Managing Sustainably: Share our vision for the future

It’s great to be part of something. It’s even better to be involved with group of likeminded people discussing the state of the world in 40 years’ time, looking at how we as individuals can make difference, and developing plan for practical action. The Vision 2050 future leaders’ project has provided the platform to do just that.
As two of the 30 future leaders sharing the same vision of sustainable future for our country and its diverse nation of people, what does this really mean to us? It’s about collaboration, shared values and desire to succeed in achieving this common vision.
What started as mind-boggling, frustrating and at times, depressing conversation with bunch of strangers, about what 2050 could look like for an isolated island at the bottom of the southern hemisphere… has culminated in collective direction for bright and prosperous future from 30 individuals passionate about the future of New Zealand and the significant opportunity presented to us as whole.
After research, workshops and homework (!) an enormous amount of trust has been built amongst the team, allowing for excitement and creativity to bubble amongst our peers. Learning of our country’s innovative and entrepreneurial nature, we’ve tapped into how New Zealand can realise, grasp hold of, and maximise this opportunity.
We’ve (collectively) developed 12 pathways for New Zealand over the next 40 years, identifying risks, business opportunities and providing measures of success. All pathways, from cultural diversity to waste, end with ‘positive imagination’ and in our view, positive opportunity. Important aspects of our economy, unique to New Zealand (such as tourism) have been included after informed consideration, providing point of difference to the World Council’s vision, and ensuring we retain and embrace New Zealand’s inherent personality, strengths and values.
These pathways, in mural format, will be the basis of series of tools that the future leaders will develop for not only the business audience but to engage students, communities, politicians, and anyone who wants New Zealand to be great place in 2050! With desire for robust and relevant information, we’ve identified the need for useable tools to deliver practical action.
Action is priority for us – we’re business minded and commercially savvy young team that isn’t content to provide ideas and positive imaginations to plan for the future that gets put on the shelf. We’re determined to get it out there, and from talking to tweeting we’re quite prepared to do it ourselves. There is much work to be done. We are always asking “what’s next?” (just ask our project manager). And what’s next is that we’re working towards publishing the results of our findings in December.
So how does this resonate with business? We’ve all heard the need for paradigm shift for several years now and we think that shift is happening. Some of us will probably even say we’ve felt it! Business as usual cannot continue and it’s up to everyone to be part of it, from the products you buy in the supermarket, to the contracts you sign at work, conscious decisions are happening every day.
The future is bright but the time is now. If you aren’t presented with the strong leadership you desire, be the inspiration for others. Our peers have inspired us.
Enjoy the journey, but make it worthwhile. M

Alice Andrew is director of Andrew Stewart and Laura Fayernan is sustainability adviser at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.  Both are future leaders in the Vision 2050 programme.

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