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Unilever maintains sustainability leadership by wide margin: it's CEO describes the survey result as depressing

Unilever maintains sustainability leadership by wide margin: it's CEO describes the survey result as depressing | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
“Survey: Unilever maintains sustainability leadership amid change GreenBiz.com (blog) Taking a longer view, however, the report is notable in showing how thoroughly Unilever has captured the attention of sustainability professionals globally.”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
Unilever is recognized as the No. 1 corporate sustainability leader for the fourth year in a row, and its lead on the second-ranked company, Patagonia, is the largest ever seen. Unilever CEO Paul Polman himself was cited on Twitter as describing the company's dominant 2014 survey results "depressing" at a recent Guardian Sustainable Business event, poignantly highlighting his view that more companies need to step up.
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David Hain's curator insight, May 24, 2014 7:56 AM

We need more Unilevers!

Business as an Agent of World Benefit
Sustainable design; green economy; csr; sustainable development; Business as an Agent of World Benefit; Appreciative Inquiry; David Cooperrider; CSR
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My architectural philosophy? Bring the community into the process

My architectural philosophy? Bring the community into the process | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
When asked to build housing for 100 families in Chile ten years ago, Alejandro Aravena looked to an unusual inspiration: the wisdom of favelas and slums. Rather than building a large building with small units, he built flexible half-homes that each family could expand on. It was a complex problem, but with a simple solution — one that he arrived at by working with the families themselves. With a chalkboard and beautiful images of his designs, Aravena walks us through three projects where clever rethinking led to beautiful design with great benefit.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
If you were a designer where would you look for inspiration for socially and ecologically sustainable housing for our overgrown cities? Alejandro Aravena works inside paradoxes, seeing space and flexibility in public housing, clarity in economic scarcity, and the keys to rebuilding in the causes of natural disasters. Where others see disaster, he sees possibilities. Imagine modeling and using the best in slums to see new designs? It's been said that the real challenge in discovery is not finding new lands but seeing with new eyes. Apple used to say Think Different. Alejandro says See Different. How many of us would see good things--to actually inspire us--in a favela or slum community. What a perfect example of appreciative intelligence!
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AIM2Flourish's curator insight, February 2, 9:48 AM

Welcome to AIM2Flourish! We are a UN-supported global learning initiative where business students discover untold stories of businesses that are doing good *and* doing well. What makes AIM2Flourish special is a one-to-one positive interview between a business student and a business leader, that is based on Appreciative Inquiry.


Appreciative Inquiry has many definitions, but at its core, it’s based on the simple idea that organizations – and even individuals -- move in the direction of what we most frequently ask about.   In our lives, our organizations and even in our societies, we tend to focus on identifying all the problems we have.  Instead Appreciative Inquiry asks us to discover what is already working and build on it.  Whether in our personal lives with family and friends, to our teams at work, to our broader communities, Appreciative Inquiry is an invitation to uncover the BEST in ourselves and others, and to envision and live into the best images of the future.   And it works! Appreciative Inquiry is used by organizations of all sizes around the world to create and achieve extraordinary results.


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The Growing Business Case For Compassionate Leaders

The Growing Business Case For Compassionate Leaders | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Is compassionate leadership becoming a trend? Garner believes we’re seeing the birth of a new tier of compassionate leaders who value the welfare of their employees, customers and the communities they serve alongside their traditional metrics.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Jane Dutton and her colleagues at University of Michigan have gathered a tremendous data-base on compassion as a source of positive organizational performance...check out their workshop. Jane is not just a top scholar and pioneering thought leader, but an amazing exec ed teacher...

 

Leaders, managers, and change agents regularly face the challenge of demoralizing organizations and dehumanizing institutions that drive out engagement and undermine our community’s capabilities to innovate, serve each other well, or achieve excellence. This interactive and enlivening workshop will invite you to focus on the surprising power of compassion to renew the human capacity for innovation, service, and excellence in our organizations. We will help you see and adapt an evidence-based case for links between compassion and outcomes that matter for your organization, such as employee and client engagement, recruitment and retention, adaptability, and strategic advantages in service delivery and innovation. You will walk away with new ideas and new techniques for awakening compassion in your organization, group, or team, as well as with the answers to three key questions:

 

1. What is the evidence that compassion matters for organizations and human communities?

2. How do I unleash and magnify compassion in my organization?

3. How do we work with the obstacles to compassion that inevitably arise in any organization?

 

Professors Jane Dutton and Monica Worline of the Ross School of Business and the Center for Positive Organizations will share a summary of over 15 years of compassion research in a lively, interactive format that will engage you in sharing stories, trying out new techniques, and applying what we’ve learned about how compassion improves organizations to your specific area of interest.

 

Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Genel Frye at the Center for Positive Organizations at gfrye@umich.edu or at 734/764-0544.

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Companies with a purpose beyond profit tend to make more money: But why?

Companies with a purpose beyond profit tend to make more money: But why? | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
While 90 per cent of respondents in the new study said their company understood the importance of purpose, less than half thought it ran in a purpose-driven way. Why the discrepancy?
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

One of the paradoxes of business is that the most profitable companies are NOT those that are most profit-focused. But is it a paradox, really? 

