The Good Carbon Society: a tulip blossoms
Posted on 22 November 2013 by Wouter Kersten in Blog
After some first deliberations in the previous two blogs on a New vision, my visit to the Sustainable Innovation conference that took place on on 4-5 November gave me even more ingredients for further elaboration. As an appetizer: at the end of this article you will know how I answer the question “What is the connection between Honey and Successful Innovation?” The official highlights of the conference can be found here. As always, I additionally did some cherry picking for own use.
The basic explanation of “The Good Carbon Society”
To recap from my last blog, what is the basic line of reasoning behind the term “Good Carbon Society”? It is this: the value of money is eventually all translated in improving Quality of Life. We can easily interpret this is “…of all living things”, because our lives depend on them. Living things are organic, and organic life form’s important component is carbon. So, we should actually strive for a society where Carbon is celebrated, but only the right type of carbon. That is the key.
Now, I have added additional ingredients: positive framing, a modernisation of the ‘3P model’ and as an automatic extension, taking extensive inspiration from nature.
Framing and an advanced version of ‘Triple P’
One of the presentations in short featured three guidelines for the future: breaking assumptions, transforming thinking and stretching aspirations. I would like to add: changing the framing. We are bombarded with terms like Low-Carbon, reduction and zero, which are all very negative sounding terms. This disempowers people. What if we go for ‘Increase effectiveness’, ‘maximise Good Carbon’, ‘Hero’? Positive framing empowers people; it’s a well researched fact.
Another metaphor that could do with some upgrading is the oversimplification of sustainability. Its traditional symbol is a simple triangle, with three seemingly clear spheres, People, Planet, Profit, which need to be – bless us – balanced. However, a much more integrated view would be achieved if we strive for the more automatically intertwined goals of Regenerative eco-systems, Quality of Life and Secured Livelihood.
Extensive inspiration from Nature
That is not all. I was triggered once again by the term Butterfly Economy, as mentioned by Martin Charter, organiser of the conference. The emphasis lies on light touch and for me also, creative upcycling, much like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Here are some other ingredients, in part inspired on what I heard:
- Look at Ants as Makers and Fixers and consider that their combined biomass weight is similar or larger than that of humans, with a vastly more positive impact on eco-systems. What can we learn from that and give these lessons a human touch?
- Bees are cross pollinating masters and thereby contribute hugely to human food supply since 1/3 is the result of insect pollination, the majority performed by bees. Might we use the metaphor for the power of taking ideas from flower to flower?
- Nature is full of smart and social connections that are not overly managed but harmoniously orchestrated. Can we use that in our efforts to increase our own innovative capacity?
- Spider web threads are fully natural and 10.000 times stronger and more efficient than anything we make and I don’t see them transforming into a plastic soup that pollutes our water bodies.
- The power of working in groups: two people make one connection, four people make 6 (!) connections. Return on Social Collaboration…
- Finally, a suggestion was made that the Rise of Collaboration may lead to the End of Profit. Or rather, the end of Mega Financial Profit, very likely to the benefit of other types of Profit. Nature seems to do very well without intransparent, unintelligible, havoc creating, greenback based mechanisms.
One could go on and on. The point is, if nature can utilise its everlasting “Good carbon”-based strengths, then why can’t we? Aren’t we supposed to be the intelligent ones?
… and what about the honey?
As a final example of what making new connections can lead to, what was the one between honey and successful innovation? Well, bees are the Masters of Cross Pollination, i.e., spreading ‘ideas’. And what is the result, besides happy flowers and happy people? Honey.
Quiz question: what is the only food stock in the world that does not go bad? You might have guessed by now: honey. Is there a lesson in that? Well, I would say it is this: if you cross pollinate, i.e., spread ideas, your effort results in 1. Food for thought, 2. Food for survival and 3. creation of something everlasting. Case made.
I welcome more thoughts that can help to create the creativity enhanced Good Carbon Society along lines of thought, and practice, like outlined above.