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Fairmount Santrol Professor of Social Entrepreneurship David Cooperrider provides his insight on current articles relating to Business as an Agent of World Benefit.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

Citi has increasingly focused on environmental sustainability, with investments into such financing increasing over the past several years. Such financing swelled from $4.29 billion in 2008 to $8.78 billion in 2013, according to Citigroup’s global citizenship report. That report showed that the bank lends the most to solar projects, while wind and energy efficiency projects also receives sizable investments. In total, Citi's announcement of $100 billion for green initiatives represents a dramatic leap, even as the price of oil plummets. 

Citigroup sets aside $100 billion for green initiatives

Citigroup sets aside $100 billion for green initiatives

Bank sets target to finance green initiatives over the next decade
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

Ray Kurzweil's exponential technology thesis is now being applied in the solar industry, and some of the analyst conclusions are stunning. They are being used to recommend stocks, such as Solar City. Here is just one conclusion: solar PV technology only needs to improve at its historical rate for only 16 more years to fulfill near 100% of the world's energy needs. There is absolutely no reason to think that an S curve inflection point will occur within this 16 year timeframe. Many individuals likely find it too absurd that solar will displace the massive fossil fuels generation industry within the next decade and a half, and so subconsciously assume that the S curve inflection point of solar PV growth should occur before such a thing happens. Besides purely emotional reasons, there is no logical reason to believe that such a thing should occur within the next 16 years.

How SolarCity Sees The Future Playing Out And the Exponential Opportunity in Motion

How SolarCity Sees The Future Playing Out And the Exponential Opportunity in Motion

To summarize, solar PV technology only needs to improve at its historical rate for only 16 more years to fulfill near 100% of the world's energy needs (as was stated before, corner cases will likely stick around for longer). There is absolutely no reason to think that an S curve inflection point will occur within this 16 year timeframe. Many individuals likely find it too absurd that solar will displace the massive fossil fuels generation industry within the next decade and a half, and so subconsciously assume that the S curve inflection point of solar PV growth should occur before such a thing happens. Besides purely emotional reasons, there is no logical reason to believe that such a thing should occur within the next 16 years.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

One of the "problems" with reductionist problem solving is that the deficit-based theory of change narrows our attention, and often smuggles in a machine-metaphor of "fixing" parts that don't work, and then we are surprised: we are saddled with a problematizing process that digs us into a black hole.  So how about the talk of spraying a substance into the atmosphere to bring down Co2 emissions? A University of Chicago geophysicist addresses studies advocating the idea of geoengineering and calls it more than mad. He says: ""The nearly two years' worth of reading and animated discussions that went into this study have convinced me more than ever that the idea of 'fixing' the climate by hacking the Earth's reflection of sunlight is wildly, utterly, howlingly barking mad," panel member Raymond Pierrehumbert, a University of Chicago geophysicist, wrote in Slate."   

Oil will flow like milk and honey--and so does that leave us with geo-engineering climate change?

Oil will flow like milk and honey--and so does that leave us with geo-engineering climate change?

"The nearly two years' worth of reading and animated discussions that went into this study have convinced me more than ever that the idea of 'fixing' the climate by hacking the Earth's reflection of sunlight is wildly, utterly, howlingly barking mad," panel member Raymond Pierrehumbert, a University of Chicago geophysicist, wrote in Slate.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

CEO Tim Cook knows that renewable energy is a huge business value, yet he is arguing that Apple's commitment to it is for ecological reasons. The fact is it's both: good for the world and good for business. And the end game is clear: the largest company in the world is becoming 100% powered by renewable energy. 


Apple’s California solar farm, called the First Solar California Flats Solar Project, is the largest solar procurement deal by a company that’s not a utility. It is also the first wholesale commercial and industrial power-purchase (PPA) agreement for First Solar, which signed a 25-year PPA with Pacific Gas and Electric.

