WE'RE PRE-LAUNCH... This is an open collaborative build! .. Would you like to help us develop content/campaigns, or be notified as we launch? .. read more...

Will YOU take the 5Ps Challenge??


Is it really enough to be ‘Sustainable’?

What does ‘sustainability’ mean to you?

If your first answer is managing our resources sufficiently to maintain the status quo and avoid a great environmental catastrophe, then may I suggest you’ve been nudged into thinking small.
… and that that kind of approach probably won’t avoid impending doom.
Not that I’m a fan of “the sky is falling” as a motivating factor, but I’m sure you can join me in thinking of a few reasons why humanity needs to shift a gear in addressing some of it’s challenges.

Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” (yes, I’m going there) have echoed through time because they were filled with inspiration, they shook, and still shake the spirit, energising us to connect with the power of our own dreams, and to be empowered to push through the layers of obstacles and challenges to the goal.

Does the word ‘sustainability’ inspire you the same way??

If sustaining is not evoking that kind of visionary, inspired, spirited engagement, then what will?
How about the idea of THRIVING? 

Did you know we already have sufficient knowledge and resources for every single person on this planet, and the environment and planet itself, to have the ability and opportunity to TRULY THRIVE together?? Well, we do.
That simple, huh? Actually, in order to get there, one of the first things we need to do is all REALISE we can aim for that, and educate ourselves and each other in the kind of processes and actions that will shift our behaviours and systems on masse.

Sounds lofty? Yes it is.
It’s also an incredibly practical opportunity you can take up TODAY to improve your own life, and the thrivability of your business, your family, your community… and yes, maybe even help avert an apocalypse {insert your version of impending doom here}. =)


I pledge to be Thrivable. I pledge to make a Positive Handprint.

When talking about ‘sustainability’ we often use the idea of minimising our footprints. Well, actually Mathis Wackernagel and The Global Footprint Network developed the accounting of footprints purely as a feedback mechanism to show the number of planet Earth(s) we are consuming at a given time, and given we only have one, thereby helping us adjust to work within realistic limits. Mathis has said “people see me and think I’m coming to sell them austerity”. Not what he’s really doing at all… and not a very inspiring outcome.

Perhaps it has something to do with the frame of reference. Survivalism, Sustainability, Resilience and Thrivability thinking are all quite different in their approach, and hence their outcomes. Jean Russel from the Thrivable Agency has created this great article and infographic if you’d like to explore that territory a little more.

When talking about creating ‘thrivability’, we’re much more likely to talk about actions that are generative of the kind of best-case outcomes we can envision. Instead of just minimising our footprints, we can also be making Positive Handprints (actions that generate thrivability).

In order to really make a Positive Handprint, we use the 5Ps of Thriving as a kind of checklist and inquiry process to ensure we are creating thrivable conditions for whole systems.

In a thriving system/environment/workplace/world, positive energy and good will are GENERATIVE, that means for all the good energy we put in, the system generates more good energy… In thriving systems there is a general experience of flow, trust, and increased well-being.

Despite appearances this is not strictly a utopian vision, so much as a PROtopian goal. So before we sit in a circle and break out the Kumbaya, let’s also be clear that there are VERY TANGIBLE and MEASURABLE activities that contribute to thriving systems, and the returns on many so-called ‘soft’ values like trust are increasingly being documented in terms of impacting even the most hard-line fundamental economic rationalism.

(Not that I have anything against Kumbaya, per se…;)

So if we want to reap the rewards of THRIVABILITY, what do we do?



Making a Positive Handprint with the 5Ps of Thriving is a practice, a kind of ongoing inquiry into what makes for the most thrivable actions we can take at any given point.

So what’s the practice? …

The 5Ps of Thriving, are: 

People: Stakeholder Analysis. Who are all of the stakeholders in a system or an action? What are their voices, needs, offerings, and the conditions in which they thrive? What kind of obstacles, challenges and dangers do they face? Can we balance each stakeholder’s liveability with thriving for all?

The glue here is the power of TRUST. When we trust that our needs will be met and our interests well cared for we are more giving, more engaged, and the cost of transactions is significantly reduced. The more we trust the more we are free to be creative, to innovate. Trust allows us sufficient energy to consider OTHERS needs and interests, as we’re not running all our adrenalin into risk management and looking out for the next victim or predator. We BUILD trust through transparency of Purpose, taking time to learn about and contribute to others needs and wellbeing, and adding value to the eco-system. We damage trust when we act with disregard to others needs and motivations, through ignorance or malintent, and through seeking short-term profit at the expense of our eco-system.

Mapping our eco-systems and their stakeholders, assets and respectabilities, is the first step.

Example 1: In a business there are directors, staff, shareholders, customers, producers and suppliers. There are also the families and wider communities of each of these participants, all directly and indirectly affected by the quality of this business’s interactions and processes. We can check people against the other Ps to help create thriving by asking questions like:  What is the Purpose of our organisation? What can we do that supports people to engage Passionately around our shared and individual senses of Purpose? What kind of ENVIRONMENTS (Planet) do we operate in, and can we design them to bring more play, aliveness, innovation and wellbeing into our experience? Beyond the prescribed roles we have defined in our organisation, how can we bring more aliveness and the fullness of each person’s capacity to our processes and time together?

What can I do as an individual?

Who are all the people in your immediate and extended circles of influence? Go as far as the communities of products you may purchase from overseas. Now think about the above questions (voices, needs, offerings, challenges and thriving states). While you’ll find there are more people than you could possibly go through this process for, this needn’t be an overwhelming activity! It makes a great daily meditation or journal activity. We also challenge you really ask these questions for yourself! What makes YOU thrive? Although the history of Do-Good stories (and modern-day social entrepreneurs) are plagued with archetypes of hard working martyrs, we can’t really spread thriving in the world if we don’t create it within our own lives at the same time. Be wary of buying into strictly capitalist notions of thriving and find what really brings YOU to a sense of aliveness and prosperity that gives you enough to want to share.

