Archive | December, 2013

The Art of Non-Doing

This post is an addendum to the previous post On Being, Seeing, Doing 

People often travel to “get away”,  “pause”, “chill”, “escape”, reflect.

Trips away often  act as punctuation marks in the narrative of our lives – creating spaces between one stage or another (after getting married; the end of a job; the completion of a major task etc.)

So it’s an irony that the tourism community appears so unwilling to spend time in reflection itself. We have few “think tanks” made up of industry leaders, advisors, and mentors compared to other sectors.

How often have you heard of a DMO or a major travel corporation taking its people away simply to BE together, with no bullet-pointed agenda (just listen to the language!); willing to see what emerged when defences were lowered, bread and wine were shared, and walks in wild places caused hair to frizzle or muscles to ache?

Being very operationally minded, and pressured by the perishability of the products sold, conference participants clamour for “best practices” , practical solutions; How To Manuals and checklists so they can get on and DO something.

I don’t want to leave the impression that I am some airy fairy thinker with her head in the clouds – because there is no shortage of things that we CAN DO TODAY to reduce the stress we place on natural systems.  BUT the truth is, we’re NOT reducing our impact despite all the busy-sounding, action oriented words, the reports, the manuals, the keynote speeches, the declarations, and codes etc.

As any of my kind readers will have observed, I am impressed with the work of Charles Eisenstein who, while clearly being both clever and deep, is also very practical AND positive. Do read his latest book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible for a collection of insightful, inspiring essays that will, in the spirit of the season, illuminate your Christmas break.

Sustainable Man have just made a short film combining interview snippets with Charles and illustrative imagery on the theme of non-doing that Charles explores in his book. Food for thought……

So whether your intent is to improve your performance, or chill, become more insightful, listen to your gut, then give yourself permission to do nothing but BE with your friends and family in the sense of being truly present with them and better still BE  outdoors in Nature and let Her talk to you. You’ll be amazed at what you might “see”

It takes TRUST to stop – especially when there’s a rising panic signalling that we should DO SOMETHING but as Jini Reddy has beautifully written here, it’s always worth applying when we are stuck. Trust as a Powerful Tool for Positive Change


Conscious Brands

A consistent theme of my blog that I hope has not gone unnoticed is that the scope and pace of change is engulfing us all now is unlike anything previously experienced. It’s not just the speed with which a new idea can now catch light and spread – look at the success of Airbnb and its many competitors – but the potential for its radical disruption of the norm. That’s because you are not looking at minor adjustments to business as usual but a fundamental shift in “Story” – the narrative, values, beliefs that we use to guide our choices and actions as individuals and as society. Once you understand the dimensions and characteristics of that shift, you will see all manner of  opportunity and implications.

Having said that, I am amazed at the relative lack of interest in such high/deep level analysis – most people in tourism seem content to be fed a diet of trends that often appear in international events almost at the point of being past their sell-by-date. Recently one tourism conference declared in 2013, that “experiential travel is now hot.”

Expect to see the word “conscious” appear with increasing and alarming frequency. Alarming because we all know how the force of a new idea can be significantly weakened with either repetition or mis-use. (the word “paradigm” comes to mind). By way of example, I am sharing the work of a relatively young New York agency “spark& honey” who describe themselves as “trend watchers and tacticians, strategists and savants, creatives and quants who  live to help brands hijack, accelerate and ignite culture”.

Here are two provocative slide decks – the first on Conscious Brands and the second on the Collaborative Economy. These are simply two manifestations of a deep shift in  values.

A year ago, we highlighted the emergence of Airbnb “10 Reasons Why Airbnb is an awesome Travel Enterprise . In this deck from spark & honey, you can see how the collaborative economy is creating new competitors from unlikely sources that are affecting hospitality and transportation more widely.


To be honest, I am tired of being told I am “ahead of my time” because as time speeds up, those who are considered to be “out front” might have something highly relevant to say. But if noses are permanently to the grindstone, their owners may not have noticed the acceleration!

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