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EAUC Annual Conference 2011, York Positive Deviance: A strategy for our times Sara Parkin, Founder Director, Forum for the Future, 11 th April 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "EAUC Annual Conference 2011, York Positive Deviance: A strategy for our times Sara Parkin, Founder Director, Forum for the Future, 11 th April 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 EAUC Annual Conference 2011, York Positive Deviance: A strategy for our times Sara Parkin, Founder Director, Forum for the Future, 11 th April 2011

2 From Here to Sustainability: how long have we got? Sustainable Development 60 years to go? We have to get on track within the next 10-15 years, so it is THIS generation that has to act decisively 2072 Sustainability the trend 1972 The First Earth Summit Now

3 What I will try to do Explain ‘positive deviance’: what is it and why it’s the strategy for NOW Offer some reasons to scream … and some reasons to cheer Suggest the solutions lie in systemic change Infrastructure of responsibility: there is no ‘they’ Leadership role of HE in difficult times Encourage you to buy my book!!

4 Positive Deviant: A person who does the right thing for sustainability, despite being surrounded by the wrong institutional structures or processes and by stubbornly uncooperative people Perverse: Obstinately in the wrong; wrongheaded; against the evidence; turned aside from the truth (Chambers Dictionary)

5 REASONS TO SCREAM Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman, Tate Modern

6 Unsustainable development = huge problem Growing demand side 1946 2.2 billion 1972 3.6 billion 2010 6.9 billion 2035 8.6 billion 2050 9.2 (10.5) billion Shrinking supply side “Normally, large, aggressive, predatory mammals are rare – humans have broken this rule” Colin Tudge, 2005

7 human economy takes takes 50+% 50+% + Loss of biomass and diversity + Mineral depletion + Excess fossil fuel consumption + Waste overdose + persistent poverty, Injustice. inequality = dangerous feedback = dangerous feedback on economy; on well-being; on security; on life itself Unsustainable development: symptoms of a whole system failure

8 Persistent poverty and inequality 1.4 billion live on less than £1.25 a day ¼ children dangerously undernourished 2.5 billion poor or no sanitation etc. “a hungry man is an angry man” Bob Marley

9 Overhead Copenhagen fails and Cancun disappoints Losing fight with ‘big’ energy/food/finance Missing the Millennium Development Goals Underfoot National government confused Local government doesn’t ‘see’ HE in Big Society HE bluff called – the price for autonomy will be exacted Soft policy ground overhead and underfoot


11 Things can only get better …? UK Climate Change Act/Committee on Climate Change Resilience and systems change on the agenda – in social/economic as well as environmental science Sarkozy Commission and GDP recalculation We know for sure there is no ‘them’ – and that implementation (of anything) is local The majority of people are worried – and education influences action ( ESRC, March 2011) ‘[globally] culture, identity and politics are going local’ Jeremy Greenstock, Former UK Ambassador to the UN

12 Parkin (2010) p127, Transformational CSR

13 Eco-efficiency Quality Management Licence to operate 1.reduced costs 2.costs avoided 3.optimal investment strategies 4.Better risk management 5.Greater responsiveness 6.Motivates staff 7.Enhances intellectual capital 8.Reduces costs of compliace 9.Enhances reputation with stakeholders Some organisations, especially companies, get it Forum for the Future

14 But how many universities ‘get it’? how many see sustainability as strategic opportunity? or even as a basic ‘must have’ for students paying top dollar for their ‘experience’ and a degree fit for 21 st workplace challenges? or feel a leadership responsibility in difficult and potentially chaotic times?

15 ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES “The goal of education is to form the citizen. And the citizen is a person who, if need be, can re-found his (sic) civilisation.” Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy 1888-1972

16 Universities are the same as any business - but different? Same good governance and business management is expected responsibilities to stakeholders (students, funders of research, taxpayers, charity law, donors etc.) perception of public impacts on reputation students (like employees/customers) choosing on SD criteria Different operate for public benefit – are social enterprises already? product is graduates and ideas – and future leaders? recognise enhanced responsibilities in radical change?

17 Students majority (over 80%) first year students think sustainability skills will be important to employers (HEA/NUS 2011, Forum for the Future 2007/09) Harvard Business School students sign ethics code (HB journal June 2009) Employers 70% businesses agree gap in leadership skills for a sustainable economy ‘will become one of the most pressing challenges facing UK business in the next five years’. (BITC, July 2010) … but few know how to ask for what they need Students and employers want it

18 University as a Social Enterprise students & staff energy, materials waste & pollution finance graduates & ideas economic benefit Delivering public and private value in a way that contributes to sustainable development ++++ ++++ ---- campus, curriculum, community

19 Q. We know what to do, why don’t we do it? The crisis is in implementation’ Kofi Annan, 2002 A.It is about people, not the environment!! 1.Understand need for new behaviour 2.Have knowledge and skills to behave differently 3. Right behaviour is recognised and rewarded

20 The hope and failure of education Subjects and disciplines fragment knowledge, so slow up understanding about a fabulously interconnected world - of which we are a part … … so wonder we are sustainability – illiterate!

