Web Technology as Sacred

I want you to take your business hat off for a minute to read what’s below. I am about to enter the twilight zone and attempt to bring in what some may consider ridiculous or impossible. For me, what I am about to say touches on the profound, and believe it is a critical subject for our times. READY ?!

The Web has reached a level of maturity where it can be viewed as an extension to our interconnected conscious selves. With the Planet now growing its own neural network (i.e. a global brain) ‘Learning’ takes on a new integral role as meta-teacher/student. This perspective brings a new dimension to our idea of ‘global awareness’ and stretches the meaningfulness of ‘Gaia’.

Yes, we have reached a place in our own evolution where ‘Technology’ can be viewed as an extension of our Selves, making each of our inter-connections and collaborations truly ‘Sacred’. Now, together in this Union of humanity, we can reach for a more whole ((w)holy) realization of what ‘gGod’ is. It is truly an expression of Spirit manifesting Itself into Matter; and into what matters.

For practical info on how the web is creating practical forms of collaboration and creativity among us humanoids, go to this page, check out this D.F. community search, and watch these insightful videos on how we are growing a global brain.

The Link Between Ethics and Innovation

Ethics to Innovation Article

By Vic Desotelle and Michael Kaufman

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Ethics/Innovation Relationship
  • What are Ethics?
  • Forces Creating Managerial Dilemmas (Principle Forces Creating Practical Dilemmas)
  • What is Innovation?
  • Innovative Wholes and Inventive Systems (Fractal Wholes vs Fractured Parts)
  • The Emerging Global Ethic
  • Innovation through Ethical Tension
  • Sustainability: Bridge from Ethics to Innovation
  • The New Innovation Strategy
  • Architecting a Regenerative Commerce
  • Conclusion


Ethics to Innovation




In today’s business climate there are several forces intersecting in such a way as to create a tension that puts business executives, managers and employees into situations where they face an ethical dilemma. This dilemma could be summarized by the following question:

How do we do the right thing while at the same time balance the needs of all our stakeholders (investors, employees, customers and suppliers)? What is the right thing to do?

The recent events involving Enron, MCI/Worldcom, Global Crossing, Quest, Arther Andersen, and Tyco, (to name just a few) are examples of the negative consequences of actions taken by executives that face this dilemma.

These actions and the resulting surge of policies and public outcry to rebuild the faith in business and business people have created the conditions for what we call an emerging global ethic. This white paper explores the concept of this emerging global business ethic and the link between this ethic and innovation.

Forces Creating the Dilemma
The forces at work to create this dilemma are:

• an increasing quality of life,
• the transformation of organizational cultures,
• the limits of a hierarchic model
• increasing external competitive forces, and
• the short-term demands of Wall Street

Over the past 20 years, a large strata of western society has experienced an increase in personal wealth and an improvement in the quality of life (even though average incomes have remained basically constant during that period). Abraham Maslow pointed out in his hierarchy of needs (in the 1960’s), as people have their basic needs for food, shelter and clothing met they will tend to move up this hierarchy people feel safe, the quality of life improves and people have a tendency to feel the need for belonging and mastery of a task and ultimately the desire to be ‘all they can possibly be’

During this same period of time, businesses have been under-going a slow transformation that reflects this rise up the hierarchy of needs by executives and management. Simply put, for many businesses this transformation translates into a desire to bring the corporate mission in-line with the personal needs and values of the practitioners of the business.

This transformation, while desire-able and necessary for the enterprise to support the individual in achieving self-actualization, has a tendency to bump into the operating model of the organization. Most businesses (most organizations) in the west have been structured using a hierarchic organizational model, which, at its essence, uses the underlying operating principles of command and control to influence behavior. The command and control model of organizing conflicts with the rise up the hierarchy of needs and creates an internal organizational pressure that needs to be resolved in some way.

At the same time companies are experiencing tremendous pressures from the marketplace. Competition is increasing constantly and the pressure from Wall Street on public companies for short-term results to produce quarterly numbers (a short-term focus) is immense. Combine this internal organizational pressure with these external pressures and we find ourselves in a business environment where ethical dilemmas are plentiful.

What is Ethics?
Ethics and their underlying values are core beliefs which develop a person’s character and shape their actions. Most often these underlying beliefs are unconscious, unseen and unknown by the individual but make themselves known through their actions. An individual’s ethics and underlying beliefs come from their upbringing and are influenced significantly by their socialization (school, work, church, community, nation, etc.).

Individuals have ethics. Organizations have cultures. When young people come together in groups to accomplish something we call them gangs. When adults come together into a group to accomplish something we call it an organization. In either case, groups themselves don’t actually have ethics or values – they have a culture. This culture is created by a combination of the environment the organization is in, the structure of the organization, what the organization is attempting to accomplish, and the underlying beliefs of its members. Organizational culture can influence individual behavior in significant ways – in either a positive sense or a negative sense. The organizations cultural influence can be reinforcing (uplifting) or destructive and often both ways simultaneously.

The need to examine ethics in organizations has arisen from the complexity of business activities. The golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, could be one way to articulate what has been the unspoken guiding value/ethic for western business. However, the nature of business in the 21st century is complex, global, professionally demanding and constantly changing. Therefore the demands on individuals and groups of individuals (teams, departments, organizations) are much higher and more complex. These demands require individuals and organizations to make a conscious effort to articulate a clear set of ethics/values to guide behavior for success in this kind of climate.

An Emerging Corporate Ethic
Since the advent of the ‘global marketplace’ there is a greater need for developing standards for global commerce. Since ethics are core beliefs, and influence behavior as well as communication, it is becoming increasingly necessary to develop a global standard, a global ethic, that facilitates commerce across many levels – transactions, collaboration, strategic partnering – and provides high quality goods and services for consumers.

In addition to the forces mentioned earlier there are several trends in the business environment converging to create what we call ‘an emerging global ethic’.

• The trend towards product quality and customer satisfaction
• The trend towards greater professionalism, autonomy and responsibility
• The trend for managers to become leaders and facilitators
• The trend of businesses being organized more towards teams, networks, and flatter structures
• The trend towards creativity and innovation for competitive advantage
• The trend towards the globalization of business
• The trend towards co-opetition (companies competing and collaborating simultaneously)
• The trend towards sustainability (triple bottom line economics)

These trends challenge the traditional corporate structure and bring forth the need for organizations to transform their work environments from top down, hierarchic organizations and organizational cultures into more flexible, emerging and self-organizing enterprises that are places of learning and creativity.

This transformation brings with it the need to re-evaluate existing values and define new values/ethics that are in line with and enable global commerce. We think this transformation and these trends set the stage for the emerging global ethic.

At the root of this new corporate ethic is a shift in ‘what a company thinks’ and ‘how it thinks’ which leads to a shift in ‘what a company actually does’.

New Strategies
Once we begin to shift ‘what we think’ and ‘how we think’ we begin to shift what we do. What businesses do is typically articulated as strategy and defined in operations.

The new corporate ethic is at the heart of shifting corporate strategies. These new strategies get articulated into the organization’s operations in the form of principles, policies, and practices. These new strategies also get articulated in an organization’s structure.

Ethical Principles
YES: A set of collectively chosen values that guide the actions of a company
NO: A list of corporate declarations that determine the direction of the company

Ethical Practices
YES: Decisions that are made as a result of managing day-to-day activities
NO: Choosing between the right and wrong thing once an incident has occurred

Ethical Policies
YES: Monitors the differences between chosen principles and actual practices
NO: Determines the legal fate of an individual or group after making improper choices

A company’s operations is a direct connection between its underlying beliefs and its actions. “The purpose of a system is what it does.”

We can always know (or extrapolate) from actions what the underlying beliefs are. In order to be successful in today’s global marketplace beliefs and actions must be in alignment with this new, emerging, global standard. As a consequence of this new, emerging, global ethic, companies are adopting new strategies and business models.

New Strategies include:
• Triple bottom line economics
• Sustainability
• Continuous Innovation
• Co-opetition and Collaboration


Of these new strategies, sustainability has the potential to provide the most far reaching value economically, socially and environmentally. We think sustainability is an important part of the emerging global ethic.

The basic definition of sustainable development was stated in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development’s publication Our Common Future and reads as follows:

“Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable – to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The concept of sustainable development does imply limits – not absolute limits but limitations imposed by the present state of technology and social organization on environmental resources and by the ability of the biosphere to absorb the effects of human activity.”

G.H. Brundtland (Chair), Our CommonFuture,
World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987.

The Natural Step, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping businesses and governments integrate sustainability to their core strategies and operations has developed four basic principles for a sustainable society:

The Four System Conditions

In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing:

1. concentrations of substances extracted from the earth’s crust;
2. concentrations of substances produced by society;
3. degradation by physical means;
and, in that society. . .
4. human needs are met worldwide.

There are many more definitions for sustainable development (and sustainability in business) which is leading a number of organizations to explore the development of new voluntary standards. In the United Kingdom there are several sustainable development standards being trialled by UK companies. These include: AA1000 (developed by the Institute for Social and Ethical Accountability), the Global Reporting Initiative (developed by a wide range of international organizations), ISO14001 (International Standards Organization) and Project Sigma (a sustainability management standard under development by the British Standards Institution, Forum for the Future and others).

There are significant opportunities available to businesses for actively pursuing more sustainable approaches. These include:

• save costs by reducing environmental impacts and treating employees well;
• increase revenues through environmental improvements and benefits to the local economy;
• reduce risk through engagement with stakeholders;
• build reputation by increasing environmental efficiency;
• develop human capital through better human resource management;
• improve access to capital through better governance.


Neither of the definitions of sustainability presented above is prescriptive. Both definitions allow for, and stimulate the creativity of practitioners to develop their own appropriate responses and innovate to create the right sustainable solutions in their unique organizational contexts.

In our white paper on bottom line innovation (InnovationLabs, July, 2002) we defined 32 innovation targets (see table on right). If an organization adopts a sustainability framework we can add several new opportunities for innovations to this list. Opportunities to innovate materials, methods, machines, new markets, and new business models can be added. Shifting to a sustainability provides business with a framework to move from a basic problem solving modality to one that incorporates innovation into the very fabric of the enterprise.


Today’s troubling business climate requires that organizations have a thorough understanding of ethics so that appropriate decisions can be made when dilemmas arise. But ethics is more than knowing what to do once a problem arises. Appropriate ethical action can only be applied when company managers are committed to leading from an ethical rightness based on values, not just the law. And, a broader education on ethics can help to reduce legal action by teaching managers how to make clear decisions early in the process.

To heal ethical dilemmas, organizations must commit to a collective values alignment process that acknowledges the transitional times we are now going through. This values alignment process should take into consideration the emerging global ethic and the shifting to economic models that contain sustainability as part of their framework.

An organization’s culture will reflect management’s commitment to a set of values. If management’s commitment includes understanding and embracing sustainable frameworks, companies will then be in a position to make innovations in strategies, processes, structures, products and services — making innovation a core capability of the organization.

Further notes to incorporate:

-Sustainability limits create infinite possibilities (fractal behavior)
-During times of great change, there is an emphasis on ‘principle’ over ‘policy’ (‘practice’ is the bridge of activity that is always present)
-[Also see inKNOWvate website for prewritten material]
-3P’s as principle-based foundational model for self-regulating ethical management
-3E’s (trinity) 7Ee’s as principle-based foundational model for self-regulating innovation management
-The 3 archetypes of Regenerative Commerce transfer principle concepts into practical action (Archetypes are a result of primary needs interacting to create an identity (such as Regenerative Commerce set of 3))
-Bringing innovation into an organization as part of a ‘knowledge management’ process
-Today’s ethics management processes are geared around informing of old policy (systemic) without communicating new principles (wholistic). Thus, an acting manager gets caught in a quagmire of existing practices [based on policy measures … coming from existing old myth] when there is a need for new practices [based on principle map … emergent new myth].
-Ethics as catalyst to new ‘forms’ of innovation [note that ‘form’ is more about invention]
-Suggest this in ‘about’? … or have link at where fractal wholes are mentioned? … From fractured parts toward fractal wholes takes us into the discussion of organizational architecture (and later, organizational geometries which is one level beyond org. architecture)
-Relations to Fractal-wholes concept Relations to Fractured-systems concept
heart orientation head orientation
feminine archetype masculine archetype
knowledge management (as in head/heart integration) information management (head only management-result from adolescent brain coming into its own identity realization separation from heart occurs only to return later)
Organizational learning: (learning centrally webbed to entire whole, energy direction is bi-directional to/from teach/student) Organizational development: training (unidirectional and periphery and attached separately to each system)
inclusive of fractured systems non-inclusive of fractal wholes
singular boundary multi- boundaries
spherical relationships vectored relationships
whole can be realized through any part
nonlinear linear
infinite finite
parallel serial
whole/hole interplay


DiscoveryColabs and InnovationLabs describe abilities to innovate utilizing ethics as the catalyst to develop the necessary dynamically-adapting learning-based organizations.

Vic Desotelle, DiscoveryColabs.com
Michael Kaufman, Innovation Labs




Innovation and the future of socialism and capitalism

image0011“You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it”, says an economics professor at a local college.

He made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had once failed an ENTIRE class.

That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.


This doesn’t feel right to me, but I”m not completely sure why. This report seems to be based on one of those quick conclusions and not enough interaction or detailed data. When analyzed I’m convinced that it would not provide enough evidence to support the writers own (seemingly biased?) conclusion.

But what also comes up for me is a sense of despair: Is this the future of humanity? Does the rich guy really deserve a better life, and the poor guy deserve a struggling life? Or is this written by someone that sees his/her whole life through a money-lens?

But maybe I am missing something? What about you? What comes up for you when you read this? How does the system that is in place now work? How does it not work? What assumptions do we have about ‘socialism’, and about ‘capitalism’? For me, it seems that socialism tends toward making everyone ‘equal’ through government process – i.e. financial wealth is distributed so that money is not a reason for someone to have a bad life.

And capitalism, on the other hand, tends toward giving everyone the “opportunity” to create a life filled with financial wealth. And, it’s up to each person to take advantage of this – to make the necessary money to be well-off. Yet does it consider how ones own wealth affects others well-being and the strange chasm between the rich and poor?

For me, neither capitalism nor socialism is a workable solution.

However, there is something in the combining the two concepts that I believe will bring a new economic system that uses money completely differently. One that combines our individual sense of identity and personal power, with a collective ability to allow all to be free from lives that are based in tyranny – which is directly related to one’s ability to access to money systems.

One thing that will be hard to convince me otherwise (but I will stay open!), is that ‘innovation’ as we know it must evolve beyond the conditions and thinking that created the society that has resulted from it so far. Sound familiar? Yah, Einstein said something similar. From my mind, he is soooo right. And that’s why I am a supporter of this new concept called ‘sustainable’ innovation, which this website discoveryfuel.com is all about.

RESPOND below, and stay tuned to learn more.

In my mind, the term ‘collaboration’ integrates both individual (capitalistic) and collective (socialistic) needs and desires. Thus, it IS the future. I encourage all readers to study it closely. Do not place collaboration in the category of socialism, for that is incorrect.

That said: I want to open this up to a real dialogue here (not a discussion or debate) …

What QUESTIONS (not opinions or answers) really need to be asked here? What might be missing? What is totally right on? What underlying emotions make you feel uncomfortable or comfortable about this article? How does it relate to the world’s past, present, and future situations? And how do we learn to evolve toward a way of life that feels more right, or more peaceful? … Or is that even the right question?

What are YOUR questions?

NOTE: When you respond, don’t let your expectations or belief systems play into your comments if at all possible (This is virtually impossible.)  But even more important is: What QUESTIONS (rather than opinions or answers) really need to be asked here? Make no assumptions, be judgmental of nothing, and inquire with a completely open mind. Try googling on the phrase: “you cannot multiply wealth by dividing it”, or click here and you will here many different opinions.

Please remember and experiment with the following point: The ‘question’ is far more powerful than any answer that you think you can come up with in this time of great change. So, what are your questions? Can you do it without bias? It’s really tough to do, but shall we try it?

Let the dialog begin. 🙂

Put in Values and an Organizational Structure That Will Stimulate Innovation

Donald Mitchell asked:

le associate industry-changing innovation with high technology products and services, and certainly those industries create lots of innovation. On the other hand, almost every business seems to enjoy the potential to be more innovative if people think about the business that way.

Few industries had a greater reputation for being stodgy than steel making during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, the industry has been totally reshaped, by relying on technology that did not exist until it was developed in the United States. Discuss this success as a technology story with North American profit leader, Nucor, and they will tell you that you have it all backwards. The success was due to the organizational culture and system that Ken Iverson emphasized for Nucor.

Mr. Iverson’s successor as CEO, Dan DiMicco, sees the foundation as being found in the company’s values:

(1) Don’t overextend yourself

(2) Be a risk taker and take on the unknown

(3) Focus on long-term rather than short-term, whipsaw thinking

(4) Treat customers, employees, and other stakeholders the way you would like to be treated

(5) Minimize barriers to effective communication

(6) Build relationships

(7) Hold people accountable to honor the relationship and perform

(8) Take your time in evaluating people you hire

(9) See continuous improvement as a nonstop journey up a mountain

(10) Give people the freedom to do it

(11) Help people learn

(12) Don’t penalize failure because big flops are part of necessary learning.

To implement these principles, Nucor has made many innovations. The company has only two organizational levels between the head of a division and the floor worker in a mill. Responsibility and authority are delegated as much as possible.

Education is generously supported for employees, their spouses and children. The company emphasizes promoting from within. In hiring, Nucor looks for people who want to move ahead in life.

To encourage them, everyone in the company gets variable compensation based on the firm’s profit performance n the Profit Sharing program. And production bonus incentives are paid weekly to constantly encourage the “pay for performance” culture of profit consciousness.

The vision behind this culture and structure was to be a growing company and to take advantage of commercializing new technology to leapfrog the competition.

If such opportunities can be found in the steel industry, why should your company and industry be any different in terms of providing profitable innovation? Work on your values and organizational structure, and who knows what you can accomplish.

Copyright 2008 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved

Website content

How We Create Meaning Together

Understanding how we create and enrich meaning …

can help us to determine and implement collaboration tools that help us generate valued outcomes, such as business products and services. Watch this video to learn how group design and understanding process is enhanced when three key parts of the brain are working in coordination: 1-the ‘ventral stream’ part of the brain uses images to clarify ideas, 2-the ‘dorsal stream’ area creates the ability to navigate through interaction with images to create engagement, 3-the ‘limbic system’ augments memory with persistent, evolving views to generate our emotional feelings about a subject. The talk also points to technology as being a collaboration and meaning enhancer. Thus, I believe technologies such as such as online collaboration tools will continue to improve the group meaning process, and thereby directly impact the strategic outcomes of any business.


About this TED video/talk

Information designer Tom Wujec talks through three areas of the brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, connections. In this short talk from TEDU, he asks: How can we best engage our brains to help us better understand big ideas?

About Tom Wujec

Tom Wujec studies how we share and absorb information. He’s an innovative practitioner of business visualization — using design and technology to help groups solve problems and understand…

Is Sustainable Commerce an Oxymoron?

cygx1_spectrum_115Being sustainable has everything to do with being innovative. In fact, it is beginning to generate the next generation of creative products and services on (and for) this planet. Yet, with all of our amazing efforts, something seems to be drastically missing. There’s a BIG BLACK HOLE that the subject of sustainable commerce seems to be orbiting.

Any comments? Add them here ->http://EntrepreneursForABetterWorld.ning.com

Reconsidering the Meaning of "New" Technology

A critical piece to technological success in an emerging era of the green (or sustainable) design marketplace is to, not just create cool, cutting edge technologies, but to also define design itself differently so that technology’s underlying processes comply with the new principles of triple bottom line (sustainability) management. That is, we must redesign our underlying methods for designing technologies. To do this, we will have to take a much bigger look at how we define – not just the end-result, but also reconsider the actual design processes themselves by asking questions such as: ‘why’ are we designing a given technology in the first place?, ‘how’ does this technology need to be created with alternative design principles in mind (see Bucky Fuller’s Design Science as an example)?, ‘what’ will be different about the form and function of the end-product?, ‘who’ does the technology affect?, and what is its (w)holistic impact on the greater earth ecology of living systems?

I’d love to hear from you all what you and your teams are doing to make this shift in technology design thinking.

Vic Desotelle

Living Strategies: Bringing Innovation To Life

Guiding Your Organization Through The Rugged Landscape Ahead

By Arian Ward of Community Frontiers

As we all know well, the world has changed dramatically since the times when traditional strategic planning first became the foundation on which organizations of all types are based. The landscape on which organizations operated then was relatively predictable, stable, and homogenous. Now it is filled with uncertainty, rapid change, and increasingly diverse players and dynamics. These players not only think and act differently than they used to; they keep changing their minds about what they want and expect from the world around them.

Yet given this dizzying environment in which organizations find themselves, why do so many keep doing strategic planning as if it were still 1960? And even if they have an inspired vision of who they want to be based on their changing environment, how do they create the bridge between their aspirations and the day-to-day operations that members actually experience as the organization?

