The Power Of Storytelling To Fight The Climate Crisis

The Power Of Storytelling To Fight The Climate Crisis

John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins

1/16/2022 1:45:00 PM

The Power Of Storytelling To Fight The Climate Crisis

Influential venture capitalist, John Doerr , says great leaders inspire action by reaching the head and the heart.

Speed & Scale contains dozens of infographics and detailed charts to show the magnitude of the crisis, most of the book is devoted to climate warriors, entrepreneurs, and trailblazers whose stories illustrate what’s possible.  “What people remember—from the time we were hunter-gatherers—is storytelling,” Doerr told me. “Having an arc to a story, an identifiable antagonist and protagonist, are time-honored techniques that we’ve used throughout the book to create memorable, inspiring archetypes and role models.”

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The Power Of Storytelling To Fight The Climate CrisisInfluential venture capitalist, John Doerr , says great leaders inspire action by reaching the head and the heart. 😳

The Power Of Storytelling To Fight The Climate CrisisInfluential venture capitalist, John Doerr , says great leaders inspire action by reaching the head and the heart.

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Although  Speed & Scale  contains dozens of infographics and detailed charts to show the magnitude of the crisis, most of the book is devoted to climate warriors, entrepreneurs, and trailblazers whose stories illustrate what’s possible.   “What people remember—from the time we were hunter-gatherers—is storytelling,” Doerr told me. “Having an arc to a story, an identifiable antagonist and protagonist, are time-honored techniques that we’ve used throughout the book to create memorable, inspiring archetypes and role models.” Offshore Wind Revolution Henrik Poulsen contributed one of those stories. Poulsen was a former leader at the famed Dutch innovator, LEGO. When Poulsen became the CEO of Orsted, a state-owned utility company based on oil and gas, he found a company in financial collapse. Poulsen’s vision turned a financial crisis into a new green opportunity.  As an outsider to the energy sector, Poulsen brought a fresh perspective. Although the offshore wind market hardly existed at the time, Poulson saw an opportunity to leverage its experience in offshore drilling and apply its resources to wind power. Within four years, Orsted had reduced the cost of offshore wind by 60%, far beyond what Poulsen and his team had initially imagined. “When we mobilized the whole industry and the whole supply chain behind our mission, it was really powerful,” Poulsen says.  Stories like Orsted also prove that renewable energy can be profitable. Orsted went public in 2016 at a market value of $15 billion. It’s worth $50 billion today. “For any fossil fuel company looking to escape its past, Orsted is a role model par excellence,” says Doerr.  Reinventing the Burger Ethan Brown provides yet another story. Doerr says Brown made a powerful impression when he walked into Kleiner Perkins to pitch his idea for a meatless burger. “I was blown away by his vision for a plant-based burger that could compete on taste with the real thing,” Doerr recalls.  Brown, who stands six-foot-six, joked that he ate more meat than most people growing up on a cattle farm. While Brown was contemplating a career path in his early twenties, his father asked, “What’s the most important problem in the world?”  “I thought it must be climate change,” Brown said. “If the climate collapsed, nothing else mattered.” Brown narrowed his focus to clean energy. His interest in animals (Brown almost became a veterinarian), agriculture, and climate merged into what would become his company, Beyond Meat.   According to Doerr, “Brown was committed to giving people what they love—the experience of grilling and tasting meat—but with peas and lentils and seed oils subbing for animals.” Kleiner Perkins became the first big investor in the fledgling company. Beyond Meat went public in May 2019. Today its products are available at 118,000 distribution points in 80 countries.  John Doerr's new book, Speed & Scale, presents an action plan to solve the climate crisis. Gallo Communications Citing Beyond Meat and other companies, Doerr wants to prove that cleantech is a good investment. Since 2006, Kleiner Perkins has invested a total of $1 billion in sixty-six cleantech ventures. The value of its investments has tripled to $3.2 billion.  Doerr says that ‘fight or fight’ is a healthy biological response to any kind of threat. But when it comes to the threat of climate change, “Fight is not an option; we cannot outrun global warming. We’re going to have to fight this one out, with every weapon we can muster.” Storytelling is an ancient rhetorical weapon that leaders have used to persuade and inspire for centuries. Stories educate, engage, and give people hope that they, too, can play the role of hero. Stories spark action, the kind of action that Doerr says we need now. “We’ll need to get more people in motion and more technologies deployed and more new ones invented than at any time in human history,” Doerr says.  Leadership is moving people to action, says Doerr. “Ideas are easy. Execution is hard. It takes a team to win, and people are inspired by leaders.” Great leaders are great storytellers. They show people the path forward and use the power of story to inspire others to greatness. Follow me on