From Good to STaR

After visiting Boston, I picked up a Harvard Business Press book while waiting at Dulles for the plane to Frankfurt. It turned out to be a very lucky choice indeed: "Strategy for Sustainability - A Business Manifesto" by Adam Werbach. In this book several of my favourite theories are joined in a neat way. So if you like Jim Collins, Martin Seligman and Marcus Buckingham, this is an excellent summer vacation companion.
"There is only one bottom line - the profitability of a corporation. If what a company is doing for sustainability doesn't lead to sustained cash returns, then the company's strategy probably needs to be rethought."
Here you can learn more about Goldman Sachs "GS Sustain" that shows relationships between cash return and sustainability, how to set your own Personal Sustainability Project, how to work with models such as STaR and TEN in order to set your North Star goal, how to avoid green blindness, structure your networks, and use MacGyver as a role-model in product design.

The book is filled with examples from companies like Nike, Walmart, Seventh Generation, McDonald's, Boeing, Clorox, Dell,  and Proctor & Gamble. Most of them large established companies focusing on consumer products. I hope his next book will focus on how to help small startup B2B companies, but I'd be surprised to find them on Saatchi & Saatchi S's client wish list.


Economic Gardening

At the NBIA 2010 conference, one topic was “economic gardening” . This concept was developed in 1989 by the city of Littleton, Colorado an alternative strategy for economical growth. It initially was based on research by MIT’s David Birch, who suggested that most new jobs in any local economy were produced by the community’s small, local businesses. With concepts like “seed financing” working with startup companies and incubators fits quite well into this metaphor. So does the notion of an innovation ecosystem.

With its emphasis on helping small companies to grow, “economic gardening” is in stark contast to the previously more dominant strategy “economic hunting”. This concept focuses on trying to capture successful entrepreneurs from outside and bring them to the community.

To quote Mike Chitty, which tribe do you belong to – The Hunters or The Gardeners?
From Boston
The picture is taken in Boston, a wonderful city where both flowers and businesses seem to thrive.


What's In a Name?

Friends of mine have recently launched ventures with very appropriate and exciting names. One of them is Sharea, which can be described as a combination of file sharing and a potluck supper. People are invited to come to a certain place (area) and provide something (share): a story, instructions or advice. No entry fee, as long as you provide knowledge or creativity. The first Sharea event will take place in Göteborg 21 May and already more than 100 people have signed up. True to its inherent characteristics, the concept is placed under a Creative Commons licence, why it can be replicated throughout the world. Awesome!

Another is TrampolinStory, focusing on digital storytelling. One very special kind of story, often used in organisations is the springboard story, and in combination with digital storytelling it becomes even more powerful. According to Steve Denning

“A springboard story is a story that enables a leap in understanding by the audience so as to grasp how an organization or community or complex system may change.
A springboard story has an impact not so much through transferring large amounts of information, but through catalyzing understanding. It enables listeners to visualize from a story in one context what is involved in a large-scale transformation in an analogous context."

The third is Recorded Future, introducing the first temporal analytics engine. It makes it easier to relate temporal concepts like “tomorrow” and “next week” to specific dates in order to see trends in data regarding historical and future events. Since predicting the future has always been high on the agenda for humans, the idea of even having it recorded must be thrilling.

All these three ventures make use of video to explain their business. Still, the name says a lot too.