Why I’ve changed the name of this blog to being about smarter business

Regular readers may notice I’ve now incorporated the words ‘smarter business’ into the title.

It’s a lot better, I think, than the slightly pompous title I had initally, “reflections on ethical business”, which aside from pomposity, made me feel about 80 rather than 35.

I’ve changed the title as smarter business is really what sustainability and corporate responsibility is all about now.

We don’t need these older CR/CSR/SD terms any more.

For the companies who don’t yet ‘get it’, smarter business is a much easier sell than vague and esoteric terms that can easily be associated with some kind of lefty plot or woolly hippy thinking. (Yes, that’s still an issue)

That’s not to say I won’t use them sometimes, but ‘smarter business’ or ‘intelligent capitalism’ (for the more high minded among you!) is a lot better, and I think takes us further, faster, as a paradigm.

I’m not going to claim to have even come close to inventing this idea, but I’m committing to jumping on the bandwagon fully now.

Hold me to account with acerbic comments all you like if I drift away.

This recently post “Nine ways corporate responsibility benefits your business” should really have been titled: “Nine ways to run a smarter company”.

Of course, I understand that heads of CSR, CR and sustainable business can’t change their titles overnight.

But pitching their jobs as capable of opening new markets through innovation around customer needs, desires and behaviours, predicting real, relevant trends, and innovating internally for savings or more income, has to be where heads of SD CSR/CR etc will surely want to be moving.

Either that, or just do the sustainability report every year 🙂 How much fun would that be?

On a more serious note, if corporate responsibility reporting evolves into holistic company performance reporting, which it seems to be doing, CR heads will have to make themselves properly commercially relevant in the next few years to come, or risk irrelevance as unit heads get on with embedding smarter business into how the company works every day.

I don’t want to end this post on a negative note.

What I’m really excited about are the opportunities the smarter business agenda represents for systems change (via corporate collaborations in supply chains or design, for example) and B2B and B2C customer behaviour change. (by internal and product/service innovations)

So, welcome to the smarter business blog. I’ll do my best to write with that in mind.

1 Comment

  1. Fabulous. Big move. I am with you on this entirely.

    Smarter business, more intelligent business – that’s what sustainability is about. And always was, despite some instructive detours along the way.

    Here’s my prediction:

    The next logical step is (or will be) an integrated business strategy that puts this realisation into action.

    Once we ‘get it’, we’ll thunder forward with missionary zeal – equal to that of any lefty plot or hippy trip – into the sweet spot of win-win nirvana.

    We’ll integrate sustainability into our business strategies and drop our sustainability strategies (which have become superfluous). Actually, some leading companies are doing this already – see for example http://bit.ly/nwn0Js.

    We’ll realize a few years later that we lost something along the way.

    We lost sustainability’s most valuable contribution to the process of change: the creative tension between our business strategy and deep sustainability thinking.

    Of course it’s high time CSR / CR / sustainability managers get to grips with their company’s business model and understand the key resources and processes that make it tick. Sustainability thinking can and will make the business model smarter.

    But can we do this without losing sight of the fundamental contradictions that will take the business strategy way beyond its comfort zone? Can we allow the creative tensions to build? And are we prepared to work skillfully with the intensity and internal conflicts that arise as a result?

    Because if we can’t, we may be settling for the booby prize.

    Nicola Robins
    Incite Sustainability

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