 

In a survey titled “The Business Case for Purpose”, a team from Harvard Business Review Analytics and professional services firm EY’s Beacon institute declares “a new leading edge: those companies able to harness the power of purpose to drive performance and profitability enjoy a distinct competitive advantage”. This is a support for the book by Raj Sisodia et al on "Firms of Endearment" and it's also consistent with the findings of Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, who in 1994’s Built to Last found that between 1926 and 1990 a group of “visionary” companies — those guided by a purpose beyond making money — returned six times more to shareholders than explicitly profit-driven rivals. And Peter Drucker was clear about it a long time ago...profit is a measure that you are excelling at your purpose, it's not the goal.

 

Why are young people with amazing talent flocking to Tesla? It's the opportunity to advance something greater than the self, in this case to electrify the clean energy revolution and accelerate sustainable transport.  


This new survey defines purpose as “an aspirational reason for being which inspires and provides a call to action for an organisation and its partners and stakeholders and provides benefit to local and global society” — and others, like founder of Visa and former CEO Dee Hock define it like this: "a powerful purpose is something where at the end of my life I say to myself, My life had meaning, value and significance because I was a part of that enterprise."  How many companies aspire to this standard? 


The data says they should!

 

 

 
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Let Them Eat Bulk: The Rapid Success of France’s Cheap, Zero-Waste Food Chain

Let Them Eat Bulk: The Rapid Success of France’s Cheap, Zero-Waste Food Chain | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
VERSAILLES, France—Burlap bags line the storefront windows of Day by Day, a fast-growing chain of bulk stores that are popping up all over France. Decorative tin cans mingle with glass jars in all sorts of shapes and sizes on the shelves, loose bars of soap release a pleasant aroma—all reminiscent of the grocery store that I could have dreamed up trying to reproduce Oleson’s Mercantile as depicted in the Little House on the Prairie TV show.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Going packaging-free for food purchases by frequenting bulk foods sections in grocery stores is a high-impact way to shrink your waste: In the U.S., about 30 percent of total waste is food containers and packaging, such as cereal boxes, milk cartons, and potato chip bags. One of the fastest growing grocery chains in France--Day by Day--is showing the way. The chain now counts nine locations spread out through northern and western France and the Paris suburbs. It received 1,000 franchise requests in 2015. It plans to open 25 more stores by the end of 2016 and aims to have 100 locations by 2018.  


“They (our customers) want to consume more responsibly, pollute less, and limit waste. All these factors made us want to launch a store concept that would be close, sell quality products in just the right quantity and without packaging.” -

--Day by Day Co-owner Didier Onraita

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When Business Solves a Grand Challenge It Makes a Profit--Which Lets That Solution to Grow

When Business Solves a Grand Challenge It Makes a Profit--Which Lets That Solution to Grow | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Michael E. Porter wrote the books on modern competitive strategy for business. Now he is thinking deeply about the intersection between society and corporate interests
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

How do we let solutions grow? Is it more government aid? Is it relying on good intentions and good charity? Is some areas the answer is "yes" to both of those but in an estimated 90% of the cases--like creating a viral push toward 100% renewable energy; or eradicating extreme poverty; or creating millions of opportunities for dignified work that gives meaning and significance and self esteem--the answer is good business. 


Why do we turn to nonprofits, NGOs and governments to solve society's biggest problems? Michael Porter admits he's biased, as a business school professor, but he wants you to hear his case for letting business try to solve massive problems like climate change and access to water. Why? Because when business solves a problem, it makes a profit — which lets that solution grow. Scaling up excellence in the form of what Chris Laszlo calls sustainable value, is the sweet spot of business, and the scaling up excellence is the call of our times.  

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Approaching 100% Renewable Projects in 2016 with a Fresh Strategy

Approaching 100% Renewable Projects in 2016 with a Fresh Strategy | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Public opposition is not uncommon for renewable energy proposals, and in order to see projects through to approval, efforts must be taken to build public support. Too often, a silent but supportive majority exists in communities where a new project is proposed. By incentivizing the issue as “something to lose,” (i.e. tax revenue, jobs, clean energy production) residents will be more apt to speak out in support. There is no magic word to urge people to get involved in support, but through proper education and advocacy techniques, the kinds of defeated proposals of yester-year can have a shot in 2016.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

In 2015, the United States experienced its third city’s attempt to move to 100 percent renewables. Aspen, Colorado, now joins Burlington, Vermont, and Greensburg, Kansas, as the only cities to achieve 100 percent renewable energy generation in the nation. It's clear where the future is heading, yet it's not always easy. Stories abound of public opposition because a silent majority of passionate supporters are not engaged and called to collaborate, lead, and help make each change step as strong as it could be. In this age of collaboration the tools and methods are there and this article in Environmental Leaders shares a few insights on how to lift up the positive resources for change that exist in any community.  

Read more: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2016/01/04/approaching-renewable-projects-in-2016-with-a-fresh-strategy/#ixzz3xKe4mNMp


See also Cooperrider's "The Concentration Effect of Strengths" article available at the top of http://www.davidcooperrider.com/


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Capital Region's Tech Valley of New York is a Model for Ours--The Age of Collaboration

Capital Region's Tech Valley of New York is a Model for Ours--The Age of Collaboration | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
The Capital Region is known for its robust economy. It has been characterized as a technology hub, with a particular focus on biotech, life sciences and nanotechnology.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

It's exciting to me to see so much progress on the sustainability front and the way the Appreciative Inquiry large group planning method--in our age of collaboration-- can accelerate and sustain positive change. In a few minutes I will share the letter by Cheri Warren of National Grid and the vision of Mike Tucker, the President for Economic Growth for the Capital Region's of New York economic development planning and design process. But first a primer on the Appreciative Inquiry Design Summit.

