Perhaps the most important benefit of systems thinking, as it relates to our way of thinking, is that it lets us grasp the notion that a lot of things in the world that seem immutable actually aren’t immutable—they’re just kept that way.
“By what?” You might ask.
By a systemic structure.
One of the key concepts of systems thinking is that “events” are generated by patterns of behavior, which are in turn generated by a systemic structure. This structure is predicated on certain underlying principles—certain goals and ideas that cause the system to have that particular shape:
Our experiences of who is “a runner;” who has “a runner’s body type,” etc., are no exception.
Continue reading My view? Everybody is a runner. Nobody is “a runner.”
Earlier this week, I attended the Sustainable Brands: New Metrics conference hosted by MIT Sloan in Boston, Massachusetts. It was a privilege to observe and participate in an event where business leaders have come together to act on climate change and other systemic risks. At New Metrics, the hot topic was, well, metrics: the cutting-edge of what we can measure statistically and probabilistically, with the goal of applying it not to measure climate change per se, but to the impact that leading businesses are achieving, in taking us towards a sustainable future.
One of the core philosophies of this conference is that brands—the web of ideas that surround a particular product of service—already have a great amount of influence in shaping society. Brands can become the leaders for creating the kind of society (and culture of social responsibility) that will drive a sustainable future. Businesses and corporations are increasingly beginning to realize that there is no future but a sustainable future. New Metrics (and Sustainable Brands) offers the platform for intellectual, social and corporate leaders to organize around the idea that sustainability and social responsibility must form the core, rather than the fringe, of how brands address society’s present and future needs.
Continue reading It’s really all about sustainability: Reflecting on the Sustainable Brands conference at MIT Sloan.