Grounds for debate?

Conscious consumption: How do you take it?

“Tall, decaf latte, half skinny / half soy, with extra shot, but no foam, in a venti cup, super hot, no lid, to go… “
IMG_2137Most of us have at some point queued behind a person placing a very specific and abnormally complicated food or beverage order (or we might even be that person). Assumptions about such a customer typically fall into one of two camps – depending on whether we think of them as showing attention to detail and high standards, or being attention-seeking and high-maintenance: We likely label them discriminating, or difficult. Either way, they probably did get the drink they asked for, because they could and they knew it.
Preferences and prejudice aside, the customer was simply making their selection from what was on offer. All the options and the custom combination (however unusual) are available. Nothing is being ordered ‘off menu’. The barista can make and price the drink for sale, just like any other, with no exceptional requirement on their part (except perhaps a little added concentration). The system works.
So, what if we take the view that it is all about getting green and ethical options onto the menu; not the ‘specials’ but the main board, the one in use every day, in every outlet, in every town. Fix supply; demand will follow. Rig the agenda. Simple.
But how far would you go? What about amending or removing menu items that did not fit with your vision? How much is it acceptable to load the dice with choice-editing to advance behaviour-change faster and further? At what point does your steer stop being direction and start becoming coercion? When does motivation turn into manipulation?
Just a little something to think about… over coffee…

Posted in Articles + Blogs (Misc) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future in 5 Words… #5: ‘Sustainable’

Why Life should be… ‘Sustainable’

#5Sustainability means very different things to different people – and I am not talking about debating the definition, as most of us are long past that point. For some in the more developed regions of the world and relatively affluent strata of society, it might mean investing in eco tech, CSR and social good – everything from waterless washing machines, to wellbeing and workplace diversity – which is, of course, important. However, for others less fortunate, the meaning can be something entirely different. For victims driven to climate migration fleeing flooding or drought, facing hunger due to crop failure, battling disease through lack of clean drinking water, suffering abuses under oppressive regimes, or exploitation in modern slavery, Sustainability is not just a word, not some abstract concept: It is about survival.

Sustainability is a fact of life; a reality to be proven (or not) every second of every day, on an ongoing basis. It is not a luxury; it is a basic human right.

This is why, in future, life should be sustainable, for everyone.

The Future in 5 Words:

  1. Cities will be… ‘Sensorsational’;
  2. Business will be… ‘Sociable’;
  3. Innovation will be… ‘Loopy’;
  4. Work will be… ‘Inclusive’; and
  5. Life should be… ‘Sustainable’.

***

‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

Posted in Sustainability: Say the Words | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Future in 5 Words… #4: ‘Inclusive’

Why Work will be… ‘Inclusive’

#4V2Diversity is desirable; we know this. It is intrinsically linked to principles of fairness and respect, equality and human rights; with its arch nemesis Discrimination outlawed by state legislation and workplace regulation. This is not, however, why work will be inclusive in the near future: Inclusivity will be a matter of economic necessity. Why? Here follow two sample supporting arguments: one highlights a global megatrend; the other a sector-specific case study.

Firstly, according to the Global AgeWatch Index, the number of older persons (aged 60 years or over) is expected to more than double to 2.1bn by 2050, exceeding the number of children and constituting 21.5% of the population (1 in 5). In fact, in Switzerland, older persons already make up almost 1 in every 4 people (24%). This demographic cannot be ignored: either as human resource in itself, with people working later in life and organisations becoming increasingly age-friendly; or as a community of retirees dependent on the shrinking proportion of people in employment, whose rising productivity targets call for optimal labour levels.

Secondly, certain job markets are almost in crisis. Take for example the case of the construction industry in the UK, stuck with an image problem as the near-exclusive domain of middle-aged white males. At the last count, the sector was found to employ 2.1M people – enough to fill 262,500 double-decker buses – and yet, it is struggling with a looming skills gap, under pressure to find an additional 224,000 new hires by 2019. As well as attracting poor levels of young starters, school leavers, students and apprentices, plus a below-average proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) workers, it is failing to recruit women. In terms of diversity, women make up 46% of the overall UK workforce but represent just 14.5% of the total in construction and a mere 1.2% in trades. For Construction, therefore, embracing Inclusivity is a must, not a mere nice-to-have.

