Category Archives: Uncategorized

What is the True Cost?

Etrue costvent: Private film screening – Tuesday, 22 March 2016 from 19:30  at Curzon Victoria

It was the little boy who struggled to walk that I asked about. We were on an Ashram in South India – a sanctuary run by Nobel Prizewinner Kailesh Satyarthi to support children return from slavery back to healthy lives. A long way from the glamour and glitz of seasonal fashion.

Kailesh didn’t look at me to respond. He said to the ground ‘the child was working cross legged on the ground from such a young age, for such long hours, that his bones haven’t developed properly’. The little boy looked up with a bright smile and intelligent eyes and hobbled back to his position as catcher behind the cricket wickets.

The True Cost is a global documentary that explores the fashion industry around the world and examines how products are made. It highlights those who are forgotten about throughout the process. Although great strides have been made to make fashion more responsible, there remain overwhelming problems on care of the environment and clear violations of the most basic human rights.

This is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?

Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes.

Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian children’s rights and education advocate and was the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in his efforts against child labour. He has acted to protect the rights of more than 83,000 children and has created organisations like The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) and the Global March (against child labour).

If you are curious about the potential for the fashion industry to improve – or even to have a restorative impact on the communities it touches. If you are wondering how your clothes are made. If you want to support a very good cause – please do join us or this private screening. Tickets are available here: The True Cost

If you can’t make it but would like to host your own screening, please do get in touch.

New Event: East-london ‘net-walk’ on pioneering disruption

Simon Cole knows London. Both the places and the stories that make it come alive and can inspire us in our work and personal lives. He has offered to host a walking tour of Hackney for 6heads and Greenskythinking. We think this is the start of a series of ‘net-walks’ – opportunities to walk and connect with like minded people. Its on 28th October. Places are limited. You can (and really should!) sign up here: Netwalk on pioneering disruption

Below, he tells us more: 

ROCKING THE BOAT TO SAVE THE WORLD

If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present” – it could be the mission statement of a modern day innovatorHackney Timber Tourin East London, the nearest that we have to Silicon Valley. Buts it’s a quote from a Hackney religious radical of the 1800s. There is a rich tradition in this part of the global city of disruptors rocking the mainstream boat to address the problems they see around them.

Hackney Tours uses walks to explore the past to reframe the present and anticipate the future; we’re tapping into that on a forthcoming walk that channels the best of this powerful desire for positive change by showcasing examples of it happening around us today.

Using inspirational characters from the past, we discover how today’s pioneers in Dalston are following in great footsteps. In Hackney we’re standing on the shoulders of giants, whether they be inventors or reformers or activitists. Many of the things we take for granted today were hard won by people who had the moral courage to stand up and risk ridicule, or worse.

6 Heads is about “Shaking things up” and it’s what Hackney personalities have been doing in various forms since the 1600s. From the groundbreaking demand for gender equality by Mary Wollstonecraft to the direct action soup kitchens of the Salvation Army, Hackney changemakers have challenged the conventional and shaped the way we live and think today.

Some of you on this experience walk, which also serves as a space to create connections and find affirmation, may be the contemporary equivalent of those who broke paradigms with new ideas or new methods. We’ll see some great projects that seek to break some unhealthy planetary patterns that need renegotiation. So come and see some good stuff, connect with how good it feels to be part of positive change. And see what Hackney innovators are doing for the field of sustainability and how they’re reinvigorating notions of community in the 21st Century city.

*Hackney Tours*
*”Best Walking Tours in London’ recommended by lastminute.com
*Recommended by Trip Advisor*

www.hackneytours.com

Moral courage

6heads

I’m on my way to Atlanta, Georgia to work for a company that that started a radical sustainability journey more than 20 years ago when it’s CEO, against accepted commercial norms, declared that he could no longer do business that destroyed the planet. He set out a moral leadership agenda to transform industry.

I’m watching Selma, the story of Martin Luther Kings search for dignity, for all – also in Georgia. An excellent film that captures his steadfast courage in the face of opposition that felt safeguarded by social norms – sheltered by ‘this is just the way things are around here’.

Although their focus, impact and journeys are very different, I’m deeply inspired by the moral courage of both men. They demonstrated a different way and, through articulating clear visions, led transformative action toward a better world.

I’m reflecting that –

One person with a commitment to an agenda…

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EXAMINING ‘PURPOSE’: TOO MUCH. NOT ENOUGH. HOW? WHY?

David Willans, legendary marketeer and friend , works with purposeful brands and organisations to drive growth. This makes him extremely well-placed to examine what is meant by ‘purpose’.

