Positive Impact Blog

Thought provoking insights for change makers


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Anybody can contribute to the mindset shift that is needed to create a positive impact!

We know that it takes an enlightened leader to reposition an organization to provide also value for society and the planet. And we also know that there aren’t enough such leaders. However, latest research shows that there is hope: any engaged employee can increase their changemaker potential by inviting external stakeholders to traditionally internal decisions-making meetings. The current digital meetings are a great bridge for this. Learn here more about the magic of external stakeholders in triggering the organizational mindset shift towards creating positive value.

What lesson does COVID-19 crisis have for business?

Covid has shown us how important it is for organizations to become resilient. There is one guaranteed way to increase your resilience, and that is by orienting yourself to the burning challenges that society and the world face today. Pioneering organizations do this by matching their core competencies with these challenges in order to develop new business models and revenue streams for their business. This requires you to create value, no longer just for your shareholder, or even stakeholders, but to think beyond the existing markets and clients to think broader. The question becomes: How can you as an organization with all the competencies, resources, and capacities you have contribute to solving societal and environmental challenges that are out there?

How do leading positive impact organizations accomplish this?

The pioneers show that in order to transform from a traditional organization to a positive impact organization, there are two predictors of success:

  1. an enlightened leader, meaning somebody who gets the benefits of contributing value to society beyond just looking for creating value for your business, and
  2. an organization that is capable to work outside of its business boundaries, as effectively as internally. I call this the co-creative organization. In addition to managing your business internally, you need to learn how to be co-creative outside, and not just the CEO, but actually many people in your organization.

So that’s why I talk about two mindset shifts: 1) one of the leader who needs to shift somehow the purpose of the organization to want to create more value than just for shareholders. And 2) the mindset shift of the organization where suddenly a sufficient number of employees in the organization learn how to work creatively outside of their boundaries and make sense for their own organization out of it. This external fluency is an entirely new expertise that typically doesn’t get developed in business schools.

But there aren’t enough such leaders, are there?

Indeed, there are unfortunately there aren’t enough leaders. But our research offers great hope. Since it takes two things, the leader, and a co-creative organization, I have some ways to make sure that your organization can become co-creative. Even if you don’t have an enlightened leader, at least you now have one of the two success factors. And we have seen that process of becoming co creative co creative becomes a mindset shift trigger for the CEO. By engaging in the practices to become co-creative, there is a transformation. Even with the leader so you may have initially a leader who doesn’t get it.

Are you saying anybody can bring about change?

Indeed, we are calling them intrapreneurs or change-makers. It could be the head of sustainability, the head of strategy, head of innovation, who says: «Hey, we’re going to bring in such new practices».  In addition, there is a younger generation, an amazing amount of changemakers that are already kind of intrapreneurs that are ready to bring in a lot of energy, new thinking and dynamism, to be the changemakers that can bring in that that can work on that co-creation part.

But what would such a change agent do?

There is a method for turning a traditional organization into a co-creative one. There is a specific way to bring in external stakeholders. I call them Collaboratory events. The change agent invites constructive external stakeholders and together with them the company participants develop a solution to a problem that is out there. In that one-day workshop, particularly if you have the CEO present, our research shows that something happens with people. Exposure to different thinking, arguments, ideas, perspectives opens your mind. And sometimes, the little opening that happens triggers a mindset shift. A mindset shift is nothing else than an expansion of mind. The key to the organizational mindset shift is all about creating triggering incidents where participants minds expands. There are specific proven processes for this. My book «Five Superpowers for Co-creators» is all about it.

So what do you suggest for changemakers out there?

If you have an appetite for helping your organization to identify what are the positive opportunities in there and get together with the innovators and the strategists in your business together, what you need to do is to find a professional facilitator, ideally somebody trained with the SDGXCHANGE methodology, and organize a multi-stakeholder meeting. You pick a day, invite some external stakeholders and a diverse range of your work colleagues – new and long-time serving your organization, all ages, genders, backgrounds and skills. And together with a skilled facilitator, the group has a conversation about what could be the positive role or contribution of your business to address these issues out there. This is what it would mean to put yourself on the «offense» team.

