Do you have the Green Mindset?

Becoming a more socially or ecologically responsible person or business is above all a mindset change. Much like agile and digital transformations that came before…. There is a difference between doing and being. Only those who “embody” the change go on to self-feed and sustain the change. Versus those who do superficial changes or cookie-cutter framework stacking that just complexifies the system or fizzles out.

But often you have to mechanically do a bit to experience and understand the benefits. This lived understanding helps you move to “being.” Much like meditation, yoga or any exercise, you do a series of exercises to build your muscles and concentration towards a objective, whole-heatedly embracing what you want to change. You do it often very “badly” for a long time. Then, one day, voila, you are “there” or at least, more there. It becomes second nature: a change in mindset. This mindset promotes further progress thanks to a new perception and set of motivations.

Also doing it on a beach cannot hurt. Image by DanaTentis.


What does this mindset or culture change look like?

I will write this from a business prospective but with some imagination you could easily read this from a personal approach. Honestly this mindset will leak from personal to pro and visa versa once you really have the mental shift.

Here are some examples, certainly not exhaustive. I am also growing my mindset and understanding! Please share with me your own ideas with a comment.

  1. Life-cycle approach – You do not think of JUST your product. Or even just the use of the product. But the sourcing, construction, maintenance and end of life of your product. And the local systems it touches including your providers.
  2. Circular thinking vs linear. – You do not stop at the end but see how this integrates back into the system and self-feeds. This includes when you experiment and fail. How do you rebound and learn?
  3. Mindfulness of Resources: You see the true “cost” and “value” around you. – You “use every part of the animal.” Example: When your business receives their shipment of materials you already know what you will do with the packaging to give it a second life (in the case where packaging is unavoidable). You start seeing everything touched as a resource and asset to be protected and fully utilized/curated and ensured it can be cycled back for reuse. Zero waste (only “food”) and even more opportunity to make the most of everything you have.
  4. Money is not your only measure nor end objective – In fact, money moves more to the background as a means to support the real reason and sense your business has taken on. You start measuring with other “capital” such as social relations, environmental resources and local connections strength.
  5. You are liberated from growth mindset and see value in frugality. – Some of the changes needed will require scaling back or staying the same. But you no longer see this as a constraint but a boost. Not only can you create long lasting assets but you no longer burn out chasing growth. In fact, you start to leave the system, no longer seeing things as “gains” and “losses.”
  6. You are more in touch with your customers needs as you go beyond just selling to them. You avoid creating artificial needs. – You think of your clients and your company’s mission or “why” every day and with every action. Your clients permeate every particle of your businesses’s being. You constantly question and project the possible impact of your actions. You even ask: What would happen if this product or new service did not exist? Are my clients or the the world better off or even just the same? Am I creating an artificial need? If so, then it does not appeal to you and you return to the drawing board. But to do all this you must actually partner and get to know your customer and local ecosystem. #booSolutionism
  7. You think local and it is one of your biggest assets. – Your first instinct is to see who close-by you can work with or collaborate with in a self-feeding cycle. You find yourself more going out and meeting people vs marketing to the masses. Your best partnerships are through word of mouth and you believe it.
  8. You think local but still ensure that it does not have global effects. – You ensure the health of the full system and not just locally. In addition, you believe good inspiration comes from all levels. Switching between local and global thinking (systems thinking) becomes second nature for you.
  9. You care for your internal environment just as much as the climate. – Whether it is your personal “ecology” or that of your collaborators. You know that how you treat others and yourself ripples outward. To you, it is no surprise that some of the most advanced eco-responsible companies are also kind employers and “enlightened” host leaders.
  10. Cooperation over competition: You constantly seek collaboration within and outside your business. – You recognize that often the best ideas come from collective intelligence. And you have seen proof and understand the strength of multiple voices tackling a complex system from various angles (with moments of convergence/collaboration.)
  11. You see power and resilience in diversity. – You do not seek to be surrounded by only those that think and act like you. In fact you actively seek to not stay complacent and ensure you have collaborators who may have similar values and goals but different backgrounds and ways of thinking and doing.
  12. You see constraint as a creative problem-solving opportunity that gives you many gifts. – Constraint can liberate us by channeling our energies. The constraint of being eco and social responsible means potentially: less waste, more fun figuring things out, and in the end more attractive, fully thought out solutions. This excites you. You are more proud and empowered than ever before. You take advantage of the full experience and process rather than folding to comfort and convenience.
  13. Small and slow is beautiful. -Rome was not built in a day nor is it desired to even build another Rome! Perhaps sometimes it calls for it… but not every time. Also some things cannot be rushed, as much as we may like it. You have come to understand this aspect of life and it’s circular nature.
  14. And for better or worse: It is hard to go back to the old system! – You have seen the benefit of the green mindset and it is your “now” preferred future.

What else? Comment below.

Green and strong! Image by ErikaWittlieb.

What is circular design? Questions to test and inspire yourself at work and at home.

What is circular design? It is taking into account the full life cycle of an object or service to ensure all “waste” is removed and instead is value. It is a self-feeding holistic system and can be certainly used in business but also in our reflections when we buy/consume at home.

Here are some notes from a recent training I did in it, specifically, circular design thinking. Thank you Klap.io and trainers Mélanie, France, Thibaud, Vincent & my team collaborators.

Here Mélanie explains, in order of importance, some tactics & inspirations for creating more resource respectful products.

1. Can we reduce usage of a resource (including energy & materials)? Or even cut out an entire product?!
2. Are we ensuring that the product is reparable? Or can we repair something existing, eliminating new need?
3. Can we reuse something already existing? Or use one item/resource for multiple uses? Or without changing it’s form when no longer “usable” for one function can it be used elsewhere, prolonging its value & our assets?
4. Upcycle or Refabricate: Can it be slightly modified for another use?
5. Recycle – Are we ensuring as a last case scenario the product or the bi-products created can be recycled for reuse in new items?

Design Thinking… but circular? What is the difference?

For those who already know design thinking, Circular Design Thinking is quite similar but with more parameters to test and inspire from. It is also an often more longer process as you drill down and test the product versus various needs in the “system”. In my opinion, it makes Design Thinking even more robust and realistic as it respects real constraints and even uses them as a source of inspiration (constraints in the end can also liberate your creative juices). It’s edict:

No waste… only food/value!

Also one big difference is the principal “persona.” Circular Design thinking is not just looking at the “persona” or client’s problem but putting the Planet and Society as a whole at the heart of the problem solving. Our starting and principle persona: a planet with limited resources to be used wisely to the benefit of all.

And you?

Anyone else I know who does circular design and circular design thinking or want to learn it? Can you see using these questions in your personal life?

#Demain and the Fresco Of the Ecological Renaissance – Building Future Worlds

I have been working with Nathaniel Richand and Julien Rayneau to propose occasional community meetups for people who want to use their professional skills towards a social and/or ecological impact. We call these meetups #demain nights (French word for “tomorrow”… it is based in Paris afterall). But we found we do not have to wait for tomorrow as today we can already use our skills for “good”. Whether at work, in outside structures – pro bono, or in the private or political sphere… there are a myriad of ways! And no way too small! But this post is not about that (entirely).

This post is about our last meetup where we explored a new workshop format to help this future dreaming and next step planning: La Fresque de la Rénaissance Écologique – The Fresco of the Ecological Renaissance by Julien Dossier. I will share my reflections and perhaps this can inspire you in your actions.

How does the Fresco Work?

The fresco (which is a large wall black-and-white poster) is quite a strong visual tool that can be used from a light theme to a deep dive. It was inspired by the fresco called “The Allegory of the Effects of Good Government” painted in 1338 in Sienna, Italy by Lorenzetti. The Fresco of the Ecological Renaissance, much like it’s predecessor, materializes a desired world, in this case, one that is sustainable and carbon-neutral. The fresco is used to unite citizens and actors with a cause by creating a common vision… and best yet, one that is exciting and fun! Which, I strongly believe, fun while we work is necessary more than ever.

A session with the fresco gives participants the mission: To explore the new world presented and reflect on how that makes us feel and how we can act right now to get there. Even when participants go off into their own projects and ideas they can always come back to the fresco, as a common reference. It creates a common language without words. And as a physical object can also be manipulated… colored, written on, notes added to, moved from one common space to another, built upon, etc. Also due to no words, the fresco can even be used with children!

What a lovely group! Our facilitators Olivier Menicot and Eric La Blanche discussing the fresco all covered in our group reflections/post-its.

Workshops using the Fresco can vary in time and objective but a good example for a taster session is as follows. The participants split into groups and each group has a separate mission to explore, such as, transport options that are carbon-neutral or food re-distribution. The groups spend time in individual and group contemplation. They discuss what they see and their reactions. They note on, color or what they like, on the fresco. They decide on a project that could be done and then share this back with the global group. We then discuss what this evokes and our next steps forward in the “actual” world.

The result? Ask Pandora…

Here are the words that were evoked in the participants:

The word at the center? Hope.

Did we feel doom and gloom and scarcity? No, it was… Serenity, Peace, Frugality/Sufficiency, Inclusion, Free Time, Respect, Know-How, Sense, Freshness, Proximity and Doable!

On a personal note: It struck me how reachable this new world could be! No crazy technology to save us, just a shift in mindset (I know easier said than done) and everyone doing their part, much like an ant hill. Complex yet doable when each of us does what inspires us (*cough* Agile *cough*). No one is “perfect” but we are “together” with a common goal even if our methods differ. And in fact stronger thanks to our diversity of interest! It can feel overwhelming and scary but as we share the news and hope and each person acts… 🤝A big and good change is coming. Fear not, just act.

Enough, of my prose… Bref, (as they say in French), it was really cool! And I know it already inspired me to get more local and involved in my neighborhood townhall’s sustainability projects.

Want More info?

  • Parisian and wanting to use your pro-skills for impact? Normally we host our #demain nights at the agilist cooperative AgileTribu. Big thanks to them! Stay tuned for news by signing up for their meetup group.
  • Want to do a Fresco or get involved with this type of tool? To signup to be part of the association or use the Fresco of the Ecological Renaissance you can contact Emmanuelle Mouls or learn more at the website https://www.renaissanceecologique.fr/ or read the book (see website).
  • Questions of how you can bring eco and social responsibility to your business? – I am a transformation coach. I work with companies to create system and culture change. I would love to help you realize your social and ecological vision: via new ways of organisation, measurement, business models, product offers and engagement of employees and your eco-system. But first I start with your unique… Why. Send me an email. Let’s have fun!