Across business, government, social enterprise and the third sector, people are talking about moving towards a new, more sustainable economic order. Achieving it is another matter.
is the idea that making small, incremental changes to the way business works is not enough. ‘Change-as-usual’ initiatives – a little efficiency here, a little offsetting there - can lull businesses into a false, and dangerous, sense of security. In the face of financial, social and environmental breakdown, organisations can’t afford to stop short of long-term, innovative change.
On 29 May 2012, Volans
convened 26 speakers and 222 participants at the Breakthrough Capitalism Forum to spotlight and catalyse efforts pushing towards this new order. With support from the Generation Foundation
, the Tellus Mater Foundation
, the Value Web/Innovation Arts
, the event focused on understanding the depth and breadth of the challenges we face, while examining live cases where Breakthrough initiatives are starting to achieve genuine change.
These live cases ranged from smaller organisations changing the system from outside (see Tim Helweg-Larson
giving a vision of a future of public ownership, where energy consumers own their own clean energy network) to unusual partnerships between these smaller organizations and incumbent businesses to increase impact (see Ian Yolles
introducing Recyclebank technology, which measures how much people recycle and offers them rewards for doing so, creating significant and measurable behaviour change).
The Forum also explored how multinational business can show Breakthrough ambition. Paul Ellingstad
of HP described how starting with a problem which needed solving, rather than a solution which needed applying, enabled HP to change the outcome for children born with HIV in Kenya. It led them to using IT to bring government, pharmaceutical and communications partners together to transform the status quo screening system.
Alongside stories from the health, energy and environment sectors, the Forum also threw light on the context for Breakthrough in finance, food, culture and sport. All videos from the event are available on the Breakthrough Capitalism website.
Volans is now working on the next phase of their Breakthrough Capitalism programme, including a report on Breakthrough innovation and bringing together smaller groups of influencers in action-focused ‘labs’.
If you have examples of systems innovation you’d like to share, please contact Susie@volans.com.