Agile Sustainability – How Sustainable is your Sustainability?

The nature of change has changed (to a time compressed VUCA World) and with it, so has the challenge of sustainability.  The question we must all be asking these days is: 

  • How Sustainable is our Sustainability?

See Kim Gittleson’s article, “Can a Company Live Forever?” in which she says:

  • The average lifespan of a company listed in the S&P 500 index of leading US companies has decreased by more than 50 years in the last century, from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today, according to Professor Richard Foster from Yale University.
  • Professor Foster estimates that by 2020, more than three-quarters of the S&P 500 will be companies that we have not heard of yet.
  • Balancing act:  Innovation in general is not always easy, however, especially for publicly listed companies that must balance the concerns of capital markets and shareholders, who demand quarterly profits and who are not necessarily interested in decades-long research projects. [my comment:  indeed, it’s an AND-proposition of business model migration, 1.0/2.0/3.0]
  • As more and more companies look set to take their final bow, the real question for those who are left may not be how to survive, but when to die? [my comment:  indeed, or at least to let parts of their business model die as they simultaneously give birth to others]
  • “I think the tragedy is that companies die premature deaths. If a company dies too soon we have to ask what went wrong?” [my comment:  indeed, “who’s been asleep at the wheel?”]

How sustainable is your sustainability?  Fragile or Agile?

This post also appears at agilitycode.com