Positive Whistleblower

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Exposing those who refuse do good! What an interesting idea! A shift in the perspective from exposing dishonest or illegal activities (misconduct). Gunter Pauli says, “It’s a problem that people do bad – worse is that people refuse to do good”. It is not enough to stop negative attitudes. We need positive actions. Asking someone to do less harm is simply not enough.  According to Gunter Pauli, a shift in thinking is required “from doing less bad to committing to do more good”

Several courageous whistleblowers have exposed violations of laws, rules, regulations, or direct threats to public interests, such as fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption. Whistle blowers frequently face illegal actions against them, sometimes at the hands of the organisation or group that they have accused, sometimes from related organizations, and sometimes under law. Whistleblowers are prepared to risk their careers and they have the guts to think and act. A number of movies have been made on the subject of the whistleblower: All the President’s Men, The Insider, Fair Game, The Whistleblower, Chasing Madof, Silkwood, Enron: the smartests guys in the room.

But it is enough to fight bad practices? What about all those situations and actions that are signs of a refusal to do good?  Spotting and detecting actions that lead to waste or not a fruitful use of resources, human or natural resources, requires a different approach. Bad results are often more apparently and visual. Few people are trained in detecting opportunities from a description of problems.

A positive whistleblower may expose companies who do not do good by using their waste (Gunter Pauli uses an example from instant coffee producers). Burning waste instead of looking for good ways of using it is not a positive action. And it is a missed opportunity to make more money. A shift from preventing companies and organisations to make money to actively search for opportunities to make more money, while working towards better conditions for employees and the environment. So go ahead and be a positive whistleblower today. And if you are a movie maker, well, we like to see movies about POSITIVE WHISTLEBLOWERS!

To read more about how to detect opportunities look at our eBook.

Go here, here or here to read more about Gunter Pauli, Blue Economy, and Innovative Thinking.

Photo: “Eye Of Earth” by Idea go

Gunter Pauli – Blue Economy and Innovation

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Entrepreneur Gunter Pauli’s believes that “What is necessary for life should be free”.  Inspired by natural systems, where renewable energy and full employment is the aim, Gunter Pauli has been searching for the science that can be used as a foundation for business models to achieve that vision.

Go here or here to read more about Gunter Pauli, Blue Economy, and Innovative Thinking. And to look at our new eBook go here

Photo: “Earth In Grass” by basketman

Earth Day and Constructive Thinking

Actions Speak Louder than Words

The annual Earth Day is marked by a mix of ideas ranging from inspired initiatives to shameless ideas where the purpose it to get us to buy even more.  “Together, we can help to make Every Day Earth Day!” is a great idea but when it is put next to signs, where the price has been reduced on bottles of water (an article about the impact of bottled water can be found here). Well, maybe it was not such a great idea after all.

The goal to get one billion Green Acts on Earth Day is a step in the right direction. You can sign up and commit yourself to make a change. Actions speak louder than words. You can promise yourself to turn off the water when you brush your teeth, plant a tree, or hold an Earth –Day Event to mention a few ideas.

Yet, choosing actions that makes a long-term difference to the conditions on Earth is difficult to say the least. So many factors interact and influence each other and determining the best action is not easy. Every action has a consequence and the effects are often always easy to predict. Is it better to buy locally produced food and prevent people in developing country from selling the food in your local shop? It might seem like a great idea until someone points out that the farmer in the developing country will then exploit the soil more to increase the profit to support the family. They may test GM crop and this will affect the market price on food in your country, which will. . .  well, vicious circles are difficult to break and making the right choice is not easy.

Consider Different Aspects

Turning your attention to different aspects of a problem is a vital skill. However, it is a skill that it is easy to overestimate. We tend to believe that we have explored the problem from all angles. Yet, it is vital to stop and reflect on the thinking so far.

