Matters won't improve on their own

Thinking, writing, and doing in service to the challenges presented by wicked problems.

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Mini van article

Waste is not a thing that's made, but a thing that's done - The ...

Waste is not a thing that's made, but a thing that'...

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Finding the Truth in Systems: In Praise of Design Hacking

Put your dreams away for now?

I recently published an anthology on inequality, and these discussions have been a natural outgrowth of research for our follow on effort which will address risks and opportunities inherent in the rapidly evolving technological environment. People have been telling me what they are excited about, as well as what they are afraid of. While a few of them see a coming age of ease and plenty, far more seem apprehensive.

Inclusive Business - Is it about cutting out the middleman?

I was fortunate enough to visit Manila in the Philippines recently for an interesting summit that was held by the Asian Development Bank and supported by CSR Asia. The event brought together a diverse group of participants from government, investment organizations, and people who work on the ground helping facilitate Inclusive Business (IB).

Tintin article

Getting to Here — My Path to the Wicked Problems Collaborative

I started a crazy project two years ago. From the outset, I was afraid it had little chance of succeeding. But a lot of thoughtful folks chose to take a chance (and they were exceedingly patient with me as I fumbled through the process), so I'll start here by thanking them.

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How do we assess impact? (And why should we?)

I’m attending the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) 2nd Inclusive Business Forum for Asia in the Philippines this week. I sat in on an engaging discussion on assessing the merits of impact investments yesterday. Armin Bauer, the ADB’s Principal Economist and the event’s organizer, suggested the need for harmonization of metrics in assessing these efforts...

Baloons article

Salt | Disrupt the corporate immune system

The danger with the rigid orthodoxy of the Corporate Immune System is that policies, procedures, and culture work to confine our efforts to help us arrive at planned outcomes. Surprises become unwelcome guests. Meeting expectations gives you the chance to do the same thing, the same way, over and over again – until, that is, you don’t meet expectations.

Salt | How to create a healthier planet: Be willing to be wrong

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it might take to recast our businesses in a way that allows them to fit into, rather than work against, the ecosystems they are part of. A lot of good has been done in recent years, but the changes we make tend to take that which exists, and tweak it in the direction of less harm. This is a good thing, but I don’t think it’s enough to get us where we need to go.

Greece 2 article


When we last left the unfolding Greek drama, it was a day before the referendum. I was a doubting Thomas who thought fear would lead a majority of the Greek voters to accept the deal. I was wrong, and I was elated to be so. I thought the vote signaled a necessary inflection point and that we’d see things head in a better direction.


I’ve been working on a project for quite a while that’s just about ready to launch. It’s an exciting effort which I’ve been aching to share, in which I have invited a group of people whose perspectives I respect to contribute ideas to an anthology.

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Salt | It's time to reframe corporate sustainability

Business is not doing enough to address environmental problems. It’s time to enable our CSR leaders to act as direct conduits between the firm and external interests...

Banksy follow your dreams article

Are you being commoditized? | Linear to Circular

The nature of work is evolving and we must respond by changing the way in which we approach our careers. Failing to react to these circumstances is choosing to acceptance the consequences. Discounting the forces which drive them is either an act of willful ignorance or something worse. Consider yourself warned.

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Harvard Business Review

Don’t Let Regulation Make Your Business a Rube Goldberg Machine

I love Rube Goldberg Machines, those inefficient systems, full of convoluted twists and turns that use chain reactions to complete simple tasks.

In one of my favorite examples, a tipped milk bottle releases a sword, which cuts a rope that drops a guillotine, which releases a battering ram to swing a door that wields a grass sickle while disturbing a hawk, who drops a boot that stomps on the head of an octopus, whose tentacles squeeze an orange to produce a single glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. These cartoons can give us a good laugh, but to model a business in this gratuitously complicated way would be akin to planning to fail.

Less talk more action article
Sustainable Brands

Enough with the Semantics! Let's Get Down to Business ...

Over the past couple of years, numerous well-intended articles have attempted to crystallize a moniker and definition for the work that we do. Universal language might help guide our efforts, but I don’t think we’re far enough down that road to worry about arriving at a consensus. It’s time to...

Radical intrapreneurs article
Sustainable Brands

Are You a Radical Intrapreneur? | Sustainable Brands

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what we need from business leaders. We know there are myriad problems that we need to deal with and that we have a limited amount of time with which to right the ship. As such, we have to rethink the way we...

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Sustainable Brands

Unleash the Radical Intrapreneurs! | Sustainable Brands

Do you remember that old Apple ad that celebrated “the Crazy Ones?” The ad was effective because it evoked the idea of the unconventional genius who can bend the universe at will while making the world a better place. Although we may be quick to grin as we self-identify with...