Work yourself out of a job to be sustainable

[T]hey have a “deliberately unsustainable” business model. In other words: do great stuff while you can, and when you can’t do it anymore, stop. This is the model that governs most businesses and artistic endeavors. It’s the reason terms like “jump the shark” exist. Most companies, rock bands, and sports teams are only brilliant for so long. Then they start to slide. Then they die.

via Museum 2.0: Deliberately Unsustainable Business Models. Found through this talk.

Some businesses are set up not to last, as is the case of most non-profits trying to solve societal problems. When the problem is solved or the vision is reached their purpose to exist vanishes.

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Balancing Empathy and Power

[T]here are two kinds of approaches to transform the behavior of organizations, one approach is to use empathy to understand human needs and motivation, and the other is power, the ability to force or coerce a particular behavior. (…) It appears to me that the empathic approach and power based approach are often at odds in organizations or out of balance.

via To Be Sustainable Organizations Must Balance Empathy and Power.

I believe that the rise of the participatory internet culture and the growing concern about environmental impacts by companies will force many organizations to emphasize empathy much more than they currently do to keep clients, staff and partners.

Principles of a Sustainable Business

How to be a Truly Sustainable Business : Ecopreneurist.

The principles for a sustainable business I get from this post are: (1) use the resources you have efficiently and do not overuse them (time, money, natural resources, employees); (2) diversify economic activities (core biz and related) to be less dependent on one activity or market; and (3) share business with others that are working in the same niche to build up a network you can fall back on in times of crises and to not overuse your resources.