On the week’s theme of Activating Purpose, ThriveAbility Foundation co-founders Robin Wood, Ralph Thurm and Bill Baue led a Monday morning workshop on “thriveability,” their model for a regenerative, multi-capital economy.
In an in-depth and highly engaging session that was both informative and empowering, attendees were engaged in a call to action to “embrace multicapitalism, where the six forms of capital (financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and relational, and natural) are sustained in a regenerative, inclusive economy.”
ThriveAbility challenges organisations to breakthrough the business as usual, bare minimum approach to transition to an organisation that thrives. With extensive careers in the sustainability industry, each of the founders brought their own personal experiences to the room, providing unique insights into the thinking and motivation behind the theory.
Wood empathised with those in the audience who had experienced the challenges of attempting to change work cultures to be more sustainable. He presented ideas on how best to “accelerate changing workplace culture while honouring peoples freedom”, observing that a common goal is needed to change mind-sets at the organisation scale - “we need to learn to steer not by passing ships, but by the North Star.”
The principles of regenerative business
Learn more from Carol Sanford about how a company becomes regenerative, and the current landscape of the movement — at SB'20 Long Beach.
The theory and application of ThriveAbility was presented in multiple detailed yet digestible components. While a robust methodology developed on a wealth of knowledge and complex empiricism, the presentation remained easily relatable and applicable to one’s personal experiences.
Baue walked the audience through the underlying equations that form the foundation of the regenerative economy. He describes how the multiple capital approach “respects the environmental ceilings and the social floors,” and that “you simply can't sustain a system that is degenerating its resource base, be those natural, financial or social resources."
Privy to the challenges of implementing systems the harness sustainability, Thurm stated, “There are 563 sustainability rating systems out there - so which do you follow? How do you choose one? The answers are always flaky. What we need is a simple way to measure the apples and the oranges.” This is where ThriveAbility is of value, as it offers “integrated thinking that can view the organization and its business model from a helicopter perspective.”
To encourage us to apply the concepts of ThriveAbility immediately, Bill left us with a series of questions to consider while at the conference:
- What about context?
- Where are values and mindsets?
- How is change/transformation addressed?
- How is success measured?
- How do solutions scale
Those seeking the detail were encouraged to find it in their highly appraised book, A Leader’s Guide to ThriveAbility, or in the series of articles Thurm authored for Sustainable Brands earlier this year. The team also run master classes for thought leaders either within an organisation or for multi-stakeholder clusters.