Caring for the Future: The Systemic Design of Flourishing Enterprises

Peter Jones Sustainable Systems, Systemic Design

Presented at OCADU Research Rendezvous, Nov 17, 2014


Human commerce utilizes the most significant share of natural resources and produces the largest aggregate impact on the earth’s environment. As a consequence of modern employment and work cultures, commerce, corporations as opposed to governments, also construct much of the social contract and social organizational forms in developed societies. Sustainable development movements to conserve resources and to democratize or enhance organizational practices have called for culture change or transformation.

However, these approaches have not yielded results that will significantly enhance human flourishing in the face of globalized commerce, which has no common governance system. We suggest that the goals of alignment toward sustainable development or so-called corporate sustainability are misguided and systemically depreciative, as they purport to sustain activities that foreseeably accelerate ecological degradation. We propose a modeling practice for stakeholder design of strongly sustainable enterprises for the intention of whole system flourishing across living ecosystems and organized social systems. This systemic design approach to business transformation functions at the level of the business model. We claim that business model design affords the highest leverage across all modes of organizing for collective cultural adoption ecosystemic practices.