A word to the wise on sustainabilityMarch 2015
Rudyard Kipling once described words as “the most powerful drug used by mankind”. In these days when we’re bombarded on a daily basis – a staggering 100bn work emails are sent every day – you’d think that we might be getting immune to their effect. But it doesn’t seem to be that way. With the online encyclopaedia of life at our fingertips, we’re probably consuming more words – or ‘content’ as it’s called these days – than ever before.
In the CR/sustainability space I often have to sort a lot of wheat from chaff when it comes to my inbox. So when I was told about a new platform, yet another, I was a little skeptical. (After all, I remember the days when I associated the word ‘platform’ only with shoes.)
The site – www.thefuturescentre.org - is the work of Forum for the Future, the sustainability non-profit. It believes that the site will prove a powerful tool for decision makers to track trends, share resources and spot opportunities for sustainable innovation and collaboration. It also hopes that it will increase its impact in sustainability on the global stage.
Yes, it’s wordy and maybe a little blue sky at times, but what’s refreshing about it is that it challenges itself. Instead of long rambling, worthy pieces, they are succinct and include a handy, if cheeky, ‘So what?’ piece which explains the impact or importance of the article you’ve just read in a nice bite-sized format.
The platform aims to work by allowing users to tap into a vast online bank of futures knowledge and monitor change in dynamic fields, such as land-use, manufacturing, ecosystem health and social demographics, “so that they can better understand the challenges in today’s changing world and more easily identify windows of opportunity to accelerate positive change”.??
What I like is the fact that they’ve managed to make it extremely practical. There is so much talk and debate in the CR/sustainability space, that it’s great to see something that is promoting action.
So a piece on drone waiters in Singapore ends with a comment about how automation will have huge implications for business and society, in particular unskilled labour and an article about the displacement of huge numbers of people in Nigeria explains exactly why it matters to us, here and now, on the safe side of the screen.
Sally Uren, ceo, Forum for the Future, said: “Futures techniques enable leaders to look beyond the here and now and see how their organisations might fare in a radically different world.
“For nearly two decades we have been working with our partners to help them understand just how different that world could be, giving them the insights and confidence they need to help prepare for different scenarios.”
Over the next year, the Futures Centre will bring together some of the world’s leading experts to explore a number of critical issues in more detail through “topic hubs”.
The first of these is due to go live in April and will be looking at the future of shipping.
How did Elvis put it? “A little less conversation, a little more action please….A little more bite and a little less bark.”
Sounds good to me!
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