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Purpose is all the rage, with a new book out on it every month it seems. I’m a big fan of Purpose, because it’s all about direction and motivation to make things better. It’s the Why that keeps you motivated, attracting people who believe in your cause.

Reading between the many lines that have been written about it, there’s a dangerous assumption emerging. The assumption seems to be that just having a Purpose will make a business relevant and successful. There’s very little discussion of how to live your purpose once you have it.

If purpose is the Why, what we’re missing is the How.

Simon Sineck, the guy who coined the Why says the How are an organisations values – the beliefs and principles held collectively that guide behaviour. I agree and so does Ron Disney, nephew of Walt and one time Disney CEO. He said ‘It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.’

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, who wrote the brilliant Built to Last and Good to Great define values as being ‘inherent and sacrosanct; they can never be compromised, either for convenience or short-term economic gain’.

Unfortunately, when you mention values in a business context most minds jump straight to a set of generic and meaningless words on a meeting room wall. It’s a sad comment on today’s state of affairs but one that’s reflective of the truth. A study by Boston Research Groupwith thousands of Americans from every rung of the corporate ladder, found only 3% described their company’s values as a form of “self-governance.” 43% said their company’s culture was a form of command-and-control and 54% said it was top-down leadership with lots of carrots and sticks. These later two groups explain why big firms have such a problem with innovation, because they are all based on the assumption that the people at the top know best. With change coming from all angles no leadership team can ever be that good. If they were there’s no way they can effectively translate their visions into actions fast enough if the people executing by and large don’t care.

Proper, fit for purpose values have a few things in common, they are:

  • Articulated in the language of the business, they aren’t a standardised set of words that could belong to anyone.
  • Used to make decisions on a daily basis, they are grounded in the truth of today’s behaviour but also drive the standard of work and behaviour for tomorrow.
  • Modelled by everyone in the business, especially the leaders because if not they are simply a sign of insincerity and a source of lost productivity.

Finding and articulating them lies in seeing the full cultural landscape of the organisation to identify the golden threads that run through it. These threads show up again and again in the stories told, the behaviours prized and the successes earned. When they aren’t there you’ll find stories of failure, ill-feeling and poor performance.

Let’s hope the focus on purpose will put values in proper perspective and force those with words like ‘integrity, trust, responsibility’ on meeting room walls to have a rethink.

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purposeIf you like what David had to say and want to see if he is as good looking as he is smart – you can check him out here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidwillans

If you want to enter the discussion, you can send your blog/thoughts/praise/disdain to info@6-heads.com

Extra Strong Mints: Shared Enterprise at Grant Thornton… At the start of a journey. Guest Blog by Norman Pickavance

6heads

6Heads have been really lucky this week. We were treated to a strategy session on purpose by Norman Pickavance and Charles Wookey from the Blueprint for Better Business. There is another blog on the way to you from what came out of that evening and we are very excited about that too.

However that will have to be a post for next week as this blog is about shared enterprise and we are already a few days late for shared ownership day …

In the sustainability world many of us wear different ‘hats’ and I am doubly lucky because the hat I wear daily is the one I wear to work with Norman at Grant Thornton where we are embarking upon a journey of Shared Enterprise, through the vision of our newly elected CEO Sacha Romanovitch.

We are thrilled to bits that Norman has written us a guest blog (the…

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Scaling disruption – congratulations Clotho!

Last month we published a blog on scaling disruption. It focused on entrepreneurs that are redesigning systems to support a more sustainable future. We mentioned new Upstart Startup Clotho London that has created an aspirational second-hand clothing marketplace, saving C02, water and – best of all – changing youth mindsets around fast fashion.

We’d like to congratulate them on winning two competitions in the past fortnight. First they won funding from and a place in the True Start Accelerator. Last Friday they won (tie first place) funding and support from the Mayor of London Low Carbon Entrepreneur Awards.

Below you can see them pitching their ideas to Dame Ellen McArthur – “How many times can you mention circular in two minutes?! ”

Clotho

Do you have a world-changing idea?  For more information on Clotho and other Upstarts, please contact nicola.millson@6-heads.com

Building a circular economy – are you clueless or clued up?

An invitation from Krina Amin from Ethical Corporation:

Business innovation is a top priority for large corporates in 2015. Making a circular economy a reality can help create more resource efficiencies and long term sustainable business growth.  Join Ethical Corporation’s 45-minute live debate this Thursday at 10am GMT. Hear how and where McCain Foods, Jaguar Land Rover and Royal BAM Group are evolving their business to create a circular economy and achieve greater resource efficiency.

