across all activities in all aspects of life. And we need to continue to use these skills as we transition towards net zero.

We need to appreciate the skills and capabilities that people already have.

Enhancing what we already do best, whilst choosing a low-carbon way of doing old things, could shift behaviours across whole communities, entire business sectors and institutional landscapes.

But most importantly, we need to recognise that change is a mix of enhancement and transformational moments. A long journey of little steps. All of which add up into real and lasting change for future generations.