Suggested activities:

Practice random acts of kindness. Exercise your empathy muscles – remember that most people don’t enjoy being jerks, so what human reality lies behind surface tensions? Practice non-reactive communication. Smile at people for no reason. Pay something forward. Cultivate organisational culture that supports empathy, emotional intelligence, and the ability for stakeholders to contribute their own ideas for improving the capacity/scope/mode of their contributions. Link your own sense of Purpose with a vision of that purpose that increases the opportunities of others beyond your immediate circle.

Place: Relationship to Environment (both built & natural) What are all of the environments that are impacted by your activities? How many of these environments can you directly influence? What do these environments look like in their most THRIVING state? How can you contribute toward that?

An environment can be both a natural eco-system, and a built environment (or a combination of the 2). What do your environments offer you? What can you offer your environments? How can you maximise the benefit you can provide to the environment (handprint)?

Key focal points related to place include the ways in which we FEED & ARE FED BY place, and INFORM & ARE INFORMED BY place. Zoom in / zoom out in perspective.

Example and suggested activities: As both businesses and individuals, we can conduct ourselves in ways that not only minimise environmental footprints but also contribute thrivability. Examples include planting trees and sponsoring rainforests through giving programmes, and designing and interacting with our built environments in ways that support creativity, playfulness, innovation, aliveness, positive human interactions, community engagement.

Profit: Motivation & Reward This word has been so appropriated by the dogmas of Wall St that we’ve almost forgotten what it really means. To ‘profit’ means to derive VALUE. What are ALL the ways you can derive value (emotional, spiritual, physical, intellectual)? What are the REAL drivers and rewards for engagement in yourself, your colleagues, your loved ones, your customers, the systems in which you participate?

Predator/prey and war-like/militaristic analogies are often used in competitive systems – what other ways can profit be achieved? Can you profit without reducing the profit of others? Does your organisation measure and fully engage alternative measures of value to those purely monetary (like happiness, sense of purpose, full human engagement, work-life-balance, creative engagement and learning)?

In order to design for thriving, it’s important that we know ourselves and our systems of operation. What beliefs do we have around profit? Michel Bauwens of p2pfoundation.net says that we usually run on a paradigm of engineered scarcity & false abundance – meaning that we engineer scarcity through things like competition, limitation of ideas (trademarks and IP), planned obsolescence (from machinery to terminator seeds), yet we act as though our natural environment were a limitless resource (which of course it is NOT!) and trash our way through it with reckless abandon for short term ‘profit’. How might we be buying in to such ideas, and is it possible our own actions are being driven by such underlying belief systems? What kind of attitudes and approaches do we want to cultivate towards profit?

Purpose: Articulation of meaning & intent. Purpose drives all function, yet how often is purpose under defined or articulated, or otherwise not coherent amongst systems participants? We humans are the only creatures born with a need to discover our own purpose. Purpose is meaning, it is intention and drive, and without it we have no action and no interaction.

Simon Sinek is paid a lot of money to remind people that we don’t buy what you do, we buy WHY you do it. The organisations and leaders that get this have enthusiastic followings. Yet many organisations and individuals alike remain quite unconscious about the full nature of the purpose of their activities. If you want to throw curveball into any dinner party or schoolyard conversation, ask people what they feel is the purpose of government, business, money or society, and see where that rabbit hole takes you.

While there is much written about existential searches for meaning, let’s take a review of purpose through one lens: thriving. If the purpose of life and action was to support the thriving of all life, what would that look like? What kind of Purpose ignites your Passion, and brings YOU the greatest aliveness, and how can you incorporate that Purpose into your daily activities and work? If you are in business, what is the ESSENCE of the purpose of your work? Can that purpose be linked to a sense of ‘higher purpose‘, that brings more thriving to the world? Unlock this clarity of Purpose with Passion and you tap into a source of unbridled energy, and when that Purpose is shared in a group, friction will dissipate and obstacles more easily overcome.

Passion: That which brings to life. What brings you the greatest ALIVENESS? Passion can used to define a great many things, but we use it here in the sense of those things that unleash a sense of energy and aliveness – things like play, creativity, connection (to Purpose, People and/or nature (Planet)).

Nothing in this world operates without an energy to drive it. People working without a sense of aliveness and engagement are working with major limitations upon their contributions and productivity into the system.

The potentiality of Passion is engaged when people operate with a sense of meaningful Purpose, when they are able to name the ways in which the Profits of their endeavours match their true value systems, and when there is scope to bring the fullness of themselves as People to what they are doing, and how they are doing it. Healthy passion thrives in environments that are alive and healthy, and is bound in relationship to the eco-systems that contribute to it’s capacity for life.

Do you value Passion as an essential part of day-to-day life? What are the things that limit or quell your aliveness and desire to engage, and what magnifies them?


We want to share YOUR insights!

What can you share about the 5Ps as a practice for thriving?
Do you know any great examples of people making a Positive Handprint in this way?


You can document the outcomes of your inquiry through a regular journal or blog, and share your insights, questions and Positive Handprint activities through our Tumblr, Facebook & Twitter.

We’d also love to invite you to join our community.
In the near future we’ll be building a platform to help you to share and measure your Positive Handprints and Thriving journey. We’re pretty excited about it, and would love your input!

What’s YOUR Positive Handprint?

Members Community Hub

Register your interest

    This is a required question
    This is a required question
    This is a required question
    This is a required question
    This is a required question
    This is a required question
    This is a required question
    This is a required question
    Never submit passwords through Google Forms.
Volunteer Sign Up