Tag Archives: sustainability

Lazarettos needed in Ebola-stricken lands

18 Oct

250px-Ithaki-VathySkippers sailing into Vathi – the deep natural harbour of Ithaca in the Ionian – nowadays steer well clear of the tiny square islet marked on the chart as Lazaretto, and those of us with larger yachts also know that a storage space at the stern is called the lazarrette.

In these times of Ebola, both references remind us that quarantined isolation has traditionally been the last defence against contagious diseases. The name derives from biblical references to Lazarus and the scourge of leprosy.   Another reminder will occur next week in Exeter.

The National Investiture of the Grand Priory of England and Wales – part of the Order of Saint Lazarus – takes place on Saturday 25th October in Exeter cathedral.

The Order of Saint Lazarus is one of the most ancient of the European orders of chivalry from the days of crusader knights but, with the exception of a brief period in the 17th century, it played no military role after 1291. From its foundation in the 12th century, the members of the Order were dedicated to two ideals: providing aid to those suffering from the dreadful disease of Leprosy, and defending the Christian faith.

The event in Exeter reminds us that Leprosy has still not been eliminated – a salutary thought as the world gears up to the challenges of Ebola – and the work goes on, not least in West Bengal amongst the elderly and children of affected families.

Even in Europe, in our lifetime, the Order of St Lazarus was the primary provider of medical and other aid to Eastern Europe and former Soviet Bloc CIS countries – delivering, for example, twice as much as then provided by the German Red Cross which ranked second in EU estimates.

Devotion to this cause is, of course, entirely voluntary and we’re delighted to report that one of our regular contributors will next week receive the Order’s Meritorious Service Medal.

This particular award is quite rare but Dr. Colin Coulson Thomas is well qualified having held one unpaid office or another continuously for 26 years. For 17 years his roles included being a Trustee of the St Lazarus Charitable Trust and he has also chaired the executive committee of the Grand Priory of England and Wales. More recently he has been leading the Order’s International Governance Initiative that is concerned with raising standards of corporate and public sector governance around the world, and particularly where corruption is endemic.

Groupe Intellex congratulates Colin on this recognition of his years of service and commends the Order for its continuing crusades in the 21st century.

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Notes:

Colin’s ongoing work on business governance is featured in our management editorials and will be discussed at the IOD (India) London Global Convention – 28th to 31st October, 2014.

Picture of Vathi courtesy of Wikimedia

 

Indian business leaders gathering in London will get multi-ministerial support

30 Jul

The 2014 London Global Convention for the Institute of Directors (India) will bring business leaders from across the globe in October.

OfficialBaronessVermaSustainability will be high on the agenda – not least because chair of the convention’s programme committee is Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy & Climate Change.

Sustainability is a high priority on many boardroom agendas and also represents major trade opportunities for the UK – so it’s no surprise to hear that Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, and Trade and Investment Minister, Ian Livingston are also expected to attend the event.

For more information on the Convention and why Sustainability is a key business topic read the Groupe Intellex background commentary.

Tackling Brick Walls – the challenges of Circular Economies

19 May

Brick Wall

 

From our observations following a recent discussion on Sustainability, we suggest that tackling the challenges head on is not an effective use of resources.

 

Given time and the natural inventiveness of citizens and enterprises, today’s brick walls will rot through their own irrelevance – a process that is being accelerated within digitalised economies.

Full Story here

Adapt or Mitigate or Rethink? Creating an environment for fresh thinking

31 Mar

On the day when a report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prompted headline writers to debate Adaptation versus Mitigation we highlight an altogether different approach – one that demands that we rethink the way economies work.

In ‘A few words about a Circular Economy‘ we consider the challenges of communicating fresh ideas in an environment where words like ‘green’ are no longer helpful.   New digitally-enabled capabilities are hastening the end of mechanistic ‘linear’ economics but expertise in understanding Whole Systems’ and ‘Ordered Complexity’ is only just emerging.

Our editorial gives just a glimpse of the potential for fresh thinking being pioneered by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and comments on how we must also rethink our choice of words to describe the journey.

A New Dynamic - coverThe footnotes include a link to ‘Booms and Boomerangs’ – our January review of ‘A New Dynamic’ (the set text for MBA students at the Bradford University School of Management) and other material from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

 

 

Smart Communities Celebrate as ICF declares Global Top 7

24 Jan

The Intelligent Community Forum has announced the 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. The Top7 list includes three from Canada, two from the United States, and two from Taiwan.

Columbus Skyline 2This year’s Top7 group is unusual in that they represent only three nations but they have set a course for others to follow.  Each made it to the list by demonstrating how they have begun to fuse technology, culture and collaboration for economic sustainability.

