The need for a green swan revolution

Ron Immink
13 min readJul 13, 2021

We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it. John Elkington needs very little introduction. The man behind the triple bottom line. The first-ever management concept that had a “product recall”. “Green Swans: The Coming Boom In Regenerative Capitalism” is a book about exponential effects and how they will hopefully help us tackle climate change or the opposite.

Black swans

The title is inspired by Nassim Tales “The Black Swan”. Black Swans are dramatic events that are outliers — beyond the realm of normal expectations — have a major impact and yet are often “inappropriately rationalised after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.”

Grey swans

Elkington added Geen Swans, and apparently, there are also “Grey Swans,” which are predictable and may have been predicted, but which, when ignored for too long, erupt in ways that can rock the world on its heels. Climate change is a grey swan. The levels of climate-induced societal collapse that are likely to follow our crossing of the two degrees of warming threshold will likely be black swans.

Ugly duckling

An Ugly Duckling is an early-stage concept, mindset, technology, or venture with the potential to become either a Black Swan (often driven by “bad” exponentials) or Green Swan (driven by “good” exponentials).

Green swans

Green Swans are systemic solutions to global challenges, solutions that tap into positive exponentials. A profound market shift, generally catalysed by some combination of Black or Gray Swan challenges and changing paradigms, values, mindsets, politics, policies, technologies, business models, and other key factors. A Green Swan delivers exponential progress in the form of economic, social, and environmental wealth creation. In the sense of out-of-the-ordinary forms of progress, Green Swans are extraordinary in the sense of progress, driven and shaped by positive exponentials. Think of next-generation concepts like carbon productivity, the sharing economy, the circular economy, and biomimicry.

Green breakthroughs

Green Swan breakthroughs have included the rapid spread of cell phone technology and the…

Ron Immink

Father of two, strategy and innovation specialist, entreprenerd, author, speaker, business book geek, perception pionieer. See