 

It's so true. We are entering the collaborative age. Organizations, cities, economic regions, whole industries, and even world summits are searching for methods that bring people and institutions together across specializations, sectors, and silos in positive ways to discover common ground for action. Planning methods of the past are slow, cumbersome and falling short in our complex, multi-stakeholder environments.  But fortunately management innovations are making breakthroughs and 21st century approaches are coming of age—especially those that embrace whole systems engagement from a strengths-based and design thinking perspective.   

 

An Appreciative Inquiry Summit is a large group strategic planning, designing or implementation meeting that brings a whole system of 300 to 3,000 or more internal and external stakeholders together in a concentrated way to work on a task of strategic significance. Moreover, it is a powerful and task focused 2-3 day planning process where everyone is engaged as co-designers, across all relevant and resource-rich boundaries, to share leadership and take ownership for making the future of some big league opportunity successful. A United Nations CEO report, as mentioned earlier, recently called it “the best large group method in the world today.” [1]

 

The summit concept appears bold at first, but is based on a simple notion: when it comes to system-wide innovation and integration, there is nothing that brings out the best in human systems—faster, more consistently and more effectively—than the power of ‘the whole’.

 

Flowing from the tradition of strengths-based management (Cooperrider 2012), the “AI Summit” says that in a multi-stakeholder world it is not about (isolated) strengths per se, but about configurations, combinations and interfaces.  We live in a world where change is the new normal but today the question is not just how do we change for the better. The real question has shifted: its how do we change at the scale of the whole? “How do we move together as a whole 67,000-person telephone company; or a whole 1.5 million-person city; or a 250,000 children whole school system; or as a whole nation? Moreover, as we plan and design together how precisely do we do it in a ways that more quickly elevates the best in our system, and helps us move beyond dialogue to design, beyond good conversation to actual innovation, unified action, and more rapid results?”  

 

While at first it seems incomprehensible that large groups of hundreds of people in the room can be effective in unleashing system-wide strategies, making organizational decisions and designing rapid prototypes for collective action, this is exactly what is happening in organizations around the world. Appreciative Inquiry was introduced into the business world in 1987 by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva and soon thereafter University of Michigan’s Bob Quinn said in his book Change the World: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Extraordinary Results “Appreciative Inquiry is revolutionizing the field of organization development and change.”

 

AI provides the tools and methods for elevating system-wide strengths, for creating new combinations and concentration effects of strengths, and ultimately spreading and deploying those strengths in the service of a more positive and valued future.  Its based on a leadership principle proposed by the Peter Drucker many years ago: “The great task of leadership” said Drucker, “is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make a system’s weaknesses irrelevant.”  

 

That’s what the word appreciation means. It means valuing those things of value. It also means, “to increase in value.”  And that's how innovation happens, through the elevation, magnification and cross-multiplication of solutions and discovering together what works, what’s better, and what’s possible. Today AI’s approach to strengths-inspired, instead of problematizing change, is supplanting many of the traditional change management models in the business and society. Appreciative inquiry is being practiced everywhere: the corporate world, the world of public service, of economics, of education, of faith, of philanthropy—it is affecting them all.

 

How do you do it?  In actuality it is very simple—think of three phases—the pre-summit phase, the summit, and the post summit. Once a trusted and capable convener or convening alliance is assembled a steering/design team goes through a 1-2 day design session where everything big picture for the summit is designed—the stakeholder mix; the articulation of the summit task; plans for pre-summit momentum and research; and the agenda framework—then the summit workbook and design is homegrown. The summit itself is almost the easiest element in the whole process; in our experience the steering committee meeting the key moment. And from the completion or date of the steering committee meeting, the typical summit usually takes place in 3-6 months.

 

The AI Summit impacts are fast, efficient (bypassing hundreds of small group committee meetings) and ultimately powerful, productive, and inspiring. Leaders—for example the head of the United States Navy and the Secretary General of the United Nations, as well as big city Mayors and CEOs of some the largest corporations in the world—commonly are moved by how quickly the best and most positive in their systems comes out. They applaud the speed, the substantive deliberation, and acceleration that can happen. Following an AI Summit they often ask:  “What was all the fuss about?” And “how did we manage to get so many good people into this summit?” In other words, the AI Summit—especially when implemented with its six success factors (see attached journal articles)—consistently brings out the best in human systems. [2] 

 


[1] The Global Compact Leaders Summit Report (UN 2004) documents the impact of Appreciative Inquiry at the United Nations world summit between Kofi Annan and CEOs from 500 corporations including Hewlett-Packard, Starbucks, Tata, Royal Dutch Shell, Novartis, Microsoft, IBM, and Coca Cola. For the full report go to: http://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/news_events/8.1/summit_rep_fin.pdf. In the report CEO Rodrigo Loures concludes “Appreciative Inquiry is the best large group method in the world today.”

[2] Cooperrider, D. 2012. The Concentration Effect of Strengths, Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 42, No. 2, April-May 2012, p. 21-32.

 

Cooperrider, DL., and McQuaid, M. (2012) The Positive Arc of Systemic Strengths. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Vol. 46, Summer 2012.

