Thursday, January 24, 2013

In Plain English...What is it You're Doing?

Inspired by Steve Easterbrook and the the wonderful XKCD's recent attempt to explain the parts of a Saturn V rocket (the "Up Goer Five”) using only the most common one thousand words of English...

Now there is  a web-based editor that let’s everyone try their hand at this, and a tumblr of scientists trying to explain their work this way.  So I thought I'd also try to explain my work... and here it is... a little awkward in places...but hey... it's not so easy when you can only use the most common 1000 words!

I've just added a few links in case you want to know more specifics... and used the word science once (its unfortunately not one of the top 1000 commonly used words)
Our one amazing world is full: of people, the stuff we've made and of the things we've done!  Some of all this is good but much of it is bad: for us and our children.  So now in the well-off places people are not happier than they were 5, 10 or 30 years ago. People may have more money but they are not happier. 

Business is a very big part of both the good and the bad.  So what can business change so that they only do good for people, our towns, and all other life in our world while still doing well?  This is the question my work starts to answer.
But most businesses go out of business very quickly!  This is bad for the people in the business and the people with the money that started the business.  So nearly 10 years ago a student and his teacher figured out the 9 big questions that needed to be answered to make it more possible for a business to stay in business and make money. Then 4 years ago they worked with 470 very bright people to make a book that a lot of people like a lot.
Now I am taking these questions and adding 5 more questions, using what we know from science about people, our world and how it all works. If a business figures out good answers to all the questions, new and old, it makes it more possible for them to make money, do good for everyone and everything on our world, and to keep doing this for a long time.
In my studies, that are almost finished, I have built and checked an easy-to-use way for all kinds of people to make plans for businesses that can do good and do well for a long time.
The next step is to get another group of very bright people to make a book so everyone can use these ideas to make more of these businesses so the world can be a better happier place for everyone.
 Will you join us?  Contact us here

P.S. Part of the reason for doing this is that I'm entering the International "Three Minute Thesis" competition (flyer) and needed to write a 300 character summary of my research that previously looked like this!  

Here is the 300 character version that uses scientific, future, tool and an ampersand!
Our world is full. Some of this is good but much is bad. Business is a big part of both. How can we use scientific knowledge to help business make things better?

I have designed & tested an easy to use tool to reliably plan businesses that do good and do well for a long time into the future.


  1. I like this! I wish more people talked this way. I could see what they mean more easily. Thank you!

  2. Now published on Ten One Hundred Words of Science (!

  3. How challenging this must have been Antony. Wow! A job well done within these constraints. Your work is so important and will surely enable many businesses to "do good and do well for a long time into the future". (: Bravo! Saralyn

  4. Interesting stuff Antony. Seems like as good or better a definition of sustainability I've ever seen. I'm not sure the words "scientific" or "into the future" or "tool" in your 300 character summary are really worth adding though, they all seem pretty wishy-washy to me. (but them I'm a scientist who sometimes questions if there is such a thing as scientific some times).

  5. Congrats on 'staying the course', Antony! As much as this work, I'm sure, is interesting and very much 'up your alley', it takes a great deal of focus and determination to maintain the drive. Having written various summaries throughout my L&D career, I know the challenges of keeping descriptions simple and straightforward. Well done, my friend, well done!!

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