Holistic Economies

It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.
Donna J. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene

We are are being called to change our way of doing business. Examples of this calling are the UN Sustainable Development Goals (about People, Prosperity, Planet and Peace) and other charters towards ecological, cultural and social integrity that provide challenging directions towards which we can head.

Looking at the different charters, what stands out on the one hand is the emphasis on combining ecological, social and economic objectives and on the other the importance of ecological and cultural diversity. But the notion of economic diversity lacks something. What if this is a fundamental misconception and ecological, cultural and economic diversity are interrelated? If one decreases, the others follow and the other way around?

Is being successful the result of the actions of one organisation only or the outcome of ideas, actions and expressions of an interrelated network of people, organisations and ecosystems of many kinds?

Let’s assume this interdependence between economic, cultural and ecologic diversity is real and explore how this quest for wholeness plays out in the economic domain. How could this reframe the entrepreneurial world and help organisations in their transformation process towards sustainability?

Godelieve Spaas

Associate director of the Pari Center and a regular guest in Pari; to write, to participate in dialogues and to follow and give courses. She is a researcher, advisor and creator of new ways of entrepreneurial organizing where ecology, society, and the economy all benefit from and interact seamlessly with each other. Her aim is to increase diversity in organizational and entrepreneurial models and realities with a view to the development of a fairer, more sustainable and robust entrepreneurial space. By sharing yet unheard stories and walking untrodden paths, we allow interdependent systems to reveal themselves, to be identified and interpreted and to become a platform for action in everyday organizational reality.

Working in Europe and Africa, with companies, NGOs as well as governments, deepened her insight into how to combine worlds that are often separated such as art, science, indigenous knowledge, nature and entrepreneurship. Godelieve is professor Sustainable Strategy and Innovation at Avans University of Applied Science