Monthly Archives: December 2010

Passionate about efficiency, recycling and making less stuff

2010 has really run away from me, so I’ve only just read a 2009 article about Peter Drucker at 100 – from the editors of Harvard Business Review. They express a view that I observe in myself and others: we know we should do the right thing – e.g. sustainability – but there’s no passion in “shoulds”, so the challenge is to find what we are passionate about that is also doing good.  It’s encouraging to read that the editors “came away [from the Drucker Institute event] convinced that key business leaders are, in fact, actually trying to make the world a better place”.

I know that I am passionate about certain aspects of sustainability – being efficient, recycling and making less stuff – so I can passionately talk with managers and ask: “wouldn’t you like to do something that would save your organisation money, give you “greenie points” and have your employees and stakeholders proud to be associated with your company?”  – thinking that no sensible manager would be able resist that sort of triple bottom line offer.

Surprisingly, a lot of managers are resistant and I am getting used to the “yes, but…” response, or a rolling of the eyes, so my aim over the Christmas break is to develop a stronger argument for the business case for sustainability.

Speaking of Christmas – which to me used to be a big “waste” time of year – I am enjoying spending up big again with Oxfam Unwrapped, trusting that my spending spree will bring a smile to the faces of my friends and family, as well as helping others live through the next year (a sobering thought).

Best wishes to all for a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

The power in storytelling

Over the past five months I’ve been privileged to facilitate an Innovation Pilot for a not-for-profit organisation.  The aim of the pilot was to work with a group of employees and simultaneously teach them about innovation whilst taking their ideas through the early stages of innovation, from creative ideas to proposal.

Last week, three groups presented their proposals to management and I was impressed and moved at the effort they had put in to be creative in their presentations. One group role-played how they would work with teenagers, so that the managers could imagine how the teenagers would initially react – and how the program would provide benefits.  A second group brought along a range of props so that managers could see and get a real feel for how their proposal would benefit the target audience.  The third group seemed to be delivering a standard “proposal” until they got to their stories – two simple but compelling examples of how specific people could benefit from the program they were proposing.

Their efforts reminded me of  Steve Denning’s story and comments about the power of storytelling.  He comments and that the difference between analysis and narrative is that analysis is objective and “heartless” whilst narrative taps into “the heart that we need to reach to get people enthusiastically into action”.  It certainly seemed to enthuse the managers and I am looking forward to hearing about their progress in the New Year.