Category archive - Blog Posts

About Juan Tricarico – DairyMinded – Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

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Today, as director for the Cow of the Future™ project, I collaborate with scientists, nutritionists, veterinarians, producers and many others who ask questions about the production of methane gas by dairy cows.

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

The story of the sustainable dairy industry movement is exciting and one of the pillars of a grand strategy for America–a regenerative agriculture that creates health and flourishing. Here is my interview on the subject and how Appreciative Inquiry catalyzed cooperation across the full value chain for a sustainable dairy.

http://weatherhead.case.edu/news/2013/09/06/appreciative-inquiry-as-sustainable-design-factory-a-conversation-with-weatherhead-professor-david-cooperrider

And here is an example of the kind of curious, appreciative inquiry leadership we see happening: it involves rigorous inquiry; it is possibility focsued; and it shows that when you change the way you see, the things you see also change!

See on www.usdairy.com

The CEO of Kimberly-Clark on Building a Sustainable Company by Speeding the Spread of one Story at a Time

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“This is part of an ongoing series from Harvard Business Review and the Skoll World Forum on how mega-corporations are integrating innovative ways to solve social and environmental problems into their core operations.”

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

In appreciative inquiry’s 4th “D” we help companies set up an affirmative organization learning culture which spreads “what works” with the click of a button–it’s called the ASN, or accelerating strengths network. In Wal-Mart’s early work we helped Andy Rueben spread over 2000 stories of success–all in low cost storytelling ways–to help inspire other employees, designers, and managers throughout the Wal-mart system and beyond. This story shows the ripple effects too. Here the CEO of Kimberely Clark shares how the spark at Wal-mart became a passion at KC, and how stories have wings and can fly from mountain top to mountaintop. This kind of strengths based, story based, network based change is empowering and fun. Change does not need to be dreaded, or create resistance–people love change, really. When these sparks ( stories) are set free, they grow into bright flames that light the way for others, and together become a corporate torch (legacy). The CEO of Kimberly Clark in this HBR series shows how easily this passion for positive change can spread to employees at every level.

“Some of the best thinking on how to meet our sustainability goals have come from employees in our mills. We first introduced Neve Compacto, a low-energy paper product, in Italy, to help retailers save shelf space and moms save room in their storage closet. Our Brazilian team saw how well it was working there and adapted it for use in their market. It’s been a huge success there. The Compacto rolls reduce the average amount of packaging used by 13%, which is equivalent to just over 1.8 million empty plastic water bottles in one year.”

See on skollworldforum.org

Sustainable Cleveland 2019: The Appreciative Inquiry Design Summit and ‘A Thriving Green City on a Blue Lake’

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The people of Cleveland are mobilizing around a compelling vision to transform their communities into a flourishing city. They have the courage to dream a magnanimous vision for their city in the face of tremendous challenges….

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Today’s Huntington Post article by Michele Hunt is about putting vision and values to work. Highlighted is the power of wholeness–and a shift from dialogical (gridlocked) democracy to design democracy: where “we the people” do not just provide input, but actually engage in the design of strategic change. This case story involves Cleveland.

The City of Cleveland: Designing a Green City on a Blue Lake: Despite media attention on federal efforts to transition to a green economy, the real change happening is a quiet revolution taking places among US cities. Over 973 mayors have signed on to the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. However, even with the exponential growth of effort by cities, most of the action still remains fragmented. Most initiatives are either within a specific sector or a small area of a city resulting in the absence of systemic approaches to change. Read more

Combining Purpose With Profits: Companies Still Need More Than Good Intentions to Do Good

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Several organizing principles can help companies sustain both profitability and a sense of purpose.

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Good intention to do good is one thing. But perhaps the most the essential thing “business as an agent of world benefit” does is to combine good intention with brilliant management.  MIT’s research looks at several organizing principles, and why good management cannot be compromised by simply having good intentions. But there is another real lesson here: having a purpose beyond profits is the best way to realize the highest levels in human motivation.  People give their lives to real causes–and our world has plenty of them just waiting for leaders to turn our world’s great challenges into bona fide business opportunities.  Purpose, according to Ratan Tata, the recently retired CEO of the Tata Group, is “a spiritual and moral call to action; it is what a person or company stands for.”

