What is the biggest part of the foundation of the world's first steem-powered ultra-decentralised EcoVillage, happening now in Portugal? A LOT of discussion!! While I may never personally live in that EcoVillage (being happily and productively engaged here in Northern Thailand with my own, very different, EcoVillage project) I will certainly have put in my share of foundation work on the theory.
Yesterday, @eco-alex and I had a LONG phone chat (Thailand to Southern India) about the principles of ethical business, as a sort of follow-up to his last post EcoVillage Journal #3: Ethical Commerce & Trade and as part of my own project investment model and new social media product sales model. In the course of that chat, I twice mentioned to him a book that has been pivotal in my thinking, and which has shaped a large part of my vision for well over 2 years. During that time I've read it, cover to cover, no less than 4 times.
"Screw Business as Usual" by Sir Richard Branson.
Virgin House Books, 2011.
Unlike so many other books where successful people relate their story in a way that's interesting but not really functional or usable to anyone else (each of our ideas, models & financial circumstances creating unique situations), Sir Richard unpicks literally hundreds of business who have struggled, disrupted, thought outside the box and begun to change the world. Reading over and over how traditional businesses have overcome serious challenges by disrupting their own traditional thinking, I became empowered to rethink so many of my own rigid ideas. Arguably the business which change course, refine their model and create real social change impact more people by disrupting within the system, that by stepping outside of it.
Sir Richard begins with two really unusual starting premises: that we CAN heal and protect the natural world, and that everything needs to be fun. He moves from the tired and dated idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to something really new, fresh and exciting: business as a force for dynamic social change in the world.
What I have found so helpful in this book is the multiple, extended examples and real-life case studies, showing how changed decision making models, different approaches to green-sustainable supply chain, ways of delivering product and the way we view the idea of business itself have created value for every part of the chain, from ingredient supplier to end purchaser. Trade is not something dirty to be sidestepped and deselected from, but rather a conscious exchange of value through which can uphold and empower others, if we unpick every part of that process and allow ourselves to step outside of old models.
The way we trade and engage over exchange of value is NOT just about what currency we use - whether it's fiat, steem or some other decentralized token. The way we trade needs to consider environmental impacts of product creation and supply, positive social benefits which are integral to the creation of the product, and the humanity which is able to be celebrated and encouraged throughout every part of that process.
It's an important book to read if you make, buy or sell anything. Even if you NEVER "do business" yourself, it provides an incredible foundation of understanding for supporting those creative, disruptive businesses changing the world.
Shameless closing plug for @homesteaderscoop on steem for offering a unique platform for many people who are freaked out by the idea of "business" and maybe don't feel empowered to trade online alone, and yet who are now happily, and successfully as evidenced by @papa-pepper, engaging, trading and creating value for our natural world through the platform. Awesome job @sagescrub.
Where should you but this book? NOT from amazon, that's for sure (on my serious boycott list for well over 12 years!). I'd encourage you to go back to the source and the author himself - to virgin.com. Buying direct from the author, creator or producer is always my first choice. Failing that, my second choice is always the amazing global book seller, Better World Books, who contribute a percentage of each and every sale to world literacy programs, and who also offer second hand options on many titles.
Grateful for paradigm change and creative people sharing ideas.