In this busy world where everything seems to be getting faster and faster, it is difficult to recognize your most valuable assets - your personnel and their skills in relating to other people effectively. As the future gets closer this will become more obvious. Why not tip the scales in your favor and leap a few notches ahead on the learning curve right now? Be among the first to capitalize on cutting edge technology for utilizing your human resources in startling, out-of-the-box ways that will send your business to places you have not been able to conceive of before. Be where the future is now.
Companies and individuals who thrive in the brave new world of the future will be those who can interact successfully with others in their organization and, outwardly, with numerous key stakeholders in innovative ways that capitalize on the new possibilities that the evolving scene of modern society presents. New challenges include intense competition evidenced by outsourcing to manage labor costs; implementation of continually more advanced computer technology; workers and communities who demand greater social conscience; demands to conform to the increasing pace of business in order to remain competitive; serious competition from small nimble players; challenges in finding and retaining a skilled work force; the need to handle more variables with limited financial resources; pressure to downsize and control overhead costs; and pressure to adhere to stiffer environmental regulations and requirements.
As the world shifts, interpersonal skills and the skills in applying knowledge will both play much greater roles in future success. The new era of business will not resemble the old hierarchical system because this old system is not effective in addressing future demands. No longer will the role of people be secondary to accomplishing work. The ability of people to communicate and collaborate will be central to success in the future.
With the ever-increasing capacities of internet technology and telecommunications reshaping the way business is conducted, and with the world getting perceptively smaller as a result, it would seem this brave new world is already here!
The Humanity, Earth, Systems 2005 conference is about providing you with cutting edge, state of the art tools with which to address this evolving future.
You will be provided with tools/ technology that will enable you to mobilize people, both inside and outside your organization, in ways that generate unprecedented levels of success. Success being defined here as financial profitability, environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and life enhancing actions and interactions on the human level.
The human element IN business is becoming more important than ever. With so many trivial tasks now being accomplished by machines, people have a lot more freedom to engage in higher level activities. People in general have become a lot more concerned about “quality of life” issues. Companies that are poised for success in the future will take these issues into account and use them to their advantage.
Several of these key topics will be addressed specifically in this conference. These include
- Developing and allowing the work place to be a place that supports creativity, growth and fun.
- Allowing people who work in and for organizations flexibility and freedom to craft their own lives in such a way that they experience creativity, growth and fun.
- The value and effectiveness of teamwork
- The contribution of diversity to corporate objectives and corporate adaptability.
- The importance of strong cultural of employee engagement
Global concern of people from many disciplines and all geographic regions is now a pertinent consideration for how business is conducted. According to what is happening now in the global arena it appears that it may not be necessary in the future for governments to control or regulate compliance to environmental standards, because consumers themselves are self- regulating these issues by their choices of products and services.
Many new technologies that were not previously available now allow environmental concerns to be addressed in meaningful ways.
The Humanity, Earth, Systems conference will help you to become aware of new options for how you do business that could help you to reduce costs, gain brand and image improvement (by the emphasis on environmental methodologies), and add to the quality of the earth - and the earth environment that you will be leaving behind to your progeney.
You will have the opportunity to consider new product design alternatives; new and renewable energy possibilities; recycling and waste reuse processes, sources for water purification and conservation, eco- effectiveness, and materials-flow management.
This conference emphasizes whole systems. What is a “whole system”? It is hard to define a whole system because no matter how “whole” the system is, there is always a system bigger than that one, of which that system is a part. For example, you could say that the entire earth is a whole system, but then you would realize that the earth is a part of the Solar System, so in that case the “whole system” must be the Solar System. But we all know that the Solar System is part of the Milky Way Galaxy, and that the Milky Way Galaxy is part of the Universe, which we have not entirely discovered, defined or described yet.
The whole systems concept is effective, even if it is hard to define, because it is important to consider what makes a system whole and healthy. That question, “What makes it whole and healthy?” lends itself to consciously designing the system so that those goals are met.
The whole systems concept is useful when you define it to involve the inclusion of all of the relevant variables. The “relevant variables” will vary depending upon what perspective you take, or what question you want to answer. In addition, the “relevant variables” may change over time.
A recent whole systems breakthrough which is saving companies tremendous sums of money, reducing labor requirements, simplifying processes and facilitating the handling of large numbers of variables in a timely and efficient manner is new systems technology called: Agent Based Modeling .
Points Regarding the Changing Scene of the Business Environment
Why Should Your Company Care about Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability?
- Electronic systems are now substituting for physical systems. Travel arrangements, book purchases, banking, and stock purchases can be accomplished on-line without the need for going to a physical facility. Not only is this saving on building costs, heating and cooling costs are also saved. Plus there is no paper waste or other types of material waste or pollution produced.
- Telecommunications is being used more frequently to fully or partially substitute for travel. This means reduced fuel consumption, lower pollution levels, less transportation infrastructure, and less time spent in travel.
- More and more products can be customized and fit more closely the specific specifications that the consumer wants. This reduces waste and allows the consumer a lot more choices.
- Because of advanced computer technology and sensing technologies, it is now possible to reduce a lot of waste and conserve energy by using it more precisely as consumers need it. For example, there are hot water heaters available now that only heat the water that will be used, when it needs to be used.
- Current technology can be installed into old facilities to give them new life, without having to tear them down and rebuild from the ground up, therefore outfitting obsolete structures with new infrastructure.
- Social software and social networks are creating new forms of contact between people and facilitating new ways of working together and promoting products and services.
- Pricewaterhouse Cooper's fifth annual Global CEO Survey in which they interviewed 1200 CEOs in 33 countries, showed that 68% of CEOs felt that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is vital to profitability and 60% felt that it must remain a priority even while there is an economic downturn. These results were presented on January 31, 2002 at the World Economic Forum in New York.
