“Every social and global issue is a business opportunity in disguise”

Not my quote. It was Peter Drucker’s statement, a long time ago. So business sustainability is not new. However, for decades now most companies only worked on sustainability as a marketing gimmick. For others, it was about managing (reputation) risk. Result: focus on only environmental issues or on CSR charity actions. Rather disappointing, wouldn’t you agree?

High time for true Business Sustainability! Shifting your focus from shareholders over stakeholders towards value-creating (and making a profit) for the common good. Here at Beanmachine we are convinced any organization can make that happen. And in that perspective, I recently attended a course at Business School Lausanne: “Disrupting the business model: strategies for a sustainable enterprise”, led by Prof. Katrin Muff and Dr. Barbara Dubach. I loved it!

Take-aways from Switzerland

In an ever-inspiring Swiss scenery with outside-in methodology and interesting tools, my fellow participants and I have learned to match relevant sustainability issues with the company’s own strengths. Tools like Gapframe help companies find these opportunities, based on data and analytics. No fluffy stuff. 

The journey enables exploring often unexpected business opportunities by addressing social, economical, environmental, or political challenges. Business School Lausanne cleverly bases them on the UN Sustainable Development Goals that are globally applicable. It gets you going all the way in an entrepreneurial mindset.

A final takeaway of my Swiss trip is on how to implement Business Sustainability in your organization. Exploring new business models or disrupting existing business models to seize business opportunities is of course mainly an innovation process. However, it also has a significant impact on different aspects of your organizational development: strategy, culture, structure, people.

Bravery makes better business

Word of advice as a business consultant? Do it… now! And as it is the kind of organizational development projects we often run at Beanmachine, I already gladly provide you with the apt roadmap for this mission.

  1. First, incorporate business sustainability in your strategy and in your innovation process
  2. Next, align your organizational structure and governance to it 
  3. Finally, bring your culture to life by working on mindset and muscles of employees (and management!)

Yes, it will take some time, endurance, and craftsmanship. But first, going all the way for business sustainability requires bravery at the top of your organization. Let’s talk and I’ll be more than happy to challenge you to go and unleash your proper better-for-the-world business!

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