What organizations need is strategy and a process for creating it that flexes, adapts, and evolves to still make sense in this complex environment, while keeping the organization seamlessly aligned with these strategic dynamics. In other words, they need a “living strategy!”
In a nutshell, living strategy is:

* the dynamic story of the shared aspirations, strategic direction, and strategic outcomes of the organization and the community it supports,
* emerging and continuously evolving
* from the collective knowledge of the community and
* from an expanding network of ongoing strategic conversations among all members of the community around the questions that matter most to them,
* all seamlessly interwoven into the “fabric” of the current organization through a continuous process of reflection and renewal.
One of the fundamental concepts of living strategy—both in terms of its content and of the evolving process itself is that in a dynamic, complex environment like what organizations face today, the future can’t be “planned.” Instead, we want the strategy process to come alive through discovering and exploring questions that really matter—through collaborative dialogue, thinking together, and sharing stories among all stakeholders, not just among a select group of leaders and experts.

Living Strategy recognizes that organizations and their environment are much more like living organisms within a complex ecological system than they are like mechanisms within a human-designed and controlled system. After all, they are made up of people within a world of many other people. What could be more natural, more unpredictable, and more “alive” than people with all our frailties, moods, and dreams? Therefore, Living Strategy, as we practice it, is based on the sciences and tools related to living systems, particularly those that can be applied to organizations as living systems. These include complexity science, life science, social science, community development, dialogue, storytelling, and organic approaches to knowledge and learning.

To help further clarify what we mean by Living Strategy, the following tables offer some distinctions between traditional strategic planning and Living Strategy and between traditional enterprise management and a living systems approach to enterprise management we call a “sense and respond system.” Finally, we leave you with a few tips on how any organization can begin to develop a Living Strategy approach to the future.

Table 1: Living Strategy Compared to Traditional Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning Living Strategy

Assumes you can predict the future and develop successful plans based on those predictions Consists of strategic thinking, questions, dialogue, and stories; assumes you can’t predict the future, but you can collectively prepare for what might emerge and therefore, successfully respond to it.

”The only kind of strategy that makes sense in the face of unpredictable change is a strategy to become adaptive…. Planned responses do not work.”

Rigidly scheduled and time-bound; e.g., every 1-2 years, looking out 3-5 years into the future.

Assumes that strategy needs to be newly developed, deployed, and implemented each time you do strategic planning.

“Strategy as Inquiry” – ongoing and dynamic, designed to change whenever change is indicated.

Produces more stable strategic direction (unless the environment changes drastically), because it only changes when it needs to, not when the calendar says it’s time to generate a new plan.

Planning is done by a select group of leaders and “experts” within a rigid, hierarchical organization that uses strategy as a political tool to maintain the status quo or jockey for more power, prestige, and resources. After a few face-to-face group interactions, a small number of individuals develop the “final” strategic plan. This select group uses a linear planning process, producing a static text document that is meant to serve as the complete expression of the organization’s strategic direction.

Living Strategy continuously emerges out of ongoing, interwoven:
• individual reflection and work
• group face-to-face and virtual interactions and collaborations
• dialogue across the whole community of organizational stakeholders

It “lives” as compelling stories, images, questions, and expressions of the community’s aspirations, priorities, and inquiries into the future. It acknowledges that the organization and its environment form an interconnected system, where strategy serves to focus and align the interactions of the whole system toward a future collectively envisioned and evolved by those stakeholders.

Textual expressions of the strategy are considered to be “snapshots” of the organization’s strategy at a given point in time. Graphics, such as those produced by a graphic recorder , illustrate and bring to life the textual expressions of strategy.

Like an all-knowing, all-powerful patriarch of old, the organization assumes responsibility for the future of its members and other stakeholders. Yet much of the organization’s strategy for dealing with the future is its planned response to external forces which it doesn’t really understand and over which it has little control. Our society’s revered values of democracy and free speech get lip service, at best, even in many organizations who call themselves “member organizations.” “The law of requisite variety” – If a system is to be able to adapt to its external environment, it must incorporate as much or more variety than its environment.

Living Strategy emerges from and supports the organization’s community. This community includes anyone who may have a stake in the outcome of the enterprise, even if they don’t yet know they may have a stake (such as potential new members or markets).

The diversity, intelligence, and passion of the entire community is tapped to creatively seize or make opportunities to co-create its own future, rather than waiting to let it happen to them.

Strategic planning is mainly an academic exercise with little relevance to the daily work of the enterprise, as people must refer to a “cheat-sheet,” wall chart, or web page to even remember this year’s plan. Everyone in the organization lives strategy as a natural part of their work and relationship with the organization. Each person has a deep understanding of Living Strategy, in their own words but with the same shared meaning. They keep “one foot in the present and one foot in the future.”
Table 2: Traditional approach to enterprise management compared to a living systems-based approach – what we call a “sense and respond system’, since that is how living organisms survive and thrive within their environment, by sensing the environment and responding appropriately to what they sense.

Traditional Approach to Enterprise Management
Plan, control, change

The complement to a “strategic planning mindset” is that if you plan everything well enough you can then control everything and everyone in the organization according to the plan.

Mechanistic approach which relies on traditional management processes and information systems to find out what people need to know about the environment, make centralized decisions about what they should do with this business intelligence, and then inform and manage them to implement these decisions. Traditional research methods are used for intelligence gathering and environmental scanning.

Measurements give us the ability to plan and control. If something is within our acceptable measurement range, it’s working fine; if not, we either have to make people improve their performance or we need to change the plan.

Sense & Respond System
Understand, influence, evolve

The organization is an organic, “whole system” of interconnected, interdependent individuals, informal groups, and formal organizations, who can’t be predicted and controlled, but they can be understood to a sufficient extent to influence their behavior. By understanding their mindsets, needs, and behaviors, we can try to design a whole system based on our understanding that is flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate the changes and uncertainties inherent in living systems, and then continuously evolve the design based on our observations of the system in action.
The nervous system of the organization is an interconnected, knowledge and trust-based, communication system, consisting of:
• Sensing – supplements traditional information gathering by tapping into the collective intelligence of all stakeholders within the system – their existing knowledge + their real-time awareness of significant events, ideas, trends, and needs in the environment. The intelligence they provide is far richer than traditional research surveys and other intelligence gathering methods, since it doesn’t have a built-in time delay or filter, plus they can provide the context around the data such as the stories and thought processes behind their answers – what turns the data into meaningful information.
• Sensemaking – A “triage process” that enables the enterprise to determine the best course of action to take for a given sensory input. Not another mechanistic gatekeeper that impedes rapid decision making and response, but an organic process, driven by a set of simple rules and roles, that builds the intelligence into the whole system that enables this decision making – what turns the information into useful knowledge and surfaces the rich underlying patterns and themes that are not evident when looking at independent data streams.
• Response – The organizational capability to quickly respond to sensory inputs that warrant an organizational response, at the point in the organization where the response will be most effective. This means this part of the organization must already have access to the knowledge and the necessary authority and responsibility to respond appropriately – what turns the knowledge into effective action. This is the essence of the agile organization and the intelligent organization.

Like with Living Strategy, ongoing dialogue forms the heart of this “living system.” This is because rich, meaningful dialogue tends to create trust-based relationships and shared knowledge – two of the most critical factors in the success of any organization. Uninformed dialogue rarely produces much value for anyone, so the dialogue needs to be linked to the enterprise’s information and measurement systems and to decision-making elements of the sense-and-respond system. Measurement is about informing this dialogue to make it more meaningful and resultant decisions more effective, not about making sure everyone “makes their numbers.” Measurement also helps us understand the system better so we can continue to evolve its design and improve the likelihood of getting what we want from our actions by clarifying what in the system drives what outcomes.