- Pricewaterhouse Cooper's found in their survey reported September, 2002 that 153 CFOs and CEOs in the U.S. and 98 in Western Europe that two-thirds of the multinationals in Europe and 41% in the U.S. consider triple bottom line accounting in their financial reporting. Triple bottom line accounting includes economic, social and environmental components in reporting. (Economic performance includes financial information, wages and benefits, job creation, outsourcing expenditures, R&D and investment in education and training. Social performance includes health and safety, employee retention, workforce diversity, labor and human rights, corporate philanthropy, wages and working conditions, ethics and corporate governance, and tax payment. Environmental performance includes the impacts of production and product and service impacts on air, water, land, bio-diversity and health.
- The Dow Jones launched a new global sustainability index in 1999, in which it tracks the top 10% of the best environmentally conscious companies. This index is outperforming Dow's broader global index by 2 or 3 percentage points indicating that there is a positive correlation between CSR and performance.
- A study of superstar companies including P&G and J&J showed that companies that consistently take into account a wide range of stakeholder opinions outperform the S&P 500 financial index by more than twice the average.
- It is becoming more and more important for companies to pay attention to emerging market forces and the collective voice of society, rather than just the individual consumer in order to remain competitive. Some companies that ignore sustainability may do so because they see it as a threat similar to environmental regulations, which they would rather not have to deal with. However, the entry of new flexible competitors into the marketplace, who can address the concerns of consumers by providing sustainable products may be a more formidable threat.
- Shareholder value can be increased by increasing profits while reducing the use of capital and resources. There are several factors that contribute to the process of increasing that value. First resource productivity can be increased by reducing the ecological “footprint” of material and energy use. Second, revenues can be increased by designing environmentally sensitive products that result in product differentiation and enhanced market acceptance. Third, the cost of capital can be reduced by building in inherent safety, waste elimination, process simplification, and improved asset utilization. Fourth, it is possible to deliver higher returns and reduce liability and risk (as perceived by the financial community) by implementing sustainable management practices. Fifth, costly business interruptions, such as delays in permit approvals, can be minimized. Companies need the trust of the community and “license to operate” in order to avoid costly delays and unnecessary expnditures, such as legal expenditures. (Sustainable Development expert: Dr. Joseph Fiksel, President of Life Cycle Management)
- Ten companies including DuPont, Weyerhaeuser, Home Depot, and Canadian Pacific Railway identified a number of clear business benefits to becoming involved in CSR. These benefits include the following:
1) Corporate reputation and enhanced brand image.
2) Earn and maintain social license to operate. The study compared the results of two different companies with mining operations. Whereas one company involved the community in its decisions and had almost no conflicts with them, the other company invested seven years and $30 million in a mine that never opened.
3) Establish or improve reputation with investors, bond agencies and banks.
4) Reduce and manage business risks.
5) Employee morale and productivity.
6) Attract and maintain employees.
7) Competition for access to resources such as energy, minerals and forests.
8) Access to markets/ customers. There is evidence that people look at what a company is doing as a proxy for how they will be treated as customers.
9) Corporate values: “the right thing to do”.
10) Meet changing stakeholder expectations. Stakeholders groups have been expanded to include environmental organizations, social activists, communities, suppliers and other special interest groups. The reason is because these stakeholders have become global in their scope and more savy about business than ever before.
11) Cost savings/ improve the bottom line. Better management of waste and better utilization of energy has resulted in cost savings for companies.
12) Improved relations with stakeholders/ dispute resolution/ issues management. Instead of resolving issues through the court system which is time consuming and costly, solutions are being found by building trust, communicating openly, and utilizing a collaborative approach.
13) Provide valuable input to strategic planning, as well as a better understanding of sustainability issues facing the company.
14) Stimulate innovation and generate ideas. One company noted that employees who enjoy their work and feel their employer respects and recognizes their contribution in the workplace tend to be more innovative and dedicated to developing solutions to problems.
15) Expedited permitting/ Improved relations with regulators. Companies that demonstrate they are engaging in practices that satisfy and exceed regulatory compliance can develop better relations with regulatory agencies which can mean less red tape and scrutiny.
- There are numerous new measurements/ accountability systems that are showing up to measure CSR and report this information to the public. Companies that are not favorably acknowledged by these measurements will be competitively challenged in the future. In April 2004, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants announced recipents of the second annual North American Sustainability Reporting Awards, which included awards to Dell and Kinko's. In the March 2002 issue of the Harvard Business Review, there is an article that describes the virtue matrix, which categorizes corporate “virtue” of a company's social and environmental practices. Roger Martin, Dean and Professor of Strategy at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, conceived of the virtue matrix while attending a conference in 2001. Another index is Morley's Sustainability Matrix, which similarly promotes the raising of corporate social and environmental consciousness by correlating it to shareholder value. (Morley Fund Management, London)
- According to Redhawk Communications, April 28, 2003, recent changes in the law and NYSE/AMEX/NASDAQ listing guidelines make ethics programs a requirement for all publicly traded corporations.
OVERALL EVENT CONCEPTS
The Humanity, Earth, Systems conference will employ three concepts;
- Experiential Exercises and Activities
- Motivational, Inspirational, Informative Talks
- Interactive Workshops
The three themes: Humanity, Earth, Systems will be integrated as much as possible with every presentation and activity that happens. A presenter might be talking about how to design a new product that is environmentally friendly from inception to recycling, and include elements of “the science of complexity” within their presentation, or include elements that relate this design back to natural processes.
All three themes are integrally related. All three focus on improving the company's overall systems and processes for doing business: whether it is through better utilization and management of people, better utilization and management of resources affecting the environment, or application of novel computer technology to enhance results by taking a broader view of the company's operations.