A reflection on learning…
I love running training workshops and the two Secrets of Successful Green Business Workshops I’ve run for Business Link in the last two days were corkers. We got about 30 people mainly from office based businesses in the Newcastle session and 25 on Teesside from a much wider range of businesses (from independent consultants through a prison to major chemical companies), and it was good to see a smattering of familiar faces at both. They were half day sessions and I structured them around The Three Secrets of Green Business – understanding the business case, what does green mean, and how to integrate it into your business. Frankly I prefer running whole day sessions – I only add about 20% more content and spend much longer on exercises – but there was still enough time for plenty of interaction.
And interaction I got! In Newcastle we had a lengthy debate about the pros and cons of telecommuting. I was challenged on the lack of social opportunities, but I maintain that the increased time you get with family and neighbours from not commuting is at least as rewarding as socialising with colleagues – or it should be anyway. On Teesside we had a discussion about the pros and cons of incremental innovation and disruptive innovation – we got a little sidetracked into innovation on the printing press/internet level rather than radical alignment of products, processes and supply chains to sustainability (à la TQM) which was the point.
The big learning area for me was the half hour slot that Gareth Williams of Business In The Community (BITC) did on climate change adaptation. This is definitely the Cinderella of environmental issues, but it is crucially important. Even if we slashed carbon emissions today, there is enough warming locked into the system that we do need to prepare for the impacts. Gareth covered risks and business opportunities. Now, while I have worked with clients to identify potential markets in helping others reduce their risks, I hadn’t fully grasped how many purchasers are now taking resilience to any form of business interruption seriously in their buying decisions. So if you have your servers in a basement in a flood prone area you might be at a business disadvantage to a rival who has taken the necessary steps to protect their business. Every day’s school day in this game – that’s why I love it so much.