See on sloanreview.mit.edu

Smart Grid: National Grid enters next phase of important smart grid pilot Envisioned at their First Appreciative Inquiry Summit

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Smart Grid – We have followed National Grid’s smart grid pilot in Worcester, MA throughout its evolution, and it continues to be one to watch. The smart meter installations have been completed…

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Utility executives face difficult challenges in leading the industry-level change needed to secure a prosperous future.  National Grid employed Strategic Convening using the Appreciative Inquiry Positive Design Summit to overcome such challenges.  This article shares the National Grid experience to orchestrate two major Appreciative Inquiry Summits in Massachusetts.  It also presents possible implications for the Energy Utility Industry and for the Energy Utilities that choose to lead the way.  The article provides the basis for real optimism among utilities.  It shows how relationships and understanding among utilities, regulators, customers, public advocates, solution providers and other key players can be strengthened to enable a profitable and sustainable transition toward a clean energy future.

http://theenergycollaborative.com/strategic-convening-in-the-energy-utility-industry-the-case-of-national-grid/

I think National Grid is an extraordinary company in the utilities domain. They connect with communities and customers, better than any other company of its kind. I have seen them in operation–convening 500 people, stakeholders from every part of the system–to not just talk, but to design together. Its Appreciative Inquiry Summits–large group design labs–have taken place in Worcester; in Albany; and in the whole statewide energy planning in Massachussets with Governor Deval Patrick.  Read more

Fairmount Minerals Secret to Success: Combine High Engagment with Sustainable Design and High Integrity Leadership

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Fairmount Minerals sand products deliver exceptional performance for the oil & gas, water filtration, foundry, glass, sports, recreation and building industries.

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Fairmount Minerals, a couple of years ago, was singled out by the US Chamber as the #1 corporate citizen in America. Today embedded sustainability and positive organization development are the twin commitments that continue to propel their growth, empowerment goals, and community engagement strategies. The CFO headed up the launching of the sustainable development strategic change process with a “whole-system-in-the room summit–and it was an example that is now being modeled and benchmarked around the world. It involved a shift from micro-management skills to macro-management skills and tools. One of those tools is the appreciative inquiry sustainable design summit–or “AI Summit” for short.

Here is a short description from an article published in Organizational Dynamics titled: “The Concentration Effect of Strengths”–see: http://www.davidcooperrider.com/

Today the CFO is now CEO of the company, but that’s getting ahead of the story… Read more

Walmart Reports on Positive Change Milestones and Shares Its Sustainability Knowledge Openly

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David Cooperrider‘s insight:

How many  major corporations have set real environmental business goals like WalMart–with both world impact and business benefit? The retailer set a 2020 target to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy and create zero waste.

Its a thrill to track Walmart’s continuing journey in the sustainable innovation domain.  Early on, while I helped to  lead the appreciative inquiry sustainable design summit “whole system in the room” planning process, I met so many great thinkers, innovators and leaders–from the Blu Skye strategy firm to learning partnerships with Interface, Pategonia, General Mills, and many others.  It was so clear how the best in people comes out when two things happen: (1) you bring in the meaningful outside, that is stakeholders from customers to supply chain partners and communities; and (2) you bring the search for sustainable value into the mix.  There is a formula emerging here where instead of starting with whats wrong, you start by concentrating liminal strengths, what I call wholepower:

Positive change = wholepower X whypower X waypower Read more

Apple Will Emerge as a Positive Force in Sustainability, Renewable Energy, and Responsible Suppy Chain Leadership–Its Happening, and Its Important.

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“Brandchannel – always branding. always on. (Apple makes improvements in #supplychain #sustainability http://t.co/0ai98e2aTU via @brandchannelhub)”

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Apple’s Lisa Jackson is overseeing Apple’s commitment to 100% renewable energy; Apple has made systemic strides in its supplier responsibility goals; and Apple moving into health advances, educational advances, nutritional excellence advances like never before. Steve Jobs’ goal of putting a ding into the universe is expanding rapidly beyond insanely great products. One of the tools used to advance supply chain visions and responsibility goals was the Appreciative inquiry Design Summit. It involves bringing the whole system into the room as collaborative partners, sometimes as many as 100- 500 people, including customers, and workers and managers from every level and every country involved.

For more on the positive change approach of the Appreciative Inquiry Summit, see the following link and blog post and the pdf at the end on “The Positive Arc of Systemic Strengths. Click here:

http://www.davidcooperrider.com/2013/11/23/the-best-plan-is-the-plan-you-do%E2%80%94-regional-economic-development-is-all-about-uniting-strengths/

 

See on www.brandchannel.com

Good Design Is Good For Business: Hard Data

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A new analysis by the Design Management Institute concludes that design-driven businesses have outperformed the SampP by a whopping 228 over the past…

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

In this study, design-inspired companies had these characteristics: design had to be embedded within the company’s organizational structure; design leadership had to be present at senior and divisional levels; and there had to be a senior-level commitment to design’s use as an innovation resource and a force for positive change.

The new analysis puts real numbers to what design junkies suspected all along: in the past 10 years, design-driven companies outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500–a stock market index of 500 large publicly traded companies–by 228%.

