Author: Melissa OMara

Reflections on one year of Green Building

And green team building, solutions portfolio building, friendship building, network building, skill building, humility building, frequent flier mileage building, experience building, passport stamp building… A year of intense growth, excitement, and yes – hard work, pressure, overtime (can it even be called that anymore?). When I was a late teen or maybe early twenty-something I wrote a motto on an index card and I am still amazed that it still aligns so well with how I approach life and work today… (See picture – it is tacked up next to my home office desk, with other special items including my...

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How to Nudge Consumers to Be Environmentally Friendly – WSJ.com#printMode

Well, this article makes me go “hmmm….”. Apparently, peer pressure does not end after high school, as if I hadn’t noticed. This article sites multiple studies and experiments that point to peer pressure or at least the “pull of the crowd” as a more powerful driver of behavioral change than financial incentives, or social responsibility to “do the right thing”. How to Nudge Consumers to Be Environmentally Friendly – WSJ.com#printMode. This surprises me quite a bit, as I personally subscribe to a belief that people need to really have a strong internal (emotional) desire and motivation for change in order to actually make significant changes (and especially to stick with them). In fact, in “The Heart of Change” by John Kotter, his research bears this out. The essence of Kotter’s message is this: the reason so many change initiatives fail is that they rely too much on “data gathering, analysis, report writing, and presentations” instead of a more creative approach aimed at grabbing the “feelings that motivate useful action.” (Citation, Amazon.com Review) So perhaps the peer pressure, the subconscious need that many of us have to “fit in” is enough of an emotional pull to incite some level of change after all. If this is the case, we have much work to do to reverse our consumption-oriented “more and bigger is better” culture! (In my humble opinion, of...

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Sustainability at Penn State University

Penn State is truly playing a Bigger Game in Sustainability. I participated in a workshop in late August where the brought in some of their key corporate stakeholders to really do some out of the box thinking on what a top university needs to be doing to create a sustainable future… and the outcomes were really exciting. There will be a whitepaper published on this 2 day workshop very soon, and it should be posted at http://www.green.psu.edu/. This hits home in a very personal way for me, because I have a high school senior who is now choosing colleges to apply to, and career directions… What could be more inspiring than training at an institution that is truly committed to creating the sustainability leaders of the future? And even if they major in psychology, or liberal arts, they will be learning how to live more sustainably. I salute the vision that the folks at Penn State have… and hope to remain engaged as an ally to help them achieve...

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Life Calling

Life Calling My life is a journey, destination unknown.My path is revealed only as far as I can see,Yet more often than not, I choose its direction. I navigate my path thoughtfully,with deliberate choices grounded in values and guided by intuition.Even when faced with unexpected circumstances,I choose my path, by choosing my reaction. I choose to live in love, optimism, faith, beauty, warmth.I choose spontaneity, nature, deep conversations, dreams.I choose passion, risk, change, color.I choose light, music, texture, spice.I laugh, I cry, I experience, I give.I nurture myself to be strong. Sometimes my path is clear and my journey...

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BHAGs and Bigger Games – For the Sake of What?

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am a bit of a change agent (or at least I aspire to be) and an innovation catalyst. I am very focused on accelerating corporate and large scale economic and ecologic sustainability (gulp) through a process called co-creation or collaborative innovation. I firmly believe that it takes a committed cross-organizational effort to address some of the environmental and economic challenges that are now front and center globally. You could call this aspiration a “BHAG”, thanks to James Collins and James Porras.From Wikipedia – The term Big Hairy Audacious Goal (“BHAG”) was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1996 article entitled Building Your Company’s Vision. A BHAG encourages companies to define visionary goals that are more strategic and emotionally compelling. In the article, the authors define a BHAG (pronounced BEE-hag) as a form of vision statement “…an audacious 10-to-30-year goal to progress towards an envisioned future.”A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines. —Collins and Porras, 1996Collins and Porras also used this concept in their book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. Change and innovation requires...

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