The sense-and-respond system uses systems thinking and other whole-systems tools to help understand and guide the enterprise. But systems tools can be applied just as mechanically as any other tool. For that reason, any use of a tool should be accompanied by meaningful dialogue both before it’s used, to provide the context for what we’d like to learn from using the tool, and after it’s used, to gain deeper, shared insights around the questions that prompted its use. This cycling between dialogue and focused, tool-supported action is characteristic of an effective sense-and-respond system.
How Can You Apply These Concepts To Your Organization?

1. Living Strategy/Sense & Respond are about following these principles, not about following a specific recipe or methodology. You can customize your approach to fit your needs and culture any way you wish, as long as you follow these principles. You only need to do just enough to gain a shared understanding of what the future holds and what kind of future you want for your organization and the communities, subject areas, products, and services it supports, as well as a reasonable approximation of how best to navigate the organization toward that desired future (assuming you can make mid-course corrections as you learn more about what you’re facing).

2. Get your senior leadership – paid and volunteer, thinking and talking strategically – in deep, meaningful dialogue , not in shallow discussions or political debates. Focus on the real meaning of the content, not on the format or process. Take the wordsmithing offline. World Cafés are an excellent way to help you do this because they are based on many of the same living systems principles we are relating here.

3. Invite diversity and inclusion, but be prepared for what might emerge when you do. The best way to do this is get out and engage your key stakeholders. Focus on listening to them, not telling them. Then harvest the wisdom that emerges, such as the most important questions, issues, and opportunities for the organization to be paying attention to. Again, World Cafés are an excellent means of engaging your stakeholders around these questions that really matter to them.

4. Focus the time and attention of your senior leadership and other key staff on these important strategic questions. You don’t have to wait to meet face-to-face to do this. You can continue your strategic dialogue between leadership meetings with email, conference calls, and online document libraries, discussion boards, and other virtual interaction tools.

5. Balance stability with flexibility. Abandon the calendar as the driver of your strategy. Instead, let significant events and information become the triggers of your strategic dialogue and changes in direction. You don’t have to change your strategy every time you review it, but you also need to be flexible enough to change it when your environment indicates its time to do so.

6. Think and work with your enterprise as a whole system. ”The elements of a living system can be understood only in relationship to the dynamics of the whole.” There are many systems tools to help you do this , but which tool you use isn’t what’s important. It’s that you are somehow able to create and engage around a shared understanding of the whole enterprise, especially how its different elements relate to each other and their environment. You don’t have to do this all at once or even get it perfect, since there is no such thing as “perfect” in a living system. You can start with small, simple steps like drawing and talking about how different elements of the enterprise relate to each other, and then evolve this whole systems view gradually through a series of similar dialogues with other stakeholders.

7. Evolve an organizational culture that supports this new way of thinking and behaving. Introducing dialogue as one of your primary means of communication (as mentioned above) is a good start in this direction. To help develop a living systems mindset, begin to introduce a living systems-based language to replace the mechanistic language organizations have been using since the industrial revolution. Examples of more organic terms that can be substituted for some of the more widely used mechanistic terms:

Use Instead of Use Instead of
Elements, aspects Components, parts Sensing Information gathering
System, cycle Process Sensemaking Information processing, analysis
Principles & Guidelines Policies & Procedures People, Communities Human resources, Constituencies
Direction setting Planning Leading, coaching Managing
Guiding, navigating Measuring, controlling Cultural evolution Change management

8. Accept the reality that we can’t predict the future nor can we plan and control the enterprise according to our predictions using simple linear processes and hierarchical structures. In the non-linear, dynamic system or environment in which we all exist, we can only anticipate what is most likely to happen through continuous feedback, inquiry, and learning, and thus be prepared to respond collaboratively, quickly and intelligently to whatever emerges from the system. This is often more of a personal evolution than an organizational one, since we all have an inherent desire to control the environment around us. Giving up this illusion of control and embracing the unlimited possibilities of the unknown can be very freeing, as we come to feel more comfortable with the increasing levels of uncertainty around us. Even better, it can give us more control over this uncertainty, since we now have the power to serendipitously recognize and act on opportunities that we might have ignored previously since they didn’t fit our “plans.” We can co-create our own future, rather than letting it happen to us.

Note: These are excerpts from a series of articles on Living Strategy published in the Journal of Association Leadership, the flagship journal of the association industry. If you would like the complete text of these articles, please contact Arian Ward – arianatcommunityfrontiersdotcom.

Who Says It Ain’t Easy Being Green ?! (Sustainable Business Planning Workshop)

How to Create a ‘Sustainable’ Business Plan


.Join Vic Desotelle from DiscoveryFuel.com for an ONLINE collaborative sustainable business planning workshop series.

This session will allow you to preview and inquire about the series, which is for small business social entrepreneurs who have dreamed of owning a sustainable business. Learn how to make a viable business plan that moves your green idea from conception to successful execution. Create a sustainable future for yourself, customers, and community through this sustainable innovation learning series. Click here for more details


Sustainability Reporting and the Creative Process

Which of you are familiar with the concepts of creativity, innovation, and sustainability?

I seek direction from you on how to incorporate ‘deep creative’ processes within Discovery Fuel’s emerging ‘sustainability reportingCoLaboratories.

The sustainability reporting phenomena is a rapidly growing trend within organizations world-wide and covers all sectors including business, NGO’s, communities/cities, education, and government. These reports help to clarify and monitor how well companies are improving their ecological, social, AND economic objectives (otherwise known as the triple bottom line); things such as material and energy usage efficiencies, as well as employment and customer satisfaction. These reports are also becoming powerful marketing tools for addressing the rapidly growing ‘cultural creatives‘ marketplace by providing authentic and transparent responses for the consumers who are asking for more value and ‘greenness’ in their purchases.

Presently, these reports are inspiring – yes, but they are usually organized using self-determined indicators development, which help to monitor company direction. This is wonderful and important, yet the reports can be rather dry in terms of their creation, implementation, and delivery. Staff may step into their reporting process feeling overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities that are generated to deliver a good report; thus adding more weight to their already daunting work load.

That said, these reports can enable so much more. They actually become touch stones for organizational and global transformation. They are a place where organizations can get swept into new realms of design and innovation; a way to expand their understandings of how to architect richer forms of innovation.

Additionally, outcomes from entering the sustainability process are: improved human(e) communication, enhanced product design and development processes, and a renewed awareness of the company’s impact on our Planet

Furthermore, the collaborative process that is necessary for creating these reports opens the door for deeper forms of creativity, thereby helping organizations realize unexpected forms of social and technical innovation, while also building a high sense of meaning among stakeholders and participants.

Discovery Fuel Colabs provides delivery on this vision. Presently, I am in need of more tools that generate brain-shifting, playful, and creative processes for making the reporting process more engaging and satisfying, so that organizations can ‘sustain’ the process of annual reporting. I seek tools that can accommodate specific organizational needs, covering everything from designing amazing new forms of products and services (technical innovation) to changing the way companies greet each other and customers at their doorstep (social innovation).

