Whoop! 4000 Udemy people trained in Green Jujitsu!
About 10 years ago, I realised that the way almost everybody approached engagement for Sustainability was wrong. This realisation came not from a blinding flash of brilliance, but rather what you might call thoughtful cowardice on my part.
I’d been asked by a major engineering firm to engage their staff in Sustainability. It was suggested that I try talking to them about green things they could do at home like recycling more or switching off their TV properly at night. As an engineer myself, the idea of lecturing fellow engineers on using an off switch gave me palpitations, so I suggested we get them to do what engineers do best and develop (Sustainability) solutions. The client said ‘OK, let’s try it’ and my heart rate returned to normal.
The assignment was a tremendous success and I realised it was down to me translating Sustainability to match an engineer’s worldview. So when I was working with one of my healthcare clients, I started talking about Sustainability in terms of health (climate impacts, the health benefits of green space etc) and found it resonated qually. Likewise, a single workshop with a major newspaper group led to their Sustainability team adopting journalistic methods for internal comms and unleashed a flood of Sustainability activity. The success of these projects contrasted starkly with the ‘so what?’ response I used to get from bog standard engagement techniques.
As this experience continued, I started codifying the approach as “Green Jujitsu” as a Jujitsu expert adapts their techniques to the strengths of their opponents – standard Green engagement being more like boxing where you attempt to beat the other guy into submission. In Green Jujitsu, we translate Sustainability for each audience – if you like a Venn diagram like me, then the overlap between Sustainability and your audience’s worldview is the weetspot. So if you are talking to a financier, you make sure there is plenty of quantitative data, preferably financial data, in your presentation – after all these guys spend their life looking at spreadsheets.
Getting the Green Jujitsu message out there was the next challenge. I commissioned a short animation (above) based on that original engineering example but it never quite went viral the way I hoped. I wrote a short book, but it never became a ‘must read’. My last throw of the dice was putting a course on the Udemy platform.
After a slow burn start, the Green Jujitsu course got added to the Udemy for Business service where it gets promoted to many of the biggest businesses in the world, and the number of students exploded. Today we hit a cumulative 4000 students across 93 countries – with about 300 signing up every month – 10 per day! Given the niche nature of the course, I’m pretty delighted with that level of reach. By this time next year, I’m hoping a significant % of the world’s Sustainability professionals will be familiar with Green Jujitsu and we can really start to see change happening.