The Plot to Save the Planet is an illuminating and inspiring look at the “conspiracy” to make green technology the Silicon Valley of the twenty-first century—the creator of massive numbers of jobs and huge amounts of wealth. Suddenly, the ugly mudslinging between environmentalists and big business has abated, and these two previously opposed forces are now strange bedfellows in a race to head off climate change.
How is this new frontier being shaped? Brian Dumaine is your guide in this intriguing look into the very near future filled with colorful and informative stories about the entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate mavericks who are managing to pull off the feat of combining economic growth and environmental protection to battle global warming. You’ll read about:
• The savvy investors: Why Warren Buffett is investing heavily in wind power; and why John Doerr, the venture capitalist and early backer of Google, is saying that “green tech is bigger than the Internet and could be the biggest economic opportunity of the twenty-first century.”
• The cars of the future: The competitively priced plug-in hybrids that will get 60 miles to the gallon, and the battle being waged by fifteen start-ups competing to capture the electric car market.
• The fuels without fossils: New sources of energy from plants such as prairie grass and algae that could capture a big chunk of the $300 billion U.S. wholesale gasoline market.
• The corporate mavericks: Companies such as Duke Energy and GE who are creating the low-carbon business models of the future, as well as cleaner ways to provide our power needs.
• The energy-miser homes and buildings: The new Bank of America Tower in New York City and the green low- and middle-income homes being constructed by visionaries who were told it couldn’t be done and still be affordable.
• The “thin film” solar energy: How it is making the cost of heating a home comparable to traditional methods without emitting greenhouse gas.
Plenty of obstacles still exist—among them resistance from the rich and powerful owners of the world’s oil supply, developing nations such as China with their reliance on coal, and an American public reluctant to give up their McMansions, SUVs, and extreme air-conditioning. But the battle cry has been sounded. The green overhaul of the utility, energy, construction, shipping, and automobile industries is well on its way and—contrary to prevailing fears—the ultimate solutions will sustain the environment without demanding huge sacrifices to our contemporary comforts and lifestyles.
From the Hardcover edition.
Vance D. Bell | Chairman and CEO, Shaw Industries Group, Inc.
The world today is more swift, more severe… and has never been more full of opportunity.
The rapid wave of change is sweeping outdated strategies away quicker than ever before, but those who can get in front of this wave will achieve untold success and customer loyalty. And the solution for how to get in front of this wave is as inspiring as it is surprising.
The Surprising Solution describes the revolution in business in which the corporations that can best address environmental and social issues by creating superior products will thrive and profit in this new world. Discover how to take hold of this vital new force in business and improve both the world and your bottom line at the same time.
Going green is no longer something businesses just do for good PR...it's the most important and revolutionary factor driving the incredible success of businesses that are a part of the movement, and hurting those that are falling behind.
PRAISE FOR THE SURPRISING SOLUTION
"The Surprising Solution is a must-read during this time of economic turmoil."
Steve Percy | Former CEO of BP America and Coordinating Lead Author of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
"This book should be read by all consumers and social and business leaders concerned about this new century. Bruce Piasecki writes in an engaging and readable style about items of consequence to your life and firm."
Frank Boren | Former CEO of the Nature Conservancy, Former ARCO Board Member, and Founder of Sustainable Conservation
"Read this book and learn how today's business leaders are innovating, growing, and enhancing the economic performance of their companies while building long-term social, environmental, and moral capital for their shareholders."
Tyler J. Elm | Operating Partner, 2Degrees Capital Partners
"Read Bruce Piasecki's The Surprising Solution for your future, your family, and financial health."
Jay Whitehead | Editor and Publisher, CRO magazine
SURVIVING THE "S-FRONTIER"
New Book By Expert Bruce Piasecki Reveals Why Social Responsiveness Is Key To Long Term Profitability And Sustained Success
For nearly thirty years, Bruce Piasecki and his firm, AHC Group, have been helping companies become more socially responsive without sacrificing bottom-line success. Today, as we stand at what Piasecki calls the "S-Frontier," social responsiveness is no longer a choice — it is imperative for survival. In his new book, THE SURPRISING SOLUTION: Creating Possibility in a Swift and Severe World (SourceBooks, Inc.; November 2009), Piasecki offers practical, hands-on advice, supported by in-depth case studies of such corporations as Toyota , Suncor Energy, and Hewlett-Packard to explain precisely what companies can do to thrive in this new frontier.
