Permaculture blog

Can business learn from natural systems?

Published by Sam Page on 18 May 2016

Image A novel way of applying permaculture principles by Milly Carmichael:

It was a very early start this morning for a 7.30am meeting at Faringdon Business Breakfast Club http://www.fbbc-networking.co.uk/
I had always felt daunted at the very thought of business networking meetings, all sorts of odd fantasies about being NLP'ed, twittered and stalked on Linked In had haunted me for years but it turns out that it's not like that at all. I was there was because my business partner and I had recently tried out using the principles of permaculture to review our business and one of the things that came up when we considered 'integration' was that we really weren't as well integrated into the area local to our office in Faringdon as we could be.  After a little research, I became aware of The Faringdon Business Breakfast Club and decided to give it a go. The principle of 'valuing the edges and the marginal' really inspired me here as such a meeting was right on the edge of my comfort zone, which is, of course, a sign that it will probably be a productive and creative place to step into. 
The first meeting went really well, I quite enjoyed myself, met lots of interesting people with local businesses and had a cracking cooked breakfast to boot. My comfort zone had been expanded and it had been a pretty painless process. But the best is yet to come. 

Shortly after that meeting , I had a call from one of the organisers asking if I'd be their speaker for the next meeting and could I share some of the things I teach and train about while putting a 'business' spin on it. I usually teach and train about mental health, sexual health, safeguarding, communication skills and the like but this seemed like a gift of an opportunity to take the plunge with something new;  so I talked about what business can learn from natural systems and gave a brief introduction to the ethics and principles of permaculture, explaining  how we were starting to use them for our own business reviews and planning, linking to ideas about circular economies and biomimicry in design and technology too. It was very well received and I now have contact with an HR consultant who can see possible benefits in her line of work, a man who works in equine assisted learning (courses with horses) who can see useful overlaps with his own practice and the offer of a direct introduction to the CEO of Hawkwood College in Stroud who could be interested in helping to develop the ideas of applying permaculture principles in business practice. 

What have I learned? That as I had suspected, permaculture principles are a very sound guide to life! They can be trusted to show you the way forward because they are the guiding principles of all natural systems and I am, of course, a natural system too.  

Please contact Milly if you want to learn more: millycarmichael@hotmail.com