Jan 7, 2010

Permaculture Principles for a Sustainable Business

Permaculture Principles for a
Sustainable Business by Dan Halsey
Adapting Holmgren's Principles to Business

Observe and Interact
  • Assess the Markets
  • Observe the Competition
  • Look for Opportunity
  • Become Part of the Community
  • Build Relationships
  • Build Resources

Catch and Store Energy
  • Identify Sink and Sources
  • Where does your energy come from?
  • Where is your energy lost?
  • What builds your capacity?
  • What reduces your capacity?
  • Do you have a system to Store Energy?

Obtain a Yield
  • Make a profit?
  • Sustain your business
  • Sustain yourself
  • Sustain your family
  • Sustain your future
  • Build a buffer for change

Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback
  • The Power of Limits
  • Reduced cost is instant profit.
  • Delayed gratification builds appreciation
  • Share the wealth with your community
  • Make comparisons of quality
  • Feedback is all good
  • Toxic feedback is not feedback
  • No feedback is negative

Use and Value Renewable Resources
and Services
  • Use Durable Goods
  • Buy proven equipment (New or Used)
  • Buy outside of ego
  • Internalize your costs
  • Use local resources and talent
  • Recycle within your business

Produce No Waste
  • Waste = Food
  • Everything has a life cycle
  • Look for a second life to all purchases
  • Buy for permanence and capacity

Design from Patterns to Details
  • Make broad decisions of scope
  • Refine the decision based on detailed information
  • Look for patterns, flags, cycles and system adjustments that will increase capacity with existing resources.
  • People Patterns

Integrate Rather Than Segregate
  • Don’t live in professional isolation
  • Integrate skills, look for smarter people in areas of weakness
  • Be the smart person in a few areas
  • Keep equipment and resources doing multiple tasks.
  • Accept unrelated options as possibilities

Use Small and Slow Solutions
  • Build systems slowly
  • Make small purchases that have huge effect
  • Build momentum with consistent vision
  • Try many small steps to find the way
  • Experiment with little failures to avoid big one.

  • Use and Value Diversity
“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • People will come who are like minded.
  • Avoid intellectual incest
  • Look for many sources of information
  • In work, play food, and people
  • Challenge yourself to accept diverse perceptions


Use Edges and Value the Marginal
  • Resources are at the edges
  • Opportunity is at the edges
  • The forgotten and dismissed have energy
  • The Marginalized are clear thinkers
  • Look for the Jazz in the weeds

Creatively Use and Respond to Change
  • Paradigm Shifts mean more opportunity
  • When the rules change, artists increase
  • Change is good and continuous
  • There is no normal, only the ever shifting now

Care for your self and your talent
  • Make decisions based on long term effects and capacity
  • Resist long term liabilities for short term gain
  • Drink plenty of water, Get plenty of sleep.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Cosmic Monkey said...

Dan, That is a helpful piece you wrote there. I am working on starting up my business, Shadow Dance Stoneworks www.shadowdancestoneworks.com, this spring and I am trying to model it using permaculture principles. I tend to think about permaculture in practical physical terms, but it's good to be reminded that we can try to design our entire lifestyles around these principles. Thanks,
Andrew French

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