Boundaries and Borders: Do They Enrich or Imprison Us?

by Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

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We live in a world of boundaries – a term that can be defined in many ways:

  • A dividing line.
  • A point or limit that indicates where two things become different.
  • Frontiers inviting exploration and development.

Some boundaries appear on maps as divisions between countries.   Others are physical, such as fences or walls.  In recent years technology has removed many of the boundaries that separated us in the past.  However, internal or psychological boundaries seem to have become more entrenched now than ever before.  And since boundaries of any type can enrich or imprison us, the question I am exploring this month is this:  How can we ensure that the boundaries which frame us are generative rather than limiting?

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Webinar with Sustainable Frontiers author Dr. Professor Wayne Visser

SustfrontJoin the Sustainability Management Association’s webinar with the world leading expert on sustainable business Dr Wayne Visser, which will focus on how business can be a catalyst for a sustainable future. Dr. Visser will review the essential messages of his new book, Sustainable Frontiers: Unlocking Change through Business, Leadership and Innovation (Greenleaf Publishing, 2015).

 

 

Date and Time: September 2, 2015 at 9:00 Pacific Standard Time Zone
Title: Sustainable Frontiers: Unlocking Change through Business, Leadership and Innovation Continue reading

Challenges in Multi-Stakeholder Debates

by Dr. Katrin Muff

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

We have focused our discussion over the past few months to argue for, and establish, the need for a common space where burning societal issues can be resolved among concerned stakeholders. We looked at positive and negative implications, dangers and opportunities.

The back and forth between Kathy Miller who lives in North America, and me in Europe has stopped for a couple of months. This is unusual and a first in our 18 months continued conversation on this blog. It got stuck on my end. I have not been able to write. A couple of things occurred in parallel: first of all, I was absorbed in a complex multi-stakeholder process here at BSL that broadly discussed a potential new governance structure for the school. Secondly, Europe has been paralyzed by the Greek economic situation and the ongoing negotiations with Brussels that read and felt like a thriller, an ongoing thriller. Somehow, I lost my voice in all of this. This blog is an effort to regain my voice and to attempt a hesitant path on uncharted territory (German: “Neuland” or “new land”). I’ll do this looking at the Greek situation.

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Large Systems Change: an emerging field of transformation and transitions

Steve Waddell, Principal, NetworkingAction

This article was first posted on the NetworkingAction blog. See the original here.

What is meant by “large systems change (LSC)?” How can we “do it” much better? What must change and what are the strategies to realize it? What does a comprehensive picture of the field of LSC knowledge and methods look like? These are some of the questions that a just-published Special Issue of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship on LSC investigates. Contributors include David Snowden, Mari Fitzduff, Otto Scharmer, Rajesh Tandon, Pieter Glasbergen and Derk Loorbach.

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Memes and Large System Change

Sandra Waddock, Boston College 2015

In 1976 evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene invented the term ‘meme,’ to represent the basic unit of cultural information that replicates from one person to another. Dawkins sought a term that resembled the basic building block of life—the gene—for the basic building block of culture—the meme. Memes generate the complex ideas and other units of information that form into complexes, called memeplexes by Susan Blackmore in her book The Meme Machine. Such memeplexes become our belief systems, ideologies, cultures, stories, shared values and norms, and common (or not) understandings, among other things. The core idea of the successful meme is that it transfers from one person to another, like genes, reasonably intact.

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Complexity, Collapse and Large Systems Change

Sandra Waddock, Boston College  2015

Large systems change is arguably needed if the world is to transition from its current unsustainable business-as-usual trajectory toward a socio-political-economic system that creates a sustainable enterprise economy. As the special issue of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship (Issue 58) on Large Systems Change makes clear, such transitions are uncertain and difficult. Further, the collapse of numerous previous human civilizations in the past tells us that system changes are not always in the direction of sustainability. The question we wanted to raise with the special issue is how can we, as participants in the system, begin to bring about change in the direction of sustainability rather than its opposite?

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Sustainable Frontiers: Launch Events

SustfrontSustainable Frontiers:
Unlocking Change for Transforming Business and Technology

Wayne Visser
June 2015, Greenleaf Publishing
www.sustainablefrontiers.net

 


Sustainable Frontiers throws down the gauntlet to business to step up to be the catalyst for a sustainable future. It presents eight keys to unlocking transformational change through leadership, enterprise, innovation, transparency, engagement, responsibility, integration and future-fitness. Far from being another tame review of corporate social responsibility and sustainable business initiatives, the book dispels the myths of sustainability and challenges us to let go of old systems that are failing to deliver economic, social and environmental transformation. It gets to the heart of why the sustainability and CSR movements have failed in the past and offers a new view of how sustainable business practices can shape-shift to make a genuine difference inside and outside organisations.

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