Exploring scalable business opportunities for healthier indoor spaces
Education in China is a key pillar for building a prosperous society and developing the next generation of talent and leadership. The government directs about 4 percent of current gross domestic product into upgrading and developing its schools.
Special attention, and often additional investments are given to safety, hygiene and health conditions in order to create learning and teaching environments that can enable outstanding performances from students and optimum productivity from teachers.
The aim of this study is to support this ambition by understanding challenges and emerging opportunities that can be acted upon to create a safe and healthy environment where learning, development and teaching can flourish and achieve the best results.
Philips’ ultimate interest is to develop integrated solutions for healthier indoor spaces for better living, working, and learning in front of the rapid urbanization process of many emerging markets. As a company positioned in delivering meaningful innovation to the benefit of the health and well-being of people, we recognize the importance of creating healthier environments. This initiative in the school context in China is only a first step in addressing issues related to healthy indoor spaces. Our goal is to match business growth with meaningful and sustainable responses to societal needs by leveraging our socio-cultural understanding and technology know-how, and embracing collaborations with local stakeholders that can help to open up new markets.
The research carried out in the school context aims to bring greater understanding of needs, challenges and opportunities emerging from the development of the Chinese educational system. We approached experts and school stakeholders in Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai to understand the educational structure and its key objectives, the environmental challenges of schools in urban and semi-urban contexts, as well as the needs and aspirations of students and school staff. During the qualitative study the following guiding questions were addressed:
. How can we raise safety and hygiene standards? . How can we improve environmental and operational efficiency? . How can we enhance learning and performance? . How can we encourage healthy development?
This paper describes the research findings and the approach used to create a roadmap of potential opportunity areas, based on issues that can be acted upon in the school context. The opportunities were clustered in value spaces that fit into the over-arching benefit platform of healthy living in indoor spaces. The findings will be used to define integrated solutions for a first pilot-project aiming to achieve better performance of students and teachers in a safer, healthier and more enjoyable classroom environment in China.
Simona Rocchi is Senior Director of Innovation and Design-for-Sustainability Studies at Philips Design. She manages the global creative direction of various sustainability-based initiatives in product/system innovation and strategic design. She also oversees the development of design services targeting emerging and developing markets. Reon Brand is Senior Director Foresight and Socio-Cultural Trends at Philips Design. He is responsible for gaining understanding of emerging future contexts, changing paradigms and changing behavior in health and well-being.
Patray Lui is a multi-disciplinary designer specializing in user experience design and interaction design. She has been a Design Consultant at Philips Design since 2005 and has worked on a wide variety of projects. She is often involved with design innovations and is author of several patented inventions.