Take-away message

Even if you work in an organization that currently isn’t focused on creating a positive impact for society and the world, and your leader doesn’t necessarily get the importance of such an orientation, there is something you can do: find ways to bring in external stakeholders to your next meeting you have in your department. Any meeting that benefits from a broader perspective and new ideas will be perfect for this. With this simple act, you will start broadening the mindset of your colleagues and help position your organization for a mindset shift. Be surprised with how the positive benefits start to spread in your organization.

If you need help in how to go about this, feel free to reach out to me katrin@katrinmuff.com.


Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy

Have you heard the news? Costa Rica has managed to shift to 100% renewable energy! And they are not alone – more and more countries are following suit, and I hope you are part of a community and a country that is also moving in this direction. Is there anything you can do to fasten the pace?

My friend Jan Arend, who I stayed with just recently, just took his family and home off the grid – he was so excited to share how much energy he is feeding into the grid and the many places he found he can save energy. Hats off!!

http://qz.com/367985/costa-rica-is-now-running-completely-on-renewable-energy/?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange


We are a part of something BIG. Can you feel it?

I am so pleased to share the trailer for the film “Planetary” with you which was released on EARTH DAY — 22 APRIL 2015. Here is what the film promises: “We are in the midst of a global crisis of perspective. We have forgotten the undeniable truth that everything is connected. PLANETARY is a provocative and breathtaking wakeup call, a cross continental, cinematic journey, that explores our cosmic origins as a species.”

More info: http://weareplanetary.com/ / PLANETARY COLLECTIVE

Rent the film today!

planetary


Switzerland has published its CSR Swiss Action Plan

On the 1st April, 2015, the Swiss government has produced their report and action plan for Corporate Social Responsibility, suggesting how business should embrace its societal responsibility. The action plan on Business and Human Rights and the Swiss response to Special Representative John Reggie’s framework principles on Business and Human rights is envisaged for summer 2015.  The Irish Government is already a few steps ahead, they are now working on the Business and HR plan. The question is: is the plan good enough? Will it get us to a world where 9 billion people can live well and within the limits of the planet? How will we know? What do you think?

https://www.news.admin.ch/message/index.html?lang=fr&msg-id=56760


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Is there really a business case for sustainability?

Thanks to a comprehensive, aggregate study completed by the Natural Capital folks, we have now a clear and solid answer: YES. If you need convincing or would like to see some evidence, click here to download their report for free. Happy reading!

 


San Francisco Becomes The First City to Ban Sale of Plastic Bottles | Global Flare

I am so pleased to read this! How soon will other cities follow? How we as citizens support this? What can you do in your local community? http://globalflare.com/san-francisco-becomes-the-first-city-to-ban-sale-of-plastic-bottles/

At BSL, we have made plastic bottles redundant by offering all students a BSL bottle.

BSL-Bottles-sm

 


2014: watershed moments in sustainability | Guardian Sustainable Business | The Guardian

2014 is a year with some important progress highlights towards a sustainable world, including the now public secretly negotiated US-China 2025 CO2 emissions reduction deal, and more. Here all the details:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/gallery/2014/dec/29/2014-watershed-moments-in-sustainability?CMP=new_1194

The Guardians predicts 2015 to be the year of “the beginning of the end of climate sceptics”… Let’s hope for more great news ahead!!


Goodbye Global Greed

Some of you may have heard of an exciting thing happening in Europe – the Economy of the Common Goods movement which started in Austria and was spearheaded by Christian Felber (www.gemeinwohl-oekonomie.org – no worries there is English information). As the first university worldwide, Business School Lausanne has undertaken the company self-evaluation of the “matrix” and is currently in the official audit process. What an amanzing and eye-opening experience this was for us! It allowed not only to identify important blindspots, but also to speed up an internal transformational process towards fully embracing and integrating sustainability and responsibility in everything we do. Take a look now at a funny and provocative comic that was developed by Herbert Wegscheider, a contributing member of the Economy of the Common Goods movement (click on the image below to download the file):

Click here to see the Goodbye Global Greed comic

 


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Planetary resilience. What is it and why does it matter?

When it comes to resilience, what good does it do a single business or industry to prevail if it does so at the expense of other sub-systems or even the bigger system itself? I’ve shared my views in Planetary Resilience on PwC’s Resilience site: http://pwc.to/12PscYV

What are your thoughts on that?


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Recommendation of the Day: Strategy for World Peace

A great newsletter post I received  by the Schumacher Center for a New Economics – warmly recommend the read below!

Judy Wicks’ 2004 E. F. Schumacher Lecture described the White Dog Café and the vision and principles that inspire similar locally-based businesses that treat employees fairly, source materials regionally, and support other community businesses.

“Let me capsulize the local-living-economy movement for you by contrasting what it is and what it is not, what it does and what it does not do:

  • maximization of relationships, not of profits;
  • growth of consciousness and creativity, not brands and market share;
  • democracy and decentralized ownership, not concentrated wealth;
  • a living return, not the highest return;
  • a living wage, not the minimum wage;
  • a fair price, not the lowest price;
  • sharing, not hoarding;
  • simplicity, not luxury;
  • life-serving, not self-serving;
  • partnership, not domination;
  • cooperation, not competition;
  • win-win exchange, not win-lose exploitation;
  • family farms, not factory farms;
  • biodiversity, not monocrops;
  • cultural diversity, not monoculture;
  • creativity, not conformity;
  • slow food, not fast food;
  • our bucks, not Starbucks;
  • our mart, not Wal-Mart;
  • a love of life, not a love of money.”

The BerkShares businesses featured in the “Business of the Month” series understand this ethic.

“When you’re in business long enough, eventually people get to know you, they trust you, and they know what you’re all about,” says Locke Larkin, who runs Locke, Stock, and Barrel in the Berkshires.  “I work with producers who still have a feeling for what they make, they care about it, and it’s their reputation that’s on the line. . . When the town’s businesses cooperate, it’s a better place for everyone. Competition is the old paradigm. The new paradigm is ‘let’s cooperate.’ We’re all in the same boat, so let’s get our oars aligned.”

Eric Wilska, the owner of an independent bookstore says, “The mission of BerkShares really makes sense—to keep money circulating in town.  We all talk like that, but with BerkShares you can put your money where your mouth is. . . I’d love to drag people in to the back room and show them a chart. Here’s a list on the left-hand side of all the things the Bookloft has done in 39 years, such as: number of high school kids and interns hired over the years—62; number of gift certificates given—thousands; amount of sales tax paid to Massachusetts—$3 million; payroll paid out to people who live in town; taxes paid to the town. . . And on the right-hand side the same categories for a company such as Amazon.  The amounts would literally be zero.  Zero, zero, zero.”

In her 2004 Schumacher talk, Judy Wicks went on to argue that supporting local businesses is more than a strategy for building resilient local economies:

“Perhaps the greatest benefit of the local-living-economy movement is that by creating self-reliance we are creating the foundations for world peace. If all communities had food security, water security, and energy security, if they appreciated diversity of culture rather than a monoculture, that would be the foundation for world peace. Schumacher said, ‘People who live in highly self-sufficient local communities are less likely to get involved in large-scale violence than people whose existence depends on world-wide systems of trade.’ There you go!”

Judy Wicks’ newly published Good Morning Beautiful Business, from Chelsea Green, is available at independent booksellers.  It has hit a resounding chord with readers.  As a result, Judy’s tour schedule is full and her events enthusiastically packed. On April 17th she will be in Northampton for the Pioneer Valley Sustainable Network.  Join us there.

Best wishes,
Susan Witt, Alice Maggio, Michelle Hughes, Kate Poole, Paris Kazis, and Sam Moore
Schumacher Center for a New Economics

Board of Directors:  Peter Barnes, Mary Berry, Hildegarde Hannum, Dan Levinson, Anne MacDonald, Jerry Mander, Gordon Thorne, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Greg Watson, and Judy Wicks.
Advisory Board:  Wendell & Tanya Berry, Merrian Goggio Borgeson, Eric Harris-Braun, and Otto Scharmer

“A good community insures itself by trust, by good faith and good will, by mutual help. A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.” Wendell Berry from “Work of Local Culture”