The B Team
The B Team is a movement of business leaders driving a better way of doing business, for the wellbeing of people and the planet. Prior to launching, Rebecca Mills was the first person dedicated full time on the start up, with Founders Sir Richard Branson, Jochen Zeitz and the Global Advisory Board she helped bring together.
Working with fellow advisors (with particular thanks to John Fullerton, John Elkington, Jules Peck and Heerad Sabeti) she framed both initial discussions and systems perspectives that defined the interventions which became 'the challenges' and ‘Plan B Agenda’ for the B Team. Rebecca engaged with some of the best thinkers in the 'impact' space in a series of workshops to refine the approach prior to launch.
These focus areas were refined with Dr Holly Dublin and are now communicated as 10 ‘challenges’, which together create the Agenda of Plan B http://bteam.org/planb.
Homestar: Sustainable Homes
In this video Jane Henley (The World Bank Group, previously NZGBC), gives her insight into both the development of ‘Homestar’ and her personal experience of working with Rebecca Mills, The Lever Room.
New Zealand has roughly one million homes that are not sufficiently built to provide a healthy living environment which has an impact on New Zealand’s health costs and productivity. We helped lift up the business model, funding, partnership models and technical assessment criteria for Homestar – the world's first independent tool to rate homes for health and sustainability.
Impact Your Future
'Sweet Talks’ Hackathons & Innovation Series
We partnered with Gather and Hunt to create the successful 2016 'Sweet Talks' innovation challenge series. Sweet Talks produced 3 sold out public events that combined beautiful desserts by top chefs (Jordan Rondel, The Caker and Tom Hishon, Orphans Kitchen) with conversations and action orientated workshops centred around three innovation challenges on the future of: 1) Energy and Transport, 2) Food Systems and 3)Nature and Water.
Te Awaroa: Voice of the River
'Te Awaroa: Voice of the River' was a new venture to return waterways to a state of ora (full health) right across New Zealand.
In 2014, Dame Anne Salmond and Dan Hikuroa (University of Auckland) partnered with Rebecca Mills (The Lever Room) to create this initiative from the ground up. We are grateful to The Tindall and NEXT Foundations for supporting early development of this work.
'Te Awaroa' drew from the indigenous wisdom of mātauranga Māori, new technologies and a spirit of enterprise. We are due to share outcomes from this venture in Q1 of 2019.
Currently based in LA, Cameron Jones is a New Zealand-born, award-winning actor. As Cameron's profile increased so did his desire to use his voice for positive impact. We worked with Cameron to help him refine his focus to areas where he could make meaningful difference, based on his current lifestyle.
New Frontiers is a three-day event that brings together creative entrepreneurial leaders and investors from New Zealand and around the world, to share, explore and co-create integrated solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Working with Matthew and Brian Monahan, and Yoseph Aylele, Rebecca Mills helped curate speakers, content and the innovation ecosystem to support and scale this event.
Supply Chain Innovation: Wild Caught Fisheries
WWF seeks to build a future where people live in harmony with nature. We were engaged to investigate the innovation opportunities within the wild caught fisheries supply chain on behalf of WWF NZ.
We identified a number high leverage areas, suitable for partnership, based on an evidence-based assessment of issues and opportunities.
Holistic Impact through Corporate Sustainability
We developed a Holistic Impact Framework and associated corporate sustainability strategy for Waikato Regional Council's 400+ staff, buildings and infrastructure. As part of this initiative we developed an innovative programme for listening to what employees valued and were concerned about. Outcomes for this work were engaged passionate staff and a clear, prioritised plan for buildings, infrastructure and operations.
Ngati Whatua Orakei: Holistic Impact Framework and Investment Principles
Ngāti Whātua are an indigenous people of New Zealand. We helped develop a 'Kaitiakitanga Framework' for the Iwi including its legal entities (Commercial as well as Trust arms), whanau and individuals.
As part of this partnership Rebecca Mills helped develop a 'Unifying Vision', and associated Investment Principles to support entities that hold and grow Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei tribal assets, wealth and well-being.
Prior to their launch in 2016, we worked over a number of months with Ed and Laura Verner of the now award winning Pasture restaurant so they could explore areas of impact for their staff, company and wider community. Success to Pasture today is 'running an ethical, sustainable business where people love to eat, and our staff are proud to work'. In April 2019, Pasture was awarded the NZ Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year, with judges specifically noting innovations in nose-to-tail eating, fermentation and sustainability.
