Month: October 2010

Are You A Pirate?

Are You A Pirate?

……………….When I talk to non entrepreneurs about the startup world I often use a pirate analogy. Not because I know that much about pirates, but the the general stereotypes work well as an analogy.

Why did some people way back in the 17th century, or whenever, become pirates? The likely payoff was abysmal, I imagine. There’s a very small chance you’d make a fortune from some prize, and a very large chance you’d drown, or be hung, or shot, or whatever. And living on a small ship with a hundred other guys must have sucked, even for the captain.

But in my fantasy pirate world these guys just had really screwed up risk aversion algorithms. Unlike most of the other people they actually lusted after that risk. The potential for riches was just an argument for the venture. But the real payoff was the pirate life itself.

Also, it was nearly impossible to be an entrepreneur back then………………

full article at


Corporate Sustainability should start at Business School

Corporate Sustainability Should Start At Business School


Zachary Shahan October 30, 2010

 As far as one can see, corporations aren’t going away and will continue to play an extremely important role in society. That makes their relationship to the environment a critical issue.

Too often, environmentalists are reacting to what corporations do. Rather, we need to advance a more holistic school of social change in the business world.

That means we need to go to the roots of the corporate world and understand where businessmen and women are coming from. You heard me: Business schools.

The inspiration for this post comes first from a tremendous book that nails this topic— The Sustainable Business (available as a free download from the European Foundation for Management Development). The author, renowned scholar and businessman Jonathan T. Scott writes, “to understand sustainability it’s essential to begin by first comprehending the big picture…Rather than building up from particulars to generals (the empiricist method), one must begin with generals—an in-place, intuitive wisdom of the logic behind thinking in the long-term, what it entails, and why it’s important.”…………….

Full story at

Britain’s energy consumption drops as people try to save money

We are now feeling the effects of following the Oil Curve rather than keeping ahead of it – the wrong way to balance the One Planet Equation


Britain’s energy consumption drops as people try to save money

29th October 2010

Green living

Over 50% of people are using less energy than they did a year ago in a bid to save money. That’s according to new research that shows as winter sets in and energy consumption is predicted to skyrocket, people are prepared to do whatever it takes to save power- with nearly three quarters of people citing financial hardship as the main reason.

And their efforts should be well rewarded as the research reveals each household could save £250 every year by making some simple energy saving changes.

But it’s not just the little things like installing energy efficient light bulbs and draft excluders that people are now doing, with many considering making big changes to their homes to save money and energy in the long run.

Over a third would now consider a home survey to see if renewable energy could be installed in their property while 40% would pay more to do up their home if it made it more energy-efficient.

Belt-tightening is also affecting what househunters are looking for when buying a house with energy efficiency now high on homeseekers’ wish lists…………………

full article at

Google is doing what the government can’t

Google Is Doing What the Government Can’t?

Andrew Winston Environmental Strategist, The Huffington Post, October 28, 2010

…………….As many pundits have lamented, we seem to have completely lost our ability to consider, invest in, and complete big infrastructure projects. This does not bode well for our future.

But just when I was thoroughly discouraged, Google announced recently that it would invest heavily in a truly innovative energy infrastructure project. The tech giant and some other investors are proposing a $5 billion “transmission backbone” for offshore wind farms along the East Coast. This new 350-mile line would connect Virginia to, yes, New Jersey, and allow for much easier, cheaper development of offshore wind (it would also, as a side benefit, get some cheaper energy already produced in Virginia up to the northern states).

This is in no way the first time that Google has made noise about clean tech. A few years ago it announced its intention to invest a billion dollars to help make renewable energy cheaper than coal. The company has also put in place one of the largest corporate solar installations in the world.

But why would Google invest so much in these kinds of projects? It’s easy to dismiss it as the socially-minded whim of a cash-rich company. But that’s not giving the company much credit for being a smart operator. Given the resource-intensity of its giant data centers — there’s a persistent, believable rumor that Google is the largest energy user in the State of California — trying to bring the cost of renewables down is a great hedge strategy. What growing enterprise wouldn’t want to rely increasingly on energy with zero variable cost?…………………

full story at

Lean Enterprise Institute Webinar Library

LEI Webinar Library


LEI webinars are concise, convenient ways to bring you and your team members practical knowledge from leading lean experts. If you’ve got about an hour, an LEI webinar will give you real-life insights into solving the technical and human challenges of sustaining a lean transformation. Webinars include a presentation followed by audience questions.

Leaders explore systems thinking

Academic, industry and government leaders explore systems thinking

More than 300 guests attended the two-day MIT SDM Conference on Systems Thinking for Contemporary Challenges to hear experts from MIT, industry and government discuss how they use systems thinking to solve some of the world’s most pressing and complex problems.

Sponsored by Global Project Design, Werfen Group/Instrumentation Laboratory, John Deere, Merck, MITRE and United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), the conference addressed Large Complex Systems; Sustainable Systems; Service Systems, and Health Care Systems.

Commissioner George Apostolakis of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) delivered the keynote presentation. He described how the NRC, charged with ensuring that nuclear use is as safe as possible, is implementing a synthesis of Defense in Depth with a Risk-Informed approach based on system thinking. The goal is a safety culture that takes into greater account the psychology of individual behavior.

Mark Jenks, a vice president in Boeing’s 787 program, described the complex process of how the 787 was brought to market; Kevin Otto, founder and president of Robust Systems and Strategy, a research and development consultancy, addressed issues affecting the construction of Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) that will reduce — rather than enlarge — the atmosphere’s already untenable carbon load………………

full story at

Presentations from the conference can be viewed at

Videos are scheduled to be made available on by mid-November.

U.S. Military Plan: get off oil By 2040

U.S. Military Plan: Get Off Oil By 2040

By Bill Moore

In September, the Center for New American Security (CNAS) issued a 36-page study entitled Fueling the Future Force: Preparing the Department of Defense for a Post-Petroleum Era. Now if the title weren’t suggestive enough, the target date of 2040 — 30 years from now — should set off klaxons from Maine to Guam.

Prepared in close consultation with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as the major branches of U.S. Armed Forces and other government agencies, the key authors — Christine Pathemore and John Nagl — conclude that the military has three decades to dramatically reduce its dependence on petroleum, the fuel that powers 77 percent of the America’s fighting machinery.

Why the urgency and why get off of oil? The map at the end of the commentary shows why. It has to do with who has the oil and how fast they are extracting it. The lighter the shades of blue, the shorter the time span until the process of extraction becomes economically unfeasible. Soberingly, CNAS analysts project the United States has just 11 years of reserve-to-production (R/P) capacity. Neighboring Canada, our largest external supplier, 28 years. Meanwhile, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia all have 100 years of R/P capacity………………

full story at