Enterprising futures, teaching at Schumacher
March 24, 2013
Last week I had the privilege of teaching for a week at Schumacher College on the Enterprising Futures course.
The course explores the rapidly changing world of enterprise forms and models, helping to make sense of the revolution currently sweeping through the ways in which we do business. Information technologies are permitting the emergence of more dispersed, distributed and localized forms of enterprise and facilitating a resurgence in cooperative models. In parallel, many large-scale businesses are explicitly looking to nature as their model and mentor for the development of new technologies and forms of organization. New, dynamic and innovative partnerships are emerging involving multiple stakeholders – large-scale business, social enterprise, charities and the state – in the delivery of goods and services of true social and environmental, as well as economic benefit. This course explores all these trends and provides the tools to would-be social entrepreneurs seeking to create their own initiatives
I was co-teaching with my good friend Giles Hutchins The Radical Re-Design of Business.A cohort of 20 people from around the world came to explore how we might create enterprises of the future. What they would like, how they might operate and how they might be funded.
Presenting the 6 principles of No Straight Lines and discussing them in some depth with the group was immensely enjoyable. The teaching of transformational business and enterprise and helping the group translate that knowledge into their own world views and perspectives, sometimes with a little fun and creativity was rewarding.
Tim Crabtree brought a very special way of opening each session, that brought space for our hands, hearts and minds to rest to become open and ready to engage with the days events. The walk on Dartmoor with Dr Stephan Harding, Resident Ecologist and MSc Co-ordinator is something that I will remember and I reflected as I lay on my back on Dartmoor with my eyes closed that this was without doubt a memorable experience.
Giles was a great travelling companion and partner his work on leadership was thought provoking for us all causing many to stop and reflect mindfully on what leadership truly is.
Robin de Carteret was a wonderful an generous facilitator. I left feeling I had meet 20 strangers, and made 20 friends. Discussing with leaders from Brazil the challenges and opportunities they face excited me with the possibility of returning to Latin America. Chile and Brazil are on my mind. There is no doubt Schumacher has real spiritual energy and connects us deeply to ourselves and the world around us. We need more of what Schumacher has to offer us if we want to live in a more sustainable world.
So it was a privilege teaching, and I hope that I get the opportunity to do it again. We need to navigate from our linear world which currently is not serving us as individuals or as a society nor even economically to a non-linear world – a better post-industrial future. That offers new viable alternatives for the ways that, in the past, our societies, economies and organisations were run. These alternative ways produce outcomes that are more humane, regenerative, sustainable, redistributive of wealth, ideas and resources. This is a just economy of a non-linear world.
Paul Hawkin wrote in The Ecology of Commerce that business is such an efficient form of human endevour, with many positive attributes, that it is difficult to comprehend how it has become so destructive. It is not enough to say that business should be more ethical, or that we should use recycled materials and encourage car pooling. What is required is a total redesign of what it means to be in business at the latter stages of the twentieth century.