Inspiration from 10,000-Year Institutions

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To cap this fantastic week of learning with our leaders from the Fellowship for Family-run and Founder-led Businesses, we invited Alexander Rose, Executive Director of the Long Now Foundation to speak. The Long Now Foundation fosters long-term thinking - specifically in 10,000-year horizons. 

For this conversation, Alexander focused on what long-lived institutions have in common, and what lessons we can learn from other systems, such as cities and nature. A sampling of interesting points:

  • Many long-lived organizations have regular infusions of new people, such as universities with new students every year

  • There are lessons to be learned from Japanese Shinto tradition, such as the practice of tearing down and rebuilding at regular intervals to ensure renewal

  • From nature, there is research that trees do better in harsher environments: when entrepreneurs go through tough times, there is hope

His inspiring talk begs the question, what changes do you need to make in your organization to ensure its longevity? This definitely gives us some food for thought as we ponder what the future of organizations, and the world as a whole, could look like in 10,000 years.

Marietta Bryant