Blue wrens on Bourke Street?
Sitting in Kinfolk community cafe talking about Regenerative Business recently with a Melbourne Hubber, we got to the topic of creating positive visions. What would a regenerative City of Melbourne look like?   How would we know a deep and significant shift had occurred?  What small, tangible thing would we be seeing differently?

Maybe a truly regenerative Melbourne would be so connected to its original environment that we would see blue wrens in Bourke Street? (A major thoroughfare in Melbourne’s central business district.)

We weren’t talking about a transplant or a breeding program – we were talking about what it would be like to have the city so connected to its original ecosystem that it would naturally provide habitat that would enable these beautiful little birds to thrive (along with other original species). [ See one here ]

Imagine that!!!

We played the “I wonder” game – I wonder what would it take? I wonder who would be involved? I wonder how we could make it socially and financially sustainable? Because when you get right down to it, we wouldn’t be trying to do anything technically impossible… Hmmmm!Strategic Business Sustainability

Looking back on the conversation, the thing I remember most vividly was how positive the moment was. Somehow, I was calm, relaxed and excited all at the same time . I could easily hold the vision,and extend it into practical actions.   I wasn’t worried, resentful or resigned (maybe the word I’m searching for is inspired?).

What’s bugging you?

Have a think about what you’d like to see differently in the world. If it was “fixed”, what evidence would you be seeing? How would you truly know there had been a fundamental shift? What would be your equivalent of “blue wrens in Bourke Street”?

We can get so caught up in “what’s wrong” that we don’t have a clear picture of what “right” would look like. Yes, the future would be sustainable. Yes, the micro-climate and the vegetation of the city would be different. But those are just words – words that don’t evoke pictures – what specifically would you see that would make you relax and say “yes!!”?

What visual evidence would you see?

What little thing would PROVE that a big shift had happened? What clear picture could you offer that would engage others in that result? How might you inspire a change rather than demand it?

Have you got the words to share it?  Is it clear enough in your head that you can paint the picture for others?

When we get stuck feeling anxious or resentful, we lose some of our capability to   think and act creatively and strategically.  There’s a quote I can’t place that basically says “Sustainability is far to important to be taken seriously!”  We need to be at our creative, strategic, resourceful best to develop the win/win/win solutions that Stephen Covey called “The 3rd Alternative”.

Isn’t this too important for us to do it badly?

Yes, we will all feel scared and angry at times when we consider the future – however we need to be aware that letting these emotions develop into pervasive, habitual moods will restrict our capability to be inspiring change-makers.

The things we are most concerned about are like the “photographic negative” of the things we want – and it’s well worth the time to develop clarity about what it is that we do want to see.  What do you want to see?

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PS: As I write this piece, the blue wrens are playing in my garden in the Dandenong Ranges, and I’m starting to wonder some more about what it will take for me to see them in Bourke Street.

Would you like to see blue wrens in Bourke Street? Let me know if this possibility inspires you.

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About Leigh

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Leigh is the principal of the business innovation practice Balance3 and her clients have included corporations such as Amcor, National Foods, Dair, SPC Ardmona, Kobelco, Corporate Express and New Balance as well as a range of smaller businesses and individual clients.