Likewise, our strengths-based applied practice, with the next generation Appreciative Inquiry Summit called “the sustainable design factory”–has taught us that design-inspired x sustainable value x whole system collaboration= the fastest way to bring out the best in people, stakeholder relationships, and passion for higher performance. Read on:

http://www.davidcooperrider.com/2012/04/22/the-concentration-effect-of-strengths/

See on www.fastcodesign.com

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

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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.  Read more

Encyclopedia of Positive Questions, 2nd Ed: Diana Whitney, Amanda Trosten-Bloom, David Cooperrider, Brian S. Kaplin

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Encyclopedia of Positive Questions, 2nd Ed. by Diana Whitney, Amanda Trosten-Bloom, David Cooperrider, Brian S. Kaplin

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

As I have written elsewhere:

Inquiry is… the Experience of Mystery
Which Changes
Our Lives

We live in world’s our questions create. One of the things almost all sustainability designers, entrepreneurs, do is ask inspired questions. And it can be learned. In many ways, the art of leadership is the art of the question. But not just any kind of question. Its about questions that help us see possibility and opportunity–what’s best and what works, and what’s next and what’s possible.  These are not problematizing questions (what’s wrong) but are based on appreciative inquiry into the true, the good, the better and the possible. Its about possibility science where an “N” of one shows that its possible.  As Professor Langer at Harvard once said: “if you can teach one dog to yodel, then you know dogs can yodel.”

Here is the second edition of a book Read more

Dean Rob Widing: Business as an Agent of World Benefit is an Idea Whose Time Has Come

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Thomas Edison was known to remark…

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

We are on the eve of management’s finest hour. Exponential innovation is transforming everything from energy to education, and as it does, a different perspective of the future of management emerges. Everyone is beginning to imagine once-in-a-civilization-opportunities. It is no longer utopian to speak of our witnessing the end of extreme poverty through profitability, the emergence a world of abundant, clean renewable energy, the spread of education to 100 percent of the earth’s children, of business as a pragmatic force for peace, of cradle-to-cradle factories and supply chains that turn so-called ‘waste’ to wealth, or of the birth of full spectrum flourishing where businesses can excel, people can thrive, and nature can flourish. Read more

Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation By David Cooperrider & Colleagues

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Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation: 4 (Advances in Appreciative Inquiry) – Kindle edition by David Cooperrider, Michel Avital, Lindsey Godwin, David L. Cooperrider, Danielle P. Zandee, Lindsey Godwin, Michel Avital, Brodie Boland. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation: 4 (Advances in Appreciative Inquiry).

David Cooperrider‘s insight:

Appreciative Inquiry, or “AI” is taking the strengths revolution to a new level, far beyond today’s common talent-management or individual leadership focus. Introducing the next generation AI Sustainable Design Summit—something that a recent CEO report singles out as “the best large group method in the world today.”

We are entering the collaborative age. In eras past, the focus was on preparing for organizations to be change frontrunners capable of capturing strategic advantage through disruptive innovation and by creating their own organizational cultures capable of embracing relentless change. Today, however, executives are saying that organizational change is not enough. The overriding question is no longer about change per se, but is about change at the scale of the whole. ‘How do we move a 67,000 person telephone company together?’ ‘How do we move a whole Northeast Ohio economic region in momentum building alignment and shared consensus?’ ‘How do we move a whole dairy industry toward sustainable dairy, not in fragile isolated pockets that disadvantage some and advantage others, but across an industry-wide strengthening effort together?’ Or, ‘how do we, as a world system, unite the strengths of markets with the millennium development promises of eradicating extreme, grinding poverty via collective action?’ Read more

The Positive Psychology of Sustainable Enterprise: A Special Issue

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This week sees the release of a special issue of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship (JCC). This issue, on the Positive Psychology of Sustainable Enterprise, looks at how a positive approach to co…

David Cooperrider’s insight:

Introduction to the Special Issue:

Mirror Flourishing and The Positive Psychology of Sustainability+
by David Cooperrider and Ronald Fry

We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. –Aristotle

In a world where just about every corporation is going greener and more socially responsible, and where many have found that building a better world and building a stronger business indeed go hand in hand, it is time for scholars and managers alike to explore the impact of sustainability action on the workforce and people, that is, to study exactly how the quest for sustainable value affects the human side of enterprise. If as Aristotle observed, we are what we repeatedly do—and if much if not most of our waking lives is spent in the context of organizations—then what happens to us when we are engaged in organizations that are leading and breaking the sustainability barrier?

Company “A” is seen as an industry laggard, that is, a sincere commitment to sustainability is nowhere to be found in the organization’s strategies, priorities, supply chain commitments, culture, or operational realities—and the world knows it. Company “B” on the other hand is increasingly recognized as an industry-wide model, where the sustainable value lens is not a “bolt on” but is deeply embedded and has propelled new sources of innovation and entrepreneurship.  Now ask yourself: will there be a difference in these two organizations, on the inside of the enterprise, in terms of the human dimension? Read more