Author and Business Owner Nadya Zhexembayeva Offers Concrete Examples and Strategies on How to Successfully Sail Through Our 'Overfished' Market Economy
Submitted by Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Nadya Zhexembayeva, professor and consultant to companies as varied as Coca-Cola, Henkel, and Vienna Insurance, asserts that the future of competitive advantage will come from how companies deal with resource scarcity, not from “blue oceans” of uncontested market space. According to Nadya, the global economy is still structured on a failing system of “use and discard”. With fewer and fewer resources available, the throwaway economy is stumbling to an end. That means we’re on the brink of a sustainability revolution, right? Sustainability professor Zhexembayaeva’s answer might surprise—or shock—you.
In her recent TED x talk, Nadya explains that while many professionals suggest sustainability as the solution to our problematic economy, most sustainable products are undesirable, underperforming, and overpriced. Beyond that, Nadya says there is something “fundamentally wrong with the word” itself. No one considers “sustainable” a compliment—would you call your marriage “sustainable?”? (Nadya hopes not!) Businesses and customers are suffering from an overall “sustainability fatigue”, and new language is required - alongside new models - to provide the energy needed to move forward with better products and practices.
In her new book, Overfished Ocean Strategy: Powering Up Innovation for a Resource-Deprived World, Nadya offers five key principles for innovating in our “overfished”, resource-depleted market. She draws from companies such as Puma, Microsoft, and BMW to highlight how established companies are successfully navigating the troubled economic seas by creating resource-conserving products, and transferring expertise from physical products to improved services. All of this involves a shift from sustainable jargon to using more consumer-appealing terms (such as “Eco-Superior” and “Resourcefulness Strategy”).
More than anything else, Zhexembayeva wants us to think about wise use of resources as a question of business strategy, not a question of morality or purity. Nadya’s vision is a new economy where we reduce our carbon footprint because it helps us beat the competition—not because we want to be “nice” or “sustainable.” The advent of this fresh economy is beginning to reward resource-conscious businesses intent on becoming, in Nadya’s own words, “the pioneers, rather than the victims, of the new world.”
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