We created Operation Possible to tackle the most pressing social and environmental challenges of our time by harnessing all that our people bring to social innovation and collaboration. It’s a perfect fit for our bold purpose-driven culture centered on challenging what’s possible for a sustainable world. And it’s accelerating the potential for innovation that creates positive change for both people and the planet.
With input from our employees, we’ve honed in on five challenge areas that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Food loss and hunger
Unsustainable use and disposal of plastics
Access to comfort and safe housing
Access to clean energy
Access to safe drinking water
Connecting people to each other and a common purpose can have an uplifting effect on innovation and engagement.
Hear from employees about why they joined in and what it means to them.
If you think about how innovation, how new things get created it's a community of ideas. And we were inspired by the opportunity to do something great through operation possible. We hope all the work can contribute to our sustainability, to the company, and to the world.
Why can't we make a technology that will directly lead to the food wastage collection? We have to innovate we have to find a way to solve this problem. So it is all who together are contributing to this community and making this possible. We have the technology, we have the creativity. What we've accomplished as a team of 40,000 employees; let's find it, let's correct it, let's keep that food waste from occurring. I'm so excited about what we're doing around food loss. I didn't realize just how inclusive the innovation process could be.
The goal of this project is not only to reduce waste but improve lives of a lot of people across the world. If Operation Possible can save just one child then we will make a difference. I became a bit responsible towards the food I have. I’ve started to look at food in my home a little bit differently. We can have an impact on future generations that will walk on this earth. I'm hopeful that our contributions will be truly meaningful. I look forward to staying involved next year and years beyond. Thank you, everyone, take care.
"The model for Operation Possible leverages one primary principle; great things happen when people unite around a common purpose".
- Paul Camuti, Trane Technologies Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer
“Trane Technologies has embraced the mindset of challenging problems and absurdities that exist in the world. With the full weight of their people, their technology and their will, they have converted absurdities from impossible to possible.”
- Mick Ebeling, Not Impossible Labs founder
“Operation Possible is a unique opportunity for everyone at Trane Technologies to contribute to some of the biggest environmental and social issues facing our planet. By contributing, we can also learn and change our own behaviors for the better.”
- Arun Doraisami, Trane Technologies employee
When Operation Possible on plastics started, around the same time, my son was actually looking for a project, a school project, to look at how do we reduce plastics in our day to day life. So this gave me an opportunity to start digging deep into how do I reduce my consumption of plastic as an individual? And how do we do it as a group, as a family? And how do we do it at the company as well.
So initially, when I started looking into Operation Possible, I wanted to post a lot of new ideas. But when I got into the platform, I found that some of the ideas that I had were already posted by someone. It may not be exactly the same, but quite similar ones. And I started to see that rather than posting new ideas, I will be more valuable in providing comments to existing ideas. That way, I could encourage the people who are posting ideas to post more, and then try to see if they could make a better idea out of it. So this started an effect where lots and lots of people started joining in.
So when we started it, well, it was about 10 people who were actually posting ideas and reviewing it. By the few weeks, it was already crossing 1000s. A lot of the ideas that came in from people were mostly for household, which could easily be implemented at our home. I have been working with, basically, with my son and some of the actions that he took, after looking at those ideas were to see how he could reduce the usage of plastics on his day to day activities. In that way he got interested in the whole project.
In terms of the three R's, you'll get to see a triangle that says reduce, reuse, recycle, that's more prominent. But one area that we tend to over see right is the repurposing. In order to do that it requires a bit of creativity. And I saw that the kids actually have the creativity. So when they are given something to do with a product, they always try to find other ways of using it.
For example, to use plastic bottles, we thought we could make some art out of it. So basically take these LED strip light, and then make a study lamp out of this. This could be done by a kid and he's happy because he's able to make it. They want to make sure that the concept or the ideas, we see that very early.
At least we start to educate our kids so that they can be aware and as they grow up, they reduce their consumption overall throughout their lifetime. And this is the biggest impact that they can create on the planet Earth.
Operation Possible was built on the principles of open collaboration and inclusive platforms to unite the Trane Technologies community around a shared purpose. Through crowd-sourcing and crowd-solving, our employees bring diverse skill sets to brainstorm, give feedback and develop solutions to global challenges with real-world applications.
Anyone can help identify a problem, comment and collaborate
Anyone can propose ideas about how to solve the problem
Teams form and build out solutions and design concepts
Prototyping and Piloting
Test design concepts and execute into viable solutions
Watch the video to see how employees collaborated across geographies and brought different perspectives to tackle the first Operation Possible challenge.
This is the first time that I've seen crowdsourcing leveraged to tackle such a big, global problem.
It's so nice to finally be all together.
So, crowdsourcing is a new behavior for our company and it's really enabled us to tackle big global problems.
Sure. Yeah. Just fire stuff out at me. I'm gonna just start drawing. Yeah, I think this one's a great example of like, we need to really get in deep and understand the customers, what the needs of the farm would be. Right, right.
Think about what we've accomplished in a short period of time.
Hunger. Yeah, major societal problem.
We've onboarded the entire company to this global platform. We've identified a problem area and really quickly ideated on very strong solutions.
So, where does transpiration start? Yeah, so we have the growers, right. Yeah. The Growers' ultimate... Yeah,
When done really well and done correctly, you unlock value for society, for a company for an industry.
So as I started collaborating with other people, I started to see potentially different solution elements.
There's an opportunity for all associates to participate.
So where's the biggest problem? And is that problem large enough to move the needle and some of the statistics we want to impact, and...
Ultimately, we're going to settle on a design target, and move quickly towards commercializing a solution. We really need your ideas and your collective talents to solve these global problems. We cannot do it alone.
With food loss and hunger as our first challenge for Operation Possible, employees across the globe joined forces to develop potential solutions that were efficient, affordable and scalable.
