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Open-sustainability Solution Offering

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Hv2.jpg This Solution Offering currently receives Minor Coverage in the MIKE2.0 Methodology through the Overall Implementation Guide and SAFE Architecture, but Activities are missing and there are no detailed Supporting Assets. In summary, the Solution Offering has not yet been formulated to the point where it should be used.
A Creation Guide exists that can be used to help complete this article. Contributors should reference this guide to help complete the article.

open-sustainability is an approach that applies-information centric techniques to solve challenges related to Sustainable Development.The complete framework for an integrated approach to sustainability is available at


Executive Summary

The goal of Sustainable Development is simple to state: how can we continue to develop today, without sacrificing tomorrow? Meeting the challenge, however, is incredibly complex, as it requires global cooperation, technology innovation, changes in culture and long-term commitment.

The good news is that we are making movements in the right direction. First and foremost, many individuals are passionate about the topic: communities are helping to solve local challenges, while at the same time global groups have formed through grass roots initiatives. Many companies certainly see opportunity, especially in the multi-billion dollar industries of energy, health and in developing emerging markets. This includes technology leaders such as IBM and Google making green technology a core part of their business strategy, sustainability becoming the focus of a number of premier consulting firm and a number of new entrants in technology and services. Even the much-publicized resistance of the United States government to rise to this global challenge has taken a positive turn in the recent elections.

The bad news is that there are many factors moving against us that we typically find very difficult to solve, including the aforementioned challenges of cooperation, culture and commitment. On this subject there are reasons to be encouraged, however, due to recent advances in information technology around web 2.0, open source methodology and Information-centric culture. open-sustainability is based on applying these concepts to help solve the sustainability challenge.

The Problem

Although many organizations are aiming to become more sustainable and companies are trying to respond to their needs, the complexity of the problem has slowed uptake of new solutions. In addition, the public has challenged some early successes, characterizing them as “green washing”. Open-sustainability has therefore been designed to address the key challenges for multiple stakeholder groups.

Stakeholder Challenge Open Sustainability Provides
Corporations Ensure sustainability approach benefits other business priorities and is economically beneficial, realize new business opportunities An integrated framework of best practices, e-learning solutions, a community specific to the sustainable enterprise.
Local, State and Federal Government Solve extremely complex technical issues in a challenging political environment A global community framework and reusable set of best practices that can be used across government
Technology Providers Need organizations to accelerate and fund sustainability programs Helps organizations quickly develop strategic blueprints to begin implementing solutions. This means that organizations increase the overall spend on initiatives for sustainable development.
Services Providers Need organizations to accelerate and fund sustainability programs A common framework for developing sustainability solutions based on technology best practices
Individual Do not trust the information provided by organizations and want them to be better , but not sure how to enable this approach Solutions for open and transparent decision-making, a collaborative community to shape corporate behavior and education services to drive cultural change

To best meet these challenges, the problem must be approached in an open and integrated fashion

The Approach

open-sustainability leverages an integrated solution approach referred to as Framework for Integrated Sustainable Development (FISDev). It works in concert to enable commercial business models for sustainability consulting and Social media business models around online advertising and e-learning. A corporate organization for also exists to provide these service, but works in coordination with other organizations providing the same services.

The Case for open-sustainability


To paraphrase the World Conservation Union [1], sustainable development is essentially about:

  • Balancing economic growth and social needs with the natural environment.
  • Ensuring that growth in the present does not adversely sacrifice future opportunities.
  • Applying this approach successfully within a local area and at a global level.

According to the Nobel Prize winning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the effects of Climate Change will be abrupt, dangerous and irreversible [2]. This has provided a major catalyst for facing the sustainability challenge. The problem is that the importance of this issue may cause us to ignore many of the other very critical areas defined within the broader scope of sustainable development.

Sustainability subject areas.jpg

Just like any group facing many complex challenges with limited resources, we must set some priorities. By defining our solution in the context of the broader problem we will have a better understanding of the impact of our decisions.

Meeting the Challenge

Our approach to energy is one of the best examples of how unsustainable the energy policies are of many Western nations. It has been 35 years since the first Oil Crisis, yet little has been done to develop new technologies or reduce consumption. This is because there are three overarching challenges that make this such a difficult issue to solve.

