Close the Loop by Sharing Sustainable Know-How
What does quality mean for us nowadays? For many, the definition of quality is still associated with newness, not with caring. Long-term use is still seen as undesirable, rather than resourceful.
However, with environmental challenges jeopardising our existence and with terms such as “Circular Economy” gaining increasing traction, adopting a sustainable life-style today is a primary necessity. Strictly speaking, acquiring a mind-set that values security of our living conditions has become a general responsibility.
So, how do we concretely achieve a sustainable economy?
First and foremost, we need to wonder how we can lead a lifestyle that better aligns with natural cycles. Nature abounds in cycles. For instance, water and nutrients produce discards which are resourceful to others. Embracing sustainability therefore means adopting a frame of mind that closes loops, hence replaces production with sufficiency.
Such a sufficient mind-set would, subsequently, change the whole economic logic, imposing a new definition of quality. Far from being brand-new, a high-quality product would become the result of a long process, marked by steps such as “reusing”, “repairing” and “remanufacturing”. This cycle, that lengthens the life of an item, adds great value to it and ultimately increases its overall quality.
This concept was introduced in the 70s by Stahel and Reday, who defined the “Circular Economy” as a loop economy fostering waste prevention and resource efficiency. The uptake of the Circular Economy can be traced back to the emergence of environmental threats in the 1960s. Since then, ‘selling utilisation instead of ownership of goods’ has been considered the most relevant sustainable business model – since it prevents industries from externalising the costs and risks associated with waste.
Close the loop with your intangible assets.
With this mindset, an increasing number of people started making their intangible assets a public good. In fact, as explained by Davenport and Prusak, knowledge assets are not static resources, but they increase with use. Having unlimited potential for growth, ideas breed new ones and enrich the receiver.
So, while Information Technology fosters an environment where people matter to one another, intellectual assets are growing in value. This trend has also been triggered by people opening up to the concept of feedback, as a way to improve their work. Many online sharing platforms encourage this process. On Eloquens.com, for example, authors can connect to the people who have downloaded their tools, exchanging helpful criticism that can be used to improve or adjust the content.
But how do intangible assets have a real impact on our environment?
Firstly, authors and users are familiarising themselves with the idea of “reusing”, rather than “using and disposing”. Hence, the motto ‘Don’t Reinvent the Wheel’ is gaining momentum, especially in the fields of Finance and Business. On Eloquens, over 70,000 professionals of these sectors have adopted a sustainable way of consuming knowledge, accessing ready-to-use know-how. On the other end of the spectrum, over 300 authors are providing utilization of their technical and conceptual skills.
Secondly, the transfer of top-tier expertise from more to less advanced areas of the world, closes the loop of knowledge and encourages social development. As shown in the study conducted by Lee et al., educational achievement is the strongest predictor of environmental awareness. Closing the loop, in this case, means encouraging greater investments in education, and subsequently, greater engagement in civic and environmental matters.
To wrap up…
These online environments that foster favourable exchange are teaching us to live more sustainably. They are encouraging us to favour sufficiency over production. We can then apply the same principles to more tangible aspects of our lives, reducing waste, whilst reaching different areas of the world providing them with solid skills and resources.
Most importantly, though, they are changing the common definition of quality. Excellence is an objective that can be achieved collectively, in a cycle where synergies become the agents of improvement. So, just like nature provides discards that benefit others, our intangible assets contribute to our sustainable eco-system of knowledge.
Interested in stepping towards a more sustainable consumption of knowledge? Share ready-to-use know-how and access intellectual assets on Eloquens.com! ♻️🧠♻️
& Business Developer
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