 

So now to the Capital Region of New York story. What a success story! Here is what Cheri Warren of National Grid and the vision of Mike Tucker, the President for Economic Growth for the Capital Region's of New York economic development planning and design process said before their first large scale AI Summit in 2013: 

 

"On behalf of the Center for Economic Growth and National Grid, we would like to welcome you to the Regional Infrastructure Forum. This two day forum Tech Valley and Beyond: Growing Sustainable Infrastructure at the Speed of Life is being help on October 30th & 31st at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany and it will help all of us in the region achieve our hard infrastructure ambitions. 

 

This process is strongly complementary to the Regional Economic Development Council process and is similarly inclusive in convening a broad group of relevant stakeholders. It represents a promising strategy supporting a key goal of our region's Strategic Plan to "Build a Superhighway: Ensure that a 21st Century infrastructure exists so the Capital Region will become the first destination for business in New York State and be accessible to build, grow, and expand business.”  The Capital Region Economic Development Council and its Infrastructure sub-workgroup has identified the large group Appreciative Inquiry Summit process as a catalyst for the development and execution of a transformational infrastructure plan for our region.

 

By leveraging the strengths and assets of all stakeholders, the AI Summit is based on a simple notion: when it comes to system-wide innovation and integration, there is nothing that brings out the best in human systems—faster, more consistently and more effectively—than the power of “the whole.” A guiding principle will be: act regionally when planning for the future of Tech Valley, and honor locally by being inclusive of all stakeholders in the eleven county region.

 

 We invite you to participate fully in this collaboration. Our aim is clear: for our region to excel we must advance our collective future together, leverage the opportunities, investments, and vast potentials already at our door, and establish a process so the right infrastructure can be planned where it’s needed, at the right time and at the right cost.

 

Mike Tucker President, Center for Economic Growth &

Cheri Warren, CIO National Grid


Thanks Cheri and Mike. Your belief in inclusive planning environments is not only paying off but is a model of building collaboration, trust, and unleashing the innovation of the universe of strengths.  

 

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In the New Strengths Economy Collaboration Is the Real Competitive Advantage

In the New Strengths Economy Collaboration Is the Real Competitive Advantage | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
In the past, we could dominate by accumulating resources and driving efficiency, but now it is agility and interoperability that rule the day.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

In a recent paper with Lindsey Godwin, we spoke about the CSE...the "connected strengths economy" where appreciative intelligence--the ability to spot strengths and magnify or appreciate the value of strengths (via rapid relationships) is the macro task of management. Managers who once ruled the day through micro-management now must constantly be alert to strengths-connecting on the outside. And this takes a relational way of managing.  Today, success is not driven by the resources you control, but those you can access. As this article also elaborates, increasingly, rather than owning resources and capabilities outright, we use platforms to access ecosystems of technology, talent and information. The path to success no longer lies in clawing your way to the top of the heap, but in nudging your way to the center of the network.

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How to Make the SDGs Truly Sustainable: It Requires Entrepreneurs

How to Make the SDGs Truly Sustainable: It Requires Entrepreneurs | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), deadlined for completion in 2015, have given way to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched in September at the UN General Assembly and an array of other events including the SDG Business Forum, the Social Good Summit and the Clinton Global Initiative.

In evaluating the over 100 presentations at these events, I was struck by the following:

Few presentations gave any indication of serious learning from the wins — and losses — during 20 years of MDG work. A delineation of the models that work (i.e. more sustainable and scalable) is missing.
In the absence of learning frameworks, presenters reiterate the same problems, now expanded to 17 goals and 169 targets. The result is a plea for more resources to support the new SDGs without any evidence that those resources will be employed more effectively.
The core request at these events was for more than four trillion dollars per year to implement the SDGs over 15 years. This leads to two questions:

How can you call the goals replacing the MDGs sustainable if they lead with requests for resources that are not?
At the beginning of the SDG process, what should the world’s government, corporate and NGO leaders focus on now to make the new global goals actually sustainable?
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

How do we reach scale and actually create success in achieving the new sustainable development goals? Already there are requests for more than four trillion dollars to act on the goals. But where does this financing come from--or get generated? These questions are at the heart of ReachScale’s global search to find the most innovative and sustainable models for solving intractable challenges. They have advocated tirelessly for the need to identity models that 1) can be scaled and 2) are not reliant on non-profit funding (which is donation-dependent and driven by the dictates of donors.)

 

The best models reachscale has seen have social entrepreneurs at the helm who see the world differently. They frequently take the “against” position (as described in a ReachScale article, “Social Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation: Not the Same Thing”:

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Home | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
CHANGING LIVES BY BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE
Cross-functional experts throughout our communities are working together with our homeless clients to co-create new businesses that our clients can build and eventually own 100%.  Please consider joining our team.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

The better future facilitation team wants to leverage the B-corp to empower and elevate dignified work, and high purpose business to enable the homeless to escape the grips of poverty and invite them to build a better world  through business as an agent of world benefit. The teams says: "We believe that a portion of the homeless community will contribute more to society if they earn an opportunity to build and own a small business rather than find a "job" as an employee." For more: http://www.betterfuturefacilitators.org/


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Nations United as Capacity Our for Human Cooperation and Global Action Rises

Nations United as Capacity Our for Human Cooperation and Global Action Rises | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it

Many hope the deal will spur a tectonic shift in global economic development, pushing countries away from burning fossil fuels and toward a host of newer technologies, including solar panels, wind-power turbines, electric cars and more energy-efficient buildings.

