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Strategic Thinking for Sustainable Enterprise

Presentation to Dammam University students Saudi Arabia
Griffith International, Griffith University, Brisbane, 27 August 2014

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Strategic Thinking for Sustainable Enterprise

  1. 1. Professor Jeremy B Williams Director, Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise @jeremybwilliams Presentation to Dammam University students Saudi Arabia Griffith International Brisbane, 27 August 2014
  2. 2. Objective of this session  To learn to think differently  Make a note of changes you can make in how you think and what you do when you return to work.
  3. 3. Critical thinking  Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you’re thinking, in order to make your thinking better. Richard Paul, 1992, Critical Thinking: What Every Person Needs to Survive in a Rapidly Changing World, p. 7.
  4. 4. Characteristics of unstructured problems ...  Cannot be described completely  Have more than one potentially viable solution option  Generate controversy, even among experts  Have incomplete information that is subject to a variety of interpretations
  5. 5. … characteristics of unstructured problems  Have a variety of solution options with unknown outcomes  Often need to be addressed repeatedly over time as conditions change and better information becomes available  Can be addressed through a problem solving process that uses information in increasingly complex ways
  6. 6. Readdressing an unstructured problem Resolving an unstructured Framing an unstructured problem Identifying the unstructured nature of the problem Content knowledge/problem solving skills © U21Global 2007 problem 1 2 3 4 The ‘stair-step’ critical thinking model (Lynch, Wolcott & Huber 1998)
  7. 7. So how might we define strategic thinking?  Strategic thinking is about developing strategy  Strategy is about the future  Integrating the future into your decision making processes today by thinking big, deep and long. Maree Conway, 2009)
  8. 8.  Big Do we understand how we connect and interact with other organisations and the external environment?
  9. 9.  Deep How deeply are we questioning our ways of operating? Do we operate from our interpretation of the past, or our anticipation of the future? Are our assumptions today valid into the future?
  10. 10.  Long How far into the future are we looking? Do we understand the shape of alternative futures for our organisation?
  11. 11. Thinking Big:  Systems thinking Leaders need to understand they are part of larger systems Doing so shifts focus from optimising their small part of the picture to building shared understanding and a more holistic vision Peter Senge, The Necessary Revolution, 2008
  12. 12. Thinking Deep:  Taking a world view What might seem real to you may appear less real to another person. How you filter information (the lens through which you view the world) to create meaning is critical to one’s understanding
  13. 13. Thinking Long:  Environmental scanning Scan actively Scan in ‘non-traditional’ places Scan for diversity of perspectives (not right, not wrong) Look for connections, collisions and intersections.
  14. 14. Trend Problem Opportunity
  15. 15. March 2012
  16. 16. We’ve also changed the surface of the earth
  17. 17. We need 1.5 planets to sustain current consumption patterns …
  18. 18. … with potentially devastating effects in the form of climate change
  19. 19. Dr. Malte Meinshausen
  20. 20. The modelling conducted for the 2013 study produced larger budgets than indicated by the modelling of Meinshausen et al (2009) in 2011 Carbon Tracker work. That approach produced a range of 565 – 886GtCO2 to give 80% - 50% probabilities of limiting warming to a two degree scenario (2DS)
  21. 21. <20C Ian Dunlop Chair, Australian Coal Association (1987-88); CEO of the AICD (1997- 2001) ? “The 20C target is too high. It is now the boundary between and extremely dangerous climate change”
  22. 22. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)
  23. 23. 1: a project or undertaking that is especially difficult, complicated, or risky 2: readiness to engage in daring or difficult action 3: (a) a unit of economic organisation or activity; especially a business organisation (b) a systematic purposeful activity
  24. 24. There is a multiplicity of organisational and business types that might be characterised as Private sector Public sector Civil society For profit Not for profit In transition Start-ups
  25. 25.
  26. 26. stakeholders and investors see value creation opportunities and cost reduction opportunities in the strategic use of sustainability concepts, practices and innovation
  27. 27. • a clear understanding of its role in the creation of economic, environmental and social value • more value is generated if it is driven by a compelling sustainability vision accompanied by the monitoring of performance relative to that vision ‘How much closer to sustainable success are we?’ is a much better question than: ‘How much less unsustainable are we?’
  28. 28. (with a viable business model)
  29. 29. Choose a company   No more than one from: » Banks and Financial Services » Petrochemical Industries » Cement » Retail » Energy and Utilities » Agriculture and Food Industries » Telecommunication and IT » Insurance » Multi-Investment » Industrial Investment » Building and Construction » Real estate and Property » Transport » Media and Publishing » Hotel and Tourism
  30. 30. Describe this company in 2034  What is its mission and vision?  What key problems did it face over the previous 20 years?  What course of action did take and when?  What criteria did it use to choose and evaluate a course of action?  How did this course of action coincide or conflict with other goals/plans?
  31. 31. profjeremybwilliams