So What Is “I=PxA/T^2” Anyway? Why Should I Care?

28 03 2007

The formula on the top of this site has a primary place, because it represents the road we shall all travel down in one way or the other.

Ray Anderson CEO of Interface, Inc. (see his video appeal under the social responsibility section of this site) would say that we are entering a second Industrial Revolution that will be as transformational as the first one. Its success will reshape business and therefore all professions and industries represented by the association sector. This formula is all about becoming a 21st Century sustainable enterprise where not only profit motive is key but also running business models, creating products and services, and using processes and materials that are sustainable.

(Make time to visit the Interface website devoted to their own transformation as a 21st Century enterprise by following the link “Billion Dollar Carpet Company Reinvents Itself” on this page to the right.)

“I ” represents the net change to the environment caused by

“P” which is “population” multiplied by

“A” which is “affluence” divided by

“T” which is “technology” (not just IT technology but all forms)

In the second Industrial Revolution, how “technology” is used by business will determine the profitability and sustainability effectiveness of their businesses.

The difference is that business models, the products and services they promote, and the manner in which they are created will be designed to interact in the world more positively. This means not just financially but also environmentally, economically, or socially effective. Today, business models, products and services, and the means by which they are produced or distributed are based on purely financial value. Their design does not account for “externalities.” That is someone else’s problem.

So how does this impact associations?

What if we rethought of ourselves as “centers for sustainable enterprise promotion?” As always industry will innovate because they are designed for this (associations do not have competencies to innovate in the same way). We are also one step removed from the markets’ customers and clients.

But maybe we could support the evolution in the design, development and on going management of the sustainable “profession” or “trade” during the second Industrial Revolution? But how?

Maybe through

Making Connections – help people and organizations understand the business case for becoming a sustainable business or profession

Creating Relationships – showcase what change makers are innovating in business or other professions (inside or outside your own) in order to see concrete examples of new business models, product and services, or processes

Partnering with Innovators – seek out those who can lend their competencies, experience and thinking those already “doing it” and co-brand initiatives that can leverage this existing momentum for you; make sure your efforts support global initiatives

Linking People – to content you co-create with partners and your own community of concerned members through publications, training, databases, measurement tools, etc.

Empowering People – dont just sell them something but help them apply what they learn, possibly even help them facilitate the process of re-engineering which might lead to entirely new business models of your own (as we shall see when we examine InnovationXchange in a future post)

You can become a “trusted broker” in this revolution.

If you like, please read the following for further edification.

  • Mid-Course Correction by Ray Anderson
  • Cradle to Cradle by Bill McDonough
  • The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken
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