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Episode 107: Designing a Regenerative Business

em & josh organizational management Feb 15, 2023
Regenerative Business Design with Seeds of Tao

Promotional Links:

  • Resource Commons and Community Forum: An open community of regenerative entrepreneurs creating change through the businesses they start, build, and grow.
  • Regenpreneur Think Tank: As you work to design your own regenerative business we encourage you to engage with other entrepreneurs through a monthly Think Tank event we have on the first Wednesday of the month.

Hello again fellow regenpreneurs! This month Emily and I are sharing some of our own thoughts about regenerative business design. We understand that a truly regeneratively designed business is not a stamp and repeat business. Each business is designed to fulfill a unique purpose in regenerating people, the planet, and our future. So how do we go about designing these highly specific and purposeful businesses? That's what we'll be exploring in this episode and sharing some lessons we've learned as we've designed our own business. 

Episode Show Notes:

Title: Designing Regenerative Businesses: Our Philosophy and 8 Lessons Learned

Opening: Is there a roadmap we can use to design regenerative businesses? This is a question that has been on our minds for some time. In this article, we'll share our personal philosophy and the patterns we've observed in designing regenerative businesses. It is not a how-to guide, but rather a conversation opener that we hope will inspire you to share your own experiences and ideas with us.

Before we dive into the eight lessons we've learned about designing a regenerative business, let's define what we mean by "regeneration" and related terms.

Regeneration is the process of renewal, restoration, and growth that leads to the creation of a more resilient and sustainable system. In the context of business, a regenerative enterprise is one that operates in a way that contributes to the regeneration of natural, social, and economic systems. Regenerative entrepreneurship is a mindset and approach to business that seeks to create positive impact and value for all stakeholders, rather than just maximizing profits for shareholders.

Lesson 1: There is no design template for regenerative businesses, only correct principles and ethics. We've observed that many entrepreneurs face a wall or barrier in their journey when they are learning or wanting to build a business. They search online, read books, listen to podcasts, and take courses, but only get so far. What we've learned is that it's essential to figure out the eternal principles that guide regenerative business design, such as permaculture's "observe and interact," managing our energy, and purpose through a higher power. These principles have shown up in our business design, such as our MOOC platform, Think Tank, and incubation and acceleration program.

Lesson 2: Everything begins with a beginner's mind. When we put ourselves in positions where we know very little, we open ourselves up for extreme growth and a greater capacity to understand. Our move to living off-grid and building a homestead is an example of this. We've learned to habitually let go of what we do know to allow what we don't know to come into our business and lives. This approach has shown up in our business design as we teach entrepreneurs to embrace a beginner's mindset.

Lesson 3: A truly regenerative business has to be self-governed. Change only happens through individuals acting on what they have control over. We've held ourselves accountable and realized that individual entrepreneurs have the power to make the change. In our business, we focus on the entrepreneur, not just the business.

Lesson 4: Bottom-up or inward-out approaches are critical. We've observed that large organizations and governments tend to have rigid systems that prevent change. Overcoming these systems requires starting from the bottom up, where we have control and influence. We work in spaces we can take action in and expand our edges by partnering with those that can take action in areas we want to influence.

Lesson 5: Observation and interaction with every system involved is critical. This lesson involves being aware of the complex systems and relationships that exist within and around the business. By observing and interacting with these systems, we can better understand how they work and identify opportunities to contribute to their regeneration.

Lesson 6: Collaboration is key. No single person or organization has all the answers. By collaborating with others, we can combine our strengths and resources to create a more significant impact and value. This approach has shown up in our business design as we partner with like-minded organizations and entrepreneurs to co-create regenerative projects and programs.

Lesson 7: Everything ends with a beginner's mind. In other words, the process of regeneration never ends. It requires a continuous commitment to learning, growth, and improvement. As we implement regenerative practices in our business

Host Bios:

Emily Prieto - LinkedIn Profile

Emily is an explorer for the new creative solarpunk world and catalyst for regenerative economies and permanent cultures (permacultures). As the co-founder of Seeds of Tao she helps create experiences and opportunities for entrepreneurs to build strong regenerative enterprises. She is an artist, creative designer, and brand strategist who has worked with small and large businesses to create content that shares the brand identity through a compelling message and story. Using her creative design talent, Emily has also become a permaculture land designer, helping to design both commercial and residential lands for long-term regenerative change. She fluently speaks Spanish and English, adores Latin-American culture and chooses to build community and regenerative stewardship in the rainforests of Central America alongside her husband and four children.

Joshua Prieto - LinkedIn Profile

Josh is the co-founder and CEO of Seeds of Tao an education and incubation company for regenerative entrepreneurs. If you ask him the purpose of SoT, he’ll tell you it is to create paths to a more inclusive, fair, and balanced economy. He feels a special kind of entrepreneur is the key to that path. In the past he has felt discouraged, disappointed, and confused by the extractive and degenerative practices of the businesses he has helped during his career as an entrepreneur and marketing strategist. When he found the regenerative and permaculture movement he realized that if entrepreneurs used regenerative principles and practices in their business our economy and culture would change from an extractive, degenerative one to a consciously regenerative one. Today he focuses on building up and increasing the number of regenerative entrepreneurs through open education services and incubator programs. He would absolutely love it if you joined him in his efforts.