Greetings. DOING MORE WITH LESS. It's the latest mantra as businesses and organizations in almost every industry try to figure out how to deliver greater value at less cost, with fewer people, fewer resources, fewer harmful ingredients, and in significantly less time than it took before. Government agencies are asking their contractors to sharpen their pencils while also hoping to spur greater innovation. Companies and consumers are asking suppliers to offer better deals. Leading and upstart automakers are investing in cars that use less energy. And top restaurant chains are eliminating calories and fat in an effort to reduce expenses while also enhancing the health of customers.
Against this backdrop, I had the opportunity to attend an interesting seminar on vehicle electrification at the Swedish Embassy last week. The session, sponsored by Volvo and the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, looked at the promise and challenges associated with dramatically increasing the percentage of electric vehicles on the road. In an age of shrinking gas supplies and growing numbers of new drivers in China and other developing countries this seemed like an important idea. And, as part of its efforts, Volvo is also trying to test the potential for people to live a more "carbon-dioxide-lean lifestyle"–by reducing our energy consumption and our emissions from seven tons per person per year to one ton per person per year.
Yes, that's right. The global average for carbon dioxide emissions is seven tons per person per year. So Volvo Cars and a set of partners have combined forces to design a car, a house, and a lifestyle that will enable our ability to live comfortably while cutting our energy consumption and global climate footprint by a whopping 86 percent. And they've enlisted the Lindell family as the "test pilots" for the "One Tonne Life" experiment. You can even follow father Nils, mother Alicja, and their teenage children Hannah (16) and Jonathan (13) as they try to live within this new energy budget.
Talk about doing (or living) more with less! But the experiment is also insightful for companies as we try to figure out how to be different and more valuable to our customers in a time of low growth and expensive resources. And it might just be a great way for you and the geniuses you work with to begin thinking about how to create a new and less resource-full business model. And it doesn't have to be all gloom and doom. When asked about their experience to date, the Lindell's were quick to say that "it almost becomes fun" to reinvent their lifestyle. Sounds like a powerful challenge to all of us.
We win in business and in life when we commit to doing more with less. It's a powerful way to unleash our collective innovation.