Tag Archives: education

Invitation: Capturing Sustainable Value

Join me this July at the Centre for Industrial Sustainability  5th annual conference, in Cambridge. Share your passion for sustainability, learn from progressive business and explore cutting edge techniques. There are two events – a symposium on high-value business models on 6th July and a conference on 7th and 8th of July.  More information for both events can be found here – conference, symposium.

The symposium on the 6 July will explore how to develop high value business models for start-ups and early stage ventures. There will be input from Prof Steve Evans and Dr Doroteya Vladimirova and a platform for current start-ups to talk about their approaches and discuss this with the audience. Half of the time will be spent working through challenges in small groups using some of the Centre’s sustainable business model tools.  More symposium information here and other fascinating related information here: New Business Models for a Sustainable Future  and The Cambridge Value Mapping Tool.

The conference on 7/8th July is an opportunity to meet future collaborators, thought leaders, inventive researchers and industry forerunners. Connect, discuss and debate at exhibitions, workshops, and pop-ups.  This year the theme is Capturing Sustainable Value with Keynotes:

  • Gunter Pauli – Entrepreneur and author of The Blue Economy
  • Mike Barry – Director and initiator of M&S Plan A
  • Brian Holliday – MD of Siemens Digital Factory
  • Andy Wood – CEO of Adnams Plc

Other speakers from

Tata Steel, Altro, Extremis, iema, KTN, Business.Cubed, University of Cambridge, Cranfield University, Loughborough University, Imperial College, and De Montfort University

And of course Nicola will be part of the workshop crew! 

What will you take away?

  • Business views on implementing circularity
  • Tools to capture new value in your business network
  • Demystified view of disruptive business models
  • Insights on innovative sustainability in MNCs to Start-ups
  • Opportunities to learn from and participate in the latest doctoral research
  • New Collaborators (ask us about partnerships that have formed as a result of our conference)
  • Renewed energy and enthusiasm!

Please contact Dee Dee Frawley at cis-enquiries@eng.cam.ac.uk if you are interested in attending – and MENTION Nicola! There is a discount for non-profits, students, etc.   

Looking forward to capturing sustainable value with you…



28 Days of Inspiration – Day 24: Don’t waste the opportunity

Don’t waste the opportunity


Kate Hammer, a friend of 6heads from KILN, likes Compostory.org – she writes below:

Recycling organic material – what we commonly call “waste” – represents a huge opportunity. Today, the processes of making compost and biogas out of organics are well known and the benefits for the environment and the economy are proven. Yet still, many cities and businesses are still sending organics to landfills or incineration. Enter Compostory.org [www.compostory.org], a unique website driven by not-for-profit enterprise Green White Space [www.greenwhitespace.org].

Compostory.org is committed to building awareness and sharing best practices on how communities can create value from their waste stream and positively impact their environment. So the team has built an unprecedented online learning platform for local governments, agriculture and businesses in effort to bring their influencers up to speed on the subject matter.

The website offers open access to:

  • a free course for municipalities, farms and businesses on collecting – digesting – composting organic waste, now followed by more than 2500 influencers of waste management systems in 20+ countries
  • an industry directory to help you navigate the resource recovery industry and find support in your region
  • The Organic Stream: A podcast series featuring expert interviews and case studies from around the world, for inspiration and valuable how-to advice

Enter the learning space by subscribing here [learning space] using the guest code “6HEADS”
The weekly podcast is available on iTunes here [podcast]

Kate is part of  [www.kilnco.com], Throughline [www.throughline.co.uk] and StoryFORMs [www.storyform.co.uk]  She is likes Compostory so much she works on their advisory board.

28 Days of Inspiration – Day 19: Forty years of happy

Forward to the Past


Dwayne Baraka shares his inspiration:

I don’t know how I came across it, but it’s one of the things that I can’t imagine doing without. No, it’s not an Apple product. Giving them up was tough, but now I can’t imagine going back. Nor is it Google glass. (Actually, if you know how to get hold of one of those…)

It’s the Lewisham Toy Library, and I am in love with this model of shared product ownership.

I have a 17 month old boy, and for a very modest fee each year (24 pounds), I get to borrow a steady stream of toys. Many of the toys are focused on my little one’s development and many of them are wooden or deliberately focused on longevity and sustainability. Not a Barbie in sight, but there is a set of ‘different ability’ dolls to help teach children about things like diversity and difference. I have borrowed a staggering array of toys – musical instruments, balls, bath toys, battery powered things, cooking sets, blocks, books and tents – most of which I would never have bought. And all of which are a joy to my little boy, and have been since he was six months old.

I can’t wait to borrow a bicycle, or a trampoline, or the very technical-looking Meccano set as he grows older. I’m guessing that my wife and I have saved hundreds of pounds already, and over the lifetime of our membership will save thousands. Honestly, we could pay twice as much and that would still be true.

It also saves us an incredible amount of space. One of our friends sacrificed a full-size fridge to house all of their child’s toys, and we barely have more a freezer drawer’s worth. It’s recycling at its best. And it has allowed us to politely explain to relatives that our child has thousands of toys (literally, in a fashion).

Shared ownership is a good thing, but it’s not a new thing. The Lewisham Toy Library celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. If you’re wondering about the title, if Back to the Future can work, I figure Forward to the Past must work too?

Happy 40th Lewisham Toy Library!

Disclosure: The author recently became a committee member for the Lewisham Toy Library, and periodically receives a cup of tea and a biscuit at committee meetings and a sense of pride in supporting something that helps many.

More 6heads inspiration here: http://6-heads.com/

28 Days of Inspiration – Day 9: What did you do last night?

What did you do last night?

Did you dance? Any power moves?

Today’s theme, submitted by Isabella, is people powered energy. Harvesting energy from human footsteps can contribute power required to light offices, shopping centres and railway stations through floor tiles that generate electricity when they are walked over.

You can “throw some shapes” on an energy self-sufficient dance floor. The “Sustainable Dance Floor” is available for hire and your audience will help you with the electricity bill of your event. This is creates an interactive environment that is educational.

Other applications include Pavegen Systems, a UK-based company tested their installation at West Ham underground station which was a main transport hub during the 2012 Olympic Games, generating the power required to keep the station’s lights on.

For more from 6heads and to subscribe to our 28 days of inspiration: http://6-heads.com/


Transformative education: A luxury for rich kids? Part 3

If education is the foundation for how our society evolves into the future – then how do we align this important system to our emergent societal needs?

Leigh Meinert, co-founder and Executive Director of the innovative education institution, Tsiba in South Africa, reflects here on “Why transformative education is essential?”  This is the third of three guest blogs that explore Tsiba as a model for changing education.   TSiBA’s CEO and fellow co-founder, Adri Marais,will talk at a ‘Transformative Education’ conversation to be held at London Business School on 29 October 2013. There is limited availability. For more information and to book your place, please visit http://transformativeeducation.eventbrite.co.uk/


The transformative approach to education that TSiBA adopts is a holistic mode of education that cares, that inspires and that brings the best out in each individual.

Many of you who have followed the two previous posts may have found yourselves thinking, “Well this sounds good but isn’t this a luxury for rich kids?”

All of TSiBA’s students are on full tuition scholarships and none of them come from well-off households. Further, it is not a luxury – society is already paying a very high price for not educating in this way.

Drop-out rates are staggering. One of the reasons for this is that teachers are not engaging young people in classroom – they don’t find their studies meaningful or relevant. Even if they get as far as passing and getting a job, it may well be one that does not engage them fully.

Many people burn out mid-career because they have been chasing goals and values that aren’t their own. People who redirect when they finally discover their passion but lose years that they can never regain. Even worse, countless people never really bring their full self to their jobs or to their world because they’ve never discovered what their passion is, they’ve never asked the right questions, or had the support of a coach or mentor who help them find the courage and the support to follow it. Maybe you are one of those people?

The opportunity cost of not educating for transformation is therefore extremely high – for individuals and our society.

Yet this kind of education need not cost a lot – what is required is a shift in the way we think of the purpose of education and those who are doing the educating: from students as numbers being educated to find jobs to people in a supported learning community finding their purpose.

Students are immersed into a community that practises this new way of being. Self Development and Leadership are hard-wired into the curriculum of any degree. We’ve honed a process called a Portfolio of Leadership and Learning, where students report back to a panel of peers and their mentors, as well as academic staff, on their growth in the past six months and they also self-assess themselves.

We have only been graduating students for 5 years and already we have 5 Mandela Rhodes scholars, the highest accolade for post-graduate students throughout Africa. People regularly come back to us and tell us that our students are “different” somehow; that there is something “special” about them.

I think it is because their education has been transformative and we’ve done this in three ways:

  • We’ve focused on helping our students find their passion,
  • We’ve asked them powerful questions that we don’t have the answers to, because
  • We see our role as that of mentors and coaches.

Educators themselves realise that their continued self-development is as important, if not more important than that of their students. They engage in reflective practise, engage in learning communities with peers and have access to mentors and coaches. Tsiba requires educators to:

  • Dig deep, connect to and revive our own passions,
  • Reflect on questions that we don’t have answers to, alone and with peers, and to
  • Fundamentally change the way that we’ve traditionally thought about our role in the classroom.

In a rapidly changing world that requires each of us to bring all of ourselves to the problems that face us and generations to come, we cannot afford not to set out on this transformative journey.

TSiBA is the kind of learning community that provides courage and support to all.

Imagine a society made up of “special”?

Transformative education: Teaching for tomorrow Part 1

If education is the foundation for how our society evolves into the future – then how do we align this important system to our emergent needs?

Leigh Meinert, co-founder and executive director of the innovative education institution, Tsiba in South Africa, reflects here on “What is transformative education?”.  This is one of three guest blogs that explores Tsiba as a model for changing education.   www.tsiba.org.za


What is transformative education? How do we teach, and learn, so that individuals are renewed and inspired and societies, ultimately, are changed?

Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that our “modern “day education system was designed to serve an industrialising society. We needed factory workers and so our schools were essentially designed like sausage machines. In the industrial world you gained a head start in life by knowing a great deal of content knowledge – facts and theories. Indeed, the more knowledge you had the more power you had and you would probably end up being the boss of the factory.  Today all of that knowledge is available online and the challenges that we are facing are more complex. The knowledge that we teach will be obsolete in a few years but our outdated education system still lines people up in rows and tells young people what we think they need to know.

What we need today – more than ever before – are leaders and entrepreneurs. People who are creative and visionary. People who make jobs and don’t just take them. In order to navigate through a rapidly changing world, young people don’t only need facts and theories, what they really need to know is themselves, their values, their passion and their purpose. This is what gives them a head start and transformative helps them to find this.

Secondly, we need to recognise that knowledge about ourselves and what is important to us cannot be found in books or even online. Knowledge about ourselves comes through engagement with the world and reflection upon this. As educators and parents, we cannot give our children these answers. We cannot teach them that which they now most need to know, we can only ask them good questions that promote good thinking.

Today we need to equip young people for a world where there are no longer any easy answers, but as educators we are not comfortable with open ended questions. To teach in this way requires a radical change in our understanding of what it means to be a teacher.

And so, thirdly, transformative education requires teachers to be mentors and coaches. Instead of being the people at the front of the classroom with all the answers we need to sit alongside our students and help them find their own answers.  When we think back on our own formative years, what really engaged us about the teachers and adults who inspired us was not what they taught us but who they were. They made a difference in our lives because they cared about us, because they listened to us and often, because they were leading purposeful lives themselves.

To summarise then, transformative education has three significantly different elements to it:

  • It is education that helps people to find their purpose.
  • It is education that asks more questions and gives fewer answers and,
  • It is education that requires teachers to become mentors and coaches.

In my following blog post, I will provide an example of an undergraduate business school called TSiBA where these elements are applied with transformative effect.

 TSiBA’s CEO and fellow co-founder, Adri Marais, talk at the ‘Transformative Education’ event held at London Business School on 29 October 2013. There is limited availability. For more information and to book your place, please visit http://transformativeeducation.eventbrite.co.uk/