Changing the definition of success in the 21st century: Derek Handley

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing Derek Handley speak in the flesh at the Priority 1 event held at ASB arena. For the first time in my life, someone managed to articulate what I say each day, in public, and have the cred to back it up. When I describe it, people try to entertain the thought of a world where people, planet and profit aren’t mutually exclusive. But when a charismatic millionaire like Derek Handley describes it – they can see it.


As a member of his (and old mate Richard Bransons’) positive change project ‘The B Team’, I’ve always associated his work with future thinking groups online, or through various positive change organisations on the Why Waste Facebook news feed. This association somehow never extended to Priority 1. ‘Driving economic growth’ – a tag line which contradicts the multifaceted nature of Dereks message. Though I have to hand it to them, It was a great event and I truly felt that the 300 odd people in the room were genuinely open to his messages.


I would encourage those unfamiliar with Derek Handley to watch this interview at the world economic forum. I especially appreciate it how he begins his narrative within an easily stomachable critique of last century’s interpretation of business success, leading into what success might mean in this century. This allows him to engage the ‘successful’ people of last century without shaming or blaming them with it’s now-obvious shortcomings, and includes them in finding the solution through the common language of business. Indeed, any collaboration or community based solution will require effective communication, and a lack of eco-literate businessmen, or corporate-able activists is what has separated the business community from environmentalists and social advocates in the past.


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