Get clued up on Circular!

Sign up for free here: http://bit.ly/1CDNFBU

“CHEERS TO A NEW YEAR AND ANOTHER CHANCE FOR US TO GET IT RIGHT!”

2014 has been a great year!

6heads introduced regular monthly events, we’ve had beautiful walks and talks in the UK country-side, we have swung from trapezes to explore liminal space, we’ve played at setting up a festival to extend our knowledge on systems, we’ve found wisdom on the Southbank and we’ve interrogated the narratives that underpin the stories we tell. We’ve met wonderful new people, been inspired, explored new concepts and laughed, a lot.

On the separate, advisory side we’ve continued our work with inspired corporate clients, including Interface and M&S, to explore new ways of doing business. Here, we’ve focused on the circular economy and how to create commercial, restorative solutions through creative use of ‘waste’. In addition, we’ve started working with a number of new concepts to help grow disruptors to traditional business. We’re hoping to see insects as source of animal feed, a vibrant second hand clothing market and organic waste for heat.

As we look towards 2015 and the challenges and opportunities that we face in order to have a vibrant, equitable society on a healthy planet, we have to smile at Oprah’s words: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right”. We’’d encourage all changemakers and changeseekers to:

Reflect on the past: There are many past stories of social revolutions that have led to better outcomes for humanity.  We can learn from the past to better drive forward change today. We can look into the transitions underpinning the introduction of soap, the abolition of slavery, the outlawing of CFC’s and the uptake of solar.

Feel gratitude for today: We can celebrate our achievements! We can recognise that – despite the challenges that still remain – we are living at an all time high for health and wellness: Infant and mortality rates have plummeted, diseases have been eradicated. Equity has been improved: Literacy is rising sharply and women (mostly) have a better deal. Within 100 years we’ve gone from the Wright brothers to landing 800 million miles away on a moon! We’ve got technologies now that can power us forward in completely different ways to those from the beginning of the century – we have solar, fuel cells and algae.

Attract a positive future: There are more and more examples of society and (that peculiar social construct) business, operating in ways that are positive and restorative. Let’s shift our focus from trying to reduce, report and review – and invite a rethink to how we can better service our basic needs and those of future generations. How can we get the food, energy, habitats, water and clothing we need in ways that make the world better? Can we wear plastic that has been taken out of the oceans? Can we power our homes on organic waste? Can we live in homes that provide energy back to the grid? Perhaps, the best we can do is to interrogate the work we are asked to do to reframe it against a restorative agenda, to actively seek out those products and services that are centrered on purpose and to keep asking questions.

Perhaps this thinking can lead to fresh, inspired resolutions for a positive, active and generative 2015?

We look forward to learning with you in 2015.

Thank you for being a part of our community.

Best wishes for 2015.

Nicola

Innocent victims of your story? An exploration into the narratives that underpin the stories we tell

6heads

Adam Woodhall, respected friend of 6heads, experienced sustainability consultant and early morning rave dancer, led the most recent 6heads members meeting.  He writes about his experience below.

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Why is it important to understand the narratives that underlie the stories we tell ourselves and each other?

This was the question that I posed at a fantastic 6-Heads event which I had the privilege of facilitating.  The workshop was structured using the classic four stage storytelling structure of ‘Exposition’, ‘Rising Action’, ‘Climax’ and ‘Resolution’.

stories 1

Exposition

We first discussed why we need to understand the narratives we are telling ourselves and being told, particularly the unstated and underlying ones?  It was concluded that this was because this exploration helps us explore the assumptions and ideas which sit beneath the stories we tell ourselves.  It also means that we can be clearer when the narrative has replaced reality.

The next question posed, “Why change?”…

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How to make a difference in fashion?

6heads

FullSizeRender_1On Monday I delivered a workshop for 3rd year fashion students at Falmouth University.

The objective was to co-create a view on how fashion – a product, business or idea – could make the world better.

We had a brilliant time!

I’ve embedded the presentation and, below this post, links to some of the ideas and resources that were shared with me before the lecture. Thank you to those of you who sent in ideas.  

The students embraced these concepts and understood that:

  • The existing system isn’t working – from environmental damage, to work-force exploitation, limiting/damaging social values, unsustainable business revenues and higher operating costs
  • Companies and individuals are doing great things to change the fashion system – from Vivienne Westwood, to Patagonia, Rapanui, Elvis and Kresse and People Tree
  • Fashion can cause less harm but more importantly fashion can be a force for goodby acting in a restorative…

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