Innovation & Triple Bottom Line – The Wisdom of Harrington & Fisher

I have just returned from a business excellence conference in Abu Dhabi. I was fortunate to meet the management guru, Dr James Harrington; and the corporate sustainability guru, Dr Donald Fisher.

During a personal chat in a bus, Dr Harrington explained the evolution of quality over the past 200 years. There have been changes from the craftsman model to IT driven industrialization. All growth driven. Bottom line driven. He further added that creativity and innovation must go way beyond products and processes to the fundamentals of business models. The authority he spoke with reflected the depth of his knowledge and wisdom.

Dr Fisher, on the other hand, explained sustainability and the triple bottom line – Profit, Planet, People (while having a swim in the sea!). He added that sustainability is an integration of the economic, environmental, and social issues that an organization impacts. He believes we need to expand our minds and hearts to address such issues. The awareness of corporate sustainability commenced with the birth of the Malcolm Baldridge model for business excellence.

The key lessons I learned from these personal interactions are that innovation and corporate sustainability are choices with no options. Particularly if we wish to build world-class organizations.


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