Month: January 2010

The intelligent utility network – interactive post

How it works – IBM’s interactive explanation of the intelligent utility network can be viewed at


Educating for the One Planet World

The video clip at the link below shows the need we have to communicate our new reality, but we also know that it hard to learn a second language later in life and this where we stand now as economies.

We have all learnt a language from birth that is shaped by the multi-planet lifestyle we are trying to lead on the only planet we have.

We now have to learn a new language that is appropriate for our ability to communicate in the One Planet World we are entering. Like the Tower of Babel, we have fractured into many languages, quality, environmental, CSR, sustainability, H&S and others.

The critical need is to create an Organisational Esperanto to communicate the ‘sustainability journey of integrated continual improvement towards perfect quality’.

The ‘Babel Fish of Sustainability’ as Douglas Adams might call this Blog.


Reshaping business education in a new era



Source: Strategy Practice McKinsey Quarterly

This is a Conversation Starter, one in a series of invited opinions on topical issues. Watch the video, then share your thoughts by commenting

With rising interest in corporate social responsibility and increasing doubt in the sanctity of institutions, an evolving breed of MBA student is surveying the business landscape with a more discerning eye and demanding a new type of education. One person who feels this shift acutely is Blair Sheppard, dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Sheppard has a prime view of this maelstrom of forces—changing expectations from students, different contours of global business, new management issues for educational institutions—and a unique perspective on what these portend for business students and business schools alike. He spoke in New York with McKinsey Quarterly editor Allen Webb about where MBA education stands in the wake of the financial crisis, and where he thinks it’s headed.

Watch the video, or download a PDF of the transcript.

Story and video (Free account needs creating) at

Learning: creative approaches that raise standards

Creative approaches to learning can help raise school standards


Creative approaches to learning can help raise school standards but secure subject knowledge and careful planning are vital according to a new report published today.

The report, Learning: creative approaches that raise standards, confirms that pupils’ motivation, progress and attainment in primary and secondary schools were improved by creative approaches to learning such as:

  • stimulating pupils with memorable experiences and practical activity
  • allowing pupils to question, explore and challenge ideas
  • encouraging pupils to think creatively
  • supporting pupils to reflect on and evaluate their learning.

Inspectors found that in schools with good teaching, there was no conflict between the National Curriculum and creative approaches to learning. These schools drew on content and skills specified in the National Curriculum in their planning and good practice. Pupils’ motivation was reinforced by the awareness they gained from tracking their own progress. Many disaffected or low attaining secondary school pupils in the schools visited gained confidence and then competence in their learning work.

Related Links

Read the Learning: creative approaches that raise standards report

story at

Renault and the Resource Intensity of Mobility


Renault, Peugeot: Refreshingly Honest About the Future


By Bill Moore

I am stunned! Absolutely stunned.

I happened across this recent Renault corporate video this morning while tracing down information about Peugeot’s new SR1 Hybrid, pictured below along with their plan to revamp their company. While it would be all too easy to view this as just another effort at corporate ‘green wash,’ it would strongly suggest that Renault, part of the global alliance with Nissan, is truly serious about remaking itself into a company whose products more closely match the realities of the world as they are, not as we insular and all-too-often-parochial Americans pretend them to be.

This video is a refreshing and much-needed change from the still deeply ingrained messaging of the Go-Go Era of cheap gas and tail fins that continues to prevade the auto advertising world. My congratulations to the management and employees at Renault for its candid, and hopefully honest and sincere new corporate perspective.

Peugeot Announces New, Greener Marque Plan

Peugeot launched a comprehensive new Marque plan, with the objectives of moving up three places in the world car market by 2015 (it is currently in 10th place); establishing Peugeot as a benchmark for style; and becoming the leader in mobility services.

To achieve its goals, Peugeot is relying on a new products strategy that includes electric propulsion (the i0n i-MiEV-derived electric car) and E-Vivacity scooter from 2010; diesel hybrid in the 3008 from 2011 (earlier post); e-HDi (microhybrid) from 2011 on the entire diesel range; and a plug-in diesel hybrid in 2012. Peugeot said that it is also designing a vehicle which will embody all of the spirit of the BB1 concept car: 2.5m, 4 seats and 100% electric. (Earlier post.)

full story and video link at

We totally fail to see that ‘sustainabilty is a journey of integrated continual improvement

 Yet again we totally fail to see that ‘sustainability’ is a journey of integrated continual improvement towards perfect quality. The  initiative below is doomed to fail as it does not recognise this – there is no understanding of how we are to achieve these improvements – they cannot be delivered by a ‘sustainability manager’ only by ‘systems thinking’ .



Corporate Sustainability is about to Change Forever…Are you Ready?

by Tad Radzinski

Over the past six months, two significant developments have put in motion a chain of events that will likely change the face of corporate sustainability forever.   Executive Order 13514, signed into effect by President Obama in November, mandates that government agencies must monitor and report their GHG output and comply with other environmental requirements including the reduction of waste and the use of “environmentally preferable materials, products, and services.”  Additionally, the order calls for 95% of all applicable federal contracts to also meet sustainability requirements. 

