Hospitality and The Infinite Game is a podcast series focused on answering this seemingly simple question.
Over the course of 6 episodes, Michael collaborated with David Chenery of Object Space Place to discuss the big ideas that might just set the foundation for a different model of success; a model which would allow us to piece together a bold new way forward, where our businesses can thrive whilst making a positive impact on people, communities and the planet. The topics are broad, covering infinite mindedness, the climate emergency, a Circular Economy, Doughnut Economics, B-Corps and how profit and purpose can coexist.
Each episode is aimed to be a primer on the subject to spark interest and debate. We make no claims to have all the answers, far from it in fact, but we hope these conversations might just get you thinking. We are learning and hope you will learn with us.
Below is a brief summary of each episode and a link to listen in case you missed it. Enjoy!
Episode 1 - Infinite Mindedness
In our first episode, we talk about the inspiration behind this series and how it was sparked by reading Simon Sinek’s book ‘The Infinite Game’, which champions what happens when we switch to a long-term mindset.
We reflect on the casual dining crash as an example of what happens when businesses get preoccupied with short-term thinking. Surely it can't be ok for businesses to build an empire on a foundation of sand and then shrug their shoulders and walk away when it collapses? We think there must be a better way for businesses to conduct themselves, it is not enough to say that this is 'just business'. As business leaders it’s our duty to think big and to better understand the system within which we operate - we need to be aware of the impact we have on people, communities and the planet.
So where should we look for guidance? What can hospitality businesses learn from brands like Patagonia for example? And what ideas, theories and research has been done to point us in the right direction. We are setting out to explore that in the rest of the series.
Episode 2 - Doughnut Economics
Our society has an obsession with growth, quite often neglecting the need to thrive. The difference between growing and thriving might seem subtle, but in fact it is huge! In this episode, we unpack the meaty, brilliant book ‘Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist’ by Kate Raworth. From it we learn how we can fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does.
The truth is that economics, as it has been taught for the past couple of hundred years, is based on oversimplified thinking and assumptions that do not stand up to scrutiny. Within the book, Kate talks us through how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design. This theory is gaining wide attention globally and cities like Amsterdam have adopted this framework for everything they will do in the future.
Tune in as we pick out our favourite myths dispelled by Kate (like the idea of rational man and linear growth) and reflect on some key questions to ask yourself, your team and in the boardroom. It’s time to think about building a better economy where equality and sustainability are as important as profit and growth.
Episode 3 - Circular Economy
Following on from the big theory of Doughnut Economics is another big theory; Circular Economy. The Circular Economy is a model for how humanity can live more sustainably on this planet and sits in direct opposition to the conventional Linear Economy within which we live today.
The theory is built on the idea of eliminating waste and pollution, maintaining a continual use of our existing resources and regenerating natural systems. In this episode, we explore how this powerful model of sustainability can be applied to the hospitality industry. From food waste to restaurant design, it bleeds into every area and we realise that if we are going to achieve this, we will have to work together to create a systemic change.
We also hear how we at Object Space Place are applying the principles of the Circular Economy in our design work, what we can learn from brands like IKEA and where the future opportunities may lie. Oh, and the possibility of kitchens with no bins.
Episode 4 - There is no planet B
We all know the climate crisis is one of the biggest challenges of our time, but do we really understand the science behind this? And what can the hospitality sector actually do to make an impact? It’s a big challenge to tackle, and we certainly don’t have all the answers, but luckily we can be guided by ‘No Planet B’ by Mike Berners-Lee. This is a really impactful book which takes us step by step through the current environmental challenges we face and weighs up what our best options are if we want to make a difference.
In this conversation, we reflect on what we can do as business owners. From food waste and heavily reducing meat consumption to where we get our energy from – there’s a lot for hospitality businesses to do. We discuss veganism, seasonal produce, rewilding and the need for a framework in order to create a thriving world.
Episode 5 - B Corps
The B Corp movement envisions a global economy that uses business as a force for good. And sounds right up our street. Businesses should not only generate financial returns but also create value for their customers, employees, community and the environment. Through its rigorous assessments, there are now over 3,300 certified B Corporations across 150 industries in 71 countries. Is this the gold standard for better businesses that we have been looking for?
In this episode, we explore pragmatic ways to assess if businesses are ‘good’. Join us as we discuss our scores from their initial assessment, how it has helped many businesses grow sustainably and its implications for going mainstream.
Episode 6 - Purpose & Profit
Purpose and profit. What do we mean when we use the word 'purpose'? What do we mean by 'profit' come to think of it? And can these two ideas (one selfish and one selfless) coexist as drivers for a business? In this episode, we explore the possible alignment of purpose and profit along with how we best define these terms.
It is clear from brands like Apple and Patagonia that purpose-driven businesses can thrive in the long-term, but what can the hospitality industry learn from this? What does it take for your purpose to be actionable and not get swept away by delusions of grandeur like WeWork? Does your purpose have to be big and ambitious? Or is it simply enough that we aim to give more than we take?
Let us know what you think by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org