When working as a business designer and trying to help companies innovate for the future, the main challenge I find, is often not one of designing the new future business area or product, but rather one of creating strong ownership and cross organizational storytelling about this future, that allows management to implement. I frequently have the pleasure of teaching MBAs in innovation – and the opportunity of testing first hand how storytelling can enhance operational will to implementation. One of my key entry points to this storytelling is the idea of mega trends: How future business design and innovation must be based on long term trends, rather than short business cycles.
And when it comes to mega trends, one of the strongest with huge business impacts on all – but also one of the hardest to really understand businesswise – is the fall out with nature: The global environmental crisis.
So whenever I come across new ways of telling the sustainbility story and the opportunities for innovation rising from the environmental mega trend, I bring it on board. And recently I have been reading up on older economic theories on long term trends, including the old Russian economist Kondratieff's wave theory. This theory is hugely debated, but as another of my favorite models, Maslow's hierachy of needs, Kondratieff's wave model has an intuitive storytelling quality that far outpaces it's lack of consensus and evidential proof in the world of economics.
Australian outfit "The Natural Edge Project" has caught on to this, and uses Kondratieff to tell the story about a 6th innovation wave: The green wave, that some how strikes the managers and CEOs that I work with as intuitive: