5 Usual approaches to sustainable development are inadequate. This is because they aim at our becoming more sustainable whilst continuing with the development approaches which led to unsustainability. Achieving sustainability will require us to change existing development approaches, to set goals commensurate with the challenges and measure progress comprehensively.

6 Sustainability is everyone's business because how each of us behaves affects our physical, social and cultural environment. Achieving sustainability will require each of us to think, plan, organise and act on the understanding that we are an integral part of our complex living world so wide spread education and training will be required.

7 An integrative mindset and approach to planning and development is needed. This is because wide spread transformative changes will be required to address the nature, scale and urgency of the challenges while improving in a sustainable way the lives which poorer people have now. Existing unintegrative mindsets and organisational “silos” prevent transformation, hinder improvement and impede innovation and change.


  “Chapter 8 of Agenda 21 calls on countries to improve or restructure the decision-making process so that consideration of socio-economic and environmental issues is fully integrated and a broader range of public participation assured.”  United Nations Division for Sustainable Development.

8 In effect, this section redefines “sustainable development” as “Integrative Improvement”, which is development as if people and their physical, social and cultural environments mattered. It discusses how we now think, organise and govern ourselves and outlines a unique science-based approach called Integrative Improvement (II) which addresses directly the fundamental issues of individual and organisational integrity and how human beings relate to their environment. Among other things, Integrative Improvement is a process for integrating the what is and what ought which comes from critical thinking into what you have and what you want. Negotiating the difference between what you have and what you want is, of course, what solving problems is all about so it is at the heart of the Integrative Improvement process for solving the problem of how to achieve sustainable development.

9  To begin, we explain the core principles and processes of Integrative Improvement (II) incomparison with current development approaches and describe its key tools of Integrative Thinking and Integrative Governance. 

Core Principles of Integrative Improvement (II)

10 These are:-

a) II is a “development from below” approach involving everybody. Other development approaches tend to be imposed from the top down and address particular activities or groups.

b) II emphasises dynamic connections, relationships and interactions because it is based on the current scientific understanding of our world as tending to be self-organising with human beings whose minds are naturally integrative. Other approaches tend to accept an earlier view that we live in a world of parts which can and must be managed into a stable state or moved from one stable state to another by top-down managers trained to think unintegratively rather than integratively.