In alphabetical order, the 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities are:

  • Arlington County, Virginia, USA, which is building its own fiber network to boost broadband service and re-energize government-business-university collaboration
  • Columbus, Ohio, USA, which in its recovery from the 2008 recession has 20,000 more jobs than it did at its last economic peak in 2007
  • Hsinchu City, Taiwan, the first city in Taiwan to implement e-learning platforms for its students and establish a science park
  • Kingston, Ontario, Canada, which leveraged its educational institutions to build an innovation economy focused on environmental sustainability
  • New Taipei City, Taiwan, a new city forged from communities surrounding the nation’s capital, which is creating a unified and dynamic knowledge economy
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with a renowned waterfront development that will provide Internet at 500 times the speed of conventional residential networks
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where reinvention of its agricultural legacy is creating strong growth while preserving a valued heritage

Study after study notes that cities all over the globe need solutions to a wide range of problems from transportation and the environment to economic growth and education. Intelligent Communities provide solutions.

Regular readers of this blog may not be entirely surprised to find that no UK communities are featured in the Global Top 7.   To be amongst these selected finalists and on course (after the next round of intense scrutiny) for the ultimate 2014 accolade in June, they would already have needed to qualify for the Top 21.

The entire point of submitting to the rigour of the Intelligent Community Forum’s process is to learn.  Some communities find great value in participating in successive years as they invest in the development of their local economies and establish themselves on the global stage.

We know that despite relatively meagre public funding resources (compared to their global competitors), the UK’s major city economies beyond London already generate a high proportion of national GDP growth but are expected to respond to significant pressures on housing, infrastructure, health, education (particularly in digital and vocational skills), enterprise innovation and community development.  The due diligence of potential inward investors demands that risks of failure are fully exposed.

As nations or regions we may be justifiably proud of great past achievements and glorious contributions to societal endeavour but not all ideas are invented here.  In a more digitalised era the new competitive advantage is so often a collaborative advantage.

If leaders of enterprising communities across the UK seek to emulate the success of others, ICF’s Top 7 global exemplars provide a deep pool of experiences and insights – and a great focus for our next fully managed Study Tour when we join them in New York in the summer.

For more details contact

A New Dynamic – effective business in a circular economy

24 Jan

A New Dynamic - coverAs the Ellen MacArthur Foundation crew headed to Davos they had at least two reasons to be cheerful; Unilever joining the foundation’s ranks of enlightened major players and the publication of their latest MBA textbook, ‘A New Dynamic’.

The Circular Economy concept has been well rehearsed  – notably in brilliantly animated productions for schools – and this new book is very much directed at graduates and business strategists.  It not only gives a thorough grounding in the concept’s gestation – how economies must move on from the wastefulness of outmoded ‘linear’ models – but also maps the scale of new sustainable opportunities.  This goes way beyond conventional recycling – it heralds both an entirely new way of designing products and the ways that these products (or the use of them) will be delivered to future consumers.

Converting the radical Circular Economy concepts into reality is a long term challenge that will increasingly be addressed by the enterprise managers of tomorrow.  Volatility in raw material and energy prices is just one of the drivers behind the shift from Ownership to Access and shifts in design to enable ‘things that are made to be made again’.

In ‘Booms and Boomerangs‘ we review ‘A new Dynamic’ in the context of Irene Ng’s ‘Value & Worth’ and John Kay’s recent RSA Journal essay ‘Circular Thinking’.

Developing the Economic Fabric of the Future

5 Jan

Thinking about the prospects and projects for 2014, several development themes seem likely to be woven into the complex economic and community development fabric.  

One of our great insights from last year came from the CIO of the City of Chattanooga in Eastern Tennessee as he explained his rationale for investment – a process that resisted the technology-driven desires and preferences of the IT industry and focused ruthlessly on the real objectives of his municipal client departments.

This, in the USA’s first ‘GigabitCity’ where connectivity and capacity is not an issue, reflected a determination to deliver real benefits to the City’s administration (and  consequently its citizens and tax-payers) without wasting the rich resources available.  And in the Mayor’s office we found two of them – the City Mayor and the Mayor for the surrounding County.  Their mutual understanding of the interdependent role of the City and its hinterland added a fresh dimension to discussions of ‘Smart Cities’ that are so often reduced to Urban versus Rural contentions.

Immediately after visiting Chattanooga we spent time in New York with the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) and, once again, their perspective on the challenges faced by communities around the world provided a new way of thinking about the priorities we give to economic development.

In The Fabric of Our Futures (PDF) we summarise some of the more obvious themes that will arise in 2014 and, hopefully, will inform projects and prospects for future Study Tours, the UK’s Next Generation Digital Challenge Awards and the platforms we organise for innovators and community leaders.

The full text is also available here.