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Radical Transparency

Is this the new buzz phrase and what does it mean?

Well when you look up the meanings in the dictionary, the explanations are simple:

"Radical: going to the root of the origin, representing extreme views, favouring drastic reforms, change from accepted or traditional forms"

"Transparency: translucent, made visible by light"

How does this elate to business?

When you go to Google it tells you that:

Radical Transparency is a phrase used across fields of governance, politics, software design and business to describe actions and approaches that radically increase the openness of organisational process and data”.

Daniel Coleman puts it very well in his book 'Ecological Intelligence':

“Radical transparency will introduce an openness about the consequences of the things we make, sell, buy, and discard that goes beyond the current comfort zones of most businesses. It will reshape the marketing environment to ensure a better reception of the enormous variety of greener, cleaner technologies and products now in the pipeline-creating a far greater incentive for us all to make the switch to them”.

We are seeing this happening in many fields like electric cars, reused oil is being recycled to create other products, glass is recycled and used instead of precious natural resource.

Products that are not made with transparency will start to become challenged, for instance a “Made in New Zealand” product will have to prove its source and integrity.

I observed this recently with an international clothing brand where their retail pricing was challenged. They went to great lengths to show where the fabric originated, how it was made, the process of production of the garment and how they paid the manufacturers equitable wages, the supply chain to get from production to the retail store. Once this was shown, the end user had a much better understanding of why the retail pricing was what it was.

This will become more and more the norm, as we as consumers become more aware of the resource used to create a product and our consumption needs of that product.