Crossing the Threshold: Makers in Nature’s economy

By Jimi T Hardee and Rachel Major

TLDR: Social entrepreneurship and impact investing - creating and investing businesses that do good and make a profit - are movements backed by $22.89 trillion dollars in assets worldwide. Nature only does business in conditions that are suitable life; we look to bio-inspired design to unlock new sources of wealth for social entrepreneurship. We turned our do-it-yourself makers mentality into an agile business and, true to our roots, we’re crowdfunding at SeedInvest so that anyone can invest in a better world.

The Trap of Apathy

“Climate change is already past the point of no return”

“Earth enters sixth extinction phase”

“Water scarcity a looming threat to the world economy”

To anyone paying attention to the headlines on climate change, scarcity, poor infrastructure, and political corruption, it is often severely bleak.

It can be tempting to wonder if it is even worth trying to solve the world’s problems.  It is clear that conducting business as usual has built unsustainable economies with vast disparity, but what about the way we build business and society is failing us?

Our “business as usual” is not always best for the people, the planet, or even for the bottom line. Many businesses were built on assumptions that vital resources would forever be abundant and cracking the whip was the best way to increase productivity. But this linear problem solving  fails to see the whole picture - like the role emotional and environmental factors play, for example.

Nature’s Solutions

On the other hand, in nature, solutions occur in tandem with great focus on creating interconnected and increasingly strong bonds. Over time a strong dynamic equilibrium is struck to support continued growth.

Nature’s economy is bustling because it does business in conditions that are suitable for life. Businesses are more productive when their workers are provided with conditions suited for their needs, in and out of the office. Providing employees with a high enough salary to support a happy, healthy lifestyle (~$100,000 a year) can dramatically improve a businesses productivity. Other research recommends four-day work weeks or more work-from-home days increase output. A happy workforce can lead to up to a 12% spike in productivity, whereas unhappy workers tend to be about 10% less productive.

A first step to reaching these conditions is to restructure our businesses like a fruit tree. Profit producers - the fruit - are at the top, supported by the branches - the workers. Each fruit is a specific and unique reflection of the environmental conditions it was produced in. By optimizing the conditions for the support structures we produce the best profits providers. Likewise, it flips the role of leadership from the top of the pyramid to the roots and trunk of the tree, ensuring the right resources are provided.

A good business is one that distributes the proper resources to its workers and creates a prime environment for work. This effect pushes outward to creating governmental infrastructure that provide for the needs of its communities. We can already see evidence of this positive link between an increase in the standard of living as well as profit margin in many businesses today.


Social Entrepreneurs and the Impact Economy

In the last 30 years or so, we have begun to see the rise of a concept called social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is the practice of using entrepreneurial skills to build businesses that solve widespread social problems while opening up new possibilities for wealth.

A non-profit may say that a social entrepreneur is too greedy and a for-profit might say they are not greedy enough. Nature shows us that a balance between the two is best. And when combined with impact investing--investing in business that provide social benefit-- backed by $22.89 trillion dollars in environmental, social, and governmental assets that are being professionally managed worldwide.

With increasing determination individuals around the world are taking action. This includes tackling the depressingly high number due to runaway climate change, overpopulation, and other human failures. But in the face of all this pessimism social entrepreneurs pursue a better future drawing strength from one of the most powerful sources imaginable - each other.

By investing in each other, we can build businesses and societies that produce overflows of universal wealth. And by embracing Nature’s methods we can also come back into balance with our natural ecosystems. To build a bio-inspired world where we can all live long and prosper. We must all begin by crossing the threshold by believing in everyone’s own inner hero to create that better world.

At NuLeaf, strength through the community is at the root of all that we do. We leveraged our do-it-yourself “Makers” mentality to become agile entrepreneurs. Today, we build a bio-inspired world through one of the most precious resources on the planet - water.

We provide compact, expandable, and powerful water treatment systems. Our high tech gardens use nothing but natural plants and microbes to not only treat the water but to provide reusable water, bioenergy, and crops in a vertical farming attachment. True to our DIY roots, the technology is easy to use and affordable so that every community can have access to water, our society’s indispensable life force.   


Biomimicry in Organizations: Drawing inspiration from nature to find new efficient, effective and sustainable ways of managing business

by Fausto Tazzi