Changing the Game, One Chapter at a Time

Written by Peter Williamson, Strategic Content Contributor for Changing the Game

On Thursday the 30th of August, a dynamic and diverse group of bright minds gathered at the INNAX headquarters in Veenendaal. The occasion? The second writers’ workshop for the upcoming book Changing the Game! For this sequel to Changing the Food Game, we gathered game-changers with a passion for sustainability from almost a dozen different industries ranging from textiles to tourism. These authors will share their sector expertise and reflect on sustainable market transformation in their own industries in their respective chapters of the book.

Co-author André Nijhof of Nyenrode University provided the writers with an in-depth workshop on best practices to help them further strengthen their chapter’s key message, and our very own NewForesight CEO Lucas Simons gave an engaging refresher course on Market Transformation Theory. These two main authors were featured recently in an article in the Dutch P-Plus magazine, where they give an in-depth explanation of the motivations and frameworks that form the basis for Changing the Game. During this intensive workshop, the writers also provided each other with critical feedback to strengthen their chapters and map out the next steps in their writing efforts, making this a truly collaborative effort.

But why apply the market transformation across so many different sectors, each with their own dynamics? While the individual chapters serve as guideposts that map out change in different sectors, they are also part of a broader road towards systematic change described in the first and last parts of the book.

This macro-perspective is important for stakeholders to understand the issues they face within a bigger picture, argues Elze van Hamelen, who works for The Natural Step and is a co-author of the petrochemicals chapter. She believes that while the different sector perspectives on market transformation are highly informative, putting them all together within a common framework enhances the reader’s understanding of the underlying factors that drive (un)sustainability. For her, this overarching view is highly important as “in the end, sustainability is about learning to live within the planetary boundaries”, and that we need to ask ourselves: “what is the overall perspective or goal that we need for this?”

Norma Wouters, the founder of Noble Achievers and part of the textile team, explains one of the key messages of the book: the first step towards achieving sustainability is seeing oneself as an agent of change and thinking in systems! She argues that “the people in our industries have forgotten that they are the ones who have created these systems, and that it’s not the systems that determine what they do. It’s about taking responsibility for your own conduct, and therefore also ethical conduct.”

For Mariella Noto, from the same team and the founder of Linking Threads, “one of the interesting things about research in the sector itself was to see in which phase the different parts of the sector actually are, and it So that was a bit of a mood breaker! [laughter] But it was good to see and realize, and it makes you look at your own sector a bit differently.”

In their research, authors have also encountered numerous overlaps between their industries when it comes to sustainability challenges. For instance, the authors for the chapter on the textile industry remarked that similar issues around inclusivity affect both the construction sector and the textile sector, while major players in the chemical sector are also important downstream actors in the textile supply chain and therefore affect sustainability outcomes in both industries.

The contributing writers are also excited about sharing their vision of a more sustainable sector with their stakeholders. Dico Drost, an author for the agriculture chapter and and horticulture expert, explained his motivations for contributing to this book: “I’m trying to change my sector. […] If I have a book that I can give to clients or stakeholders, they can read what I want to do and can understand me better. It’s an explanation for what I want to achieve.”

We are just as excited as the authors to see how future readers will feel inspired to Change the Game after reading this book!