As a mid century human with a passion for the integration of profit AND purpose into business as the new standard, I’ve got some clear views about how we can be intentional about designing the future state of businesses.
Having a purpose, or strong “why” is an objective increasingly talked about yet many of us have not yet developed our own version.
So my questions to you: What is your why? Do you have a purpose statement?
To actively engage the world, learn and grow from that engagement and share with others
I mention this because I think that before you can effectively design a future state for any business, you must have a very solid understanding of the current state.
Part of that understanding needs to be an assessment of where humans see purpose in their life and lifestyle.
In other words:
How can you design a truly purposeful future state when most people don’t have their own purpose defined?
That’s one of the things we pay a great deal of attention to in building All Things Considered (AllTC).
How purposeful really are humans/consumers today and more importantly will they become more or less so over time?
For context for my thoughts, here’s a quick recap on All Things Considered.
We’re building a marketplace for consideration:
Responding to it
A place where responsibility meets accountability online
Because we think consumers are angry in rapidly increasing numbers.
And they want to see real change from the brands they buy from when it comes to positive action on social and environmental issues – especially in the fashion industry.
Why? Here are a couple of reasons:
3 pence and 18 hours
That’s what ultra fast-fashion giant SHEIN pays workers per garment and that’s how long they work each day, 6 days a week.
The UN Environment Programme estimates that fast fashion is the second-biggest consumer of water. It also accounts for 8%–10% of global carbon emissions, outpacing international air travel and maritime shipping together.
We want to unpack and provide trusted information for consumers at AllTC – starting with those consumers who already “give a shit” about driving real change through changing their own behaviour and habits.
We want to make having your say about the brands you like and dislike:
Easy, Informed, And Impactful
A place where brands can acknowledge and respond to the consumer sentiment:
Seek clarification and learnings
In the moment (real-time)
And improve from that engagement
Unlike today where communication between consumers and brands is:
Fragmented Historical (not real-time) And lacking context
And it’s not like brands don’t spend time on this marketing and research stuff already – $US500 billion annually in the fashion industry alone
Our research says it’s becoming less effective and riddled with confusion, greenwashing and incorrect assumptions and understanding of messages delivered.
So that’s the world-changing work we are doing at AllTC –
Delivering the world a platform to improve the communications between brands and consumers and accelerate impact on people and planet issues in doing so.
And that’s also our lens on our current state and how we have to design for the future state and achieve our mission:
To have considerate consumerism activated and embraced at scale by consumers and brands for the betterment of our people and our planet.
So how on earth do we design for that ???
Well given our view of the current state, we start very very simply.
With a Vote
A simple consideration expression from a consumer about a brand:
Upvote, Downvote, No Vote
Why start so simple?
Because we think when it comes to awareness being turned into action, most of us are still only in a stage of consciousness about these issues. And as I’ll explain, that doesn’t by any means imply that brands are “on the bus/onboard” for actively driving positive change.
It’s so important because our future state is entirely dependent on connecting people with their collective feelings to move to action and change:
Their bias to action – or not
Their level of Conscience
Their active Consciousness
And that’s even harder now because of the massive change we have seen in the world in just a few years.
I’m sure you don’t need reminding but just in case:
Lied to by most either intentionally or unintentionally – Greenwashing or Greenwishing*
(* Greenwishing = rolling out a lacklustre strategy around improving ethics and sustainability in the hope that it is seen as enough to satisfy consumer and stakeholder scrutiny)
Confronted with arguably the perfect storm of human and environmental distress at unprecedented levels in the modern world.
And from all of this, as humans we’ve become more anxious, suspicious and frustrated.
This has made many of us react markedly differently to things around us and how we live our lives:
Cautiously Sceptically Selfishly
So when we talk about the future and how to shape and design for it we need to take this relatively recent change into account to truly understand the present state.
And be real about it
I’d personally summarise the current state individually and organisationally as “lots of noise and little action”
And like anything to gain understanding at scale, we need to develop a common language for all aspects to ensure effective communication for growth.
So here’s our language format for consumer states related to People and Planet issues:
Partial absorption/understanding of concepts and issues “Somethings going on but I’m still not sure of the full picture”
E.g I’m aware the climate conditions are changing and that much of this is blamed on human actions but I’m not sure exactly what and how I can form a view on it and take action to help improve.
I understand the issues and the cause but I only take action/change sometimes OR
I continue consuming at the same pace on the same things badly but consciously.
I change and act based on that understanding
I progressively and intentionally improve my actions and behaviours with a goal of contributing to positive change in mind
I’m directionally on a consistent path to being increasingly considerate.
And I think this is where our design challenge and dilemma begins. Figuring out our current state when it comes to consideration and agreeing that consciousness is not enough to drive change.
Because many have a view on our common language that a conscious consumer is a highly evolved and “ultimate state” consumer.
It’s pointless to design for and expect uptake from a consumer base that we assume is already considerate when in fact they are only conscious and even worse – often at the beginner levels of consciousness when it comes to taking action and changing behaviour.
We can design the most beautiful strategies and initiatives but they simply won’t stick if we start with the wrong assumptions.
So my final message – think very very hard and realistically about the current state before you start designing for the future. Ensure the feedback you get to do this is in a common language to avoid misunderstandings.
Start with your own purpose and responsibility for people and planet and
Be more responsible and accountable
Be more considerate 🙂