the basis of “sustainable” actions

Is it possible to develop a business model that is sustainable? (1)

Yes, I believe it is possible to do so but I propose that, like children, there is need (and benefit) to experiment and try standing-up and taking a few steps here and there, before we can truly be comfortable (and adept) at developing sustainable business models or anything else for that matter.

For sustainability to not just be a “cool” word that we say and append to our sentences, it must be better understood and practiced at an individual level before we venture on to a bigger stage with half-convicted scripts.

Do we ourselves think, act and live sustainably?

The notion of “zero negative impact” – the basis of “sustainable” actions – whether toward the environment or toward ourselves and each other, is powerful, often misunderstood and harder to achieve than it appears. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile goal to reach toward…as when a small pebble hits the very still water surface thus creating ever widening ripples, so will we do so if…

We start with ourselves; understanding and changing what isn’t “sustainable” about our individual thinking and actions and thus, influencing others by our examples. In turn, some will react to this “newness” in an equally unexpected manner thus, influencing conditions and events at a greater scale than would be otherwise possible. And so on…until a tipping point is reached powerful enough to change status-quo at a macro level.

Graph showing Human Development Index and Ecol...

Image via Wikipedia

I know of few things “sustainable” that have been achieved effectively through well-meaning singular programs and protocols. Even if positive and successful at-first, in time these types of small fledging efforts tend to them-selves be impacted (and changed) by others or by business “fads du-jour”.

Unless there is a strong foundation and the momentum that can only be obtained by the power of many thinking & acting in an “instinctive” like-manner – a.k.a. “swarm intelligence”(2) – the influence that creating a stand-alone “sustainable business model” can have, albeit important, will not by itself be that impactful.

(1) Raised by Ana Cristina on a TED discussion
(2) Term from Kevin Kelly’s book “Out-of-Control

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