Fonterra (in partnership with WWF)
In 2016 we were engaged to investigate high leverage partnership approaches between Fonterra (the world’s largest processor and responsible for approximately 30% of the world's dairy exports) and WWF.
Our engagement resulted in collaborations across identified regenerative farming and sustainable consumption themes across five geographies.
Thought-Wired: Investment Approach, Pathways to Scale
Thought-Wired is a high-tech social enterprise startup building nous™: thought-controlled software for people who cannot move or talk because of severe physical disabilities.
We’ve been working with Thought-Wired in the latter half of 2018 to refine their:
Business and Impact Model
Investment strategy including strategies to scale
Business Model Innovation: Disruptive, Sustainable, Business Models
Observing that there are few examples of business models that deliver for people, planet and profit, we joined AUT University and The B Team to build the world's first library for the Future of Business.
Rebecca Mills demonstrated, then narrated, 40 new business models across 10 categories, effectively creating a new language for the future of business. This work has been welcomed by a global advisory panel. Over 400 real life practical case studies have now been added as examples of each new model.
Nick Von K
Nick Von K approached us to clarify areas where he could have positive impact in his home and business 'Nick Von K'. Our work revealed areas where Nick was already making significant impact in the lives of others. Through a workshop session we also uncovered areas which could generate financial returns for his company brand, while having positive environmental benefits.
Sector Transformation: Waikato Energy Strategy
New Zealand's first Regional Energy Strategy was launched in parliament in 2009.
We were engaged to facilitate a collective impact approach to implement the initiative, bringing together corporates, community, energy generators and providers into one room.
Our work enabled a comprehensive picture (across multiple scales) of the way energy flows within the region. We then helped facilitate community opportunities to both use energy more efficiently and to get more of our energy from renewable sources.
Panuku Developments 'Eco Precinct'
We were engaged by Panuku (formerly Waterfront Auckland) to scope the opportunities and approach around the development of an ‘eco precinct’ to harness world leading sustainable development approaches providing a unique value proposition to attract overseas investment. Throughout this engagement Rebecca Mills worked with the Governance Board to scope both future financial return and co-benefits of integrating regenerative approaches to the development, energy and infrastructure.
Low Carbon Auckland Implementation: Collective Impact and Governance Options
We were engaged by Auckland Council to create the governance vehicle to practically implement a 'Low Carbon Auckland'. To transform Auckland into a low carbon city we firstly worked with them to heavily prioritise actions to provide greatest impact at lowest cost.
We produced a multi-stakeholder collective impact governance approach around these highly leveraged actions and themes. The implementation pathway we helped design was launched in 2014, was cost neutral for the Council and harnessed previously untapped entrepreneurial thinking.
Global Impact Visa + Edmund Hillary Fellowship: New Immigration Product
The Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) brings together visionary entrepreneurs, investors, and change-makers to build solutions to global problems from Aotearoa New Zealand.
Prior to the launch, Rebecca Mills canvassed the opportunity of the 'Global Impact Visa' (GIVs). GIVs provides up to 400 entrepreneurs and investors to create and support innovation-based ventures from New Zealand. Rebecca harnessed the support of key influencers and practitioners across the impact, entrepreneurial and investment ecosystems. This engagement resulted in a clear value proposition, which enabled multiple stakeholders (including Immigration NZ) to join forces to help usher the initiative forward. EHF was selected as a finalised for Fast Company World Changing Ideas Awards.
"Rebecca has a wealth of valuable experiences across the New Zealand social enterprise and environmental movements, making her a great resource for new connections and ideas. Her work reflects a systemic and research-driven approach, in service to a better world." - Matthew Monahan, Edmund Hillary Fellowship.
Movement Building: Interactive Technology Public Installation
We built the public installation 'Join the Dots' from scratch using IR technology as an invitation for people uncover the relationships between themselves, their companies and cities with issues of equality and poverty, water, energy and climate change.
The installation was built by Joanna Alpe and Rebecca Mills in response to the question 'What can I do to create a better world?'
Join the Dots was invited to be part of the Saatchi and Saatchi 'Make Something' exhibition.
Annabel Langbein, 'The Free Range Cook', contacted us when she wanted to explore business opportunities with outcomes for people, planet as well as profit.
