- Envisioning a Sustainable World
- Adaptive Leadership
- Examples of Sustainability Leadership
Envisioning a Sustainable World
With leadership comes planning. The future is truly undeterminable, so to plan appropriately we may look at previous trends and make forecasts.
Traditional planning involves taking historical data and trends and generate a good enough prediction. It works well for short-term predictions but is inaccurate for long term.
Scenario planning prepares for the long term (10-30+ years) which involves simulating a handful of potential future scenarios all at once. Because number of possible futures are infinite, it is important to choose a set of future scenarios that best represent the diversity of all possible futures with relevant uncertainties.
In scenario planning, we anticipate for multiple possible scenarios such that we are prepared for any actual scenario that occurs. There is also no need to predict any specific event, but rather what will happen if an event occurs.
For example, PC system integrators (selling pre-built PCs) sources computer components from many manufacturers (Intel, AMD, Gigabyte, etc.), and any number of events (supply shortage, bitcoin miners hoarding, etc.) may reduce the supply stock for the PCs. For the company, there is no need to predict specific events. Instead, it is important that the company prepares for what to do should supply be reduced.
Vision of Sustainable Future
- Cities are important in achieving sustainable world.
- Non-sustainable alternatives such as sub-urban areas and SUVs are still profitable.
- More compact with more choices of destinations.
- Better walkability.
- More access to nearby needs.
- Less driving.
- Less energy usage.
- Less stuff-buying.
- “Bright green” cities refer to future cities being both environmentally sustainable and economically profitable/prosperous to attract people.
- Intelligent technologies can help by:
- Tracks and reduce energy usage.
Material consumption improve human well-being?
- Material consumption only improve human well-being to a threshold. (i.e. people need to have food, shelter, transportation, and so on, in order to be contented). Beyond this threshold level, other things contribute to human happiness. For example, interactions with friends and family, interactions with nature, that contribute to human well-being.
- Studies show that people who highly materialistic suffer from higher rates of mental and physical illness.
- A balance of material consumption is required.
Bhutan Case Study
Bhutan had achieved carbon neutrality (net 0 carbon emissions) and is now carbon negative (absorbs more GHGs than emissions) because of government policies. The constitution ensures that at least 60% of land shall remain under forest cover.
Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a sustainable approach to balance material and non-material values. It consist of four pillars:
- Sustainable socio-economic development
- Economic conservation
- Culture preservation
- Good governance
Fundamentally, Bhutan strives to improve GNH rather than GDP. (i.e. the government invests in education, cultural celebrations, health care, and other public goods). The country is carbon neutral because it is able to offset it’s GHG emissions via ecological capital that sequesters CO2 (e.g. it’s forests).
Adaptive leadership starts by engaging in an iterative process of 3 steps:
- Observe events and patterns.
- Interpret what’s observed (develop hypothesis).
- Design interventions based on observations and interpretations to address the adaptive challenges.
Step 1 and 2 are referred to as personal reflection. The key elements of personal reflection consists of: making sense of experience, stand back and view the bigger perspective, repetition, deep honesty or “strive after truth”, take everything into account, clarity, understanding, and drawing conclusions.
Fundamental Attributes of Leadership
- Integrity: develops trust amongst followers.
- Authenticity: consist with values.
- Committing to something bigger than oneself
- People resist change because change often involves losing something important. An adaptive leader, i.e. someone who is committed to something bigger than him or herself, needs to help people adjust to this loss.
- Those who have studied leadership tell us that groups of people are willing to be influenced by trustworthy individuals who are acting, not in self-interest, but toward achieving something that is bigger than themselves.
- Successful leaders have integrity, keep their word, and are leading, not out of self-interest, but in order to achieve something that is important to the group they want to lead.
Leadership involves risks and danger because leaders sometimes need to do unpopular actions, or voice unpopular opinions. The risk being failing to achieve their goals and the goals of the people.
Adaptive problems require leadership often require majority of people to change their perspective or behavior.
Components of “honoring one’s word”
- Do what you said.
- Do what you know.
- Do what is expected.
- What you is so.
- Do what you say you stand for.
- Social moral standards, group ethical standards, government legal standards.
In 1982, tampered Tylenol capsules caused many deaths and Johnson & Johnson failed to keep their word that the capsules were safe to consume. They did honor their word by recalling call bottles and replacing the product with safety-sealed bottles.
Examples of Sustainability Leadership
- Bright green cities are environmentally sustainable and prosperous and attractive to people.
- Investment in public goods include:
- Use more renewable energy and less fossil fuel.
- Invest in education.
- Individuals work less and have more time for family and friends.
- Develop more efficient transportation systems.
- Invest in healthcare.