At the end of 2013 I started a new role at GRI: Chief Advisor on Innovation in Reporting. After seven years in charge of teams and complex global projects, it is great to be able to focus on exploring the new frontiers of sustainability and reporting. At the same time, this is a part-time position, which enables me to get closer to other organizations and experts and explore other new frontiers.
After some months, having had time to think about what really matters to me in this field (inspired by G4, which for me has its essence in “focus and promoting change…”) and where I want to focus my professional energy, 2014 starts as the year to explore the answers to these questions. I’m using this blog to record key moments in my journey, learning new ideas, observing the ones shaping the future.
I do believe that by now most leaders, executives and managers already understand the level of sustainable management needed to guarantee something similar to the concept of “quality”, as I heard once from an experienced CEO. The “standard” has changed. Processes – to create products and services – have to be better managed and more efficient, they should not waste expensive natural or social resources and should guarantee a decent quality of life for as many people as possible.
But all these efforts, although very necessary and most welcome, will not lead business and society to a sparkling, dynamic, participative, democratic, generous new prosperity era, which some of us call “sustainable.” It may lend us some time to figure out exactly what has to be done to lead us to such an new era.
And if these and all the other efforts society is making – all the movements for change, for a better life, for ethics, against corruption, for diversity, etc. – can’t shape a new development model for 9 billion people to live healthily, creatively and peacefully, which other movement will? Or what is missing that can accelerate this transition?
I think the breakthrough will depend on our ability to create a vision for such an era, to imagine in detail how this new era should be, and start imagining this new moment in our civilization… So that we start engaging in a focused way, on all levels – professionally, politically and personally – to get there.
So, to get us to the next phase, ”imagination is what really matters, much more than knowledge(*).”
(*) There is a quote attributed to Einstein on imagination, from the 1930s, here.