How the S-Frontier Affects Product Development
According to Piasecki, the S-Frontier is comprised of three key elements: the swiftness of information; the severity of such global problems as climate change and the rising price of oil; and the need for business leaders to become "social response capitalists." To flourish in the coming decades, companies must be on the upswing of the S-Frontier, and create innovative products that help solve the problems confronting customers in the 21st century. In addition to long-term viability, this "social response product development," will create other business benefits as well, including margin improvement, rapid cycle time, global market access, and product differentiation.
A master of social response product development is Toyota, a firm with which Piasecki worked as a consultant for many years. "The core of Toyota's product strategy," he explains, "lies in its reading of public needs, in advance, to anticipate and build long-term markets for its products," he writes. Not only has Toyota, with its energy-efficient Prius, been on the forefront of automobile technology, it has, from the beginning, intended to install hybrid engines into ten core car models — demonstrating a powerful commitment to responding to social needs over the long-term.
How Leaders Can Meet the Challenges of the S-Frontier
For Piasecki, leadership demands in the S-Frontier are more complex than ever. "The best leaders are both in this world and in the world of the near future at the same time," he writes. In THE SURPRISING SOLUTION, he outlines his key insights into the leadership skills needed to meet these new challenges, including the ability to tolerate discomforting information and thrive on constant learning; the willingness to listen to input from a variety of sources and then choose the right path to follow; and the ability to articulately spread the word about new business models and social goals. Piasecki also points to the need for leaders to look outside their "trade group box" in the search for superior products and processes, explaining how Seattle's Virginia Mason hospital was able to drastically cut costs and raise patient satisfaction by applying lessons learned from "just in time" manufacturing and Toyota's assembly line techniques.
Show Me the Money: How Companies are Valued in the S-Frontier
The S-Frontier also impacts the money side of business. With greater transparency and access to information, the ways that individuals and institutions choose to invest is changing. At the same time, traditional valuation models don't take into account many of the factors — such as the launch of initiatives designed to reduce future liabilities and create new, unique business opportunities — that influence a company's success or failure. In his book, Piasecki describes how such organizations as the Calvert Group, Innovest, and even Standard and Poor's are discovering ways to measure these intangibles — further incentive for companies to find their way to the upswing of the S-Frontier if they hope to attract investment capital in the future.
The Need for a Smart, Readjusted Form of Global Capitalism
"To profit in a sustained way, you must leverage your money, corporate resources, energy, and people in a fashion that answers mounting social needs," writes Piasecki. This is what will separate companies that thrive from those that wither in the new S-Frontier. THE SURPRISING SOLUTION is a critical handbook for creating success for your firm and your future.
Visit these sites for more information about Bruce Piasecki:
A revolution is underway in today’s organizations. As Peter Senge and his co-authors reveal in The Necessary Revolution, companies around the world are boldly leading the change from dead-end “business as usual” tactics to transformative strategies that are essential for creating a flourishing, sustainable world. There is a long way to go, but the era of denial has ended. Today’s most innovative leaders are recognizing that for the sake of our companies and our world, we must implement revolutionary—not just incremental—changes in the way we live and work.
Brimming with inspiring stories from individuals and organizations tackling social and environmental problems around the globe, THE NECESSARY REVOLUTION reveals how ordinary people at every level are transforming their businesses and communities. By working collaboratively across boundaries, they are exploring and putting into place unprecedented solutions that move beyond just being “less bad” to creating pathways that will enable us to flourish in an increasingly interdependent world. Among the stories in these pages are the evolution of Sweden’s “Green Zone,” Alcoa’s water use reduction goals, GE’s ecoimagination initiative, and Seventh Generation’s decision to shift some of their advertising to youth-led social change programs.
At its heart, THE NECESSARY REVOLUTION contains a wealth of strategies that individuals and organizations can use — specific tools and ways of thinking — to help us build the confidence and competence to respond effectively to the greatest challenge of our time. It is an essential guidebook for all of us who recognize the need to act and work together—now—to create a sustainable world, both for ourselves and for the generations to follow.