green ideas blog

Big Hairy Audacious Goal – BHAG

SolutionsLabsYes, a BHAG.  The naysayers can say nay all they want but setting a “reach for the stars” goal can spur innovative ideas to drive your organization toward sustainability.  I participated in the GREEN INNOVATION IN BUSINESS SOLUTIONS LAB in New York City on May 21st.  The room was filled with wonderful people who came together to collaborate on ideas to MOVE business along the path of sustainability.  At the end of the day, groups were tasked with coming up with a solution… and I was lucky enough to be in the BHAG group!  Beth Trask, Deputy Director of the EDF Innovation Exchange wrote a great blog about our group’s innovative ideas.  Beth writes…

“Start with a company-wide BHAG – you know, the “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.”   It must come from the top (after some coaxing from sustainability champions at lower levels), and be sufficiently ambitious and inspirational—so much so that it’s likely no one will know exactly how they are going to get there.

Divide this BHAG by a set of programs that suit a given company—polices, competitions, incentives or training programs, combined with a data gathering and reporting mechanism.  Add in a critical variable:  Passionate internal advocates who keep the drumbeat going.  Hit the “equal” sign and voila! You have solved for a sustainability-focused corporate culture.”

My comment on Beth’s post:  I couldn’t agree more with this conversation. Beth, you did a great job capturing our group discussion at the NYC Solutions Lab. One way to draw out the “passionate internal advocates” is to invite ALL STAFF to participate on a green team. My experience shows that the “PIA’s” sign up first. Combine that with mission, policies, communication tools, etc. these are the necessary ingredients to make real change happen.

What do you think?

Beth’s full post here

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One Response to “Big Hairy Audacious Goal – BHAG”

  1. Marc K says:

    I respectfully disagree with the BHAG concept. It is great; it is what companies should do. The problem is it can’t get off the ground in reality. Working to green companies is what I do for a living, and I can’t tell you the number of company leaders who are doing well financially have fear (really, undereducation) about sustainability. BHAG scares them, and they avoid such a program. Unfortunate, but that’s the reality in a lot of companies, big and medium.

    Actually, I just posted a blog article on my website this past weekend ( with an idea of going in the opposite direction. Convince your managers to implement one, simple sustainability project. See that it’s simple, not expensive, and yet effective. Do a couple of these and then upper management loses (or reduces) that fear, then you could approach BHAG. I give specific examples of simple, inexpensive projects on the energy side. Check it out.

    All the best,

    Marc Karell