Smart Growth

By Jim Selman | Bio

One of the more consistent maxims in life is that money doesn’t buy happiness and that happiness is the bottom line of living—otherwise, what is the point (unless you believe in one of those ascetic cults or religions that promote suffering as good for the soul)? This is actually good news, given a whole lot of people are not going to have much money for a while and maybe not a lot of opportunity to get it. We all hope that this financial crisis is going to be short-lived, but don’t hold your breath.

According to an article on Harvard Business Publishing, capitalism is consuming itself and Capitalism 1.0 is being reinvented to become Capitalism 2.0. The old notion that growth is simply a function of producing and selling more stuff is being replaced by the idea that we need “smart growth”, not more of the same old growth. Said differently, if all we do is shift Wall Street-driven growth by shifting the kinds of resources we exploit and the kinds of stuff we produce, then we haven’t done much and will sooner than later be back in the same conundrum.

Smart growth would focus on:

1. Outcomes, not income.
2. Connections, not transactions.
3. People, not product.
4. Creativity, not productivity.

If smart economies are to be “sustainable, equitable and resilient”, then the above must become the design principles for next-generation businesses. We’re already witnessing innovative companies like Google and Whole Foods inventing smart ways to grow in the 21st century. And that growth starts at the grass roots, where values like sustainability, responsibility and accountability are thriving.

© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.