It is not an exaggeration to say that a sea change has occurred with respect to sustainable value creation across a wider stakeholder domain; what used to be a peripheral set of activities has now become integral to firm strategy, supply chain operations, talent management, and more.
This posting is the start of new article I just drafted with Michelle McQuaid for a volume called “The Positive Psychology of Sustainability”. When companies embark on designing sustainable value initiatives there is often an eruption of good will, energy and motivation, and heightened innovation.
And all of this “good stuff” can be accelerated. How? It’s about leading via strengths.
Imagine a world of nine billion people with clean water, quality food, affordable housing and education, top-tier medical care, ubiquitous clean energy, dignified opportunity, thriving economies, and global peace and security. Now, how might we get there? In this challenge, we’re examining the role that business – one of the most powerful, transformative forces in our world – can play as a driver of innovation and greater prosperity. How can business become an agent of world benefit and shape our society, our environment and our economy in positive, sustainable ways? David Cooperrider invites you to explore one of the most exciting and important projects he has ever worked on. In partnership with IDEO (go to http://www.openideo.com) the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University is sponsoring the challenge. David shares several of the early inspirations behind the project and then invites you to collaborate and actively participate in the prototyping for a Nobel-like Prize for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. Read more
Here is an article I recently wrote with Chris Laszlo published in The Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner, May 2012 at www.aipractitioner.com. I also just spoke about this at the Ai World Conference in Belgium. – David Cooperrider
Organizations everywhere are discovering the power and promise of design thinking and increasingly managers and management schools are turning to architects, creative artists, graphic specialists, product designers, open source communities, and performing artists as inspired models for innovation, improvisational leadership and collaborative designing. New volumes such as Managing as Designing (Boland and Collopy, 2004); Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work (Austin and Devin, 2003); Discovering Design (Buchanan and Margolis, 2000) and The Design of Business (Martin, 2009) are portraying the essence of management not so much as a science of rational decisions within a known and stable world but, instead, as the art of generating artifacts and designs of a better future, rapid prototypes, feedback loops, and agile interactive pathways embedded within an increasingly uncertain and dynamic world.
by David L. Cooperrrider, Weatherhead School of Management,
Case Western Reserve University
Article prepared for the Organizational Dynamics 2012
The emergence of strengths-based management may be the management innovation of our time. Nearly every organization has been introduced to its precepts—for example, the insight that a person or organization will excel only by amplifying strengths, never by simply fixing weaknesses. But in spite of impressive returns, organizations and managers have almost all stopped short of the breakthroughs that are possible.
David L. Cooperrider and Lindsey N. Godwin August 10th, 2010
“Fields change. And the field of organization development (OD) is changing more than most.” (see Cooperrider et al, 2005; Bushe and Marshak, 2009).
Part of OD’s change is being fueled by exciting breakthroughs in our theories of leadership –what has been called “the strengths revolution in management.” Another major force has been the emergence of Appreciative Inquiry, a paradigm-altering form of action-research that has permeated the fields of organization change and social innovation.
Why are ‘firms of endearment”—rising industry leading stars that have created huge emotional bonds with the world such as Toyota, Whole Foods, GE, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters—generating investor returns at a rate of some 1,026 percent over a ten year period compared to 122 percent for the S&P 500; more that a 8-to-1 ratio!
It’s because going green is a magic. It’s a productivity engine. What happens, in a nutshell, is a leap in human energy. What happens is an eruption of human imagination. What is generated is a culture of innovation, hope, and a powerful sense of purpose, meaning, and value.
The untold story about the companies embracing sustainability is really an HR story. It is all about the kind of super-charged employee engagement—heart, mind, and motivation—that every C.E.O wants.
How, for example, did Fairmount Minerals do it? Imagine it: you are a loader-operator in the sand pits of this dirty, hard-core mining and manufacturing company, and yet you are on fire with pride, and the company has realized a sizzling 40% annual earnings growth for the past two years, ever since it decided to harness the sustainability advantage to “do good and do well.”