“In the coming decades the world will have to say goodbye to coal, oil and gas,” said German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.

David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

PARIS—More than 190 nations have agreed on a plan to limit climate change, ending a decades long search for an accord requiring the world’s economies to regulate the emission of gases that scientists say are causing the earth to warm. 

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Solar or Coal? The Energy India Picks May Decide Earth’s Fate

Solar or Coal? The Energy India Picks May Decide Earth’s Fate | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
India will make a choice, but it will not be India's alone.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Coal or the sun? The power source India chooses may decide the fate of the entire planet and the nuanced choices in this powerfully written analysis demonstrate why we need to have sustainable systems get beyond the great trade-off illusion. The entrepreneurial innovation requires the best in business. Most of this article traces the depth of the excruciating choices, but it also highlights pioneers ready to blaze new paths.  Even if India floods the sky with coal smoke, 300 million Indians without power still might not get connected—the worst of all possible worlds.

 

Enter Harish Hande.

 

Born in 1967 and raised in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, he won a scholarship and obtained an engineering PhD at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. His dissertation focused on rural electrification.

 

When Hande returned to India, he went to the southern city of Bangalore, where he bought a solar home-lighting system with the last $300 from his scholarship. He sold it, installing the system himself. The transaction earned Hande enough to purchase a second system, which he sold, and then a third. He found a US partner who helped him obtain additional funding. In 1995 the two men incorporated a for-profit business, the Solar Electric Light Company—Selco. As Hande slowly built up his customer base, he kept asking villagers why they didn’t already have electricity. For decades they had been waiting futilely for government agencies to fulfill promises to provide power. Why couldn’t they go out and just get it themselves by installing solar panels?

 

According to Selco technical manager Jonathan Bassett, the single biggest problem was financial: Classically risk-averse loan officers at local banks found ways to avoid lending money for solar projects. Hande and his team came to believe that the route to India’s energy future ran through the offices of low-level bank functionaries. Persuading and cajoling, experimenting and testing, they gradually installed 300,000 solar-power systems in remote villages in southern India and Gujarat, along with 45 branch offices to provide service and maintenance. As a rule of thumb, Bassett tells me, “We won’t install systems without a branch that’s less than two hours away.”


Increasingly, Selco is expanding beyond individual installations—the kiosk in Luckman is one—to village-wide projects. The key, Bassett says, is the “local guy who runs the kiosk.” Selco installs solar panels adjacent to the store. The electricity feeds a charging station inside the kiosk. Clipped into the station are small batteries, each the size of a cigar. At dusk, participating families send someone to fetch their battery. It connects to a Selco 6-watt LED light via a standard VGA port (the unusual plug both helps deter theft and makes it harder to damage the devices by amateur fiddling). In the morning, the families return their battery for charging. They pay 25 rupees a month (about 40 cents) for the service. The next step, now being tested, is village solar networks—with greater capacity and independent “minigrids” that allow participants to run fans, sewing machines, and computers.

Selco is far from alone; dozens of other solar ventures exist in the Indian countryside, though few have been as successful. Because solar energy is intermittent, many Indians see it as second class; a Greenpeace minigrid experiment in the northeastern state of Bihar last year was met by villagers chanting, “We want real electricity, not fake electricity!” But Selco-style projects have a signal advantage:

 

They can expand rapidly. Selco’s installations are increasing at a 20 percent annual clip. More important, the company is training 100 entrepreneurs a year to replicate its business model across the country. Instead of building huge solar parks or giant coal plants and trying to distribute electricity to remote villages, it is attempting to make the villages themselves the source of power. Hande envisions a bottom-up movement, with entrepreneurs training entrepreneurs. With luck and favorable government policies, it could represent a third path to the future—one quite different from anything as yet envisioned by the mainstream.

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Let's Learn From Uruguay: A dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy

Let's Learn From Uruguay: A dramatic shift to nearly 95% electricity from clean energy | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
In less than 10 years the country has slashed its carbon footprint and lowered electricity costs, without government subsidies. Delegates at the Paris summit can learn much from its success
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

From the Optimist Daily:


Uruguay is showing the world that transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy is not only possible, but rather easy and affordable.  

Through a diverse range of energy sources such as wind turbines, solar power, hydropower and biomass, the South American country now supplies 94.5% of its energy needs through renewables. What’s most remarkable is Uruguay has done this all in less than 10 years without the need for government subsidies or higher consumer costs.


At the climate talks in Paris, Uruguay’s director of Energy Ramón Méndez praised the transition for boosting the country’s economy, claiming the construction and maintenance costs of building renewable energy sources are low, making it a secure investment. Uruguay has set the precedent for switching to renewables, now its time for the rest of the world to follow in their low-carbon footsteps. -


See more at: http://www.theoptimist.com/daily/#sthash.YP48DGxP.dpuf

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Ikea commits billions to sustainability and leads a roster of green companies focusing on a better world

Ikea commits billions to sustainability and leads a roster of green companies focusing on a better world | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Ikea plans to become energy independent, using solar energy, wind turbines
(it's also introducing vegan meatballs)
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
The full story of how business helped in the Paris talks has yet to be fully told. But we know corporate leaders are in some cases committing more to the goals than whole countries. Ikea for example has committed to spending several billion dollars u.s. on renewable energy and sustainable manufacturing, rivalling the efforts of some developed countries to fighting climate change. The figure dwarfs the amounts pledged by some countries to the UN Green Climate Fund. Germany, one of the biggest donors, pledged €750m. Chief executive Peter Agnefjall told Reuters: "People want their leaders to lead. That includes companies like ourselve.
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The world's first 100% solar-powered five-star resort.

