Sustainability & Greening

Generativity, in General

March 28, 2014

Tweet The word ‘generative’ may be unfamiliar to many business people, but the quality of generativity is something we’ve sought in our companies and our work practices for a long time.   Something is generative when it’s able to create something new, something original, or something alive. A generative idea produces new ideas, a generative process […]

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Three Design Principles for Generative Business

March 20, 2014

Tweet As I was being nudged to consider whether the term “boost” really captured the central dynamic of generative businesses, I realized that it actually only represented the very first element of what it takes to be generative. Note: Since this is more like an essay than a post, I’ve added some jumps so that […]

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What Makes Digital Tech Companies Models of Generativity?

March 13, 2014

Tweet Buffer, WordPress, AirBnB, Waze, LoveWithFood, ModCloth, Etsy— so many of the organizations I’m using as examples of generative businesses share a similar profile: They are relatively small, young, organized around a core software process or product, filled with coders and developers, and part of a specific tech community. Why is generativity such a defining […]

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Why Zipcar Is Not the “Sharing Economy”

January 9, 2013

Zipcar isn’t a sharing business, so it can’t create the sharing economy. Who can? Businesses that support customer-to-customer relationships and reciprocal caring.

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Balancing Profit and Purpose at Whole Foods: Red Fish Blue Fish

September 24, 2010

Tweet Jessi Schoner, a researcher at University of Minnesota’s eWorkPlace and a reader, sent me an interesting article about Whole Food’s efforts to nudge customers towards more sustainable choices of seafood. Whole Foods … is launching the first in-store color-coded sustainable seafood rating program this week. … The system relies on three colors–green (“best choice”), […]

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Is your organization flourishing or withering?

September 22, 2010

Tweet Organizations are organic things — they are born, they die, they suffer and they thrive. But very few organizations flourish. Organizations that flourish are rare creatures. We find them where business goals are tied to larger purpose, where larger purpose is linked to community needs, and where individuals’ authentic selves are nourished by and […]

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Implicit Complicity and “Negative Spillover”: Reputation Damage from BP’s Oil Spill Crisis

June 30, 2010

Tweet What do birds, beaches, and Chevron have in common? They have been “tarred by the same gush” of “negative spillover” from BP’s Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. In one of the weirder cases of a collision between literal and figurative language, the “negative spillover” of BPs Deepwater Horizon crisis is soiling not only birds and beaches, […]

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BP’s Bravest Brandividual: What could be motivating Darryl Willis?

June 22, 2010

Tweet If you’ve been paying attention to BP’s “Making it right” newspaper advertising, or if you’ve seen BP’s recent television advertising, you’ve seen BP’s new Brandividual Darryl Willis. Aside from Tony Hayward, BP’s walking PR disaster CEO, Darryl Willis is the only person with a name shown by BPs own advertisements as being in charge […]

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BP’s Beyond Petroleum: Hypocrisy, or caught in the act of learning?

June 17, 2010

Tweet Some people actually believe(d) that BP was making an authentic effort to move “Beyond Petroleum”. I was quite surprised to discover this early in June, in conversation with an organizational change consultant who specializes is sustainability change. This consultant explained that, in contrast to other energy companies that he had worked with, BP was […]

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Authentic CSR: Should Dawn publicize its involvement in Oiled Bird Rescue?

June 10, 2010

Tweet Procter & Gamble and its Dawn Dishwashing Liquid are the targets of criticism and cynicism for their efforts to help the International Bird Rescue Research Center save birds who have been wounded by BP’s Oil Spill. While I’m quick to criticize any organization that promotes its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts when all they […]

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