25 Jun Reinventing Sustainability
Why is it that some organisations are able to achieve seemingly unbelievable things in the domains of sustainability and social impact, whereas others using similar practices fail to make a meaningful difference? This article explores why organisations should not only consider ‘what’ needs to be done – but also consider ‘who’ they need to be to fully realise their sustainability aspirations.
I’m a brewer, and love my home brewing. I’m in awe of the process, brewing usually takes half a day to do, and requires a delicate mix of skill and theory. There are many variables: sterilisation is critical, the water temperature needs to be carefully managed to extract sugar from the grain, and care must be taken when preparing and adding ingredients to bring out the desired colour, aromas and flavours.
One thing that many people don’t appreciate about brewing is that it’s a chemical reaction. Making beer isn’t a simple process of mixing things together. It’s a transformational process – converting sugars into alcohol, something that anyone today can easily master with the right experience, tools and ingredients.
But it wasn’t always this easy. Although people have been brewing beer for thousands of years, for most of that time, the catalyst for fermentation was a mystery – a practice blind spot of the brewing process. Some families and businesses were able to mass produce beer, whereas others who had all of the same ingredients and techniques simply couldn’t get it to work. It wasn’t until 1857 when Pasteur discovered the active catalyst for fermentation was yeast, that brewing underwent a fundamental paradigm shift, making it accessible to everyone.
In many ways, I feel like this story is symbolic of where we are today with the sustainability challenge. It’s quite likely we have all the right bits readily available and the real challenge now turns to discovering how we can overcome our practice blind spots to catalyse a better future.
In this article, I wanted to share what is emerging for me as one of the major blind spots of sustainability – the inner condition of our organisations. How do different organisations, with different leadership styles, worldviews, values and culture influence real world sustainability outcomes? And how can organisational development help to close the gap between sustainability aspirations and performance?
Read the full article at Enlivening Edge.