“You cannot be successful in a world that fails. Companies today have the scale, the power and the innovative strength to contribute to a better world. They also have the responsibility to do so. This book shows you how. From understanding why markets become unsustainable, why it is so hard to change it, to what can be done to change the system. This book covers it all and gives the stepwise approach for sustainable market transformation. If you are serious about sustainability, study this work and apply it.”
– Feike Sijbesma, Former CEO of DSM,
designated Global Climate Leader for the World Bank Group, Co-Chair of the High Level Assembly of the group’s Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition and Co-Chair of the Board of the Global Center on Adaptation
“Becoming a systems thinker is perhaps the most important step any of us can take in fighting climate change, poverty, inequality and other global challenges. This book is an excellent resource for those looking to make the shift. The authors take the reader on a journey from understanding our problems in terms of the systems that created them, through how these systems work to what we can do to change them. They also provide inspiring and practical examples of how systemic change can and is being achieved in many of the key industries that shape our societies. We need more systems thinkers to tackle the problems we are facing, and more books like this to train more systems thinkers.”
– Luke Disney, CEO Just-BI, former Executive Director of the INSEAD Social Innovation Centre, former Executive Director of North Star Alliance
“Sustainability has to become hardcore business. And that will only be possible if our economies transform towards a more inclusive form of capitalism. This book aims to do exactly this. It challenges the reader to zoom out, look at the bigger picture and understand the systems at play. Once you have those insights, systems can be changed one step at a time.”
– Jan Peter Balkenende, Professor of Governance, Institutions and Internationalization at Erasmus University, Chairman of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition and Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands
“This is a terrific book that helps us understand what we have to do to respond to the climate crisis. It is a thoughtful analysis of the role that businesses can play if they are serious about becoming sustainable. There is much practical wisdom here.”
– R. Edward Freeman, University Professor, The Darden School of Business, University of Virginia
“We need less talkers, we need more do-ers,’ say the authors of Changing the Game. I could not agree more! Happily, this book gives plenty of practical actions to help build a more sustainable world.”
– Professor David Grayson CBE, Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility, Cranfield School of Management and Chair of the Institute of Business Ethics
“In Changing the Game, the authors present how to change the rules of an existing game. This is powerful and much needed. The question is how this relates to exploring how we at the same time create a radically different multi-dimensional value creation game. Both are important to move deeper into the Anthropocene.”
– John Elkington, Founder & Chief Pollinator at Volans, pioneer of the global sustainability movement
“Please give yourself permission: You truly can be a changemaker who frees society from any of its many stuck, unsafe systems by birthing its socially and environmentally healthful replacement. Changing the Game, written by top social entrepreneur Lucas Simons and Andre Nijhof, spell out in simple, practical terms the steps required.”
– Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO, Ashoka: Everyone a Changemaker
“Changing the Game is a well-researched and practical guide to the greatest challenge that we face as a generation: the environmental, social and economic sustainability of our planet. As the authors quote, “We cannot be successful in a world that fails”.
Einstein famously said that to solve the problems of the world in 1 hour, one must first take fifty-five minutes to understand them. This is what authors Lucas Simons and Andre Nijhof do in their book. They bring to light the hidden rules, incentives and behaviors that lock us and our market sectors into producing unsustainable results. Results that, if left unchecked, will take us beyond the environmental and social limits we are already breaking.
Having understood the dynamics of unsustainability, the authors describe a 4-phase approach to how every individual and organization can act (and have acted in some cases), to break the gridlock and achieve sustainable outcomes. With this book you can diagnose the phase your market sector is in and then define the strategy you should take, to recognize incentives and change behaviors towards sustainable financial, social and environmental outcomes.
A key to the success of this book is the candid but respectful tone the authors use. They clearly state that we cannot change the rules of human behavior: people and groups will tend to pursue short term goals and personal interest and this has to be part of our expectation. You can’t blame the players, you have to change the incentives and the underlying rules of the game that generate negative outcomes. For example, expert contributors to the book describe how clothing manufacturers currently have the incentive to produce more clothes, as cheaply as possible. The search for ever cheaper production leads to exploitative labor practices. Companies selling the clothes, and consumers buying them, don’t see the consequences. Even for those who understand, finding alternatives and solutions across value chains and countries is complicated.
The book lays out a path to sustainability mapped out in 4 sequential phases. These phases are an abstraction of how the best examples in the industry have evolved and provide a blueprint we can follow. This evidence-based approach makes practical sense and allows you to identify where things stand today in a given sector, what the next step is, and how you and/or your organization can contribute to moving things forward.
Returning to the example they provide from the textile and garment industry: accidents or scandals provoked by exploitative labor practices force companies or governments to adjust their practices. More sustainable business practices become a competitive advantage and at a certain point, industry standards are developed that over time become national and international laws. This book clarifies how this process evolves in different market sectors and describes the detailed actions that can at each point, breaking the underlying incentives and “rules” that govern unsustainable practices.
In their book, Lucas and Andre meet you where you are in the world of sustainability – unaware, anxious or exasperated – and guide you to a place of understanding, conviction and action. If sustainability is the greatest challenge for our generation, then this is a guide we all need.
We read this book from the perspective of management consultants and leadership coaches. Our client’s face a future full of uncertainty and constant change, full of great opportunities but also pitfalls and threats. We see the process and strategies of market transformation, as described in Changing the Game as the map to navigate this unknown territory.”
– Helena Wygard , Analycia Perez Mina, Adriana Kocornik, BeWater consulting