Got ideas? Post them or email me.
Vic Desotelle

Innovation and the Great Global Warming Debate

This is a great article. I like the authors that counter an anticipated perspective based on their status; in his case, as a scientist. I agree with Botkin’s perspective here. Note that the author’s points do not counter any of my other social-intellectual points made earlier.

I too have as much concern for the exaggeration of our isolated focus as I do for my sense that humanity is a major instigator in the break-down of the earth’s eco-system. It reminds me of how humanity clings onto particular points rather than to perceive an ‘ecology’ of relationships. We then make decisions based on a mono-nucleic or single-pointed view, while somehow (unconsciously?) assuming that our choice has integrated all the problems within one neat little package. We are a society that reacts to the immediacy of singled-out emergencies that trigger a fear of our own death, rather than to be responsive to the very real intuitive callings within us, of which by the way actually emphasizes life rather than death. In the global warming case, humanity’s inner ‘call’ is signaling us to change the way we interact with the planet’s resources and life systems. Yet that calling has gotten pulled into an outdated learning methodology that encourages the selection of a certain part within the greater whole so that we can adjust it in order to ‘fix’ the whole, all while dropping the other parts in the process. Ironically, a relatively recent advancement of science through complexity theory; more specifically: the butterfly effect, suggests that we must take into effect sources of small changes too, as they are just as important as the big sources of system change. Thus, it’s the ecology of our science that seems to be lost or forgotten (or maybe still emerging?) right now. In part, I believe this is due to our (also outdated) economic model, which reinforces big payouts of fame and money going to those who come up with the best (so-called) right answer. This is a flaw in today’s human(e) management model and directly impacts scientific progress, even if science theory suggests otherwise. That is, the original science model is based in the separation of matter in order to see how it got put together and works. Although this process is important, I believe that it is valuable only when balanced with other scientific procedures that incorporate (w)holistic applications which seek to understand how a system works as a whole without separating it into parts.

All that said, can the global warming movement trigger an ecology of understanding that is sorely missing? In the name of generating deeper forms of innovation (rather than shallow), this is both my hope and my concern.

On 10/17/07 10:09 AM, From Dan J. who wrote:

Another point amongst the discourse on global climate change that leads me to ponder the (science+belief=action) model. So is Botkin one of the naysayer conspirators, of the believers but a concerned observer, or just misguided? What should we believe about the truth from this? He’s reputable enough to get into the WSJ, but then that paper has a pro-business bias.

So having read this, what do you make of his factual points? What will you do with it within your social-intellectual construct of climate change?


Global Warming Delusions

10/17/2007 The Wall Street Journal
By Daniel B. Botkin

Mr. Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is the author of ”Discordant Harmonies: A New Ecology for the Twenty-First Century” (Replica Books, 2001).

Global warming doesn’t matter except to the extent that it will affect life — ours and that of all living things on Earth. And contrary to the latest news, the evidence that global warming will have serious effects on life is thin. Most evidence suggests the contrary.

Case in point: This year’s United Nations report on climate change and other documents say that 20%-30% of plant and animal species will be threatened with extinction in this century due to global warming — a truly terrifying thought. Yet, during the past 2.5 million years, a period that scientists now know experienced climatic changes as rapid and as warm as modern climatological models suggest will happen to us, almost none of the millions of species on Earth went extinct. The exceptions were about 20 species of large mammals (the famous megafauna of the last ice age — saber-tooth tigers, hairy mammoths and the like), which went extinct about 10,000 to 5,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, and many dominant trees and shrubs of northwestern Europe. But elsewhere, including North America, few plant species went extinct, and few mammals.

We’re also warned that tropical diseases are going to spread, and that we can expect malaria and encephalitis epidemics. But scientific papers by Prof. Sarah Randolph of Oxford University show that temperature changes do not correlate well with changes in the distribution or frequency of these diseases; warming has not broadened their distribution and is highly unlikely to do so in the future, global warming or not.

The key point here is that living things respond to many factors in addition to temperature and rainfall. In most cases, however, climate-modeling-based forecasts look primarily at temperature alone, or temperature and precipitation only. You might ask, ”Isn’t this enough to forecast changes in the distribution of species?” Ask a mockingbird. The New York Times recently published an answer to a query about why mockingbirds were becoming common in Manhattan. The expert answer was: food — an exotic plant species that mockingbirds like to eat had spread to New York City. It was this, not temperature or rainfall, the expert said, that caused the change in mockingbird geography.

You might think I must be one of those know-nothing naysayers who believes global warming is a liberal plot. On the contrary, I am a biologist and ecologist who has worked on global warming, and been concerned about its effects, since 1968. I’ve developed the computer model of forest growth that has been used widely to forecast possible effects of global warming on life — I’ve used the model for that purpose myself, and to forecast likely effects on specific endangered species.

I’m not a naysayer. I’m a scientist who believes in the scientific method and in what facts tell us. I have worked for 40 years to try to improve our environment and improve human life as well. I believe we can do this only from a basis in reality, and that is not what I see happening now. Instead, like fashions that took hold in the past and are eloquently analyzed in the classic 19th century book ”Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,” the popular imagination today appears to have been captured by beliefs that have little scientific basis.
Some colleagues who share some of my doubts argue that the only way to get our society to change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe, and that therefore it is all right and even necessary for scientists to exaggerate. They tell me that my belief in open and honest assessment is naive. ”Wolves deceive their prey, don’t they?” one said to me recently. Therefore, biologically, he said, we are justified in exaggerating to get society to change.
The climate modelers who developed the computer programs that are being used to forecast climate change used to readily admit that the models were crude and not very realistic, but were the best that could be done with available computers and programming methods. They said our options were to either believe those crude models or believe the opinions of experienced, data-focused scientists. Having done a great deal of computer modeling myself, I appreciated their acknowledgment of the limits of their methods. But I hear no such statements today. Oddly, the forecasts of computer models have become our new reality, while facts such as the few extinctions of the past 2.5 million years are pushed aside, as if they were not our reality.

A recent article in the well-respected journal American Scientist explained why the glacier on Mt. Kilimanjaro could not be melting from global warming. Simply from an intellectual point of view it was fascinating — especially the author’s Sherlock Holmes approach to figuring out what was causing the glacier to melt. That it couldn’t be global warming directly (i.e., the result of air around the glacier warming) was made clear by the fact that the air temperature at the altitude of the glacier is below freezing. This means that only direct radiant heat from sunlight could be warming and melting the glacier. The author also studied the shape of the glacier and deduced that its melting pattern was consistent with radiant heat but not air temperature. Although acknowledged by many scientists, the paper is scorned by the true believers in global warming. (DKJ: I would think snow deposition and cloud cover would be variables that link to climate – may be in the article but not mentioned here)

We are told that the melting of the arctic ice will be a disaster. But during the famous medieval warming period — A.D. 750 to 1230 or so — the Vikings found the warmer northern climate to their advantage. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie addressed this in his book ”Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A History of Climate Since the Year 1000,” perhaps the greatest book about climate change before the onset of modern concerns with global warming. He wrote that Erik the Red ”took advantage of a sea relatively free of ice to sail due west from Iceland to reach Greenland. . . . Two and a half centuries later, at the height of the climatic and demographic fortunes of the northern settlers, a bishopric of Greenland was founded at Gardar in 1126.”