The world's first 100% solar-powered five-star resort. | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
The world's first 5-star resort to be completely powered by solar proves that luxury does not have to be sacrificed in the name of sustainability.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
The architect here called this the project of a lifetime... examples of sustainability as enchanting enrichment, like this, show how important designerly ways of knowing are as we create the circular economy. What if beauty became one of the central aims of any business. I bet it would lead to astonishment.
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sustainability as enriching enchantment

sustainability as enriching enchantment | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Bjarke Ingels' architecture is luxurious, sustainable and community-driven. In this talk, he shows us his playful designs, from a factory chimney that blows smoke rings to a ski slope built atop a waste processing plant.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
The Climate Group reports keeping the world below the 2 degrees Celsius pathway presents a US$12.1 trillion investment opportunity over the next 25 years, a new analysis states. And the new design innovations--from Tesla, to urban gardens, to playful architectures like Bjarke Ingels designs--suggest that The Road From Paris might involve lots of enchanting enrichment. A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) at the 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk hosted by Ceres, shows the opportunities and challenges of filling the ‘gap’ between the business-as-usual (BAU) investment in renewable energy and what is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change. At the Summit, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called investors to at least double their investments in clean energy by 2020, adding that "we must begin the shift away from fossil fuels immediately.” Last week another BNEF report showed how global clean investment attracted a record US$329 billion last year – about six times the amount invested in 2004. When you combine the economic demand that will flow from sustainability with the enriching enchantment of beautiful design, you can create a positive pathway for business as an agent of world benefit to become the new norm.
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Leonardo DiCaprio Wants Business to focus on our ONLY Home, Planet Earth

Leonardo DiCaprio Wants Business to focus on our ONLY Home, Planet Earth | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
"Currently, less than 3% of all philanthropic giving goes to defending our planet," DiCaprio said. "Again 3% of all philanthropic giving goes towards the protection of our ONLY home, planet earth."
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Speaking to CEO's around the world Leonardo DiCaprio spoke about the elevated business focus and philanthropy needed to move the world toward 100% renewable clean energy.  He is shocked that only 3% of all philanthropic giving if focused on the state of our planet.

 

"The challenge before us requires each and every one of us to take action," DiCaprio concluded yesterday's speech. "We owe this to ourselves, but more importantly to the future generations who are counting on us."

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Business Can Exponentially Spread Micro-Practices for Peace: A Nobel Peace Prize for Airbnb?

Business Can Exponentially Spread Micro-Practices for Peace: A   Nobel Peace Prize for Airbnb? | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
AFTER THE ATTACKS IN PARIS, AIRBNB CEO BRIAN CHESKY IS REDOUBLING HIS EFFORTS TO EXPAND HIS BUSINESS—AND CLOSE THE CULTURAL GAPS BETWEEN US.
BY MAX CHAFKIN

They’d come from 110 countries, including Cuba, New Zealand, Kenya, and even Greenland. They’d spent $295 for three days of talks, parties, and sightseeing as part of the second annual Airbnb Open. On an unseasonably warm November afternoon, they gathered in a tented, football-field-size arena in Paris’s Parc de la Villette, 5,000 wildly enthusiastic hosts who offer apartments and bedrooms for rent on Airbnb. The company’s CEO, Brian Chesky—a compact and well-built 34-year-old with an aquiline face, muscular neck, and square jaw—spoke to them. "Share your homes, but also share your world," he said,

David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Business as a peacemaking enterprise? In this article Airbnb's CEO, Brian Chesky shares how the collaborative economy creates conditions for peace through the concept of what I will call the power of "sheer interaction" fueled by the most important micro-practice of peace the world has ever known: hospitality. Hospitality--inviting the Other into our home, our neighborhood, and our local culture--might well be on an exponential curve upward. 


The only way--at least the most powerful way according to all the research on the power of small group dynamics-- to break down barriers and end stereotypes is is through 1st hand connections, and Airbnb's business model brings guests into hospitality zones right in the heart of where people live--so if you go to Paris you live not in the same old commercialized zones but in neighborhoods with all the local culture and people.


Today when it comes to total number of rooms for rent, Airbnb dwarfs the world’s biggest hotel chains.  Airbnb's 2,,000,000 rooms dwarfs all the Hilton and Intercontinental Hotels rooms combined! 


Airbnb, which offers travelers an experience that is more unique and localized than the cookie-cutter offerings of most hotels, has benefited from the shift in consumer preferences to smaller, more localized ideas and products. All Airbnbs are emphatically not the same, and they’re not even all good—hence the need for hosts and guests to review one another. But that texture, Chesky argues, makes travel better, and maybe makes us better, too. His message is that by experiencing distinctly local norms and ideas, by coming to the understanding that the world is varied and rough and interesting, we will learn to see ourselves and others with more humility. "I don’t want to suggest that people living together creates world peace," Chesky tells me, a few weeks after returning from Paris after the terrorist attacks . "But I will say that [living in close proximity to people from other cultures] does make people understand each other a lot more. And I think a lot of conflicts in the world are between groups that don’t understand each other."


