Monday, August 18, 2008

Starck’s mea culpa

Once you’re convinced that the role of business is to make the world a better place (and the way governments and politicians are headed, who else is there: what was wrong with those negotiators at WTO’s Doha Round?), never has a sustainability response from business been so desperately needed. So hats off to one of my favorite designers, Philippe Starck. He has declared sustainability in typical French fashion; with maximum effect and emotion. “Design is dead,” he told the world. “Everything I have designed was unnecessary...and I am ashamed.” Well, you can put most of that cork back in the bottle, Philippe, although we hear what you’re saying.

The best result of Starck’s apology comes in Starck doing what he does best in support of sustainability. He has designed the most beautiful, small wind turbine you have ever seen. Its name? Democratic Ecology. The purpose of this turbine is as irresistible as its design. To allow every household to have its own supplementary power generator. A crucial function in a superb form aimed in the most inclusive way possible at everyone.

At another point on the design spectrum, IKEA is continuing to address sustainability in their stores and products in smart and serious ways. In recent news, two of their ideas caught my attention. The first was worthy although incremental. Over the next five years IKEA will add items like solar panels to its store inventory. The second has the potential to be world-changing. IKEA intends to put $77 million into clean technology start-ups. What an invitation for fantastic independent ideas to get scale and traction fast. I can see the ideas of hundreds of entrepreneurs grow and spread with the support of a global connector like IKEA.

Around the globe, businesses are starting to work harder with their own communities, to interrogate their own processes and to back innovative ideas. Of the many advantages business has over government, I particularly value the ability to make quick decisions responding to current, local and relevant information. When you add commitment, optimism and courage you have something truly inspiring. Go tell that to the Dohas.

3 comments:

GIANPAOLO GRAZIOLI said...

Great post and I agree with you and Starck of course. Politicians need to read lovemarks a few times in a row ( especially Italians and you know my love and respect that I have with them), then they need clarity to understand what is their aim(.. to make the world a better place and not to make it worst) then they have to realize that everything they do, has to be sustainable. And sustainability has to be the only way of doing things not an option for politicians, companies and so on. I am dreaming like John was with Image. In my world, Doha should not exist to me. Gandhi said: We are the change we want to see in the world. He was quite right. The problem starts when politicians still go to Iraq, Georgia, Afghanistan to make war about OIL and GAS. Inspiring words the Philippe Starck's words. Kevin and friends do you image Bush saying: “Everything I have done was about war and oil unnecessary...and I am ashamed.” This is not just an apology.
Well, this alone would make me the happiest man on earth because it is a change eventually. America refocuses on what they are good at and the world a better place because people will start to realize that the world can change and the change is possible. Kevin I am also watching out our New Zealand candidates for the next elections. I am considering to send them an email with a few points. They are still too shy about sustainability. If New Zealand does not become carbon free in the next 10 years or less, who else is going to do it? We need to be edgy on this, we citizens we need to push. If we dont do it, No one else is going to do it. Have you done anything yet? ciao gp

GIANPAOLO GRAZIOLI said...

Pardon me. I just saw: http://www.saatchikevin.com/ your interview on ONE. What do we do now?

Kevin Roberts said...

What do we do? We take action into our own hands, as Gandhi said and more importantly as he did. That Nothing is Impossible spirit is inborn for New Zealand, and we can always do more.