A veritable alphabet soup of plans and strategies have been written to ostensibly steer humanity, or at least a small patch of it, toward a more secure future. The Capital Regional District (CRD) on Southern Vancouver Island has entered this noble fray with a regional sustainability strategy (RSS). While the intent of these plans is indeed noble, the results frequently fall short of the very challenges they were designed to meet. The reason is inherent to the nature of almost all policy and policy authorship: a lack of both aspiration and imagination; a too-ready willingness to accept, even celebrate incremental progress rather than bold goals that truly engage and captivate an audience – and “pull” it toward something better. The reason is also structural: it is hard—maybe impossible—for policy to get out ahead of current social reality. Because public sentiment is largely invested in the advantages and benefits of the status quo, policy will only be able to address and promote small and politically/publicly acceptable increments of change. In fact, policy is an incremental change management tool; appropriate when times are stable, but an impediment for managing change in the face of an impending crisis. (It took God’s command, not policy, to motivate Noah to build the Ark.)
The times call for an entirely different methodology: The reason is a lack of storytelling, a lack of compelling social narrative. And so it is that the CRD’s fledgling strategy, like so many others, bears the unfortunate imprint of being written so as to not offend anyone, rather than excite or inspire someone. There is a better way…
Posted on March 28th, 2014
On a recent Saturday morning, as I settled in with a pot of Earl Grey and the weekend edition of the Globe & Mail, four seemingly unrelated articles snapped me to attention. While diverting individually, when read as a collective they were a bracing reminder that we are in serious danger of entering the “dark age” that Jane Jacobs alerted us to in her book of the same name in 2004. It’s time to connect the metaphorical dots and chart a new and better course for our communities and society, writ large. Let me explain.
Posted on August 18th, 2013
We believe that the world – and the world of business – is at a hinge point of history and that profound change in the way strategy is created, implemented, measured and reported will become commonplace as human society confronts manifold changes in the environment-energy-economy nexus. Our interest, emphasis and expertise are in creating the conditions for transformational rather than transactional change.