Imagine now the Airbnb model applied to everything: people's cars; computing power; gardens; artwork; shop tools; etc. The Airbnb economy = exponential interactivity increases. One of the positive features of business and the exchange of value is that it is bridge or walkway across political boundaries, ethnic and racial boundaries, geographic boundaries, and ideological boundaries. Its modus operandi is not xenophobic but uniting, and its market impulse is mutual exchange of value. And this leads to micro-moments of peace practice. How might we spread micro-moments and micro-practice arenas for the spread of hospitality--especially boundary crossing hospitality? Viewed in this way could it be that Airbnb is one of the most important forces for peace in the world today. 

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Tesla is Wanting the Idea of Competition Reversed: Its Mission Requires Them to Create More Competitors, Not Less

Tesla is Wanting the Idea of Competition Reversed: Its Mission Requires Them to Create More Competitors, Not Less | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Michael Rundle, Wired’s UK editor, got a tour of the Tesla factory recently conducted by none other than Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of business development. Variously described as committed or combative, it is fair to say O’Connell has drunk deeply of the Tesla Kool Aid and is a firm believer in the gospel according to Musk. If you think Tesla is about building very cool electric cars, you need to delve deeper to understand what is going on below the surface.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Tesla's mission--to electrify the post fossil fuel transition--calls them to reframe the basic idea of business strategy, that is to knock off all would be competition where winning and keeping others away from the prize represents the aim. They are reversing the idea. Could it be that working on grand global challenges opens blue ocean opportunities to the point where high purpose companies ignite their success when they inspire other's higher success?  In Tesla's case they see it clearly: they will be a success argues their VP of business development, when they've "inspired the competition." This is the most interesting part of this Clean Technica article: 

 

“Tesla is in the business of inspiring competition,”  Diarmuid O’Connell Tesla's VP said. “The more electric vehicles the better. It would be a fulfillment of our mission if the biggest manufacturer in the US put a mass-market EV on the road. We’re hopeful that they will and frankly that everyone else does.” O’Connell may believe deeply in the Tesla sense of mission, but he is hardly the only one. Rundle heard another Tesla staffer say during the tour that the company is out to save the Earth from “petro-dictators.”

 

Tesla has been criticized for always being late to market with its cars. Both its Model S sedan and Model X SUV were two years behind schedule by the time they finally went on sale. O’Connell is unapologetic. “If we had been able to produce [the Model S] out of the box 12 years ago we would have done so. We had no brand, no capital, no manufacturing base and no developed technology,” he says. “This is the classic technology introduction model that has led to the mass market for everything from air travel to cell phones. This is how you do it if you’re starting from zero.”

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Positive Externalities and the Conservative Case for Solar Subsidies

Positive Externalities and the Conservative Case for Solar Subsidies | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Solar, long viewed through the lens of crony capitalism, has shown the ability to inject real market competition in energy distribution, one of the last monopolies in the energy sector, while improving the efficiency of the grid and putting more dollars in the pockets of middle-class Americans. Conservatives, in other words, need to take another look at solar.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

There’s nothing in free-market economic theory that precludes government support. Markets tend to underproduce what economists call positive externalities — that is, the broad social benefits, like a cleaner environment, that aren’t captured on a company’s balance sheet.

 

Solar panels, and the companies that make them, are replete with such benefits: They eliminate redundant power plants that otherwise lie idle, empower consumer choice and have fewer negative consequences than most other forms of energy. But markets don’t always reflect these, which is why it makes sense for subsidies--done the right way-- to enter the picture. This article shows how the current tax credit for renewables is almost ideal and how the idea of positive externalities can be expanded.

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This simple negotiation tactic brought 195 countries to consensus

This simple negotiation tactic brought 195 countries to consensus | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Indabas were first introduced in climate negotiation talks in Durban in 2011. In the last minutes of the meeting, negotiators reached a deadlock. To prevent talks from collapsing, the South African presidency asked representatives from the main countries to form a standing circle and speak directly to each other.
The technique clearly impressed many. “It is a very effective way to streamline negotiations and bridge differences. It has the advantage of being participatory yet fair,” one West African diplomat told the Guardian. “It should be used much more when no way through a problem can be found.”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

The trick to getting through an over-complicated negotiation comes from the Zulu and Xhosa people of southern Africa. It’s called an “indaba” (pronounced IN-DAR-BAH), and is used to simplify discussions between many parties.

 

 An indaba is designed to allow every party to voice its opinion, but still arrive at a consensus quickly. It works because opinions and arguments can only be aired in a particular way:

 

 

Instead of repeating stated positions, each party is encouraged to speak personally and state their “red lines,” which are thresholds that they don’t want to cross. But while telling others their hard limits, they are also asked to provide solutions to find a common ground.

