Expert outlines the changing role of business
By Ingrid Green
Professor David Cooperrider, the world’s foremost authority on strengths-based, positive change spoke about hope for the world: appreciative inquiry and positive institutions at the Happiness and Its Causes event in Sydney recently.
Positive corporations, David says, are the way of the future. It’s time for CEOs to stand up for the good of society. We are at the brink of a once-in–a lifetime opportunity, we can choose the 21st Century idea of business and society that we want to follow.
Late UN secretary-general Kofi Annan once said we can’t eradicate poverty, achieve peace and transition to a post-fossil fuel economy without great, mindful work and dignified entrepreneurship.
David considers our generation to be one of privilege. Business now, has the ability to act as an agent of world benefit – to impact ecology, peace and poverty, and to help people to help themselves. He mentioned Shoes that Bloom from OAT, a Netherlands based footwear company that went beyond zero waste. Not just biodegradable, their sneakers contain seeds that will produce a bouquet of wildflowers when their useful lifetime is up.
There’s also scope in creating peace, with David saying peace won’t come from governments, lawyers or the military, but businesses – because you can’t demonise the people you need to do business with. A Nobel-like peace prize for business would be a helpful move.
But changing collective consciousness starts at an individual level, with fundamental interconnectedness. “People don’t resist change, they resist being changed.”
The concept of appreciative inquiry is all about strengths, and has nothing to do with weaknesses. Future leaders need to have an eye that can see the good, the true and positive. It’s all about elevating, connecting, concentrating and combining strengths to create positive institutions that will bring our highest human strengths to the customer – and the world.