Community - The bigger picture

While the title of the page is Community, it is actually about everything outside of your organisation; social impact, responsibility, sustainability and so forth. In other words, the bigger picture.


Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.
Source: Kenneth Boulding Open in new window

John McCarthy explores what is "enough" in a BBC Radio 4 programme Enough is Enough Open in new window - (This is no longer available).

He interviews, among other people, Tim Jackson a British ecological economist and professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey. In the video below Tim explains more.



It has become customary to judge the success of a society through the use of objective indicators, predominantly economic and social ones. Yet in most developed nations, increases in income, education and health have arguably not produced comparable increases in happiness or life satisfaction. 
Source: Measuring Well-being Across Europe Open in new window


At first it may seem unusual to link economics with community but all communities are inextricably linked in to the economy. In 1776, Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of Nations Open in new window" one of the seminal books on economics, in which he theorised on "the invisible hand", the process whereby an individuals' efforts to pursue their own interest often benefits society more than if their actions were directly intended to benefit society. Maybe we should not be surprised then that he had written an earlier book entitled "The Theory of Moral Sentiments Open in new window" in which he argued that a stable society was based on sympathy and emphasised the importance of a moral duty , having a regard for fellow human beings.

It is quite clear that there is a problem with the economy as we know it. Economists such as Tim Jackson (above) propose we start doing things differently. He is not alone.

Dan O'Neill makes a case for building a sustainable economy in the video below.


The Czech economist Tomáš Sedláček Open in new window is the Chief Macroeconomic Strategist at the Czech bank ČSOB and a member of a group Narrative of Europe outlines some obvious but startling "truths" in the video below.



Sedláček uses the term Humanomics which is thought provoking and somewhat heartening. You can also hear an interview by Evan Davies of the BBC programme The Bottom Line - The Economics of Good and Evil Open in new window

Economics is tightly bound to politics. Yanis Varoufakis Open in new window thinks Capitalism is a threat to Democracy



GDP Open in new window, GPI Open in new window or something else?

That GDP is an inaccurate measure of "wealth" has long been recognised. In 1968 President "Bobby" Kennedy put a stake in the ground which we have ignored for too long. The American Public Broadcasting Service explores why GDP is so wrong.



For a more information see our Economics page.


Perhaps unsurprisingly happiness features highly in many analyses of subjects as diverse as success, prosperity, growth, profit and sustainability. In the video below Nic Marks discusses why a happiness Index might be a better measure of "success" than profit or GDP.




Maybe you don't think this is relevant to your organisation? Maybe it isn't - yet.

That change is needed is obvious. In the UK, the NHS and Social Services are in meltdown. These once vaunted, caring organisations are being forced to not care, they can't afford to and don't have the manpower or time to do what they were set up to achieve. The prison and criminal justice system is similarly broken although the problems are different.

Some far-sighted individuals and groups have taken the bull by the horns and are building institutions and structures to better serve the community in a way that is sustainable, equitable and above all effective.

Buurtzorg in the Netherlands is mentioned in Case Studies.

Social Finance Open in new window is a UK initiative that is breaking new ground using a model that is pragmatic and self-reinforcing. Toby Eccles of Social Finance outlines how it works in the video below.



Riversimple Open in new window are redesigning the car and the infrastructure to make, produce and monetise the whole enterprise. The car uses Hydrogen as a fuel and the entire production/sales infrastructure is based on the Circular Economy.

Firstly the Circular Economy as described by Ellen MacArthur, who, among other non-trivial achievements Open in new window, set up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Open in new window.



The Circular Economy is very neatly explained on BBC Radio 4 Open in new window

Even the financial institutions are waking up to this simple truth. As shown by companies such as Accenture Open in new window among others Open in new window. It might come as no surprise that the Dutch Open in new window are world leaders in the concept.

In the UK, several firms have put this into practice, Riversimple Open in new window have taking to it in a radical way.


They have recently launched the RASA Open in new window.



F-Board Open in new window have revolutionised the scaffolding business and improved the performance and safety of working at heights. They won the Plastic’s Industry Award for Industrial Product Design Of The Year in 2012 and also won the prestigious Best Recycled Product Award in the National Recycling Awards in 2014. But it is more than recycling, it is circular and reusing, a different thing altogether.



Bandvulc Open in new window, a leading UK tyre manufacturer based in Devon have also embraced the Circular Economy.

Bandvulc was successful at increasing its profits when it considered a new way of thinking about its supply chain. Rather than considering its tyres a lost asset upon their sale, it recognised that even when worn out, they could have a residual value. Bandvulc has therefore designed its new tyres so that when they need to be replaced it can buy them back from its customers. Then, without compromising on quality, durability or safety, the company remanufactures the returned tyres and sells the same physical material to its customers three times over.


Markus Laubscher Circular Economy Project Manager at Philips Open in new window spoke at the opening of Exeter University's Circular Business Advantage Open in new window project. He explains Philips' approach to selling light over selling lights.



Contact William to explore more.