Change, nature and business strategy

This is a hawthorn bush in the Permaculture project at Schumacher College in Devon. I'm spending the week at the college working on the 'Profit and Principles' course; a collaboration between Schumacher and Ashridge.

As we run up towards Copenhagen, the collision of economic and sustainability mindsets might find some resolution in the permaculture project which has been nurtured for 15 years on the Schumacher site.  Permaculture features a regime of diverse planting and has all the appearance of the lazy man's garden; you might even think the garden is out of control...

In fact the intervention of the gardener is deliberately minimal; by working with nature rather than fighting it, efficiency is redefined.  Permaculture looks at energy in vs. energy out rather than simple yield per acre and sogives us clues for a world after peak oil.

But more than that, permaculture provides a useful metaphor for business strategy as energy and climate change is forcing us to rethink business. Principles of permaculture include gems such as 'produce no waste', 'use and value renewables', 'use and value diversity' and 'creatively respond to change'....  It produces a strategic ecology in a different langage from our mechanistic 'change drivers', 'levers' and 'supply chains' and 'controls.'

And, hey, those hawthorns taste great; a business strategy that's good enough to eat ;-)


Steve MarshallComment