BizEdCom is an educational and ecological initiative. BizEdCom recognizes that Business / Education / Community form inseparable parts of an integrated network… the purpose of which is to develop humans, organizations and communities who are well-balanced, interdependent, self-sustaining and truly collaborative lifelong learning and engaged world citizens.
BizEdCom’s goal is to bring together leaders from education, business and communities to facilitate generative conversations that lead to creative, adaptive and innovative projects to meet our collective challenges and to generate new visions that will lead to new cooperative communities for tomorrow. This means sharing a vision and sharing responsibility for who and how we educate, for the values that drive our organizations and for deciding how to create balance between our economic, educational, political and social needs in a way that creates value for all. In order to accomplish this goal, each of these institutions needs to go through a culture shift that allows them to open to the possibility of collaboration, mutual benefit and a future in which everyone thrives.
This cultural shift will happen through projects that link businesses, schools and communities. The focus of collaboration will be to solve the complex problems occurring across organizational boundaries. These collaborative projects are intended to produce responsible world citizens prepared for the 21st century.
Our organizations (business, education and community) are connected through invisible networks. They are not entities but rather people, actions, resources, accomplishments etc. Still we operate as if they are separate. How would things be different in the world if the networks were made visible?
Both business and education are caught between the polarized political ideologies that are leading the United States toward a fall from grace in the world.
We have lost our moral compass and the purpose that gave rise to what our forefathers had envisioned for us. In a world of constant change we are weighted down by divisions that now run so deep that our default future is one in which we are being run aground by stormy political seas
Business and education have both been damaged to the point where both are seen as negative influences. Education is seen as flailing and lost in mediocrity and business is seen as a greedy enemy of the masses. Both will remain stuck if they continue to allow themselves to be defined in this way. A way out of this is for business, education and our communities to begin to recreate themselves by taking the lead in creating change that supports our long term health and well being. It’s time for them to unite in the common cause of setting course toward a future that we can all be proud of.
Corporations continue to seek short term gains that please stakeholders rather than creating long term value. While they seek to please their stakeholders their image as greed driven grows. Educators continue to be held captive by a widespread belief that if they work harder and strive for an excellence that is not relevant or attainable that one day they will be able to right the inequities that are endemic in our society. Neither of these paths is can have a fruitful outcome.
Rather than waiting for our divided leaders to show us the way through this difficult time communities, organizations and individuals must each step into leadership and trade in the differences that divide us for a shared future that inspires us.
Seth Godin said that: “during times of change, the only organizations that thrive are those that are eager to interact and change as well. And that only happens when individuals take brave steps forward”
In our passion for honoring individual accomplishments and competition what we often forget is that we are inextricably connected to one another and the planet upon which we live. Our relationships and the structures that we create are reflections of our understanding of the world we inhabit. We tend to view the world through a lens that colors it separate and unequal rather interdependent and equal.
Which lens we look through determines how the world occurs to us and results in behaviors that are reflective of that occurring. In organizations this may lead to beauracratic top down structures rather or a more collaborative and socially responsible model. In relation to the environment, it means that we either recognize the role that the environment plays in our sustainability and therefore take responsibility for ensuring it’s health or we see the environment as a never-ending source of resources to satisfy our ever-growing desires.
I believe that our culture has long encouraged the former frame of reference and that perspective has generated generations of people who understand the world in such a way that it has become business as usual. This business as usual approach has resulted in a world that often seems on the brink financially, environmentally and morally. Despite enormous resources that could produce a world in which hunger, poverty and inequality could disappear we continue down a path that takes us close and closer to the brink.
Why is this? I believe the problem is two-fold. First, we continue to educate our children to take their place in this world we know so well. We focus on teaching them the basic skills necessary to enter the workplace and provide value to those organizations that pursue bottom lines rather than social responsibility. In order to change this perspective we must support the development of a transformational way of viewing the world, one that shifts the conversation from I to We and from mine to ours. This is a different frame for understanding the world that requires the use of innovative collaborative strategies to support the notion of shared value, shared resources and a long-term view of our world that ensures health and sustainability.
One thing that the 21st century communicates clearly to us is that we are not alone. Technology and ease of communication have made our world smaller and smaller and increased the frequency with which we have the opportunity to interact with and share ideas with people from all over the globe. At the same time, technology and communication networks have also made it harder and harder for us to ignore the vast differences in how people live, whether within our own borders, or in far away places. It’s grown impossible for us to ignore the number of people who live in difficult conditions and even more difficult to ignore the fact that, despite the great wealth that exists all around us, there are still a great many with little to eat, too many suffering from diseases that could be easily eradicated and far too many without educations that could enable them to rise above their conditions.
While there are a number of bright spots such as wealthy philanthropists providing support to those in need and technology growing making information and possibility available in remote places, there is at present no united focus or mindset that provides a systematic approach to recognizing the vast differences in living conditions around the globe. Nor is there one that recognizes that doing good for others is simply the right thing to do and can provide mutual benefit to both the givers and the receivers of such gifts and support.
In the United States our communities, corporations and our educational institutions are, more often than not, struggling to maintain a competitive advantage worldwide. Without going into detail here what is important to note is that historically our focus has been on cranking out products to gain a larger market share, cranking out students to be a part of the work force and fighting for limited resources to maintain quality services in our communities. Competition for resources has become more fierce as the amount of resources dwindles. Everyone is trying to do more with less in systems that are no longer a good match for the world that we live in. In each sector our focus remains on what we do rather than how we do it and on a product that supports the bottom line rather than drawing a line in the sand regarding how we as humans treat one another and relate to the world around us.
In each of the sectors noted the typical modus operandi is to operate in silos. Whether between departments in organizations or between sectors our focus is limited as is our ability to draw on one another’s gifts and insights. We create products and services that meet our immediate needs rather than ways of solving large problems that impact us all. Our values are situational rather than sustainable and our focus is on what’s right in front of us rather than on what’s all around us. We need to be able to see the world with new eyes and to share the responsibility for one another and our planet. One way that this can happen is through a shift to seeing through interdependent eyes and creating collective conversations that broaden our perspective and our ability to address whatever challenges we face. Interestingly enough these kinds of changes can also have a dramatic effect on our bottom line.
The goal of my work is to bring together the leaders of all three sectors and to begin to have conversations that lead to creative, adaptive and innovative opportunities to meet today’s needs and to generate a new vision for the tomorrow that our children will face. This means sharing a vision and sharing responsibility for who and how we educate, for the values the drive all of our organizations and for what we believe is most important products or our moral and ethical responsibilities.
The road to solving the problems we face in our world today will come from shifting our mindsets – seeing the world with interdependent eyes. Networks include the personal networks that each of us creates in our lives through the accumulation of relationships, resources and personal gifts. Much like organizations we often view one another as independent silos rather than a broader accumulation of life experiences that, when connected with others networks increases the impact of those resources exponentially. The conversations that arise from this abundance of resources can lead to powerful solutions to problems or innovative ideas that create new sources of abundance.
These individual human networks populate the organizations and communities in which we work and live. When the cumulative networks of organizations and communities unite into larger networks the potential brought to bear on the problems that we face is profound.
The challenges we face in today’s world offer us a unique opportunity to step back and shift our focus from individual competitiveness and organizational bottom lines to working collaboratively to create a future that is inclusive, adaptive and serves the greater good.
In many many cases our institutions, organizations and communities are suffering or failing. The isolation of these entities does not support an inclusive interdependent focus on our challenges and until we begin to see the benefit of outcomes that arise out of shared value they will continue to struggle.
Stay tuned for more!