Michael “Luni” Libes
Fifty years ago, at the 1962 World’s Fair (and again in 2012), Seattle invented the future. Officially, the event was called the “Century 21 Exposition,” and like the other similar events of the era, it showcased a bright, utopian future, where technology solved all the world’s problems.
Well… here we are in the 21st Century, and the world still has problems. In those five decades, the global population has doubled, and the average consumption per person has more than doubled. This has left us with major planet-scale problems, issues of sustainability, of the environment, of hunger, water, social justice, and injustice.
The past methods for solving these problems are not working. As we look forward to the next fifty years, it is time we deal with these issues in new ways. It is time that the citizens of the world take these matters into our own hands, and solve these problems ourselves, using the tools at our disposal, and ideas we can implement today.
Such a path is to use the capitalistic system, using for-profit and social purpose corporations, which do good, while doing good business. Sustainable companies, by all definitions of that term, are fiscally sustainable via revenues from consumers, while at the same time sustainable to the people of the world and planet that we share.
The key to make this possible today are the large and growing number of consumers, who in their consumption are conscious of the environment, conscious of their health, conscious of society, and of community, and even consumers who are conscious of consumption itself. These “conscious” consumers dream of a better future, with sustainable products and services, delivered by “conscious” companies.
Solving these big, planet-scale issues can thus begin with companies, both old and new, that strive to meet the needs of these conscious consumers. Serve these customers, and these conscious companies will have sustainable revenues. Serve these customers, and each and every sale makes a positive impact on the world.
Not charity. Not foreign aid. Not government grants. Simple, basic capitalism, serving the unmet needs of demanding customers.
To hear the visions of seven new, inspiring, conscious companies, visit Fledge, the “conscious company” incubator. The first seven “fledglings” shared their visions with the world on Sunday, September 23rd, as part of the Next 50 celebration of commerce and innovation, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair, and future-looking event unto itself.
These seven companies have the potential impact to improve the lives of billions, to save millions of lives, and save hundreds of millions of trees, to help us reuse and share resources, to share ourselves and our time, to recreate a world where we know our neighbors, and to work together with our neighbors to create and fund the world we want to live in.
If seven companies can do this much, imagine a world with hundreds of conscious companies. Or thousands. Or tens of thousands. Fifty years from now, in 2062, at the next Next 50, the speakers could point to the 20-teens as the time when Seattle not only invented the future, but a true, sustainable, conscious future.
About Michael “Luni” Libes – http://about.me/luni
Luni is a 20+ year serial entrepreneur, founder/co-founder of five companies. His latest startup is Fledge, the “conscious company” incubator. In addition, Luni is Entrepreneur in Residence and Entrepreneurship Instructor at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and an Entrepreneur in Residence Emeritus at the University of Washington’s Center for Commercialization. Luni is author of The Next Step: Guiding you from idea to startup.