1. Complexity The complexity of the situation comes from the scale of the problem, the inter-dependencies between different areas of sustainable development and their crossing of international boundaries. A number of initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, for example, will have a negative impact on poverty in the developing world. Other inter-dependencies will be more difficult to predict. For some issues we simply to do not have solutions yet and innovation is required, but this is hampered by a lack of common performance goals and the fear of failing on “big bets” and causing greater damage.

This means we need technology innovation, advanced informatics for measurement and solution delivery techniques that simulate a prototyping-based technology approach – enabling ideas to be brought to market quickly in a way that still limits risk.

2. Post-Modernization Emerging Factors The opinion of many environmental experts is that Climate Change is the greatest risk that we face and that it is the result of large-scale industrialization. This is compounded by population growth and increased life expectancy in the developing world and a trade infrastructure that is dependent on global transport. Corporate influence in relation to government and private citizens is another factor that has increased significantly in the past 50 years.

Further innovation is once again required to address the problems from earlier waves of technological advancement to offset issues we have seen thus far, this innovation must be built within a framework for sustainable development, as opposed to merely economic or technological advancement.

3. Conflicting interests Individuals, organizations and nations must balance their own self-interest with the interests of others. This involves corporate interests (short term vs. long-term gain, economic vs. social), national interest (resources, trade, security) and personal interests (economic, quality of life). Governments and NGOs represent a variety of perspectives and agendas.

This is perhaps the most difficult challenge to meet as it requires cooperation and trust. Web 2.0 techniques and technologies have shown their effectiveness in this area, as open content and social networks help in building consensus and new working relationships across the globe.

Solution Hypothesis

Based on the stated problem and the challenges, the proposed approach can be summarized as follows:

1. Sustainable development is a highly complex, global issue that requires:

  • A standard framework for bringing together integrated solutions.
  • A collaborative environment to enhance cooperation.
  • Information-centric techniques (search, advanced analytics, integrated reporting) to be able to measure complex inter-dependencies and enable objective, evidence-based decisions.

2. Sustainability requires a major cultural change and therefore education is critical:

  • Education must target the full lifecycle of student development, from primary school through to universities and further education. Programs should also be provided for corporations and public sector organizations.
  • An effective long-term educational program works best if it is based around a structured set of open content, Making some content freely accessible will significant accelerate uptake of the approach.
  • Recent advances in virtual classroom technology (e-learning) provide the best way to reach a large audience in a cost-effective manner.

3. Sustainability must be instilled into the competencies of corporations; it cannot be a standalone activity. The approach should therefore be designed so that

  • Sustainability strategies benefit other business priorities and are economically beneficial.
  • The overall approach is oriented towards a method-based framework across the full lifecycle of the corporate ecosystem as opposed to standalone solutions.
  • The approach prepares organizations for emerging regulations and can provide benefits to early adopters.

4. An open and collaborative approach is the key to delivering a standard for such a complex problem, as it:

  • Encourages a culture of contribution.
  • Facilitates transparency in the decision-making process for policy development.
  • Enables a diverse community to share techniques for addressing a multitude of complex problems.

5. The size and complexity of the problem means there is much to be gained for technology companies. The solution approach should provide:

  • Open standards that will help guide technology development and its implementation.
  • A content sharing model that integrates to a common framework that still allows companies to protect their intellectual property investments.
  • A delivery approach that harnesses innovation but manages the native risks of implementing new technologies.

6. The size and complexity of the problem means there is much to be gained for consulting firms and system implementers. The solution approach should provide:

  • Mechanisms to increase the market for sustainability consulting by helping to make sustainability a board-level issue and top business priority.
  • A collaborative model that enables systems implementers to partner in an open fashion and provide individual mechanisms for differentiation and intellectual property protection.
  • A non-proprietary method that system implementers use that guides their overall approach and which allows contributions from many participants.

Therefore, the approach is to define an open, collaborative environment that provides a common framework for sustainability. Implementation of solutions through this framework creates a significant opportunity for a consulting organization with expertise in this approach and which is driven by these principles, to establish itself as a leader in the market.

The Framework for Integrated Sustainable Development is a community that provides collaborative, open source solutions for sustainable development that anyone can use. The solution approach provided by this community is called FISDev (Framework for Integrated Sustainable Development). Companies can use FISDev to introduce better sustainability practices into their business models, share success stories and work with partners and customers in a collaborative fashion. Government organizations can use FISDev to supplement existing frameworks, build solutions for sharing information across departments and national boundaries and better engage citizens. Through FISDev, individuals have a chance to contribute to best practices and help shape the behavior of both.

A pilot site for FISDdev is available at


FISDev provides a standard set of sustainability best practices, a model to improve them and a mechanism for their implementation. Best practices are based on the development of a comprehensive industry standard that is complemented by accelerators, training, implementation tools and emerging techniques. This approach provides organizations with a framework for developing information-centric sustainability solutions and enables a collaborative community for social networking, interactive discussions and coordinated sharing of sustainability content across a hub of common content.

An Open Industry Methodology

Web-based sustainability content is stored in various forms in distributed documents, tools and web content. In order to make this content flow together for the end-user, FISDev provides a content model that organizes the content and its relationships through the overall set of tasks for a sustainability competency, architecture and governance model.

Fisdev content model.jpg

As the development of the methodology is a continuous process, FISDev is constructed in a fashion so that functionality can be added underneath the overall approach. The content model is the same taxonomy as that used for the initiative. The assets of the content model are described here.

An Integrated Framework

FISDEV provides a standard set of sustainability best practices, a model to improve them and a mechanism for their implementation. Best practices are based on the development of a comprehensive industry standard that is complemented by accelerators, training, implementation tools and emerging techniques. Through this approach, a virtual hub of assets is formed that is used by a community focused on sustainable development to solve common challenges. Corporate intellectual property can still be kept private, and with linking to the framework and leveraging common content there is a greater incentive for sharing and extending the FISDev approach.

This integrated content repository concept has been successfully for the IM Solution Suite and MIKE2.0.

Guiding Principles

Shown below are the development and implementation principles of the FISDev approach. These principles apply to how content is developed and how solutions are implemented using the open framework content.

Fisdev solution principles.jpg

An initial set of content has been built into FISDEV that provides an overall framework for an open methodology that could be shared across all organizations. Some introductory concepts have also been added on sustainability. The focus of the initial set of content has been to build:

  • A base set of activities and tasks to follow that helps organizations become more sustainable
  • Best practices for a sustainability strategy through blueprinting and roadmapping techniques
  • Organizational models for a sustainability center of excellence and stakeholder engagement
  • Technology techniques for information-centric sustainability that links FISDev into the MIKE2.0 initiative Much of the content to provide an open methodology framework is leveraged from under the creative commons license.

FISDEV is built and implemented in a collaborative fashion. Collaborative technologies are used for developing and sharing common techniques, networking people and project delivery. This provides the benefit of community-based intellectual property development, improved stakeholder engagement and simplified project delivery. The technology that runs FISDEV, omCollab, is provided for free to organizations to accelerate the take-up of collaborative solutions for sustainability and “mash up” to the integrated framework.

Information Centric

Information-centricity is important for many sustainability challenges. Examples include:

  • Providing ways to share information across departments, organizations and even national boundaries as part of lifecycle analysis
  • Measuring carbon emissions and the predictive impacts of introducing capture mechanisms or alternative energies
  • Conducting longitudinal studies on the effectiveness of poverty reduction through foreign investment
  • Using advanced analytics to understand the benefits of long-term health programs and emerging risks
  • Providing comparative analysis of how changes to one area (reducing carbon emissions) impacts another (food prices)

A principle of FISDev is that better information helps people make objective, evidence-based decisions related to sustainability. MIKE2.0 is used in conjunction with FISDev to take an information-centric approach to sustainability.


As sustainability challenges are so complex, organizations face the risk of being stuck in a lengthy analysis phase. The extreme blueprinting and roadmapping (xbr) model that is part of FISDev helps organizations quickly define and execute a sustainability strategy by providing a rapid understanding of their current state and future goals and creating an execution model for continuous delivery, communication and improvement.


Building a framework for sustainability and how it can be implemented within an enterprise requires a sophisticated collaboration architecture. The best way to think about the FISDEV technology platform OmCollab is that it is a combination of the types of capabilities supporting Wikipedia, delicious, facebook, LinkedIn and popular blogging platforms like WordPress. It also interacts with these popular sites to leverage their content and very large communities.

Fisdev conceptual architecture.jpg

The technology environment that sits within the corporate environment can use the same technology that runs FISDEV, enabling organizations to easily integrate to the open environment and build customized sustainability solutions for their specific challenges. omCollab


The technology platform that supports FISDev is a free, open source product for collaboration that is built from a number of components that support popular social media sites. The core of the wiki component, for example, is MediaWiki, which is the technology that supports Wikipedia. These technologies have been brought into a single product called OmCollab that also supports MIKE2.0.

Open Source Development Model

OmCollab is made freely available to accelerate take-up of collaborative sustainability solutions by client organizations. This approach encourages further development of the product by the open source community against a well-defined technology roadmap. The extension-based architecture of omCollab enables the development community to easily write applications for omCollab and further accelerate the platform.

How Organizations are becoming more Sustainable

Examples of how organizations are applying sustainability practices today are listed below. Most of these examples can be applied across industries:

  • Telecommunications and Media companies are decreasing their energy footprint through greener data centers, thereby reducing costs and emissions
  • Transportation companies and manufacturers are looking to dramatically improve supply chain efficiencies, resulting in lower costs through reduced energy consumption
  • Banks are leveraging digital solutions to reduce paper waste, reduce costs and improve operational efficiency
  • Consulting firms are using collaborative technologies to lower travel costs, improve workplace efficiencies and make their company more attractive places to work
  • Energy firms are looking to mitigate regulatory risks and expand into new markets through exploration of green technologies
  • Promoting their initiatives to improve public relationships and workplace attractiveness
  • Banks are tracking the investments to determine they meet standards for ethics from shareholders
  • Sustainable investing options are offered to help individuals and organizations meet their investment goals while still considering environmental and social factors
  • Hospitals are becoming greener and subsequently we need to measure the benefits buildings

are important for the environment, cost reduction, reducing energy usage and for our health

  • Health centers are building collaborative si1tuational awareness solutions to detect disease outbreaks and be able to react quickly
  • Governments are responding to citizen demands and critical risks related to healthcare, climate change, energy consumption, globalization and development

Most of these issues can be applied in a cross

Applying the open-sustainability Model

Examples of how the approach can be applied across industries includes:

  • Supply chain improvement - architecting green supply chain solutions that focus on improvement through root-causes analysis of current issues and using information analytics.
  • Green business intelligence - defining an integrated solution that enables evidence-based decision making across a broad set of sustainability dimensions.
  • Corporate Responsibility reporting – coordinate external company reporting and related rating indices on issues in the marketplace, workplace, environment and community following best practice guidelines. In a more advanced approach, this can be done through collaboratively contributing content.
  • Life Cycle Assessment – high level information assessment understand the broader impact of an organizations' product or service, up and down the supply chain.
  • Life Cycle Management – using information management best practices to measure and improve energy efficiency and enable complex lifecycle analysis.
  • Carbon dioxide emission reporting – assist companies to develop their Greenhouse Gas inventories and subsequent voluntary reporting of these emissions in such programs as the Carbon Disclosure Project and through Carbon Footprints.
  • Stakeholder engagement – develop and manage community engagement on such issues as new developments, existing management of sites using social media.
  • Sustainability customer connectivity - defining an online channel strategy around sustainability to drive communications, assess opinions and engage customers.
  • Innovation management - applying collaborative technologies and advanced governance techniques to enable stakeholder engagement and build high performance innovation teams.

Open Sustainability and MIKE2.0

There is a strong confluence of approach, technology and content between MIKE2.0 and the FISDev approach on open-sustainability. FISDev leverages content open content under the creative commons license and also uses the OmCollab technology platform. As open-sustainability encourages an information centric approach, it encourages use of content from MIKE2.0.

Bringing together the Communities

open-sustainability provides a joint community that provides information-centric solutions to sustainability by bringing together the two communities around the common concept.

Os community.jpg

Use of Common Content and Concepts

Both projects can be considered to be part of an overall Open Methodology Framework. Examples of similar concepts between open-sustainability and MIKE2.0 include:

Safe architecture sustainability.jpg
Sustainability coe.jpg
  • XBR concepts applied to build a strategy for sustainability:
Xbr activites.jpg

Learning more about Open Sustainability

The complete framework for an integrated approach to sustainability is available at


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