A while ago, I was asked by the Harmony Project if I would contribute to a discussion about how principles of Harmony can be applied to business and the economy. In particular I was asked to join a team of twenty such contributors and attend a meeting on this particular theme in the offices of the Prince’s Trust in London.
The Harmony Project is an initiative which explores how principles of Harmony can be applied in practice. Predominantly the focus of this work is in the field of education. The project is heavily inspired and guided by HRH The Prince’s of Wales’ book Harmony; a New Way of Looking at the World. If I try to summarise ‘Principles of Harmony’ in a nutshell I’d say it was an ideology based on turning to Nature as our teacher and developing ways of living which are in Harmony with natural systems. The juxtaposition to this is, of course, that much of humankind’s activity is disconnected from Nature, or even in direct opposition to it, and this is the reason we are experiencing so many ecological crises. Some of the key themes are Balance, Interconnectivity and Wholeness. This is a very simplistic description, and I would certainly recommend that you look into it further (i.e. read the Harmony book), but the alignment between the Harmony Project and the Food Hub project should be apparent.
The group of people attending the meeting included academics, practitioners, and leading thinkers in the field of Harmony. As you can imagine this resulted in some very stimulating conversations. There were also representatives from the Prince’s charities, and, significantly, a group of MBA students who are studying at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, each of whom had written a case study on a business and how Harmony principles were being implemented within that company. The meeting was chaired by Professor David Cadman who, along with Richard Dunne, Nick Campion and Bonnie Welch, who were also in attendance, constituted a significant proportion of the Harmony Project’s principle contributors. I was one of four people in attendance in the capacity of a practitioner; businesspeople who are actually incorporating Harmony principles in their business.
The main objective of the meeting was to help develop a workbook that would be used for an MBA course run by the Harmony Institute and Business School at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Much of the discussion focussed on the core principles, and their application in a business context. It really was a privilege to be among a group of very intelligent people and to listen to some of the insights that came forward. It was good to hear about the principles from leading thinkers in this field, including discussions about how business systems could be viewed as living systems, or ‘ecosystems’; a notion which absolutely aligns with the ‘Local Food Ecosystem’ concept which underpins our own Food Hub project.
A lot of comparisons and similarities were made with the ‘Circular Economy’ concept. There is certainly a lot of commonality here, such as regenerative systems and integrating sustainability. However, it was noted that the underlying essence of Harmony shouldn’t be overlooked by comparing it to other forms of social enterprise. Harmony goes much deeper than this and should be thought of as a fundamental shift in the very ethos of business. One theme of the meeting was that this kind of approach to business needs to become mainstream and not simply a niche ‘alternative’ as is currently the case.
The meeting also served as the convening of what is hoped to become a community of leaders in the field of Harmony in business and economy. To have been identified as such, and be asked to contribute in this capacity, is a huge honour for me. The ideology of Harmony resonates with the whole concept of the Food Hub and the Local Food Ecosystem. Indeed, I’d go as far as to say that the Food Hub business model has been designed as a ‘Harmony’ business from the ground up.
To find out more about the Harmony Project, see: https://www.theharmonyproject.org.uk
At the beginning of May the Harmony Project will be holding a Harmony in Education conference. Find out more here: https://www.theharmonyproject.org.uk/harmony-in-education-conference/