IKEA’s “Mirror Flourishing” Hypothesis at Work: Want to Engage and Energize?

See on Scoop.itBusiness as an Agent of World Benefit

IKEA is on its way to self-supplying all its energy with renewables in an effort to stabilize energy costs in a carbon-contrained world. They are bringing that approach to their customers as well.

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

IKEA is committed to ‘future proofing’ its company, and is proactively anticipating many of the challenges to be faced in the coming years.

Not only are the business results amazing, but the collective sense of higher purpose is bringing out the best in human energy, collaborative capacity across silos, trust across the top managment team, and inspired innovation.

I have termed this phenomenon, with my colleague Ron Fry, “mirror flourishing”–pointing to the powerful posiitive and collaborative psychology of sustainable value creation. Ikea demonstrates and confirms an observation that I wrote about with Ron in the Journal of Corporate Citizenship–a special issue we did on “the positive psychology of sustainability:

“Obviously, in these thirty years in the field of management, we have seen many developments: the birth of the worldwide web; re-engineering of the corporation; participative management; the quality revolution; and many more. Because of our social science background we’ve had a keen interest in how each particular management innovation affected the human factor—things like inspiration and hope, engagement, entrepreneurship and innovation, and collaborative capacity. And herein lies our number one observation from the real world that has been most striking: there is nothing that brings out the best in human enterprise faster, more consistently, or powerfully than calling the whole organization to design sustainability solutions to humanity’s greatest challenges.  Indeed, we’ve completed more than 2,500 grounded theory interviews into “business as an agent of world benefit” and have helped lead over one hundred sustainability initiatives via our Appreciative Inquiry large group summit methodology (Cooperrider, 2012; Ludema, et al. 2003.) And in all of this, one essential observation is palpable: the human factor comes most alive when, in the words of Fairmount Minerals CEO Chuck Fowler, the call is, “to do good, do well.” – See more at: http://www.davidcooperrider.com/2014/01/20/the-positive-psychology-of-sustainable-enterprise-a-special-issue/#sthash.OJIZAHP4.dpuf

http://www.davidcooperrider.com/2014/01/20/the-positive-psychology-of-sustainable-enterprise-a-special-issue/

So how does this observation relate to IKEA. Listen to Steve Howard, senior exec at IKEA share his own observations:

“We have a nine person management team for IKEA group.  If you could see the passion, engagement and energy in the room, you would say ‘wow.’ We have a totally engaged management team.  We have a strategic landscape with sustainability as a visible cornerstone.  Then we have 11 guiding group strategies, of which one is sustainability, which runs like a green thread through the others.”

And what about the business case? Forbes sums it one part of it:

*IKEA reports having saved $54 million in warehouse energy efficiency programs since 2010.

*IKEA owns as many renewable energy resources as some energy companies, with 157 wind turbines (96 of which are already operational), with a capacity rating of 345 megawatts. The company has also installed 550,000 solar panels, totaling 90 MW.

All of this makes for customer fans,  good press, and employee engagement.  It also makes good business sense, as the company is largely isolating itself from the volatilities of electric power markets – the most unpredictable markets on the planet.

See on www.forbes.com