What originated as an initial idea by an employee, turned into a design team with members from five countries. After consulting with street vendors on their greatest needs, the outcome is a cooling cart that leverages the latest innovation in passive cooling technology, keeping fruits and vegetables fresh for longer, decreasing food waste and increasing the street vendors’ potential income.
After a successful pilot program, we’re ready to bring the solution to those who need it, helping to reduce food loss and improve lives.
Watch how one idea blossomed into a solution with real impact.
In India there is hunger and malnutrition.
And at the same time I commute to work,
I travel through a vegetable market.
I see a lot of vegetables and fruits dumped by the road.
And there is a lot of waste.
The simultaneous existence of food waste, loss and hunger
is a major issue.
And this is one of the first problems that we are tackling
as part of Operation Possible.
Operation Possible is one of the initiatives
taken by Trane Technologies.
Where the crowdsourcing of ideas
will be passed through a certain process
to identify which are these kind of challenges
and encourage employees to participate in that.
So that is how this entire project got initiated.
In order to understand how the food loss is happening
at the street vendors level.
It’s very important to understand
the daily life of the street vendors.
I have been a vegetable vendor for 40 years.
I have four children.
I don't have a house of my own.
I have just been able to make a living and provide food.
There are some difficulties in the vegetable business.
I have to borrow money.
I have to make a return on investment.
The problem is sometimes when we bring a lot of vegetables
some of it can rot and go to waste.
If it rains heavy or when the sun is too hot
it can be problematic.
I invest around 3000 INR (38 USD).
After I am done with business,
I make a profit of 500 INR (6 USD) for the day,
but come what may, there is an approximate loss of 25%.
Usually we throw out 2-3 kgs of vegetables.
If the items get wasted we can’t do anything.
It’s quite unpredictable
They are aware of this problem.
At the same time, they don't have a solution.
They are desperate for a solution.
And once we understood that these issue is there.
We were able to develop a hypothesis
of how we can tackle this problem.
We ended up forming truly a global team within India
as well as representatives from Vietnam, China and even Africa.
To understand what solution works best for the street vendors.
If we were able to increase the shelf life of these vegetables
for a couple of more days,
we can certainly reduce the food loss to a greater extent.
And eventually that could increase the income
for the street vendors as well.
To solve that problem for them,
we come up with a solution
that can be implemented in the field.
We also partnered with a local university
whose most of their students are from farming families.
So the MBA students were able to successfully interact
with the street cart vendors and local authorities.
And understand the kind of challenges
they face on the everyday basis.
The street vendors,
they want the solution to cool their vegetables
so that it will look fresh.
But the key thing is that they want the solution without electricity.
Passive radiative cooling technology is an interesting thing.
Any surface which face the sky gets heated
due to the sun incidence.
At night time, when there is no sun,
all these surfaces start radiating the heat back into the deep space
In a particular wavelength.
We found a technology where this passive radiative cooling
can be done during daytime as well.
There is a company in California which develops a film,
like aluminum foil, it radiates the heat to the sky
because sky is always at a very low temperature.
Once we paste it on the canopy, the temperature below
can get up to ten degrees below what it was experiencing before.
So building the prototype is an iterative process.
Initially, we procure fresh vegetables
and then we have sensors that measure different parameters,
and we see how the vegetables go bad over a period of time.
And then we introduce different interventions,
to see how that deterioration can be slowed down.
We want the solution to be effective.
At the same time, it should be affordable.
We have to see how to integrate these technologies
on carts which are being sold today.
So this way we are able to fine tune our approach,
and then we formalize a design and take it forward.
Now the last piece was that we have a solution.
It's time for us to build some prototype
and test out there in the field.
So we tested for a pilot study in a place called Kolar.
And in Kolar also we are having a lot of enthusiastic participation
from the local government officials.
It will work because they buy the vegetables for the day.
The cooling will keep it fresh for the next day as well
so, the new cart will be useful for them.
It directly impacts on the earnings.
Earnings make a livelihood.
Livelihood makes a good value to the society.
Since one or two of them already have it,
it can pique interest in others.
There are around 1000 street side vendors.
If we buy each one of them a cart
in the future it will benefit both consumers and the vendors
and also the society can benefit from this.
The beneficiaries are going to be street vendors,
but the sponsor has to be someone else.
So in order to bind all these things together,
we are also thinking how this solution can be
commercialized and implemented in a large scale.
We are doing it now in India,
but this has the potential to transform
lives across the world.
If we could able to consistently
show them the benefits.
In terms of doubling the income, in terms of avoiding the losses,
I'm pretty confident over time
there will be huge acceptance of this vending cart.
The cart is super.
The vegetables which we throw out can be saved,
big losses won’t happen and we will be in profit.
The cart which you guys provided us is very good.
It is making our lives easy.
This has to be provided to other vendors as well.
I am very happy sir
for giving us this cart.
"We are grateful to collaborate with such a diverse organization as Trane Technologies, and one that is prioritizing addressing fundamental challenges facing many individuals around the globe. Through collaborations like this, we are uncovering opportunities for our passive cooling technology that meet the most basic needs of the most vulnerable people in our society."
- Eli A. Goldstein, PhD, Co-Founder, CEO SkyCool Systems, Inc.
“Our students were able to engage hands-on in the first chapter of Operation Possible, where they helped the company identify and tackle ground-level challenges. Our students are looking forward to being part of more initiatives where they help resolve real-world challenges.”
- Nithin Mohan, CEO, Cambridge Institute of Technology
Want to learn more? Download the Cooling Cart Fact Sheet.
For our planet’s biggest challenges, there is more that can be done when we work together. If you are interested in expanding access to the cooling cart or working with us on other challenge areas, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com.