"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry, it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry, it'll change."
-- John A. Simone Jr.
“Sustainability” is not always sustainable. Simply, doing and describing what you do as sustainable does not make it so. For organizations (and us, personally!) to be sustainable in what we do, we have to be sustainable in who we are and how we see the world. This gives us our best shot at doing something that is actually going to get or generate sustainable results. In the following series of six posts I will introduce the six levels of engaging in sustainability: Compliance, Conformity, Cooperation, Collaboration, Coherence and Constellation. We use these at Interkannections to help our clients clarify their current goals around sustainability and map out their paths for deepening their practice and impact.
Constellation is characterized by reaching across industry, sector and national boundaries to create “constellations” of organizations capable of making systemic level change that benefits a multitude of stakeholders including, of course, the constellation members. These constellations are characterized by high degrees of transparency and innovation in a rich learning, rich opportunity environment. They are driven by a strong sense of purpose to build systemic capacity wherever they may be operating.
- Sustainability is internally driven and collaboratively realized in multi-stakeholder interventions
- Example sustainability activities: Kalundborg, a workable, meaningful approach to changing climate change, expanding Burgerville’s quality of supplier relationships throughout Cascadia, the “Integral Cities” movement.
- Being at Constellation innovating and organizing from an abundance mindset.
- What we see at this level is our capacity to effect systems level benefit and change with an array of other capable stakeholders.
- What we are doing is creating long-term value and resilience in the systems in which we do business thus making them and us more sustainable.
- What we get from Constellation is a strong, healthy, positive-value, business opportunity generating Value Web.
- Operating at Constellation is our best bet at sustaining the systems that sustain us and allow us to economically innovate and ecologically flourish.
We are just beginning to see Constellation level work emerge. The simplest way to imagine it is collaboration at a systems level. The project, instead of being clean tech. development project would entail a focus on a node or multiple nodes of the value web. Again, if the way Burgerville develops and maintains relationships with suppliers was expanded and implemented with a number of restaurants and suppliers across Cascadia we would be looking at a constellation-like scope and impact.
Tags: abundance, Burgerville, Cascadia, Coherence, collaboration, Compliance, Conformity, Constellation, cooperation, Country Natural Beef, integral cities, Interkannections, Kalundborg, resilience, sustainability, systems level change, systems thinking, transparency