Rational Radical

Growing up in the 1960’s with Kool-Kat-era parents who routinely carted me and my four sisters in our VW van to anti-war protests, I  always thought I understood what ‘radical’ meant.  ‘Radical’ ran around with its comrades ‘rebellious’, ‘nonconformist’, ‘unpredictable’, and even ‘anarchist’.  It was up to no good while up to a greater good.

But now I understand that radical is only rational.

Like the many other paradoxes we’ve discovered and embraced from nature (see Embracing Paradoxes, 19July2011), I now understand that ‘radical’ is a “Yes, and” to ‘rational’ – and vice versa (for more on “Yes, and” see Using Applied Improve to become a Business Inspired by Nature, 10Jan2012).   Not only do we need both, nurtured in dynamic tension, but — in a context of volatility, unpredictability, resource limitations, and diversity– radical is rational.

In an “R10” world, businesses are not only inspired by nature, they are thriving driving participants in the many positive virtuous cycles of nature.  This R10 world cannot be achieved through a series of small changes to our current ways and means of business.  R10 cannot be achieved by simply reducing consumption, increasing efficiencies, finding substitutes for limited resources – these are allincremental changes to what we already know and do.  Achieving R10, and the vastly improved and resilient quality of life that goes with it, requires radical change, radical innovation, radical thinking,radical transformation.

Like the concept of radical from the 1960’s, radical change in business is both exciting and daunting yet, given the context businesses face today, it is also rational.   What does your R10 world look like?   Can you imagine getting there by a series of incremental changes?   I think not.  Can you imagine getting there by ecological thinking for radical transformation?  I think so – it’s only rational.