21 Which in turn means everything is constructed to support wrong behaviour ‘infrastructure of responsibility’ (Scheffler, 2001)

22 Go miles beyond CSR: The case for university leadership for sustainability 1.Urgency 2.Intellectual capital 3. Institutional power

23 Urgency: no silver bullet – just millions of right actions + Build natural capital + Build human capital + Build social capital - Lower birth rates - Use FEWER resources + Be ultra-efficient Now developed in Parkin (2010) The Positive Deviant

24 Intellectual leadership All the evidence and policies we need to transform to a sustainable way of doing things is there, in UK universities, but that body of knowledge is: not joined up or coherently presented not speaking to others in a “language” they can hear not recognising that this is a social project not producing sustainability literate graduates to the scale needed

25 TAME PROBLEMS WICKED CRITICAL 21 st Century Leadership Grint (2005)

26 Triandis’ Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour (1977) Beliefs about outcomes Social factors Attitude Emotions Evaluation of outcomes Norms Roles Facilitating Conditions Self-concept Affect Frequency of behaviour Habits intention Behaviour

27 New habits feed new behaviours ‘We don’t have habits, they have us’ Elizabeth Shove 2003 We want to do right thing, but can’t practically. The ‘facilitating conditions’ are not there Practices have: material infrastructure meanings competencies

28 Institutional power Universities are large businesses/institutions and individually (in localities) and collectively (nationally and internationally) potentially very powerful: institution (or multi-institution) level trials and exemplars through action-research (Carbon Reduction Commitment etc, new business, social, economic models, new curricula, partnerships) whole institution demonstrations of what works collective influence on policy (with evidence, speaking coherently unto power?)

29 The infrastructure of responsibility Schaeffer 2001 Companies Publically quoted, Large privately owned SMEs for profit, etc Citizens social enterprises charities, churches, clubs, law courts etc Government National, local, NHS, Schools etc macromesomicromacromesomicromacromesomicro Step One Step Two Step Three Step Four Sustainable Enterprise Heaven What has each of these organisations and groups to do before their only undertakings are those that contribute to sustainability? See for example: Steve Waddell ‘Realising global change: developing the tools; building the infrastructure’ The journal of Corporate Citizenship Summer 2007, 26

30 TAKING RESPONSIBILITY “To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing” Raymond Williams, 1921-1988

31 CAMPUSCURRICULUMCOMMUNITY FINANCE INFRASTRUCTURE SOCIAL HUMAN NATURAL Think rapidly and radically What can I do to contribute to a more sustainable way of life?

32 Beubunto Practicepositive deviance Exercisecompassion Thinkin systems, about resilience Planoutcomes and strategies Distil wisdom from data deluge Mobiliseimagination, in yourself, others Principles of practice:

33 CAMPUSCURRICULUMCOMMUNITY FINANCE pensions accounting destination university Procurement for resilience INFRASTRUCTUREnew build & refurbish experiential learningtransport SOCIALgood governance‘retrofit’ workforce with sustainability literacy Business links Share space HUMANStaff trainingAll graduates sustainability literate one-stop green information NATURALcarbon reduction Low-carbon innovation partner with Local government bio-mass increasewaste reductionwildlife orgs, etc How HE can grow contribution HEPS Nov 2003

34 Measure what matters contribution to sustainability ubiquity influence “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein

35 WHAT WILL THE FUTURE HOLD? “History is a race between education and catastrophe.” H G Wells (1866-1946)

36 A strategy for our times ‘the hallmarks of tomorrow’s world will be scarcity – of land, water, oil, food and “airspace” [for greenhouse gases]’ ‘ leadership matters, no trend is immutable … timely and well- informed intervention can decrease the likelihood and severity of negative developments and increase the likelihood of positive ones.” US National Intelligence Council November 2008 The Perfect Storm Beddington, 2009

37 ‘Positive deviance’ is the only leadership strategy from now on. … because … … if unsustainability is the consequence of lots of unknowingly wrong decisions and actions, then sustainability will be the consequence of lots of knowingly right decisions and actions. Sara Parkin, Positive Deviance, forthcoming

38 “Do the right thing. This will gratify some, and astonish the rest.” Mark Twain registered charity no. 1040519 Thank you for listening!

39 Sara Parkin, From HEPS Final Report 2004 Positive deviance internally

40 Positive deviance: externally Sara Parkin, From HEPS Final Report 2004

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