We identified a number of potential partnerships and business model innovation opportunities during a series of collaborative workshop sessions with her team.
We were engaged as lead advisor to develop sustainable procurement criteria, guidance, assessment methods and processes for Waikato Regional Council. Annual procurement expenditure > NZD$100m.
Transforming the Health System by scaling Innovation and Entrepreneurship
In 2017, the Institute for Innovation and Improvement at Waitemata DHB engaged us to explore the value proposition and business model to transform the health system via a new accelerator and incubator programme.
We undertook the work in two phases, the first being a review of existing innovation processes where we delivered a series of recommendations which have now been implemented. The second being to determine a cost neutral business model for a public facing incubator programme. Through our work, as well as determining the business model and appropriate programmes we engaged a number of strategic partners and advisors to scale the programme.
Living in 2025: Future Opportunities for NZ Housing Stock
We were engaged by the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) to both review the state of existing housing stock, make recommendations of how to shift towards sustainable living solutions and to comment on future scenarios to 2025.
NZ Post Group
New Zealand Post Group consists of a range of businesses (including KiwiBank and CourierPost brands) providing communication and business solutions. In 2014, we were engaged to apply a deep strategic sustainability lens for business benefit. To ensure maximum business benefit we suggested 2 phases to the collaboration:
Phase 1: Building a ‘fit for purpose’ materiality assessment. This work defined areas of high leverage and built on the comprehensive sustainability strategy work already undertaken.
Phase 2: Capturing the opportunities for disruptive breakthrough innovation and full transformation across the group.
NZ Post won the 2017 supreme Sustainable Business Network award for its work in this space.
A Circular Economy: A Resource Efficient Region
Waikato Regional Council partnered with industry and stakeholders to move towards a circular economy, producing the countries first resource efficiency strategy 2012-2015. We worked closely with Marianna Tyler to produce the strategy and strategic partnership approach.
Hawkes Bay Region: Future Scenarios
We were commissioned to produce a report on the future environmental trends and drivers for the Hawkes Bay Region of New Zealand. Our report and related future scenario workshops were key elements which informed their strategic plan and direction to 2050.
A large scale clean-tech (Biofuel) Business Case
We created a business case to dramatically reduce landfill use by using clean-tech to process waste and other widely available carbonaceous feedstocks (waste biomass) into high-value end products such as biofuels and other biochemicals. On behalf of an industry consortium we assessed plant options and ability to harness investor capital,creating financial returns, while kick-starting new industry in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand.
Purposeful Young People: Global Shapers Auckland Hub
For her role in supporting the work of purposeful young people, Rebecca Mills became the first person in New Zealand to be nominated as a 'Global Shaper' by the World Economic Forum. Once selected, she went on to curate future 'shapers' and build New Zealand's first hub, in Auckland. The Lever Room now continues to support its good work and shares learnings on maximising impact with young people in the newly formed Christchurch hub too.
National Scale Innovation: New Zealand's Position in the Green Race
The 'New Zealand's Position in the Greenrace' report overviews the evidence base for green growth to be an economic pathway to create sustainable wealth. The report was published by Pure Advantage in 2012. Together with Justine Sefton, Rebecca Mills of The Lever Room outlined the case for improved economic performance, better paying jobs, the protection of our environment, and improved health outcomes for New Zealand within the report.
A Circular Coffee Industry: Supply Chain Innovation
Espresso Corp delivers innovative products to solve challenges in the global coffee industry. We were engaged by them to review social and environmental risks and opportunities within the supply chain of coffee. After reviewing supply chains we identified new disruptive business opportunities, which ultimately gave Espresso Corp the certainty they needed on what opportunities to pursue.
Jacobsen Holdings Group
Jacobsen Holdings is an entrepreneurial holding company, established to manage and grow the business interests of the Jacobsen family.
The Group provides vision, leadership and support to subsidiary investments, driving group growth by identifying, evaluating and investing in dynamic commercial opportunities.
In 2018 we were engaged to identify specific opportunities through a lens of impact across all key business units. After a number of collaborative workshop sessions we prepared a ‘Holistic Impact Framework’ and governance approach which enabled to Group to target and measure areas of maximum impact. We additionally uncovered a number of specific business opportunities, which had commercial outcomes as well as outcomes for communities and the environment.