Early Visions | Bay Area 2020: An Infinite Game | Path A Fueled by Two Huge Energy Sources


The picture below describes Path A from an entrepreneurial perspective. It identifies two complementary and overlapping energy sources that seem essential if we are to turn the corner from Path B to Path A.

Converting Waste Into Food: The lower curve sketches our the incredibly large opportunity area that opens up when we copy the rest of nature and invest in converting our waste into "food." These initiatives can take many forms:

Jaime Lerner's redesign of Curitiba's approach to transportation, together with a number of other synergy-seeking initiatives has resulted in a city where "its streets are clean and safe, with relatively light motor traffic. Infant mortality has dropped in recent years to 20 deaths per thousand births, and ...the lowest homicide rate of any Brazilian city. Street children and slum dwellers are largely cared for, and more people recycle their garbage than any city in the world."

The motto for the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building movement is "Build Green. Everyone Profits." They have been proving that there are strong economic as well as environmental incentives to develop the capacity to design and build for wholeness—to eliminate the energy, environmental and even social waste implicit in our traditional building designs.

In his book, The Restoration Economy, Storm Cunningham cites total US restoration projects budgeted at $410 billion per year. He estimates total worldwide restoration expenditures of $1.75 trillion per year. This addresses only a small part of the total need for restoration.

Restoration only addresses cleaning up after historical waste—the tip of the opportunity iceberg. There's an even larger and more exciting entrepreneurial playing field associated with redesigning our infrastructures, organizations, products and services in a way that eliminates on-going and future waste.

Jaime Lerner and his colleagues created an environment that helped develop "entrepreneurs for wholeness" at all levels of system, e.g., shantytown dwellers were able to earn organically grown food by collecting and recycling garbage.

The LEED movement has created a context that has stimulated countless innovative initiatives in all aspects of the design and construction of commercial buildings.

The Restoration movement has only scratched the surface of the its potential to produce new entrepreneurial activity.

Creating True Wealth: The upper curve suggests that the potential for generating true wealth (well-being) is virtually unlimited. The Maslow-based scorecard below helps us explore this source of entrepreneurial energy:

8. Self-transcendence: To connect to a higher purpose and contribute to the development and well-being of the larger whole.
7. Self-actualization: To find self-fulfillment and realize one's potential.
6. Aesthetic: To experience and contribute to symmetry, order, and beauty.
5. Cognitive: To know, to understand, and explore.
4. Esteem: To achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition.
3. Belongingness: To affiliate with others and be accepted.
2. Safety/security: To be free from physical danger and psychological suffering.
1.Physiological: To be free from hunger, thirst and bodily suffering.

Five questions for the reader:

How would you rate your organization, neighborhood and/or community score in terms of its contribution to the well-being of its population?

How about our region, our nation and our planet?

Can you use this scorecard to explain Path B's downward spiral?

Can you imagine the innovative value-adding energy that would be unleashed if your organization were able to go "Full Maslow?"

Can you imagine a region where all organizations in all domains were graded in terms of their net contribution to the true wealth of their stakeholders?