“Over time, the renewable energy from California Flats will provide cost savings over alternative sources of energy as well as substantially lower environmental impact,” said Joe Kishkill, Chief Commercial Officer for First Solar, in a statement. “Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

Apple’s New Headquarters Will Be Powered Entirely By The Sun

Apple’s New Headquarters Will Be Powered Entirely By The Sun

Apple’s California solar farm, called the First Solar California Flats Solar Project, is the largest solar procurement deal by a company that’s not a utility. It is also the first wholesale commercial and industrial power-purchase (PPA) agreement for First Solar, which signed a 25-year PPA with Pacific Gas and Electric.
“Over time, the renewable energy from California Flats will provide cost savings over alternative sources of energy as well as substantially lower environmental impact,” said Joe Kishkill, Chief Commercial Officer for First Solar, in a statement. “Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.
Does cheap oil spell doom and setback for renewables. This answer says NO. Why? Because even at cheap prices, now, renewables will eventually be almost free. As Bloomberg's Michael Liebreich recently said, "The story should not be how falling oil prices will impact the shift to clean energy, it should be how the shift to clean energy is impacting the oil price." Ultimately, the next economy can only thrive on power that is nearly free, inexhaustible, that does not contribute to systemic risks such as climate change and a toxic atmosphere, and that can be sourced nearly anywhere with a relative minimum of effort. Only solar PV, and to a slightly lesser extent wind, can reach this extraordinary level of economic efficiency. The writing is indeed on the wall, and the days of high market correlation between tech power and fossil power will soon be behind us.

Cheap Oil and the Next Economy

“Next economics posits that for the global economy and earth's tolerances/carrying capacities to run in a mutually tolerable equilibrium, we must continue to make rapid advances in economic efficiencies in all sectors.”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.
Emulating life's genius requires a humility that reverses--instead of learning about nature the design mind wants to learn from nature. It's a bit like sitting at the feet of a master. For example: Life Creates Conditions Conducive to life- Life wholistically cleans nourishes and sustains the environment while preserving its own species and the systems around it for thousands of generations in the future. - See more at: http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2014/12/12-sustainable-design-ideas-from-nature.html#sthash.YudtRhJA.dpuf
12 Sustainable Design Ideas From Nature

12 Sustainable Design Ideas From Nature

““In this inspiring talk about recent developments in biomimicry, Janine Benyus provides heartening examples of ways in which nature is already influencing the products and systems we build.”-TEDx”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

I love this article by Denis Hayes, President of the Bullitt Foundation. Could it be that of all the "things" that people build, cities are the most important? And I agree:

 

Cities are the largest things we build, and most people now live in them. But that’s not why cities are our most important invention. 

Cities matter because they represent our greatest hope for long-term survival, not only for humans but for all species. They offer the best chance to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, provide shelter and community for the world’s growing human population, and protect rural habitat for species in decline. 


But to make this hope a reality, we must recognize that cities — and people — are part of nature and subject to the same laws as the rest of nature. 


For too long we have ignored the relationships between built and natural environments. Economic development has focused on “taming the wilderness” with technology. And while the “wilderness” is strikingly diverse, urban technology has been disturbingly monocultural. 

Cities are the greatest hope for our planet

Cities are the greatest hope for our planet

Of all the things people build, cities are the most important. 

Cities are the largest things we build, and most people now live in them. But that’s not why cities are our most important invention. 

Cities matter because they represent our greatest hope for long-term survival, not only for humans but for all species. They offer the best chance to dramatically reduce carbon pollution, provide shelter and community for the world’s growing human population, and protect rural habitat for species in decline. 

But to make this hope a reality, we must recognize that cities — and people — are part of nature and subject to the same laws as the rest of nature. 

For too long we have ignored the relationships between built and natural environments. Economic development has focused on “taming the wilderness” with technology. And while the “wilderness” is strikingly diverse, urban technology has been disturbingly monocultural. 
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

We have all heard of BHAG's--big hairy audacious goals--but where do they come from? The true source is impossible questions--heretical questions--big hairy audacious questions. So more attention should be placed on creative questions, not the goals themselves. But it is not something we teach managers. This article shares great examples. Take Oldani...


Davide Oldani, chef at Ristorante D'O, thought it unfair that only wealthier people could afford top-quality food, while most Michelin-starred restaurants run at a loss. He wanted to create a restaurant with at least one Michelin star, aimed at 'the ordinary man', offering complete lunches and complete dinners for $25 and $45 respectively. The starred restaurant also had to be profitable. His restaurant is booked 1.5 years in advance, the ordinary man dines there, Davide makes a profit and has created an entirely new culinary movement called Cucina POP. 


