What do the following have in Common?
According to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, each was a ‘black swan’ event:
“large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations”
The renewable energy revolution has joined this list.
These events have low predictability but an enormous impact on collective society, though in retrospect they were entirely likely, even predictable. For example Nassim made a fortune out of the late-2000s financial crisis after having criticised the risk management methods of the finance industry and warned about financial crises.
Nassim advocates a ‘black swan robust’ society, meaning a society that can withstand difficult-to-predict events and he prefers experimentation and fact-collecting instead of top-down directed research as a method of scientific discovery – ‘stochastic tinkering’.
Many businesses are now assessing the concerns of all stakeholders in the manufacturing process. The entire lifecycle of a product is assessed and the sustainability of any given practice is analysed before it is brought to commercial scale.
The fundamental question is:
“How should decision-makers in large and small companies alter their long-term strategies in order to adapt to the continuous economic and political shifts on the horizon that will ultimately transform society as we currently know it into something that functions cleaner, more efficiently, and sustainably?”
On the food landscape, we have:
and not a whole lot in between (!)
says Sustainable Agriculture Examiner, Rachel Greenberger.
NOTHING marries Grassroots’ values with Established Food’s efficiency
for a functional Middle
Historically, and understandably, Rachel says:
“Where Grassroots Food tends to cut itself off at the knee is in its stubborn refusal to move into the Middle politically (forget any talk of ‘logistically’). Grassroots Food is an angry, splintered, spitting, resistant fringe..
We are all experts at the blame-game. That model was iterated ad nauseum in the Green Movement and perfected over centuries of war and religion and politics..
The new model we need is how to take collective action. How to make systems-level progress. How to build on common ground. How to scale change..
Our food system will not improve on words. It will improve on alliances – and designing disruptive innovations that have teeth and claws..
Then we have a fighting chance of competing with Established Food – the machine living on the back of a broke-down behemoth (described in all its terrifying glory by Jonathan A. Foley in Can We Feed the World & Sustain the Planet?).”
This is a Boston-based company that serves the New England food market and aims to expand on a broader scale. The idea, JD says, is to help local buyers form efficient and direct relationships with local producers in order to reinvigorate and re-regionalise the current food system, which he says is flawed.
JD aims to break down the barriers between the regional food producers and the buyers, allowing the region’s producers to better compete with commodity prices.
Rachel calls this the ‘total solution’.
The website is easy to use. There is no software to download, no installation nor setup fees.
Nassim is a Lebanese American essayist whose 2007 book The Black Swan has been described by the Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II.
He has been a professor at several universities, currently at Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Oxford University. He has been a hedge fund manager, a Wall Street trader, and is currently a scientific adviser at Universal Investments and the International Monetary Fund.
Rachel is Director of Food Sol (Food Solutions), an action tank she co-created under the Babson Social Innovation Lab. She has an MBA from Babson with a concentration in food-system innovation and she writes, passionately, about healthy, sustainable, humane food and using Babson’s entrepreneurial methodology works to accelerate and scale triple-bottom-line food.
Rachel talks with food fighters from vastly different worlds and perspectives – using Twitter – where she sees huge potential for converting digital discussions to analog.
“From 140 characters, entrepreneurs can blaze trails into a dynamite dialogue that hashes through high-potential ideas.”