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Designing Flourishing Businesses with Soul by Simon Robinson

Holonomics at Schumacher College

The most disruptive word we can use in innovation is ‘soul’. Now more than ever before companies need to understand experience, not just in terms of what their customers are experiencing, the customer journey, but our essential experience of being, what it means to be human. Businesses and organisations which really understand this will flourish in the years to come.

The question then is how to design flourishing business with soul? Asking this question can raise many other questions such as:

• How do we manage and nurture flourishing businesses which express soul?
• How do we engage the most senior executives in a manner which is constructive and which creates immediate impact and lasting change?
• How do we develop a strategy for a new kind of business in a world which is volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous but also abundant?
• How do we scale up a business without losing its essential essence?
• How can we integrate these principles into existing major corporations and conglomerates?

To answer these questions, Maria Moraes Robinson and I created an approach to the design and management of organisations which we call the Holonomics approach. The reason for doing so was that while many creative thinkers have contributed many important ideas to this space, we still felt that a number of areas were not receiving the attention they deserve, the two principle ones being strategy and customer experience. Our approach enables entrepreneurs and leaders to develop organisations and enterprises which are in harmony with nature and society and which recognise that financial aspects are just one dimension of many which define success, such as longevity, fairness, purpose, social and environmental contributions.Holonomics Short Course at Schumacher College

In January 2019 Maria and I will be running a new course, Holonomics: Designing Flourishing Businesses with Soul, at Schumacher College in the UK. The course is based on our two books, Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter and Customer Experiences with Soul: A New Era in Design and was created to help people learn how to make a practical impact on the evolution and sustainability of businesses based on human values and the expansion of consciousness.

Holonomics is a powerful approach for the profound transformation of organisations. It brings together strategy, innovation, design, systems thinking, spirituality, nature’s interconnectedness, philosophy, literacy, physics, biology, business and the five universal human values of peace, truth, love, righteousness and non-violence all together in a way that opens people’s eyes to uncommon dimensions of thought that have very practical applications.

Many business leaders today are seeking solutions to the pressing needs of both society and the planet, but many times well-meaning interventions do not generate the desired result or outcome. The Holonomics approach was therefore created to answer this pressing question in business - how to implement programmes of profound organisational change which have an immediate and lasting impact on people at every level of the organisation.

The Holonomics approach treats business organisations as authentic and coherent wholes, including radically new ways to envision strategy development and implementation, customer experience design and business model evolution. Financial results are seen from a systemic perspective as an important but not unique factor which enable an organisation to achieve long term sustainability, being the outcome of purpose-driven missions and visions. Our course will introduce four major components which will be brought together into a single framework:

The Dynamics of Seeing: Within general business practice there is often an implicit assumption that the world ‘out there’ is a given and that people simply have different opinions about it. Yet good design is dynamic, always searching for new ways of seeing and understanding the world. The importance of the dynamics of seeing to developing a more flourishing business and better customer experience cannot be underestimated.

Customer Experiences with Soul: We need to transcend established approaches and definitions of customer experience to help companies understand why their offerings are no longer resonating with people. The Holonomic Circle is a tool which articulates the meaning of soul in a design, business and branding context. It provides a holistic framework for designers, entrepreneurs and creative leaders to explore the principles underlying the dynamics of soulful experiences with an exploration of the questions of authenticity, purpose and human values.

The Flourishing Business Canvas: The Flourishing Business Canvas provides a common language for describing and designing sustainable business models which considers social and environmental as well as financial dimensions. It enables broader and deeper conversations and it provides the context to enable stakeholders and communities to collaborate around shared goals informed by their values – enabling teams to align on key strategic decisions.

Systemic Business Strategies and Balanced Scorecard: Balanced Scorecard methodology is the fifth most used management tool in the world. Created from a systems thinking philosophy, it does not simply focus on financial outcomes; it translates organisational strategy into four classical perspectives: the financial perspective, the customer perspective, the internal perspective and the learning and personal development perspective. It means every major issue, which has an impact on overall performance, can be given the same level of importance as financial matters, allowing people to understand and encompass all the issues facing their organisation, such as sustainability and community relationships.

This five-day intensive is the most comprehensive introduction to Holonomics, providing a deep level of content, tools and practical exercises on each theme and which also includes personal mentoring for those participants who wish to bring specific challenges they are working on. During the course Maria and I will be sharing real case studies from some of the largest organisations in Brazil which are already working with the Holonomics approach and implementing the Customer Experiences with Soul framework.

Participants will leave with both inspiration and also clear action plans for how to put the teachings into practice in businesses, enterprises, and not-for-profit and governmental organisations. Maria and I look forward to joining some of you in January, sharing our many years of business and design experience, and helping you to develop new and effective strategies, innovation processes and ways of working across teams, departments, divisions, businesses and ecosystems.