In the private corporate sector, in October, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, instituted the Wal-Mart Sustainability Index, a set of questions to assess the sustainability of suppliers with the goal of conducting a lifecycle analysis and ranking products according to environmental impact.  Wal-Mart rolled out the first phase of this project in October, and suppliers are already scrambling to participate in the Index and improve their sustainability score.Between these two initiatives, the federal government with its more than a half trillion dollar procurement budget, and the Wal-mart index which all but guarantees preference to vendors who are implementing sustainable practices across an organization,  businesses and organizations of all sizes, across virtually all industries, will soon be feeling the pressure to kick-up sustainability efforts.

What does ALL this Mean for YOUR Business?

Most sustainability watchers agree:  these two developments are just a precursor to what is sure to be mandated sustainability targets in the private and public sector.  Given that, forward-thinking companies, whether they are federal or Wal-Mart vendors or not, are already incorporating more greening into the corporate culture.  From a corporate perspective, as sustainability moves from being an option to a mandate, sustainability will soon provide a key competitive advantage in the marketplace.  

So how can the average company get ready for what’s coming?  Here’s a short checklist of processes and actions to get you started:

  • Hire or appoint a corporate sustainability officer.  Like any other critical business function, your sustainable program needs a leader.  The federal government agencies are now mandated to fulfill this job function and savvy private companies are doing the same.  One caveat:  if you appoint a sustainability officer with little or no expertise in the field, make sure he or she receives training or consulting services from an experienced and credible agency (e.g., see the courses and designations by the leading credentialing orgainzation for sustainability professionals, the Institute of Green Professionals).

full story at

Are we asking and answering the right questions?

The clip below highlights our current predicament with regard to our future, the reductionist questions we are asking ourselves “how to we prevent climate change?” – “how do we mitigate the effects of climate change?” are not the right ones.

Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not the Earth is creating our One Planet World, the only question that matters is “How do we help the Earth create that One Planet World so humans have a viable future in it?”


‘Build your future helping create the One Planet World’


Are You Asking and Answering the Right Questions?

Author: From the Editorial Staff at e-BIM
Posted: 01/07/2010

Peter F. Drucker had a special genius for asking the right questions.

Indeed, one of his most notable principles was: “You will attain the greatest results in business (or any other institution in society) if you drop the word ‘achievement’ from your vocabulary… and replace it with ‘contribution.’”

When people tell you what they’ve achieved, you should ask them: “What have you contributed?” Hopefully, it won’t be a conversation stopper.

Instead, of talking today about “entitlement” we should be talking about responsibility and contribution. Said Drucker: “What we ought to be asking is not, ‘What should you be entitled to?’ but ‘What should you be responsible for?'”

A question such as this can give people a new direction and a new purpose.

Our point? We tend to answer questions, that is, react to them. This means we react, many times, to the wrong question. Changing the question can change everything.


Peter F. Drucker observed most organizational/people conflicts result from people asking and answering different questions.

In short: Assume all conflicting parties are providing correct answers. However, also assume all are answering different questions.

“Never ask, ‘Who is right?’ in a conflict. Never even ask, ‘What is right?’ The proper response is to discover, first, what the question is that everyone is answering.”………………….


full story at

The UK and the One Planet World

The Post below should be read in Conjuction with


UK power prepares for a cold wind of change


The government’s new green initiatives are unlikely to come online fast enough to plug our growing energy gap

  • Heather Stewart and Richard Wachman The Observer, Sunday 10 January 2010
  • royd moor wind farm shffieldSteam rises from a power station behind the Royd Moor Wind Farm in Penistone near Sheffield. Photograph: PHIL NOBLE/REUTERS

    It was supposed to be a great leap forward in Britain’s green energy revolution. Three of Labour’s biggest beasts – the prime minister, Lord Mandelson and Ed Miliband – lined up in London on Friday to launch a new wave of offshore wind turbines the government hopes will create up to 70,000 “green collar” jobs over the next decade. But as snow brought Britain to a halt, the green dream had little hope of dominating the headlines.

    Thursday had already brought an unwelcome reminder of the more mundane reality of Britain’s energy policy today: almost 100 factories were ordered to shut off their gas supplies, to prevent the prolonged cold snap leaving households in the dark, in what energy experts said was the clearest evidence yet of a looming power crisis.

    The dire winter weather may have been impossible to predict, but the fact that it forced the National Grid to trigger so-called “interruptible contracts” for scores of large firms, underlines just how short supplies already are.

    “The whole situation is very, very difficult and we have got to stop pretending we have got anything other than chaos,” says Andrew Bainbridge of the Major Energy Users’ Council. He says some major retailers have reported dips in electricity supplies as the temperatures have plunged, adding to the problems of coping with the cold.

