The Inescapable Presence

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I popped up here, then I popped up there. Be everywhere and anywhere. Be unavoidable with your greeting to others.

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Be courageous in introducing yourself to the new employee. They are as scared as you once were. Be inescapable. Others cannot avoid , others cannot ignore , others cannot be separated from… … the inescapable presence of hope…and who has it. Comments That was great John! Hey Steve. It will be posted before midnight on LinkedIn. I miss our mid-yard chats.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Footer Privacy Policy. These narrow assumptions may have led to innovation and success in the past, but today, what any individual organization—whether a business, hospital, governmental agency, or school—can do alone to significantly break from the cultural mainstream is very small.

Each one operates as if it were tied to a rubber band. Even if an organization innovates significantly for many years, it eventually gets snapped back to the norm. For example, at any one point in time, you can always find a small number of highly innovative schools in which kids are engaged and teachers love their work. But virtually all return to average within 5 to 10 years.

From my standpoint, any enduring change strategy includes building and sustaining networks of collaborators across many boundaries. For the past several years, SoL has focused on bringing together large multinational companies, prominent nongovernmental organizations, and key governmental agencies to work on significant issues around environmental sustainability.

The Inescapable Presence of God (Part 2)

For example, oil companies that establish residency in a country, such as Nigeria, Angola, or Venezuela, to produce oil over 50 or more years, have traditionally justified their efforts by promising that the country would be better off as a result. But there are several reasons to challenge this premise. Many countries that have exported large quantities of oil for years have seen little real economic, social, and environmental progress.

Many end up as permanent oil exporters with little modern industry and strained relationships with the oil companies. Much of the profit goes to corrupt regimes that squander it long before it benefits the society at large. For oil companies to deliver on their promise for economic and social development in exporting countries, they cannot work alone, and SoL members are looking for ways to foster collaboration within these countries and among different multinational organizations to help this process.

They propose a business model in which companies collaborate to eliminate toxins from their products and integrate natural systems ideas, such as continuous reuse, into product design. This paradigm has become increasingly attractive to companies, especially in Japan and the European Union, where some governments have started passing legislation that holds private industries responsible for their products after the periods of use are over. The basic idea is that if you produce something, you own it forever. End products or byproducts of one living system are nutrients to another.

What companies can do on their own to support such changes is often very limited. There may be no cost-effective substitute for many widely used chemicals, like PVCs, and the research costs to a company for redesigning its products could be prohibitive. But a group of companies could pool their purchasing power and work collaboratively with chemical producers to find substitutes, just as they could pool research efforts. TST: What are some of the challenges organizations face as they collaborate with multiple stakeholders? Part of the EU legislation I was just referring to requires companies to give a complete account of all the material components of a car they intend to sell.

Why do we need to know this information? For example, in most new cars today, you can see a thin film on the inside of your window in the morning. Braungart and McDonough point out that many of the widely used materials in everyday products are carcinogenic substances that remain in living systems for a long time. In the pharmaceutical industry, drugs are regulated to avoid the production of dangerous products.

I Am Inescapable

In most other industries from which we buy, use, and discard products, however, up until recently, little such regulation has existed. But just the task of identifying material components is daunting. In addition, companies selling vehicles in Europe are now faced with phase-out schedules for particular chemicals, starting with heavy metals such as lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, and cadmium. In many cases, nobody knows how to remove these elements from vehicles or what material can be used as a substitute. As SoL member companies collaborate, we are finding connections and possible synergies.

But because this product was developed for the aircraft industry, it was unknown to auto and motorcycle manufacturers. Another collaborative project involves building common databases so that product designers can quickly determine the chemical constituents of different materials, their potential environmental and health consequences, and preferred alternatives, where they exist. TST: Have any organizations successfully collaborated and designed sustainable product development processes?

Senge: About five years ago, Nike, Inc.

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Founded on a vision of fitness and vitality, Nike was making products that included potentially harmful chemicals. Several Nike leaders started meeting with external and internal designers for the company to explore more sustainable practices in product design, manufacturing, and distribution. Nike now sells an entire line of organic clothing made from cottons produced by small farmers around the world.

TST: Who will be the movers and shakers making an impact in society in the next few years?

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But from a systemic perspective, the reality is just the opposite. Rather, when lots of people at all levels of an organization start to do things differently, they begin to enact new systems. Senge: For one, through the sharing of generative ideas, ideas that can change how people think and act. The Industrial Revolution is a perfect example of how a set of ideas can produce wide-scale change without a single plan or group in charge of the process.

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Over a long period of time, hundreds and thousands and ultimately hundreds of millions of people started doing things a little bit differently than they had before. As a result, factories sprang up, assembly lines were developed, public schools were created, and entrepreneurial activity exploded. Mostly through stories. Academic books usually have less short-term impact than a compelling story told informally over and over. As I mentioned earlier, one way is to build networks of people and organizations who are implementing diverse ideas of interdependency and sustainability.

Then, sharing stories of projects such as the materials pooling initiative can inspire more examples. Young people today have grown up acutely aware of the stresses in the world, especially those living in poverty or in countries with obvious social divisions.

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For example, Pioneers of Change, an emerging global network of people in their 20s and early 30s, is involved in significant social change projects to produce healthy communities around the world. One of its members is developing a network of villages based on sustainable agriculture in Rwanda. Another is starting the first management school in Croatia. Another group, Roca, located in Massachusetts, is composed of former gang members focused on helping teenagers leave their gangs and build their communities. Has its popularity resulted in the effects you hoped for?


How do you view your own purpose now? Has it changed over the last 10 years? But it does get clearer. I have always been concerned with the imbalances in our patterns of development.