Traditions and old ways of doing things are part of our culture and of our thinking. Take a subject such as architecture. We expect that architects should be great designers, and good  at mathematics and physics. Most of the training of architects consists of physics and mathematics. Yet, biology is the base of health on Earth. The position of the sun may be taken into account especially if you are building the northern hemisphere where the numbers of south facing windows are important. But mostly architects look at factors such as the volume, surface area, and the number of rooms. Viewing a building as part of an ecosystem where the flows need to be taken into account. Flows are factors such as air, light, sound, matter, energy, occupants, and water. The health of a person is vital when designing a house and the flows influences our health and well being. The ways architects are educated influence our health and well-being and the problem spreads though the society.

Gunter Pauli says that natural systems always use flow in their designs. Interactions between different flows are also part of nature. Using these principles to design our society will provide us with solutions that natural systems have been sign for millions of years. These buildings would be more than green they would enhance well-being and create a balance between humans and ecosystems. Leonard da Vinci was one of the first architects that stressed the importance of flow and the imagined cites that was designed based upon the flows of water, waste, and people.  Leonardo took the surrounding of the building into account and the garden was regarded as part of the house.

Twist and Turn

Exploring a subject before making a decision is part of everyday life. Many of us check and compare prices on different items before we buy them. Other aspects in the decision may change the way you select items or even the way you shop. Including new factors and aspects is not easy. Often knowledge about factors that influence a process is not enough to gain new insights. Twisting and turning aspects such as looking at a building from above, underneath, inside and outside may help you to include vital factors. And so may turning and twisting your everyday actions – today, and tomorrow.

In the book “Blue Economy” by Gunter Pauli you can read about ways to use the wisdom of science and combine it with art and beauty. Gunter Pauli directs the “Zero Emissions Research Initiative” (ZERI), which is a network of creative minds seeking solutions to world challenges. He describes himself as a person with a mission with passion.

Photo: Abstract Background With World Map by maple

Innovations – The Blue Economy Approach

 
 

Today’s world is characterised by quick and dramatic changes. This means that there is a constant search for new ideas. Yet, there is a difference between innovation and ideas. Most of us have ideas, some of them good, other not so good.

Miguel de Icaza, the founder of the GNOME and Mono projects makes the following distinction between ideas and innovation.

“Are ideas innovations?  Everyone has ideas.…  For an idea or an innovation to a have a practical effect, they need to go beyond the discussion at the lunch table with your friends and become a reality.”

Innovation means to introduce something new or a new approach to doing something. Creativity and the generation of ideas is only a part of the innovation process. Generating new ideas can be a conscious approach where you use methods such as brainstorming or more focused approaches such as random words to generate ideas. Out of 1 000 ideas, 100 may be good, 10 may be practical and one out of these 1 000 ideas may actually be carried out.

So innovations are implemented ideas and not acting on great ideas can have devastating effects for a company. The company Kodak developed over the course of a number of years many good, and quite a few brilliant ideas. They had a creativity room to inspire their employees to come up with ideas. And they did come up with ideas such as digital photography. Yet, these ideas were not implemented and they did not result in any innovation. The company wanted to be sure that the idea was brilliant enough to earn the company more money. This is a serious problem and not acting upon ideas can mean that a company is declared bankrupt and so can of course engaging in risky projects.

Inventions can be the fruit of a creative spark or the result of fixing a problem. It can also be the result of a focused approach where the search for new ideas is directed towards a certain area. The Blue Economy began as a deliberate search for 100 nature-inspired innovations. The innovation should provide basic needs for humans such as food and jobs. Many of these innovations are fascinating to study by themselves. The idea was to integrate them with real world economies.

The innovations had to be beneficial to the people.Criteria such as substitute something with nothing mean an active search for ideas that do not use any resource for the production. Moreover, waste does not exist and by-products are the source for a new product. These criteria may seem like huge restrictions to select ideas that can be worked upon. In the Blue Economy approach, the inspiration and source for the selecting ideas comes from innovations that are based on ideas that are generated by studying nature. This approach is opposite to what most of you reading this blog post may be looking for. You want to get the ideas so that you can discover an innovation.

