Category Archives: Innovation and Communication


Enough with the ‘why’ already – let’s talk about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of profitable sustainability…

WhyHumans need more than why stuff for behaviour change.  If a good reason why was enough to create behaviour change then we wouldn’t have problems with smoking, obesity or any number of other ‘challenges’.  To make effective change, most of us need more than “reasons why” – we also need to know what to change, we need to know how to do it, and we need some rewards along the way.

Where are the (guilt-free) sustainability videos and audios about the ‘what‘ and ‘how‘ of profitable, regenerative sustainability?

I’m a bit cranky today.  I’ve just watched another video on sustainability – and it’s still about “why sustainability is important”.  A whole 20 minute TED talk – and over 15 minutes of “why. Continue reading

Who specifically? What specifically? What’s beyond ‘someone should do something’…

OK, so you want a change in your world – what’s that change going to look like?  Do you know ?  Can you describe what you want instead?

A web post I was referred to recently said that: “Those in charge of our world currently are clearly not doing the job that needs to be done“.  The response to that post was:  ‘What are “our current leaders” failing to do? What are you hoping we … [the alternative leaders]…  do?

Who specifically….

Who specifically do you want to influence?  Who has the power now, today, to make a decision that will lead to direct action in the domain that you want action? Who is the person who has the power to make that change happen?  Do you know?  Can you get beyond “the government should” or “business shouldn’t” to describe what change you want and who truly has the power to get it initiated?

What specifically…

What specifically do you want them to do?  What process do you want them to follow?  What results will it generate and for whom?   What specific evidence will tell you that the change you want has been achieved? Continue reading

A quick “body hack” for sustainability change-makers…

Changing your body will change your effectiveness.

I found Amy Cuddy’s TED talk about this last week, then was reminded in a training session the other day that 93% of human communication is n0n-verbal:

  • 7% what you say
  • 38% tonality
  • 55% body language

So what your body says is the most powerful part of your communication – and it’s surprisingly easy to shift it. Continue reading

Myers-Briggs insights for sustainable business change agents…

During my early coach training, I learned about the Myers-Briggs  temperament preferences – it helped me understand some of my frustrations in the world and gave me some insights into how I could operate more effectively.  It was like the time I found out about the basics of perspective and proportion in drawing – there were actually tools that could help me to create a better result with less frustration. Continue reading

A conversational approach to innovation adoption…

So you’ve got a great idea, and you’ve come up with a proposal that will meet the needs of the people you want to use it. Your work here is done… isn’t it?

Well, no – it’s not a done deal until you have your invention turned into an adopted practice – that’s the real work of innovation. Your proposed change requires a community of people who do things in a particular way to change how they work together – and there’s a process to this. Continue reading

Looking for leverage…

“Small changes can produce big results – but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious.” –  Peter Senge, “The Fifth Discipline”

Do we best change the world by pushing it – or does just pushing  hard only  generate resistance?

For change-makers, the concept of leverage can be a useful one to work with.  Leverage isn’t just pushing, which is all about the maximum amount of force you can push with, it’s about a considered application of influence to achieve major shifts. Continue reading

Blue wrens on Bourke Street?

(adapted from the August Balance3 Update)

Sitting in Kinfolk community cafe talking about Regenerative Business recently with a Melbourne Hubber, we got to the topic of creating positive visions. What would a regenerative City of Melbourne look like?   How would we know a deep and significant shift had occurred?  What small, tangible thing would we be seeing differently?

Maybe a truly regenerative Melbourne would be so connected to its original environment that we would see blue wrens in Bourke Street? (A major thoroughfare in Melbourne’s central business district.)

We weren’t talking about a transplant or a breeding program – we were talking about what it would be like to have the city so connected to its original ecosystem that it would naturally provide habitat that would enable these beautiful little birds to thrive (along with other original species). [ See one here ]

Imagine That!!!

We played the “I wonder” game – I wonder what would it take? I wonder who would be involved? I wonder how we could make it socially and financially sustainable? Because when you get right down to it, we wouldn’t be trying to do anything technically impossible… Hmmmm! Continue reading

Creating clarity on a sustainable future

In an earlier post “Conversational practices for smart sustainability professionals” we outlined four types of conversations that contribute to effective communication and collaboration.

The most overlooked type of conversation is a conversation for clarity, where we articulate and test our understanding of a situation; explore the understandings of others; and develop a shared understanding.  Conversations for clarity  eliminate misunderstandings, build trust and allow progress to flow. Continue reading

Powerful conversational practices for smart sustainability professionals

“It is through conversations that we interact with each other, coordinate actions and get things done.  Conversations underpin and accompany everything we do, and what we do and do not accomplish.”
Alan Sieler, ‘Coaching to the Human Soul. Volume 1’ p.249

Getting things done in the world – and particularly in business – happens through conversation.  Yet how many of us have been trained to understand and use conversations well?  When did you get taught the basic building blocks of language or the different types of conversations and how to combine them?

Whether you want to influence business leaders, deliver a successful project or organise a dinner party, understanding key types of conversations, their content, structure and purpose can help us communicate more effectively and be more successful. Continue reading

Spreading sustainability: innovation diffusion applied

In the book “Crossing the Chasm“, marketer Geoffrey Moore proposed that there is a specific challenge in moving innovations from the early adopters (technology enthusiasts and visionaries) out into the broader community – particularly in engaging the early majority ( who are pragmatists).  Many innovations never make it across “the chasm” into the broader population, regardless of their potential value.

If you’re in the sustainability game, you may well be on the early adoption side of the chasm.  You’re there because you’re fascinated by what’s possible and motivated by concern for the future.  However, it’s important to realise that you’re in the minority – only around 15% of the world is with you.  The other 85% are differently motivated and care about different things. Continue reading