My list of books touches lens of innovation, sustainable development, and community-building. I have always believed that transformation and being open to seeing in new ways is essential, and this starts from within; so I am drawn to books that explore the human side of innovation, an essential at this time of turmoil, crisis, and a loss of solid ground. Resilience and regeneration are fundamental ingredients if we are to be successful.
John Ehrenfeld, a renowned MIT professor, has defined sustainability in a way that has always rung true for me as, “the possibility that human and other life will flourish on the planet forever”. As Ehrenfield explains,
“Flourishing, like many other desirable qualities, is an emergent property. It has no thing-like character. It’s like health, or liberty, or freedom: It appears only when the whole system is functioning properly. And just like you can’t produce a Rembrandt from a paint-by-numbers kit, you can’t build a machine to produce flourishing, and you can’t measure it.”*
I am an engineer, and I have a deep respect for the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), and in good scientific method advancing quality of life and sustainability. However, without the social and creative side of humanity, indeed our very nature, we cannot hope to flourish. I hope you enjoy this eclectic mix of books!
*From a 2009 interview with featured in MIT Sloan Management Review
Brenda Kenny has extensive experience in energy and environment regulation, innovation, policy, and sustainability. She has held a variety of executive roles in both government and industry, including eight years as CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association. She has served on federal and provincial Ministerial Expert Panels addressing major challenges in regulation, Indigenous rights and energy, and on a range of boards governing post-secondary, clean tech, and not-for-profit enterprises. Kenny currently serves as Board Chair of Alberta Innovates and is a board member with Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), and the Canada West Foundation. She is active in community leadership through various organizations, notably International Women’s Forum and Calgary on Purpose.