Circular Food

The traps of one-way business thinking

This is the third in a series of posts exploring the growing opportunities of strategic sustainability.  The first summarised 10 hidden opportunities and the second explored 4 levels of sustainability strategy.   Now we’re starting to work through those 10 opportunities hidden by 20th century thinking. Neurobiologists have confirmed in the last few years what philosophers have suspected for millenia – …

4 places to seek sustainability advantage

In an earlier post, I talked about the 10 key assumptions that blind many businesses to sustainability opportunity.  Once you understand them, it’s time to explore your business. There are also four key levels of business activities that you can use to explore for opportunities “hiding in plain sight”. Your product/process maintenance and improvement Your product/process upgrades Function improvements Systems …

Greenhouse Drawdown in the Yarra Ranges

“Think globally, act locally” I’ve been talking about sustainability for years now – and been pretty active online as a commentator.   Now it’s time to take the business opportunities to my local community in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges.

Talking Drawdown and optimism with Climactic.fm

I’m a writer by inclination, so getting behind the microphone on a regular basis is still on my to-do list. Fortunately, I hooked up with podcaster Mark Spencer from Climatic.fm a little while ago.  He’s demystified the process and featured me in a recent Cimactic podcast.

Which of these 10 assumptions are blinding you to opportunity?

This is the first in a series of posts exploring the growing opportunities of strategic sustainability.   We’ll dig into the 10 alternatives in depth over the next couple of months. Once upon a time, psychologists and scientists used to believe that we see everything in front of us, then decide what’s worth exploring in detail. More recently, neurobiologists have confirmed …

Water > Carrots > Water

“A watery by-product of fruit and vegetable processing, which used to end up in the sewerage system, is now being served at restaurants as premium drinking water.” Yes, this article is about bottled water – but it’s also about a fundamental shift in how entrepreneurs are thinking differently and turning “waste” back in to high-value resources.   You may not value …

What the bleep is biomimicry?

Biomimicry is a label for a design process that’s been developing over the past few decades – it’s a design process that happens where technology meets biology and physics. It challenges our traditional approaches of mechanical and chemical engineering with elegant new solutions. Biomimicry has been happening since Leonardo sketched designs based on nature, but it has been named and …

Sapiens, sustainability and the power of fiction

Yuval Noah Harari’s recent book “Sapiens” is a fascinating insight into human history and how humans use language. “…the truly unique feature of our language is … the ability to transmit information about things that do not exist at all. As far as we know, only Sapiens can talk about entire kinds of entities that they have never seen, touched …

How did a small girl and a Harvard professor turn a property developer into a stealth greenie?

Darren Pearson of Diversified Property Group started as a conventional property developer building project homes.  He’s become a “stealth player”, integrating products from leading edge innovators to deliver smarter, greener homes in Sydney, Australia. He credits his mid-course correction primarily to two people: A Harvard professor in his global business group His small daughter The Harvard professor challenged him to …

The prime entrepreneurial pattern

(Adapted from The Prime Innovation Pattern in The Innovator’s Way) The use of the nouns “entrepreneur” and “entrepreneurship” hide the reality that what we’re dealing with is a process that’s been intensively studied and defined over recent decades – particularly under the label “innovation”. Innovation is another process hiding inside a noun – and what is hidden is the process …

You know the world is changing when…

When leading brands start turning regenerative thinking into business innovation, you know there’s a fundamental mindset shift underway. Here are a few big brand indicators that particularly caught my eye: Adidas  collaborates with Sea Shepherd to make running shoes out of ocean plastics: http://www.fastcoexist.com/3048033/adidas-knit-these-sneakers-entirely-from-ocean-plastic-trash McDonalds hooks up with Rocky Mountain Institute to design a Net Zero Energy fast food outlet:  …

Macca’s is aiming for zero net energy!

You know the world is changing when the Golden Arches crowd hooks up with the Rocky Mountain Institute to design a net zero energy fast food outlet – largely achievable with today’s technology! In this case, Net Zero Energy means that a store must offset its energy consumption with on-site renewable energy generation on an annual basis.   It’s not a …

What hooked Naomi Klein into sustainability?

A good friend loaned me the book “This Changes Everything” by social activist Naomi Klein.  It’s a massive book and I’m still processing a lot of its content. One thing that I’m always on the lookout for in sustainability is to understand the triggers that enable people to engage with something so potentially overwhelming.  So the bit of the book …

Force fields for change-making

Changing human systems starts with understanding them and the glue that holds them together. Human systems are heavily geared towards maintaining themselves and they often actively resist change. They want to conserve themselves. (Equally true for individuals, families, communities, organisations and societies.) Human systems also have the potential to transform themselves when the need arises. Given a big enough breakdown …

Entrepreneuring and behaviour change

Being an entrepreneur is fundamentally about being in the business of behaviour change.   Behaviour change is a process – hence the word “entrepreneuring”. The real work is in convincing your target market to adopt the new behaviour implicit in your product or service. To sell smarter phones and tablets, Steve Jobs had to convince people to use them – …