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New Business Model - New Skills
At present, GLOBAL ZERI pursues a broad educational program, reaching out to both the next generation and those in power today. Crystallized on one hand is a clear vision of an emerging business model. On the other hand we see it linked to a laudable societal model that is capable of responding to the basic needs of all on Earth. This dual vision requires a new set of technologies that shifts attention from core business, supply chain management and life cycle assessment to a more holistic vision of how it is possible to respond to basic needs. This approach renders production and consumption more efficient while relying only on natural resources that are locally available.
The real advance that the goal of zero emissions proposes is that we stop thinking in a linear fashion, focusing on only one product or process. Instead, we must apply an integrated systems approach to our designs. and this requires the capacity to connect previously unrelated phenomena into an interconnected system. Finally, as with any type of innovation, it is bound to face many obstacles not the least of which is the "Not Invented Here" syndrome, and the "Cannot be done at industrial scale" reaction. The greatest skill required is the capacity to implement.
ZERI recognizes that today few have the skills needed to make this happen. Teams related to the ZERI Network have repeatedly been able to go against the current and implement innovative projects within short periods of time with limited budgets. It was decided to take stock of this culture and design an educational system that will better prepare, right now, the next generation in particular but also business and policy executives in order to achieve a zero emissions society. These deliberations led to the creation of an educational program based on and starting with fairy tales.
From Fairy Tales to Reality
This educational initiative is built upon such socratic philosophies as "Reach, don't teach" and "Expose, don't impose". For thousands of years every culture on earth has passed down its wisdom and tradition, and taught its children valuable lessons through stories, fables, fairy tales, songs, and poems. ZERI has adopted this powerful, time-honored tradition to unleash creativity, innovation, and leadership in young and old alike. The ideas in these tales are easy to understand, and provide unique perspectives on both common and original themes. These fairy tales teach that every individual has the potential to accomplish more than ever considered possible, and that doing "less bad" to accomplish "more good" is not a sustainable solution to a problem. These new perspectives empower people of all ages to move from ideas into action.
The program offers the chance to become familiar with some 1,000 scientific themes, to develop emotional intelligence, to express innovations artistically, to uncover and understand the hidden connections amongst disparate phenomena, and to strengthen the capacity to implement innovative ideas and projects.
Here is the ZERI version of an old saying. "Give a man a fish, and he will have food for the day. Teach a man to fish � and he will overfish!"
Unless we learn to live in natural systems, where there are millions of hidden connections, we are bound to fall short of our objectives to eradicate poverty and evolve towards a sustainable society. The GLOBAL ZERI NETWORK has shown it can create an emerging business model linked to a societal model capable of responding to the basic needs of all on Earth. However, ZERI recognizes that today few have the skills and self-confidence needed to put this vision into practical action. No one ever taught us how to learn to live.
The ZERI fables and fairy tales stimulate children to think and ask questions. "How does the apple get up in the tree before it subjects itself to the law of gravity?" Or, "Why does the zebra have black and white stripes?" Each of these questions has profound answers yet parents may have no idea how to respond. Such questions will be the catalyst for children to find innovative ways to respond to the basic needs for water, food, housing, health care, energy, education and jobs. This educational initiative provides a blueprint for living sustainably and encourages children to think in systems, to see the interconnectedness of all life, and to make appropriate decisions based on this knowledge and vision.
The ZERI tales have inspired millions of children around the world, and have been tested with educators, children, business people, scientists, and friends from every occupation in over 150 languages. In Japan, Sweden, Italy, France, Spain, UK, Germany, Brazil, the US, Ecuador, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, China, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic and Azerbaijan, the response has been universally enthusiastic.
From Elementary School to Post Graduate Education
The educational program culminates with a new university degree offered at the zero emissions inspired Leonardo da Vinci Graduate School for Arts and Systems Design. Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest artists ever, and he was also one of the most creative scientists. The students at the Graduate School will learn in the same way Socrates encouraged his students to think. Each professor will teach for one very full week only. The professor can discuss only what he/she has not yet published. After all whatever is published can be read on the internet. After a week of intense learning and dialogue, the students will have a week for self study. The following week they will meet another professor and so on. Four years later they will have met the 100 most advanced thinking persons in arts and sciences. The implementation of projects is now in the hands of the next generation. The Leonardo da Vinci Graduate School for Arts and Systems Design will open in September 2005 in Turin, Italy, as part of the Science University of Torino.
Looking 10 Years Ahead
The ZERI NETWORK, its 20 odd project teams around the world, and its partners plan to take stock of insights gained that will continue to bring together some of the most creative and pragmatic minds. What is the business model that emerges? On the basis of concrete case studies we can envision how industry can look, and how this will change the face of competition and globalization. We will see clustered businesses which process diverse raw materials from each others' wastes but have the capacity to always produce the same quality. The energy input into these processes is less than the energy generated by the sun required to achieve the same goal. All production will ultimately rely on the integration of the unique chemical, biological, and physical characteristics that species, from EACH of the 5 Kingdoms of Nature, display. Nature has evolved into a productive system that is able to respond to the basic needs of all and has continued to co-evolve through cooperation and symbiosis. The time has come for human societies to embark on that co-evolutionary path with everyone on Earth.
We can develop the skills needed. The learning systems have already been created. The GLOBAL ZERI NETWORK hopes to serve as an inspiration for humanity to go beyond sustainability and into co-evolution with nature.