This is why, in the future, work will be inclusive.

Tomorrow, a 5th Mystery Word: Why Life will be… ?

***

‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

Posted in Sustainability: Say the Words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Future in 5 Words… #3: ‘Loopy’

Why Innovation will be… ‘Loopy’ 

#3At the back end of last year, the new Circular Economy Package from the European Commission came out to a cacophony of mismanaged expectations, eliciting cries of disbelief and sighs of relief, in almost equal measure. It was both lauded and lamented for the sake of a few percentage points either way. In one sense, of course the details matter; however, in another, they really do not. Even as the landfill and recycling targets were published, the game had already moved on.

The emphasis for the Commission and the market at large is now shifting towards engagement of the design community – in everything from consumer packaging and household products, to building projects and industrial plant. This is not about Europe, per se; it is about closing loops and tying up the loose ends of linear thinking and doing. We are on a worldwide creative and intellectual quest for resource alchemy, of which the EU steer will prove part-symptom, part-cause. Why? Well, for starters, commodity costs and constraints are already driving the food-energy-water nexus almost to breaking point in some parts of the planet. Secondly, there is money to be lost and made.

The Circular Economy concept holds real bottom-line and pocket-warming promise, whether by way of global savings revenue of $1tr by 2025, or delivering maybe 205,000 jobs in the UK alone by 2030. Any talk of a resource revolution, though, means seeing waste as more than merely system inefficiency. Smart, sustainable design cannot just be about removal and reduction, but becomes regenerative and restorative. We can only cut so far; we still need to create. This is why, in the future, innovation must get ‘loopy’.

Tomorrow: Why Work will be… ‘Inclusive’

***

For a global Who’s Who on Social Media in the Circular Economy, please see our new @SustMeme Top 500 ranking, published weekly with Enevo.

***

‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

Posted in Sustainability: Say the Words | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Future in 5 Words… #2 ‘Sociable’

Why Business will be… ‘Sociable’ 

#2V3For the company of tomorrow, as environmental sustainability becomes increasingly commonplace and the language used to describe it sometimes flat and tired, so its underachieving sibling social sustainability will blossom and grow in popularity. This more human-centric business vision will necessitate a subtle linguistic shift towards ‘people-words’. The combined trends of social-media engagement and interaction with the sharing economy (forecast to be worth $335bn by 2025) currently see corporates being ‘communicative’ and ‘collaborative’, but will translate in the future into business becoming ‘sociable’. From here on, the expectation and aspiration for a good company is to be good company.

Tomorrow: Why Innovation will be… ‘Loopy’

***

‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

Posted in Sustainability: Say the Words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Future in 5 Words… #1: ‘Sensorsational’

Why Cities will be… ‘Sensorsational’ 

#1V2Mushrooming urbanisation has already seen us race past the halfway point for the proportion of people living in cities (with estimates reaching 54% in 2014) and is predicted to hit 2 in every 3, by 2050 (66%). With the boom in mobile and digital technology exploding alongside, driven by smartphone ubiquity, we as people are becoming increasingly connected by sensor technology to the physical environment around us. In effect, the Internet of Things has been creeping up on us by stealth; and that creep is fast turning into a gallop. Already, the forecast date for hitting the one trillion sensors mark has been brought forward from 2030 to 2025. Sensors will connect us to the buildings in which we live, learn and work, the shops where we buy goods, and all modes of transport in between. Within 10 years, that degree of connectivity will see the equivalent of around 120 sensors in operation for every human in existence.

Tomorrow: Why Business will be… ‘Sociable’

***

@SustMeme will be publishing a global Who’s Who on Social Media for Future Cities, with the launch of a new weekly ranking for 2016. If you would like to Sponsor, please see the full Top 500s Menu for details. 

***

‘Sustainability: Say the Words!’ is a series of aphoristic ‘thoughts and shorts’ appearing regularly throughout 2016 – feedback welcome via Email, or Twitter: @SustMeme.

Posted in Sustainability: Say the Words | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment