Category Archives: Regenerative Business

Stories of opportunity and innovation

Set your internal program guide to the positive

Adapted from “Set your internal program guide to the positive…” in September’s issue of Regenerative Thinking in Action.

Recent research into how our brains work is increasingly proving we see what we’re looking for. The continuing story of InterfaceFLOR’s sustainability journey is a great positive to tune in to, as told in their recent update on how they’re building community wealth in the Pacific by turning old fishing net into new carpet tiles.

Continue reading

Will government action ‘fix’ sustainability? Really?

Adapted from “Are your beliefs limiting your effectiveness?”, published in our September newsletter.

Most human behaviour is dictated by our opinions and beliefs about the world. If we don’t examine and test them, we can end up becoming impotent, angry and depressed.  In the sustainability game and especially in the media, one limiting belief I come across repeatedly is that “Sustainability requires government action.”  Assertions vs assessments

Continue reading

Business innovation supplied by nature…

(Adapted from “Copying nature – biomimicry and business success…” in our September newsletter)

Back in the 19th century the human race got hooked into chemical and mechanical engineering. We developed steam power and learned to make soap in quantity, then later fell in love with petrochemicals.

While these have been useful tools to a point, their side effects are showing up as increasingly damaging. Biomimcry is showing up as a new source of innovation for both product and systems design.

“Biomimicry is studying a leaf to invent better solar cell, or a coral reef to make more resilient company. The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with: energy, food production, climate control, benign chemistry, transportation, collaboration, and more.” Janine Benyus – A Biomimicry Primer

Heat, beat and poison…

Mechanical and chemical engineering practices and their mindsets have been foundational in the technologies we use today – however new developments are emerging that will increasingly make these resource-hungry oldsters out-of-date.

Copying nature…

Biomimicry

We’ve become increasingly aware in recent decades that nature does some pretty amazing things at room temperature and ambient pressure. We use massive heat and pressure to turn non-renewable petrochemicals into Kevlar – but a spider makes a super strong web in it’s stomach AND using flies as a highly renewable input.

Physics and biology are showing up as rich sources of innovation and invention for developing not only smarter products, but smarter systems.

Biomimicry can operate at one of three levels:

  • Copying natural form – for example, copying the beak of a kingfisher to re-design the nose of a bullet train.
  • Mimicking natural processes – using vortexes to purify water the way rivers do, instead of mechanical filters or damaging chemicals
  • Copying natural ecosystems to develop regional models conducive to life.

This new source of design inspiration is exactly that – inspiring. Find out more about biomimicry from: http://www.asknature.org/ (Just watch the front banner cycle through different innovations to get a feel for the possible.)

Remember also that the core principle of true biomimicry is the development of solutions conducive to life. You can have a bio-inspired product like velcro – however if you make it from petrochemicals, you’re not really practicing biomimicry.

For some great examples of how biomimicry is being used in the world today, explore some of the case studies of The Blue Economy: http://www.theblueeconomy.org/blue/Innovations.html

Sustainia’s top 100 for 2014 makes interesting reading

Top 100 report 2014

Top 100 report 2014

It’s a chilly winter’s afternoon in my home town down under, and I’m catching up on my reading list.  The Sustainia Top 100 came out last month and it’s an inspiring way to spend some time.  It’s the third annual report on the practical, happening, fundamental shifts underway in how our products and services are being delivered. Continue reading

The craft of innovation adoption is alive and well in Samsø…

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

I was reminded of this famous quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead last week, reading the story of how the Danish island of Samsø has gone renewable and become an energy exporter. The CleanTechnica article “Introducing Samsø, A 100% Wind-Powered Island” detailed not only WHAT had been done – it also gave some fascinating insight into the HOW.   Continue reading

Is attack your last option – or your only strategy?

(First published in “Regenerative Thinking in Action” – April 2014)

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
– Richard Buckminster Fuller

Are you in automatic fight mode?

One of our great modern philosophers – Humberto Maturana – has commented, that we live in an age where society’s prevailing mood is one of aggression.  One of the implications of this is that we can get trapped in the assumption that the way to change a system is to fight it. Continue reading

Collaborative Consumption and the Sharing Economy

(First published in “Regenerative Thinking in Action” – April 2014)

A different aspect of the shift to regenerative thinking is the development of a group of value-sharing initiatives that leverage the Internet to deliver value. In their book “What’s Mine is Yours”, Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers identify different forms of collaborative consumption systems including:

  • Product service –  based on users paying for the benefit of using a product without needing to own the product outright.
  • Redistribution – where used or pre-owned goods are passed on from someone who does not want them to someone who does.
  • Collaborative lifestyles – where people with similar needs get together to share and exchange time, space, skills and other intangibles.

Rachel Botsman explains Collaborative Consumption in this TED Talk:

If you’re interested to investigate further, here’s a list of some of the Australian initiatives from planetcentric.

We’re heavily habituated to owning what we need, so exploring for collaborative alternatives can be another way to leverage the opportunity side of regenerative business.  If you need help in developing a new strategic perspective, then Contact Us.