Wayne Visser

Wayne Visser
We Could Be So Much Smarter: Wayne Visser and Building Businesses for a Thriving World

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Hey everyone. Stay tuned to the end of the interview where I’ll give you some actionable insights that I learned from my guest. These insights are also in the show notes. As always, thanks for listening.

Now on to my guest for today. Dr. Wayne Visser, a "pracademic," is a professor at Cambridge University and Antwerp Business School, and the author of 41 books. His forthcoming book is Thriving: The Breakthrough Movement to Regenerate Nature, Society and the Economy. He's also a consultant who has worked with numerous companies and served as Director of Sustainability at KPMG. Wayne is also a published poet, and shares one of his poems on the show.

Wayne's interest in sustainability and business was sparked when he was an undergraduate in Cape Town and when the largest gathering of heads of state took place in Rio, resulting in a lot of questions and efforts around incorporating more sustainable practices into business. Wayne has since made it his mission to find ways for businesses to become more sustainable.

In Thriving, Wayne explains, he observes that the movement for sustainability has ultimately failed. His book provides a different paradigm: thriving. Part of the problem is that the end goal of sustainability is not enough for people and businesses to get excited about. We need a bigger target than just surviving.

Despite this assessment, Wayne does see a lot of positive change happening. We've now reached a point, for example, where solar and wind energy are cheap and widely available. He also believes entrepreneurship is key to innovation toward helping to turn the tide and make the world more environmentally sustainable. Wayne sees change as happening on multiple fronts: in the use of resources, in how something is made, in the distribution of wealth, and the need to cultivate resilience in the face of  crisis. He believes that entrepreneurship and business are best poised to lead the way to solve these problems and make a better world.

Now, let’s get better together.

Actionable Insights

Below is some of Wayne's advice to entrepreneurs who want to make a difference:

  • "It's no longer enough to make customers happy and make money," says Wayne. Strive to be part of a solution to a bigger problem. When developing your product or service, consider the impact environmentally and socially, and how you can build a company that can not only survive but also help make things better.
  • Wayne recommends looking at the various systems that need changing, then focusing on one or two areas to make improvements.
  • For a solution to take hold it must be as convenient, affordable, and high quality as current solutions.

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