Collective Creativity will Strengthen Sustainability

The United Nations designated 21 April as World Creativity and Innovation Day, citing that the “concept of creativity is open to interpretation, from artistic expression to problem-solving in the context of economic, social and sustainable development.” Dietmar Grimm, Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Sustainability Solutions for Trimble, discusses why we urgently need to capitalise on today’s innovations to drive future change.

Now, more than ever, creativity and innovation are needed to accelerate efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Trimble is committed to ensuring that our mission, solutions, and initiatives align with and support the objectives of the SDGs. And joining forces with industry initiatives like ResponsibleSteel underscores that alignment.

Innovation has always been and always will be at the heart of Trimble. For almost 50 years, the company has pushed the boundaries of technology to help our customers work better, faster, safer, cheaper, and greener across the industries we serve. These are not separate goals, but actually five, highly intertwined principles. Trimble’s contribution toward helping customers operate more efficiently enables them to operate more sustainably. Examples include reducing idle time on machinery, lowering fuel consumption and emissions and reducing construction waste – all through data driven insights and decisions.

In the world of steel, our design software has enabled some of the most intriguing and intricate designs for buildings, bridges, and other structures. Technology provides endless possibilities to architects to come up with designs that really push the limits. That same technology now needs to give us the input to drive down carbon emissions across all of the construction continuum. All phases that make up an asset’s lifecycle – design, build, operate – carry emissions. That’s why our Sketchup design software portfolio includes tools that help designers make the most environmentally-friendly design decisions at the earliest possible stage, taking into consideration the effects of a building’s orientation, the local climate, the use of materials, the number and type of windows, and the application of HVAC technology. All with an eye to creating designs with the smallest environmental footprint over the long term.

We incorporated a carbon calculator in our Tekla structural design software and worked with the One Click LCA automated life cycle emissions assessment software to offer our users enhanced visibility of the environmental impact of their structural designs. And it is also why Trimble strives to connect the traditionally separated workflows within the construction industry: to make data flow across projects to provide short- and long-term insights.

With the wider steel and construction industries being some of the largest industrial emitters of CO2, industry-wide sharing of data is crucial. With more data availability, designers can more readily come up with awe-inspiring and creative designs that still ensure our cities’ livability for decades to come. Working together with the wider industry in bodies like ResponsibleSteel has the potential to spark some interdisciplinary thinking. Many solutions to the global sustainability challenges are still years out. But we have opportunities to drive real emissions down already today if we build on the successes we already accomplished to make even more deliberately sustainable choices in all aspects of business operations. We need to challenge ourselves — on this day even more than on others — to dig deep into our collective wells of innovation and creativity and find new and lasting solutions together.

By Dietmar Grimm, VP Corporate Strategy & Sustainability Solutions, Trimble Inc.

As VP Corporate Strategy and Sustainability Solutions at Trimble, Dietmar Grimm is helping the company drive profitable systems change across industries to a more productive, efficient, and sustainable, low-carbon, diverse, and equitable future for all communities.

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