    Even if the £100bn wind-power revolution hailed by Brown and his colleagues is a stunning success, it will do nothing to alleviate a formidable short-term squeeze, resulting from the fact that many older electricity plants – both nuclear and coal-fired – are due to be scrapped over the next few years, leaving Britain increasingly dependent on gas power, at the same time as its own reserves in the North Sea are being rapidly run down, so that the gas-fired plants will have to be heavily reliant on imported supplies.

    “We’ve got all the nukes and most of the coal going off the system in the next 10 years,” says Professor Dieter Helm, an expert in the economics of energy at Oxford University. He says without the worst recession in 50 years, which has reduced economic output this year by more than 5%, “our CO2 emissions would look much worse, and our energy security problems would be pressing”. He describes last week’s rationing as “a little wake-up call”.

    None of the problems facing the government this winter are new: energy consumers, including many of Britain’s biggest businesses, have been warning for years that there is little supply to spare. Even with the interconnector pipeline now bringing gas directly from the continent, a lack of storage capacity means there is no guarantee that Britain’s needs will be served, and prices can swing dramatically.

    There is little indication of how the government hopes to fill the gap between the clunky old plants being mothballed, and the shiny new future of renewables in a decade’s time. Labour has announced a new generation of nuclear plants, but few analysts expect them to come on stream in time.

    The latest electricity generation data, released on Friday, showed that as the temperatures dropped, 45% of output was being produced from coal, 37% from gas, 15% from nuclear power — and just 0.2% from wind.

    Energy consumers say governments have for decades delayed the costly decisions needed to guarantee a smooth switchover from the old generation of plants to a new, greener era. “Everybody’s blaming the Labour government, but the problem started with the Tories: no government has really grasped the nettle of an energy mix to make sure that we have got secure supplies,” says Bainbridge.

    Meanwhile, many analysts fear rationing, like that which took place last week, will become an increasingly common occurrence. Firms voluntarily sign up to interruptible contracts, which give them cheaper bills; but when a blackout is triggered, as it was last week, companies can suddenly be forced to look for supplies elsewhere at short notice, and often at painfully high cost. Steve Radley, head of policy at manufacturers’ group the EEF, says: “It’s going to be about the signal that this sends to potential investors in this country, and multinationals that are already here and thinking about whether to make that next investment.”

    And, despite Brown and his colleagues’ enthusiasm for offshore wind, and the jubilation of the firms, including Centrica and Siemens, that formed the winning consortiums, there are profound doubts among some in the industry about whether it can solve even Britain’s longer-term energy challenges.

    A report prepared by consultants BVG Associates for the Crown Estate, which granted the new round of wind farm licences, highlighted a series of potential problems, from lack of affordable finance to a shortage of skills and to technical problems with servicing installations sited many miles offshore.

    There are also questions about how much the British economy will benefit. Some regions, including Brown’s constituency in Fife, are hoping to see hundreds of jobs created building and servicing the new turbine platforms, using skills developed for the offshore gas industry.

    But the EEF estimates that 90% of the €2bn being spent on the vast London Array – the largest example of a wind project already under way – has leaked overseas. There is no turbine manufacturing capacity in the UK, after the closure of the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight — though the government is known to be trying to persuade manufacturers, including Germany’s Siemens, to locate a new turbine plant here.

    Perhaps the biggest doubt about the dash for wind, however, is that it only provides an intermittent power supply, which is hard to store – so some back-up alternative is needed for times when the wind is low. Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users’ Group, says: “Wind is a particularly useless form of power generation if you don’t have a way of storing the energy. It just seems the politicians have been taken in by the wind lobby, and they’ve taken leave of their senses.”

    Radley says: “If you’re going for more renewable energy, a lot of it is intermittent, and you need back-up with gas. For the foreseeable future we are going to become more dependent on gas, so it’s absolutely vital that we get this right.”

    Almost all analysts are agreed that solving the short-term energy crunch, as well as achieving the target of 30% of power produced from renewable sources by 2020, will be expensive. The energy market regulator Ofgem published a review of Britain’s future energy requirements last year, which suggested an eye-watering £200bn of investment would be necessary to secure the UK’s energy supplies by 2020 and meet its carbon targets. This means that customers could face potential price rises of anywhere between 14% and 60%.

    Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan said: “Chief among the challenges this country faces are growing exposure to a volatile global gas market and power stations nearing the end of their life. Early action can avoid hasty and even more expensive measures later.”

    But Helm suggests it may be a forlorn hope to expect the government to take radical action upfront to secure supplies. He draws a parallel with financial regulation. For many years, he says, governments simply stood back and expected the market to provide — but collective problems such as making sure the lights don’t go out will never be solved by individual firms, which have an incentive to keep prices high. “Security of supply is a public good: it’s a system property; it will not be provided by the market left to its own devices,” he says.

    He warns that it could take the energy equivalent of a credit crunch to force politicians to wake up. “Energy policy never changes in advance of a crisis, it only ever changes after a crisis.”

    story at