Aub and I often find ourselves talking about what a sustainable future will look like. We always end up concluding that the future lies in collaboration, and particularly in cross-sector business connections. There are so many incredible, brilliant, and dedicated people in the world working on sustainable solutions, but there isn’t a centralized place for folks to meet and share ideas.
Especially in more innovative industries like climate solutions and tech, leaders are often focused intently on their specialization, and forget to take a step back and think bigger. How does our work play a role in the larger goals of the sustainable transition? How can we work together to build larger solutions?
We think the old way of staying, ‘industry specific’ and ‘staying in our lane’ is outdated. If we want to create big enough change to address the monumental challenges we face, we can’t go at it alone. To change the world, we need to break out of our silos and collaborate with one another.
The Myth of Rugged Individualism
One challenge we face when building towards a collaborative future is rugged individualism.
This myth that “you’ve gotta pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” is deeply ingrained in American culture and especially in American business culture. Belief in this myth is what has gotten us to the point we’re at now, facing climate catastrophes and corporate greed.
On a smaller scale, this myth also drives many industry leaders to feel like they have to face everything alone. We don’t exist in isolation though, and rugged individualism can hinder our ability to recognize the necessity of community, cooperation, and shared responsibility in addressing complex challenges. Building a sustainable future will take all of us, so it’s time to move further into collaboration.
Creating Connection; Cross-Sector Sustainable Business Networks
The power of collective effort can create the momentum necessary to drive positive change. Sustainable business networks can be the catalysts for impactful environmental and social change, while also benefiting participating businesses.
Most business networks are industry specific, and can easily turn into silos and echo chambers themselves. Creating cross-sector and cross-industry networks, and speaking with folks from different backgrounds, specialties and perspectives will helps to fuel innovation.
A New Way to Think about Business
The sustainable transition will require an entirely new way of thinking about business. We don’t need to view other businesses as competition. We should be fostering community and supporting one another, referring each other to clients and customers and finding ways our areas of expertise overlap and complement each other.
By joining forces, businesses have the opportunity to pool resources, share knowledge, and implement innovative solutions. This collaboration will enable us to tackle complex sustainability challenges that no single organization could face alone. From reducing supply chain-wide carbon footprints to implementing ethical business practices, sustainable networks empower businesses to make a difference on a much larger scale.
I recently came across an article about tackling climate change, and this quote perfectly sums up how dedicated businesses can truly make a difference. “Working together, we can create thoughtful and ambitious programs that are better for people, businesses, and our planet. When business is at its best, it does exactly what the climate crisis demands: it adapts, solves problems, and moves quickly. Responding to our climate challenge doesn’t need to be one more issue that divides our communities. We can make climate resilience our shared and best interest.” – Bill Frist.
How We Bring Collaboration into Dandelion
It’s super exciting to see folks really start to get behind this topic! At Dandelion, we are dedicated to elevating the impact of businesses dedicated to sustainability. Some of the ways we focus on collaboration are:
- We hold monthly free social hours focused on a variety of topics. Check those out here!
- We love supporting our clients and helping them find collaborations wherever possible!
- Our podcast, EnvironMental gives us the ability to speak to so many incredible leaders, this also allows us to introduce guests who may have complimentary businesses!
- We’re in the early stages of planning a conference to help solve this exact challenge. It’s a big goal but these types of events are just what’s needed to get folks meeting and working together across industries.
Ready to Collaborate?! ❤️ Schedule a call with us here!