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Innovate or lose your job

Business, Company Strategy, Economics, Environment, Sustainability
By John Richardson on 05-Aug-2008

Continuing my environmental theme, I’ve been musing over building a new training course around helping companies help their employees to think outside the box. This is a tough task in certain companies and cultures.

As Benjamin Franklin so wisely said, “insanity is doing the same things over and over, and expecting a different result.”

So employees at every level in every chemicals company need to keep up-to-date with
the rapidly shifting environmental agenda from product development to legislation.

A starting point might be reading Doris de Guzman’s excellent blog, Green Chemicals. This focuses on all the renewable, or maybe less unrenewable, products out there.

But navigating the mountain of information – and of course sorting the truth from the fiction – requires a special set of skills.

You then need to put this knowledge into practice by proactively redefining your job role to take advantage of the green revolution.

Whether you are a chemicals engineer, a sales and marketing, an IT or an admin expert- whatever – every aspect of every business will be reshaped by the environmental crisis. There is career-progression to be achieved by making yourself more useful.

And if you are a CEO you need to manage this knowledge effectively – e.g. by making sure it doesn’t fly to the door when your top staff get headhunted.

You, of course, also need to have the right leadership qualities to make sure strategy is both developed and implemented. Victor Newman – the knowledge activist – gives some interesting ideas on these themes.

Ultimately – and I really feel there is no turning back – it might be a case of innovate or lose your job. The old ways of doing things won’t keep companies in business for much longer.

Anybody in their late 40s or older might not need to worry as retirement, or a nice fat redundancy pay-off, could arrive before the unmentionable finally hits the revolving air-cooling device.

But for those who are younger, dramatic changes in legislation – and in the way the climate is behaving – seem inevitable during their working lives.

There is also the problem of depleting oil and gas reserves and rapidly rising and competiing sources of demand. An article from Joe Kamalick highlights these issues when he examines shale gas in the US.

Watch this space for more discussion on this new training programme – and on what companies are already doing to fill the environmnental knowledge and expertise void.