How to inspire? The Ducky story

Once upon a time, somewhere in India, there was a mother who had a problem with her child eating too much sweets. It didn’t look to serious in the beginning, but after some time, her child started to have problems with teeth and this addiction for sugar became unbearable. One day, an old wise man came to the mother’s village to help everyone he could with his experience and wisdom. The mother came to see him and brought her child along, explaining the problem she had. The old wise man listened to her very carefully, but in the end, he said: “Sorry, I can’t help you with this one. Your child is eating too much sugar and there is nothing I can do. But, why don’t you ask me again for advice in 4 months from now?” The mother was confused, but she didn’t have much choice, so she agreed.

Time went by, the child kept on eating sweets every day, the mother was devastated and finally, the old wise man came back to the village. The mother asked him for help and he immediately approached the child saying: “Don’t eat sweets. Don’t eat sugar. This is not good for you.” The child looked into the clear, honest eyes of the old wise man and instantly obeyed. The mother, seeing all this, said: “Hey! I don’t understand! You only told my child not to eat sweets! You could have done it 4 months ago! Why haven’t you done it earlier?”

The old wise man called Ghandi replied: “Indeed, I could have told him to stop eating sweets 4 months ago, but you see, I was eating sweets until 4 months ago.”

There is something powerful in this well-known story that could explain motivation for nearly everything Ducky as a company does. Because, you see, nobody is perfect. Not even Ghandi was. Still, everyone wants to be good, and to do good. Because we know how we feel when we do something right. And we all want to maintain this feeling. Maybe we can’t be perfect, but we certainly can be better, and thereby make this world a better place.   

So, is Ducky making this world a better place? No. Will Ducky solve the climate and environmental challenges today? Not a chance. We are merely an online environment for peers to meet and inspire each other. It’s the people we believe in. The people that want to live sustainably without feeling this heavy burden of sacrifice. The people who wish to influence and be influenced. And knowing that (to paraphrase our wise man again), If you really are the change you want to see in the world, the world will follow.

For us to succeed, we had to change our perspective. To shift things around. Not only to ask how much we pollute, but how much we can save. Not only to rely on our politicians, scientists and even technology, but to start believing in ourselves as a part of solution.  Another important aspect is time. Because we want to act now, and see a direct and instant effect of our actions. Finally, we want to be acknowledged for what we do, which is probably one of the key reasons for any social environmentalist to exist, no matter if it is on or offline.

So, did we succeed? We have built one of the best climate footprint calculators that exists and backed it up with solutions to boost sustainable lifestyles of our users. They can join different challenges, compete in teams and invite others to achieve the climate goals that are actually reachable, not in 20 years, but rather in 20 days! Sounds like a good pitch, doesn’t it? Still, the real success of Ducky is not coming from this. We have, just like Gandhi did in the story at the very beginning of this text, been asking ourselves: Who are we? Or even more concrete: Why are we?  

Our purpose to help people reach sustainability serves as the CEO, leading decision making and development on a day-to-day basis. Ducky is a flat structured organization, following principles described in the book “Reinventing Organization” by Frederic Laloux. Ducky employees are envisioned as social entrepreneurs with no official hierarchy among us. We have managed to maintain our business model coming up from 4 to 13 employees in less than 3 years. And this is only the beginning of our journey.