A decade ago Andrew studied The Natural Step, a method of assessing whether a company, a nation or our global civilisation is ecologically sustainable or not. At the same time he explored the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). He concluded that given the reality of accelerating ecological deterioration, ideally CSR should mean corporations taking responsibility for the evolution of a viable society. This was not what he found.
Andrew also noted that many environmental groups focus on their own patch. Their work is valuable, but our greatest need is that as a society we commit to becoming ecologically viable as our major priority.
As a big picture systems thinker and philosopher* Andrew is aware that the most influential point of change in any human system is our thinking - with thinking broadly conceived of as our understanding of the world, our ways of going about things, our personal psychology and our core values.
Pulling these strands together, he founded the Alliance for Sustainable Wellbeing, a national organisation devoted to catalysing the shift in consciousness necessary to achieve sustainability. His book, Evolving a World That Works, is available on the Web. It looks systemically at the connections between ecology, economics, industrial production, agriculture, personal psychology and core values, with a view to identifying constructive points of change that can enable our society to become viable in the long term.
Andrew's professional background has been in the area of improving human performance as a creativity trainer, Feldenkrais practitioner, psychotherapist and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) trainer.
As the most senior Feldenkrais practitioner in Australia Andrew understands profoundly how to use the fact that the nervous system coordinates behaviour to devise interventions that improve human performance. Andrew has generalised the Feldenkrais approach to improving function in three areas:
- Functional coaching, where managers learn how to coach in ways that improve the thinking of the people they work with.
Learning systems thinking through the body.
Western education trains us to think in silos. By doing Feldenkrais group lessons (in pace a bit like yoga, but internally very different) people understand that the functioning of the whole body is affected by connections between parts that may initially seem unrelated. By learning this through body movement our nervous system matures so that we are better able to see how things are connected in the outer world.
- Looking at the operation of our whole society as an integrated system, with a view to understanding the constructive points of change that can make it viable in the long run.
Andrew has developed an original approach to cultivating creative thinking skills. He has a series of games and exercises that embody neurological strategies used by great innovators. By playing the games you learn the skills. The games equip you to generate original ideas (which may well have business applications) through spontaneously creative conversations. The pleasure of creative thinking becomes integrated into your culture.
The games also develop our capacity for collegial collaboration. We learn how to build on other people's ideas rather than fight over them.
The qualities of good will, respect and openness which enhance creativity in organisations are also qualities of a healthy society.
Most organisations lose both efficiency and pleasure through overt or covert interpersonal conflict. Andrew reduces conflict by teaching more functional communication skills. People often perform poorly simply because they have never been a shown how to perform in a more effective way.
At times people also communicate poorly because of unresolved emotional dynamics. Having been a psychotherapist for 20 years, Andrew teaches effective techniques people can use for themselves to manage and down counterproductive emotional reactions. This can make a big difference both personally and organisationally.
* Andrew holds a degree in philosophy from Princeton University