Ladurie pointed out that ”it is reasonable to think of the Vikings as unconsciously taking advantage of this [referring to the warming of the Middle Ages] to colonize the most northern and inclement of their conquests, Iceland and Greenland.” Good thing that Erik the Red didn’t have Al Gore or his climatologists as his advisers. (DKJ: Author’s personal dig at Gore?)
Should we therefore dismiss global warming? Of course not. But we should make a realistic assessment, as rationally as possible, about its cultural, economic and environmental effects. As Erik the Red might have told you, not everything due to a climatic warming is bad, nor is everything that is bad due to a climatic warming.

We should approach the problem the way we decide whether to buy insurance and take precautions against other catastrophes — wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes. And as I have written elsewhere, many of the actions we would take to reduce greenhouse-gas production and mitigate global-warming effects are beneficial anyway, most particularly a movement away from fossil fuels to alternative solar and wind energy.

My concern is that we may be moving away from an irrational lack of concern about climate change to an equally irrational panic about it.

Many of my colleagues ask, ”What’s the problem? Hasn’t it been a good thing to raise public concern?” The problem is that in this panic we are going to spend our money unwisely, we will take actions that are counterproductive, and we will fail to do many of those things that will benefit the environment and ourselves.

For example, right now the clearest threat to many species is habitat destruction. Take the orangutans, for instance, one of those charismatic species that people are often fascinated by and concerned about. They are endangered because of deforestation. In our fear of global warming, it would be sad if we fail to find funds to purchase those forests before they are destroyed, and thus let this species go extinct.

At the heart of the matter is how much faith we decide to put in science — even how much faith scientists put in science. Our times have benefited from clear-thinking, science-based rationality. I hope this prevails as we try to deal with our changing climate.

Triple Bottom Line Investing: A New Framework for Innovation

I have long awaited the day when business and technology would begin to use principles of sustainability as the foundation for how we create and pay for our products and services. Well, the future has arrived with the concept of “” and socially responsible investing, which holds a whole new framework for innovation to emerge.

If you like to watch your money AND the planet grow green take a look below. Thank you Cliff for all of your years of persevering with GreenMoney Journal. You have helped make a once future idea (green investing) become a growing present day activity.


In GreenMoney Journal’s special 15th Anniversary issue (Summer 2007) they are looking ahead at the next fifteen years through the eyes of several visionary leaders who have shaped today’s green investing and business world.

GreenMoney forecasts offer a greener future, to be sure. Be prepared to see a “green print” for a more sustainable world in which both challenge and opportunity abound. If fact, the next 15 years will be more critical then the last as we shift our attention from global war to global warming.

How will we evolve? Petroleum wars will end as people more fully realize the human and environmental costs associated with the finite commodity. The evolution will continue as the clean green energy revolution builds momentum. Issues of political justices and socio-economic justice will become even more closely tied. Higher environmental standards, clear market incentives and the laws of supply and demand will drive the culture of sustainable innovation.

Patriotism will be demonstrated not by SUV bumper stickers, but by responsible ecological behavior. As New York Times columnist Tom Friedman says, “Green is the new Red, White, and Blue.”

But this rapidly approaching future for our country is also global. Internationally, corporate accountability will include Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors as corporate management come to the inescapable conclusion that any financial analysis that excludes these factors cannot safely predict a company’s long-term profitability. According to several of our writers, the next 15 years will see the full integration of ESG into financial analysis and corporate decisions to reflect a triple bottom line.

As more individuals understand that their shopping and investing choices have impacts, they will want to make those impacts positive and sustainable. How will that happen? GreenMoney will continue to provide the answers.

In the special Summer issue: Amy Domini of Domini Social Investments shows us how the “culture of capitalism” will be fundamentally transformed; Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farm outlines a dynamic future from food to technology, examining the challenges and opportunities of climate change; our favorite futurist Hazel Henderson spells out future global trends and counter trends; Spencer Beebe of Ecotrust keeps it green with an environmental discussion on advantages of Bioregions; and Joe Keefe of Pax World Funds shows us the road from Socially Responsible Investing to ESG and sustainable investing.

And if you want to get the 32-page print version (with exclusive features like the socially responsible mutual fund performance chart) of the special 15th Anniversary Summer ‘Visionaries’ issue for the Special Anniversary Rate of just $15 ( discounted from $50 ), go to the GreenMoney Journal via our website at- www.greenmoney.com . See details below.

You can also find an extensive set of ‘exclusively online’ articles on our web site by sustainability leaders, including Joan Bavaria of Trillium Asset Mgmt, Barbara Krumsiek of Calvert, Woody Tasch of Investors Circle, Allan Savory of Holistic Mgmt. Intl., Jean Pogge of ShoreBank, author and vegetarian chef Deborah Madison, as well as Tessa Tennant and many others.

Online at- www.Greenmoney.com
US – $15 a year, Canada – $20 a year, International – $25 a year
Cliff Feigenbaum, Founder and Managing Editor,
GreenMoney Journal and greenmoney.com
Co-author, “Investing with Your Values” with Hal Brill and Jack Brill
Subscriptions – (800) 849-8751
Email – cliffgmj@gmail.com

Policy Innovations: When Principles Pay

I found this at http://www.policyinnovations.org. It discusses the idea of when principles can be profitable in the world market. I like to think of ‘profit’ as much more expanded and profound than how we use the word in our society today. This video is worth a look. Tell me what comes up for you.

When Principles Pay

When Principles Pay
When Principles Pay

Vic on Sustainable Innovation

I have long awaited the day when business and technology begin to use principles of sustainability as the foundation for creating and using products and services. Well, the future has arrived and I’m all over it.

Under concepts like ‘triple bottom line’ and ‘social responsibility’ the idea of innovation is showing up in new ways. Thus, I will be spending ample time discussing these kinds of concepts and looking at how their use in day-to-day development within your company will dramatically improve not only your production but also your companies attractiveness to potential clients and investors.

All of us carry underlying beliefs that drive the creative process, and today’s view of innovation carries many assumptions. Unfortunately, these assumption lead to dangerous results because the correct “checks and balances” have not been implemented. Because of this, it is now essential that we use a broader perspective when creating and assessing various forms of innovation.

One idea is to blend three different concepts of innovation into one; Social innovation, organizational innovation, and technical innovation. Each of these carry their own individual ability to create cool stuff. Yet, when actively used together during an innovation process as a sort of “3-lens perspective” your outcomes are kept in check and actually pushes you beyond your present level. Furthermore, it will help you to make better decisions for your company and for the planet. Using this 3-lens perspective, you will be able to track and monitor improved efficiency of the solutions or outcome you create.

So stick with me on this one. Let’s dive in with both feet and talk about this thing called ‘sustainable innovation’. I want you to ask questions and address some of your greatest fears, concerns … and, yes, potential opportunities that you think can arise by jumping into this new form of innovative process. Are you in?

Vic on Keepin' it Green – the Color of "Sustainable Innovation"

As most of you who clicked into this space: green is no longer a do-good concept. No, in fact it has become a manditory part of defining any business, any organization, any city … really anything that we humans have the ability to think about and create will forever be different because of the green movement and its identity with how we manage our home  – that big round house we call Earth and all the living communities that inhabit it.

Green for me, goes beyond the idea of ‘environment’. In fact, I find that most talk about the environment often separates us two-leggers with big brains; as if we lived in the environment but were not apart of it. This is a wakeup call: We are “THAT”. And this means that how we address green has to address our interconnectedness with anything that we normally discuss as if its something outside of ourselves.

