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I couldn’t figure out how to make this blogspace work offline on the road, so herewith, a collection of tidbits from a few days in our nation’s capital for the EnvironDesign conference.
John Kerry: articulate and strong, as always, but this time surprisingly astute on matters environmental, with a particular focus on a renewable energy, energy independence strategy for the US. NOW you’re talking “homeland security.” [What impressed me particularly was the sense that not only did he seem serious abut these issues, he seemed to have done his homework and know what he’s talking about.]
Peter Senge on “Collaborative competition.” Collaboration and competition are two dimensions to build communities which can innovate. Compete means “strive together.” The best Olympic racers train together. Many companies develop capacities together then turn around and compete.
Senge again: All real conversations start with “here’s where we’re struggling,” not “here’s how great we’re doing. Starting with the areas of struggle builds a different kind of quality.
Bill Browning: The environmental movement has commonly thought that
“all you can do is screw up the land.” But there are ecosystems that cease to exist when you take the people out of them, that are the product of human management (oak savannahs, prairies, etc). Humans replicate savannah around the world. It’s reflected in the language: prairie/mishkoda = the burnt over bare place; oak savannah/letigwaka = the beautiful forest, the place for people.

Rob Watson: In the next 10 years half of new buildings in the world will be built in China. [The implication: huge opportunity for high performance buildings in China, and huge global consequences if that opportunity is missed.)
Robert Kinloch Massie, on the “temptation of despair:” It’s OK to feel as an individual sometimes, but it’s a sin for for us to feel it collecively, because we’re here to support each other. If we give into despair, we guarantee the outcome.
Bill McDonough: Efficiency’s a good idea — IF you’re doing the right thing. As Drucker noted, It’s a manager’s job to do things right, an executive’s job to do right thing. (I sometimes think the Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award is Japanese plot to keep American industry tied up perfecting the wrong products.)
Are we smart enough to give people hearing? Then why are there people who can’t hear? The minute we don’t love every child that’s born, human rights cease to exist.
How much can I give for all tht I get? (vs “How much can I get for how little I give?”)
It IS going to take forever — and that’s the point.