So is it possible to work in the other direction? Set up the criteria for what you want and then actively open up the thinking by direction the focus at certain areas. It is possible to use random inspiration and then apply your rules. Linking two concepts and creating a new one.

Deliberately narrowing down the number of ideas that can be generated by putting up criteria for the ideas such as design a life-west that pulls a person towards the nearest coast. Using this criterion, you could use random words to generate ideas ways to search for the nearest coast. Many of the suggestions may not be possible directly to apply to a life-west. However, the idea is to work backwards and ensure that the criterion is included in the idea. Thinking process could be described as an opening and closing of doors. In some cases, you need to explore all possibilities, while in other cases; you need to close gates.

By setting up criteria for the idea generation you are limiting the effects of using a random word or picture as inspiration. However, by using knowledge and actively searching for a certain type of idea you may be able to get new insights. In the Blue Economy, the focus is on searching for ideas by studying nature. Restrictions helps to focus the attention and then random inspiration and the hard work can begin.

Photo: Transparent Globe by digitalart

Blue Economy and Positive Thinking

Positive Steps

New ideas and suggestions to solving problems are always interesting to examine. In many cases, there is a lack of obvious signs of the idea or suggestion making any real change. Sometime this way of looking at new ideas can be deceptive. Often new human resource management ideas are regarded as old wine in a new bottle. Yet, the new concepts may take time to implement and the real changes may take time to measure and see.

Sometimes a new idea is a large step away from our previous way of solving or looking upon a problem. The ideas behind the concept Blue Economy is of the latter character. A positive step away from our previous way of looking upon economy, profit, and our Earth.

Belgian Gunter Pauli is the author of the book “The Blue Economy” and he is the founder of ZERI (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives). Could Blue Economy replace the ideas linked to the concept Green Economy? Well, the approach contains a new way of looking and searching for ideas and conducting business. Pauli was responsible for construction of Europe’s first “ecological factory”. He discovered that the cultivation of oil palms that was used in the company Ecover’s products was damaging Indonesia’s primary forests. By using the ideas from Green Economy as a stepping stone, Pauli, has developed a new approach that if it does not remove at least it minimises the impact that a business has on the environment.

Improving upon Ideas

A positive approach where previous ideas were used as a foundation to develop solutions for sustainable product innovation and business models. Pauli believes that every idea and solution can be improved upon. The Green Economy approach may have lead to major changes in the way we conduct business. Yet, further steps in the right direct needs to be taken and Pauli suggest an approach where sustainability is the result of a production process that is integrated as an ecosystem.

In contrast to Green Economy where the focus is on developing methods that are environmental friendly for the production of resources, Blue Economy strives towards getting rid of the need to use resource. A new way of looking for solutions and inspiration can be found by examining how nature solves problems. A co-evolution with nature is the goal where solutions and ideas should be sought that meet the basic needs of all species. Learning how nature solves problems and how different species interact with each other is an overall approach that involves positive thinking solutions. These solutions will in the end not only benefit humans but all living creatures. This is a step away from Green economy, which is based upon the needs and benefits of humans.

Learning from Nature

Green Economy is based upon the idea that people are willing to pay more for products that are produced in an environmental friendly manner. This may work when the economy is blossoming but more can be done to improve the conditions. This approach needs to be embraced. Our thinking and search for new solutions should not stop because an improvement has been made.

Environmental friendly batteries may be an excellent approach but an even better idea is not use a battery at all. All batteries use metal and other resources. By using body heat a German company the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology in Germany has developed a cell phone prototype that works without a battery. We often use our cell phones close to our bodies and the temperature outside is often higher or lower and electricity can be generated from the heat difference

The goal is to create businesses that relies on less investment and has less impact on resources. Searching and looking for innovations that are based upon ideas from nature are a better approach until this idea is taken to another level. Blue Economy is not the end product. This idea can be improved upon by a positive search and exploration of new insights. Maybe, that is the real power in Pauli’s approach to life and his way of conducting business.


Photo: World by Danilo Rizzuti