So, in this section of the blog, we will be having conversations about green as essential to the way we see ourselves. From that we create what we need and what we want. This is called innovation from my view. So as we move into what many believe is a critical period in determining the future of human-kind, we will talk about things that address green (or sustainability) as a catalyst for creating next-generation innovation. This is why we have set the primary theme of this blog as ‘sustainable innovation’. Join me on this journey. Give me some feedback.

Bottled Water – The Joke’s On Us (video)


The Story of Bottled Water, released on March 22, 2010 (World Water Day) employs the Story of Stuff style to tell the story of manufactured demand—how you get Americans to buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week when it already flows from the tap. Over five minutes, the film explores the bottled water industry’s attacks on tap water and its use of seductive, environmental-themed advertising to cover up the mountains of plastic waste it produces. The film concludes with a call to take back the tap, not only by making a personal commitment to avoid bottled water, but by supporting investments in clean, available tap water for all.



Aug 11th Webinar: Sustainable Innovation from the Amazon

Runa: Energy, Sustainability & Innovation from the Amazon

A forefront conservation enterprise, Runa is partnered with native agronomists in the Ecuadorian Amazon to achieve market-driven restoration. The venture will be the first to market read-to-drink Wuayusa tea, a traditional beverage similar to Yerba Mate, that enhances mental clarity and personal energy.

Tyler Gage, Runa CEO, will be holding a WebEx conference to discuss the sustainable model that has won Runa awards from Brown University and the State of Rhode Island.

Date: August 11, 2009
Time: 1:15 pm, Pacific Daylight Time (GMT -07:00, San Francisco)

Please follow these easy steps to join the WebEx meeting:

1) Please note the meeting password: amazanga

2) Click on the link below to join the meeting. ( If prompted for security warning, please select Yes)

3) Call the teleconference number below if host has selected the teleconference.
When prompted for meeting number enter: 613 050 667
Teleconference: Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 866-469-3239
Call-in toll number (US/Canada): 1-650-429-3300
Toll-free dialing restrictions: http://www.webex.com/pdf/tollfree_restrictions.pdf

If you need help joining this meeting, or would like to set up your computer prior to the meeting, click the following link

We look forward to your participation…

Andrew Mount
Development Officer
Runa LLC / Fundacion Runa
www.runa.org (site under construction)

Seemingly "green" state ballot propositions

The language of propositions can be quite manipulative. I often think I’m voting yes when no is what I wanted, and visa versa. Below is a trust-able source – the Union for Concerned Scientists (http://www.ucsusa.org), to help you choose well at the polls on Tuesday.

When you go to the polls this Tuesday, November 4, you will face a pair of seemingly “green” state ballot propositions.

As you may remember from our earlier e-mails, a closer look at both initiatives reveals fundamental flaws that make each initiative harmful, not helpful. Based on our thorough analysis of each proposition, the Union of Concerned Scientists urges you to vote:

NO on Proposition 7, which is loophole-ridden and so poorly drafted that it could actually hinder the development of new clean, renewable energy sources in California, like solar and wind power, and
NO on Proposition 10, which would throw nearly ten billion taxpayer dollars into a program promoting natural gas and other transportation fuels that could achieve little or no reductions in smog or global warming pollution.

On a more positive note, we encourage you to support a pair of helpful ballot propositions by voting:

YES on Proposition 1A, which is a bond measure to begin construction on a California high-speed train system. Once built, the train system is expected not only to ease growing automobile and plane traffic, but most importantly, to reduce emissions of global warming pollution and save energy overall.
YES on Proposition 2, which will ban some of the worst practices of polluting CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), and is an important step in promoting a modern approach to agriculture that is productive, humane, and more healthful.

Read more on all four ballot propositions below and don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 4. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you have a vote-by-mail ballot and haven’t already mailed it in, you can drop off your completed ballot at your polling location on election day. Thanks for your support.


Chris Carney
California Outreach Organizer
Union of Concerned Scientists


More Information about California’s Ballot Propositions

NO on Proposition 7
Shifting our country’s reliance from fossil fueled electricity to clean and renewable sources is one of the most effective ways to reduce global warming pollution. Combating global warming is the most significant challenge of our time. That is why it is so important to get the solutions right. Unfortunately, Proposition 7 gets it wrong, creates more uncertainty, and would likely set back our efforts to transition to a clean energy future.
Based on the experience of UCS experts on the design and implementation of renewable electricity standards in California and across the country, we are convinced that the serious flaws of Proposition 7—such as creating new compliance loopholes for utilities, setting counter-productive policies on energy pricing, and discouraging smaller-scale renewable projects-would prevent California from achieving our state’s clean energy goals. Worse still, if Prop 7 passes, fixing the initiative’s serious mistakes would require another new ballot measure or a two-thirds super-majority vote in the state legislature.
UCS strongly supports effective policies to increase renewable energy in California and is actively working towards increasing the state’s renewable standards in ways that will help, not hinder new renewable energy development in the state.
Read our detailed Prop 7 fact sheet online.
NO on Proposition 10
Because of its flaws and weaknesses, Proposition 10, would be a poor use of public bond funds at a time when the state is facing a multi-billion dollar budget crisis. Prop 10 would cost the state about $10 billion over 30 years to pay off both the principal ($5 billion) and interest ($5 billion). UCS is dedicated to finding and promoting cost-effective alternatives to petroleum fuels that will reduce the pollution that causes global warming, but Prop 10 is neither a smart nor a cost-effective solution. Three quarters of the $5 billion in bond funding in Prop 10 would be dedicated to incentives with flawed or inadequate environmental criteria. Prop 10’s rebates give natural gas an unfair advantage over other alternatives, while excluding or providing inadequate support for vehicle technologies that could provide much greater environmental benefits than natural gas in the long run, such as hybrid heavy duty trucks or plug-in hybrid electric passenger vehicles.
California has better and more cost-effective regulatory and legislative policy options available to reduce air pollution and global warming emissions from passenger and heavy duty vehicles. UCS urges Californians to reject Prop 10.
Read our detailed Prop 10 fact sheet online.
YES on Proposition 1A
This $9.95 billion bond measure will fund construction of a high-speed rail system in California which will eventually cost $40 billion when fully built out. The High Speed Rail Authority expects additional funds to come from federal and private sources. While we do acknowledge that the cost of the high speed rail is significant compared to other climate change solutions, UCS considers high speed electric trains crucial to solving our long term transportation problems and reducing the pollution that causes global warming. If ridership expectations are met, this high-speed train system would help reduce traffic demand along certain corridors, decrease the number of air flights, and help reduce harmful global warming pollution. Prop 1A has broad support among the environmental community. More information can be found here.
YES on Proposition 2
Many CAFOs (confined animal feed operations) use crates and cages to crowd too many animals into too small an area. Raising animals in these unnatural and unhealthy environments pollutes water and air, lowers property values in neighboring rural communities, and fosters excessive overuse of antibiotics leading to harder-to- treat human diseases. Passing California’s Prop 2 is one important step in promoting a modern approach to agriculture that is productive, humane, and more healthful.
Read our new issue briefing: “The Hidden Costs of CAFOs” (PDF file size of 1600 KB)


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