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Agroecology and shows that economics and ecology are integrally connected

Agroecology and shows that economics and ecology are integrally connected | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
By 2014, agroecology had become as much a political endeavor as an ambition for farming. The third edition, published that year, showcased the interplay of science, practice and social movements. It’s a framework, says Gliessman, that has evolved because we need food systems that “once again empower people, create economic opportunity and fairness, and contribute to restoring and protecting the planet’s life-support systems.”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

In Malawi, an estimated 200,000 farm families have begun embracing agroforestry, an agroecological technique that integrates trees in farms and landscapes to play multiple roles: fertilizing the soil, providing fruit for nutrition, giving fodder for livestock, and offering timber and fuel wood for shelter and energy. Curious to learn how agroforestry farmers were faring compared with their conventional-based counterparts, researchers studied several communities of maize growers.

 

Average profitability of maize, they discovered, was US$259 per acre (0.4 ha) for agroforestry farmers versus US$166 for conventional farmers — a significant difference in Malawi, where the average annual income is only about US$270. The revenue boost resulted from a combination of lower spending on inputs — less than one-third of what conventional farmers spent on chemicals — and increased maize yields: 2,507 pounds (1,137 kg) per acre versus only 1,825 pounds (828 kg) per acre for conventional farmers. Malawi’s government has become famous for its large-scale subsidy of chemical fertilizers (a massive 43 percent of the agricultural budget in 2013–14); these results suggest that state funding could be better invested in forested farming.

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Deficit-based change approaches to climate change might actually make things worse

Deficit-based change approaches to climate change might actually make things worse | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
His book What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming addresses the psychology behind the inaction on global warming.

He calls it "probably the largest science communication failure in history" because climate change has come up against an equally powerful force: human nature. 

"The trouble with mainstream conventional climate communication is that it rubs up against the psychology of our brain," Stoknes says.

Most scientists have been trying to convince people with actual science. But Stoknes says evidence of melting glaciers, rising sea levels and endangered wildlife evoke doomsday scenarios that are just too big for people to handle. 
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Our theories of change are going through change. Think about how 98% of all dieting fails--it's all based on deficit based change theories. Years ago I argued that "we've reached the end of problem solving as a way to mobilize and inspire change." The climate change domain is even more interesting and certainly more overwhelmingly epic than the dieting domain--as an example.  


Per Espen Stoknes's book--What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming-- outlines the psychological reasons behind inaction on climate change, as well as how to galvanize people. 

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A Winning Culture Keeps Score and Treating Everyone in Open Book Business Way is the Most Direct Way to Authentic Engagement

A Winning Culture Keeps Score and Treating Everyone in Open Book Business Way is the Most Direct Way to Authentic Engagement | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Part of the power of open-book management lies in its simplicity—deciding on and tracking that one key number. The process generates buy-in, because you’re asking people their views about what’s most important right now. And it helps them understand their own connections to the company’s financial results. Employees begin to think and behave like businesspeople with a vested interest in success—not like hired hands.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

I'm concerned how all to often the term "employee engagement" refers to psychological engagement (as in the satisfaction that comes from applying one's strengths on the job) versus authentic business engagement. By authentic business engagement I mean having an open book culture and the financial training to go with it so everyone understands the business numbers of profit and loss, budget and costs, forecasts and actuals and how every dollar is generated and spent.

 

When people--from the shop floor to the C-suite-- have the skills to participate in the fundamentals of the business then it makes sense to start asking them to think and act like owners of the business, and it makes sense to engage their hearts and minds in strategy, and enterprise wide improvements.

 

This is the kind of engagement people really want: they want to be treated as adults and in brought into the conversations that are at the heart of business making. Using the "open book management"  tools of John Case and Bill Fotsch I've seen employee engagement soar--for example Green Mountain Coffee Roasters was a superstar business success and they, under Bob Stiller's leadership as CEO, brought 100s and 100s of employees into the room for every year for their strategic planning events. These sessions were not closed door retreats or one way information sharing sessions but summit sessions where collaborative co-creation happened often over a 3 intensive day period of analysis and designing.  And key to people's ability to engage positively and creatively--including truck drivers and dock workers and stakeholders such as customers and supply chain partners-- was knowing all the key metrics in an open book culture--revenues, profit, loss, costs, goals, forecasts, and the like.

 

We need a term to differentiate between the call to pseudo psychological engagement (around the limited circle of one's job) and the more authentic invitation to be engaged in the fundamentals of the business and the inner circle of enterprise planning. Business engagement, in a business setting, is truly the start of designing the fully human organization. In my view there is nothing more respectful and humanly DEVELOPMENTAL than knowing how and being invited into managing the fundamentals of the business where everything relevant to the business is shared openly, widely, and in ways that empower--including what the authors call "the key numbers."  

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Google's Latest Renewable Energy Investment is its Biggest Ever

Google's Latest Renewable Energy Investment is its Biggest Ever | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Another tech giant is opening its checkbook for renewable energy projects.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

News from the Optimist Daily: Google just announced that it will buy 842 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar energy in the U.S., Sweden and Chile to power its data centers around the world. It's the largest purchase of renewable energy ever made by a non-utility company. By doing this, the company increases its overall renewable energy capacity to 2 gigawatts. Google compares the environmental impact of that to "taking nearly 1 million cars from the road." The purchase contributes to Google's ambition to power 100% of their operations through renewable energy by 2025. Apple and Microsoft made similar pledges. Google's 14 data centers worldwide currently run on 37% clean energy, so there's more to come. "With world leaders coming together at the COP21 UN conference on climate change in Paris this week, there's no better time to focus on renewable energy," the company writes. - See more at:


http://www.theoptimist.com/daily/#sthash.Bn7h8s4F.dpuf

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