Linda Gorchels blogs

Contemplate

Eco-Dumb Innovation

Articles about the importance of innovation to the growth—or even survival—of a company saturate the internet. I even stress its importance in my monthly posts on the topic. However, not all innovation is socially or environmentally compatible. Short-term financial gain may cause long-term environmental pain. Can we do it better? Can we think in terms of Eco-Smart Innovation?

Social Ecosystem

Let’s start with the social ecosystem.

While the average family size in the United States declined over the past seven decades, the average house size increased. A standard single-family house in 1950 was 983 square feet. It now averages 2631 square feet. Additional closets and room sizes enabled us to pack the building with more possessions.

Over the years, advertising bombarded us with messages that we need the new cell phone, the most up-to-date fashion, or the improved household items.… Read the rest

There is No Planet B

There is no Planet B

Contemplate this! What is our moral responsibility regarding climate change?  I must admit I am embarrassed by my own superficial acceptance of that responsibility.

There are many things I could do better. For example, I could:

  • walk or ride my bike instead of driving my car for short distances
  • dress more appropriately for the existing temperature rather than adjusting the thermostat up or down
  • consciously and actively spend my food dollars with companies that practice sustainable agriculture
  • look for alternatives to fossil fuels for energy needs and in manufactured goods
  • avoid single-use products and containers
  • cast my vote for politicians who acknowledge the science of climate change and who will push hard for policy solutions

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.… Read the rest

What is the Purpose of a Business?

This is a question likely to cause disagreement, if not downright altercations.  Some believe the ONLY reason a business exists is to make money. Others view money as an end-result. The question may boil down to whether profits and purpose are contradictory or compatible.

Make a Profit. Period.

This spring I saw an article in Harvard Business Review titled, Companies Don’t Always Need a Purpose Beyond Profit. The gist of the article was that businesses sometimes publish lofty mission statements that feel “empty,” causing employees to feel cynical rather than inspired. Freek Vermeulen, the author, suggested that making a profit was an admirable goal:

In my view, organizations shouldn’t be shy about stating profit as its explicit and ultimate purpose.

Read the rest

Are Social Media Platforms Exploitative?

How much time did you spend on Facebook this week? How about YouTube, or Twitter, or any other social media platform?

My guess is it’s more than you care to admit.

In my post on a regenerative attention economy, I mentioned the concern of former Google staffer Tristan Harris. He said technology is downgrading humans by preying on our animal brains. Sounds kind of harsh, doesn’t it?

Before I go any further, let me clarify that I am NOT anti-technology. I was using the internet before the web came along. I enjoyed easier access to new information and connections. And I saw a lot of value in technology, mostly from the internet. (That was when “You Got Mail!” was a big deal.) So perhaps it’s best to start by differentiating between the Internet and social media.… Read the rest

Are Generalists More Open-Minded?

Generalist or Specialist?

Are you a generalist, or a specialist, or both?

It’s fair to say that on any topic you fall on a continuum from no knowledge, to some knowledge, to proficiency. Depending on the topic, there may be more or fewer people in each category. (The green curve shows fewer experts on the topic, and the red curve shows more.) In addition, you are likely to be at different points of the curve for different topics.

Regardless of the curve’s shape, who do you expect to be more open to new information—experts or uninformed people? It depends on who is more curious and open to new viewpoints. That said, being a generalist—a person in the middle of the curve—may have advantages.… Read the rest

Is a Regenerative Attention Economy Possible?

Is a regenerative attention economy possible? That’s not a very good “clickbaity” headline, is it?

Should I have used the following title (even though it has nothing to do with the content)?

9 Tips to Increasing Brain Wealth

Or how about this one?

Are all Your Friends Narcissists?

Perhaps this would grab your attention:

What the F*ck were you thinking?

But my goal is not to sell you something, or to spew advertising at you. Rather, it’s to get you to think. And to contemplate. And to (dare I say?) become more humane.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is an attention economy?

This requires a bit of history. The term “attention economy” has been around for decades. It followed the agriculture, industrial and information revolutions.… Read the rest

9 Simple Ways to Make the World a Better Place

Do you wonder why you exist? Yearn for a purpose? Struggle with how to make the world a better place?

It starts with little things. But if all of us did the little things, we could have a big impact.

Here are some suggestions.

Become an environmental steward

Pick up trash when you take a walk. It’s something I noticed my dad doing when I was growing up. It simply involves bending down, putting your fingers around a piece of litter, and transporting it to a trash can (or a bag if you are carrying one for that purpose).

Encourage your political representatives to support environmental causes and efforts to combat climate change.

Avoid pesticides that are bad for the water, the soil, the air, or the bees.… Read the rest

Join the JOMO Movement – the Joy of Missing Out

Last week I learned a new word, compliments of Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day: JOMO, the Joy of Missing Out.

What is JOMO?

The definition is “a feeling of contentment with one’s own pursuits and activities, without worrying over the possibility of missing out on what others may be doing.” It’s the opposite of FOMO, Fear of Missing Out, often linked to negative emotions. Research conducted by the University of Copenhagen discovered that heavy Facebook users increased well-being by reducing the time spent on the site. Other studies have shown that Facebook can intensify depression among millennials.

Like most people, I spend a lot of time connected to digital devices. And I’m finding that the time spent is less fulfilling.

Now I’m not saying I’m ready to throw out my smartphone or disconnect from the Internet.… Read the rest

Drowning in Plastic

In honor of Earth Month, my Contemplate post this final Friday is on the environment. I struggled with how to narrow the topic. Contaminants in drinking water? Pollution? Air quality? Climate change? Whew!

I made my decision after viewing Plastic Planet, Werner Boote’s documentary on the dangers of plastic. And we’re drowning in it. Plastic is used in our clothing, furniture, cars, food packaging, electronics, yard tools—it’s ubiquitous. Think about it.

If you took every plastic product in your home or apartment and stacked them in front of your building, how many piles would you need to make? How big would the piles be?

Drowning in pastic

Drowning in Plastic

Plastic has been hailed as a miracle—and a curse. It’s convenient to use, but hard for the earth to dispose of.… Read the rest

Business Model Advice from 8 Experts

Forget “business as usual.” Don’t believe everything you read about “best practices.” There is no “magic bullet.”

Business Model Renewal

When your market changes, you have to change your strategy–and maybe even your business model–to survive and thrive. Prepare for sustaining growth, transformative growth, and disruptive growth. And take advice from as many disparate sources as you can. Start here.

At the end of every chapter of Business Model Renewal, I included an interview with a prominent business leader or consultant. Each offered different perspectives on business models. Following are snippets of their words of wisdom for executives rethinking their business models.

The Importance of Developing a Business Model Portfolio

(Mary) Kay Plantes, Ph.D.
Expert in business models

Kay Plantes, Principal, Plantes Company, LLC

The speed with which product and service commoditization arises in today’s more open economy is remarkable.… Read the rest