Across to Paddington Basin early for a World Environment Center session, co-hosted by Marks & Spencer, on business futures – specifically innovation in terms of business models (the focus of our ongoing project for the Business & Sustainable Development Commission), system level governance and collaboration.
As one participant put it, systemic change “is now happening – like an express train.” But another noted that the problem is that there is now a real risk of social dislocation because, “before the winners [in the new market game] have won, the losers have lost, got angry and brought the system down.”
That’s the space we’re playing into both with our UN Global Compact and Business & Sustainable Development Commission work. It feels like quite a responsibility. Indeed, during the event a group photo was taken (see above), and I started out hovering on the edge of the proceedings. But was then steered into the centre – and told I had helped get the ball rolling on sustainable business, so I ought to be centre-stage.
Hmmm. But an encouraging aspect of the session was that most people there are now thinking in terms of the need for system change, whereas when we started Volans in 2008 that wasn’t at all the case. Most people then were struggling to keep their noses above water.