The positive energy of impossible questions

Now you could say: "Such things are only reserved for a select group of brilliant entrepreneurs." But nothing could be further from the truth. The author of this article said: "I decided to see for myself and conducted an experiment. Whenever I had to deliver a workshop or speech, I started with one of the questions above. I outlined the situation of Dr. V. or Davide Oldani and presented the audience with impossible demands by asking them: “How would you tackle that?” It was amazing to witness what happened each time. There was an energetic, almost mischievous ambience in the room. The buzz increased and twenty or thirty ideas were soon proposed. Special, creative and enterprising ideas from enthusiastic people. It was very different when I asked the following question: "You have a Michelin-starred restaurant and are making a loss of around 10%. How are you going to resolve that? How will you reduce costs by 10%?" The answers to that question were just as boring and obligatory as the energy within the room.The list of ideas was significantly shorter. "

 


 

 

The Positive Energy of BHAQ's

The Positive Energy of BHAQ's

Davide Oldani, chef at Ristorante D'O, thought it unfair that only wealthier people could afford top-quality food, while most Michelin-starred restaurants run at a loss. He wanted to create a restaurant with at least one Michelin star, aimed at 'the ordinary man', offering complete lunches and complete dinners for $25 and $45 respectively. The starred restaurant also had to be profitable. His restaurant is booked 1.5 years in advance, the ordinary man dines there, Davide makes a profit and has created an entirely new culinary movement called Cucina POP. 

The positive energy of impossible questions

Now you could say: "Such things are only reserved for a select group of brilliant entrepreneurs." But nothing could be further from the truth. I decided to see for myself and conducted an experiment. Whenever I had to deliver a workshop or speech, I started with one of the questions above. I outlined the situation of Dr. V. or Davide Oldani and presented the audience with impossible demands by asking them: “How would you tackle that?” It was amazing to witness what happened each time. There was an energetic, almost mischievous ambience in the room. The buzz increased and twenty or thirty ideas were soon proposed. Special, creative and enterprising ideas from enthusiastic people. It was very different when I asked the following question: "You have a Michelin-starred restaurant and are making a loss of around 10%. How are you going to resolve that? How will you reduce costs by 10%?" The answers to that question were just as boring and obligatory as the energy within the room. And the list of ideas was significantly shorter. 
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

Design thinking is changing the world and the world of fashion too. Imagine just one thing in your wardrobe...but it can become 1,000s of styles, just by changing the software. Now this is a stylish approach to de-materialization.

 

This article says: "Instead of 10,000 skirts, for example. we could sell 500 skirts, but then could sell thousands of patterns that you download to your skirt."

Smart textiles and digital fashion: How about just one dress...but lots of digital patterns?

Smart textiles and digital fashion: How about just one dress...but lots of digital patterns?

Francesca Rosella of CuteCircuit claims advances in "smart" fabrics will allow us to download new styles for our clothes rather than buying new garments.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

Paul Hawken's new book is attracting lots of attention.

 

Project Drawdown will begin as a lavishly illustrated book and online database, to be released late next year. Its purpose is to re-frame the climate debate, by showing that solving the climate crisis will bring, not sacrifice, but “more security, more prosperity, more jobs, more well-being and better health,” Hawken said.

 

“Drawdown is about technologies and solutions that are in place, understood, measured, documented and growing,” Hawken told me by phone. “This is a path to opportunity and wellbeing, as opposed to a tax or a loss.”

 

Ordinarily, the announcement of a new book would not by itself be newsworthy, but Hawken has had so much influence over corporate sustainability in the US that his work merits attention. His books, The Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism, the latter written with Amory Lovins and L Hunter Lovins, were among the first to point the way towards a sustainable global economy. He has advised CEOs at Ford, Walmart and Interface, the carpet company. At Greenbuild, which attracts 23,000 people, he’ll interview billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer and Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, key allies in the climate debate

First look: environmental entrepreneur Paul Hawken's long-awaited new book

First look: environmental entrepreneur Paul Hawken's long-awaited new book

Project Drawdown will begin as a lavishly illustrated book and online database, to be released late next year. Its purpose is to re-frame the climate debate, by showing that solving the climate crisis will bring, not sacrifice, but “more security, more prosperity, more jobs, more well-being and better health,” Hawken said.

“Drawdown is about technologies and solutions that are in place, understood, measured, documented and growing,” Hawken told me by phone. “This is a path to opportunity and wellbeing, as opposed to a tax or a loss.”

Ordinarily, the announcement of a new book would not by itself be newsworthy, but Hawken has had so much influence over corporate sustainability in the US that his work merits attention. His books, The Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism, the latter written with Amory Lovins and L Hunter Lovins, were among the first to point the way towards a sustainable global economy. He has advised CEOs at Ford, Walmart and Interface, the carpet company. At Greenbuild, which attracts 23,000 people, he’ll interview billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer and Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, key allies in the climate debate