HP Living Progress Exchange opens with creative, transparent dialogue

Day 1: HP, Timberland, and GlobeScan explore ways companies can work together to advance the health and well-being of people

What does one of the world’s largest IT companies have in common with one of the world’s leading manufacturers and retailers of footwear, apparel and gear for the outdoor lifestyle? Quite a lot, actually, as I learned from Margaret Morey-Reuner, director of Strategic Partnerships, Business Development and Values Marketing at Timberland. Margaret joined me and other sustainability leaders at the first HP Living Progress Exchange, which we hosted at the Sustainable Brands 2014 conference in San Diego.

The HP Living Progress Exchange is a discussion forum that brings together creative thinkers from diverse industries and organizations to talk about how we can work together to create a better future for everyone through our actions and innovations. It’s a dialogue rooted in HP Living Progress, which is our framework for thinking about how we do business.

The HP Living Progress Exchange brought together sustainability leaders from a cross section of industries and organizations in an open, transparent conversation. We were joined each day by folks from SAP, UPS, PwC, Conservation International, Kiva, REI, Lonesome George, GlobeScan, Edelman and, of course, Timberland, to tackle issues and explore potential solutions that would help drive human, economic and environmental progress.

Radical communication

Back to the question of what a technology company and an outdoor footwear and apparel company have in common, Margaret and I found that both Timberland and HP face similar challenges in managing a responsible supply chain. And we share a common purpose to help advance the health and well-being of people in our companies and across our value chain.

While our challenges and values are similar, our approaches—by the nature of our different industries—are different. By bringing different skills and expertise to the table, we were able to uncover fresh ideas and potential ways to pool our expertise and resources to help solve society’s toughest challenges. One idea we came up with is to combine our employee volunteering efforts to amplify global impact. This same open sharing of information and ideas crossed all the companies and organizations participating in the HP Living Progress Exchange.

Where it will get really interesting, we all agreed, is when we engage in this same dialogue with our competitors. It will start when we collectively stop competing on sustainability, and come together in an open, trusting, transparent way to create solutions that serve the good of everyone. That’s where radical communication opens the door to radical collaboration, helping accelerate a better future for everyone.

Day 3: HP, Conservation International, UPS, Edelman, and GlobeScan think creatively about strengthening the environment as we grow. 

More conversations ahead

We started the journey in San Diego, but the conversation continues with more HP Living Progress Exchange sessions ahead. The next Exchange will be online Sept. 9, 2014, where we are able to invite a larger and more global audience into the discussion. Like the live sessions at Sustainable Brands, the online session will be facilitated by GlobeScan.

Additional online and live HP Living Progress Exchange engagements will be announced soon, so follow us on Twitter at @HPLivingProg to stay up to date on the details.

In addition, conversation is always happening on Twitter – just search #livingprogress. Bring your creative ideas for how to solve the world’s toughest human, economic and environmental issues, and join us there.