April 1, 2011
As the words “green” and “sustainability” become part of business vernacular, it shouldn’t be a surprise that hundreds, if not thousands, of conferences have emerged to discuss these topics. The conference we never miss is Fortune Brainstorm GREEN, held this year in Laguna Nigel, California, April 4-6.
Fortune, together with its program partners, The Nature Conservancy, NRDC, and the Environmental Defense Fund, gathers, as it describes, “the smartest people we know” in sustainability from business, government, and NGOs.
Since 2009, Herman Miller has been a major sponsor of this dynamic event. We enjoy contributing to it, but we feel that we gain even more through the rich conversations and relationships we build there.
We’ll be live tweeting from the conference, so follow us @hermanmiller for real-time updates. Or you can also follow @brainstormgreen or search for hashtag #FortuneGreen to get an inside look into all of the discussions happening during the conference.
And, though it’s too late to join the conference in person, you can virtually participate in some of the sessions via video stream.
March 11, 2011
After making the list for 23 out of 25 years, Herman Miller again is one of FORTUNE magazine’s “Most Admired” companies for 2011. Herman Miller was ranked #2 in an expanded “Home Equipment, Furnishings” category and was the only office furniture manufacturer to make the list. The company was also ranked first in five of the nine attributes—innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, and quality of products and services.
Before you move on to read something else, consider that this has been a year of winnowing. Now, hard upon the recent economic turmoil, some companies are well-positioned to move forward; others remain on shaky ground; and yet others have disappeared completely. According to FORTUNE magazine, this year’s list contains more new names than ever before—and fewer of the old standards. FORTUNE calls it, “a new competitive order…that will probably last years.” Companies that made the list this year “through good times and bad…dared to differ from how most competitors were behaving.”
If “daring to differ” is a differentiator, it comes as no surprise that Herman Miller continues to rank high on the “Most Admired” companies list. Setting trends, creating markets, and not following the herd is in Herman Miller’s corporate DNA. This recognition reaffirms that if the vision is broad enough, the roots deep enough, and the moral ground solid enough, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world does. In this case, the rest of the world recognized a leader—yet again.
Better World, Design
July 12, 2010
Most people going to South Africa in late June went for the World Cup, but not all of them. My reason for going was to take part in the FORTUNE Global Forum. It was an international gathering of business, government, and NGO leaders. Most attendees came from China and North America and, of course, the African continent.
The China representation wasn’t surprising, since that country is one of the biggest investors in Africa. The continent’s natural resources are one reason. Here’s another: the rate of return on foreign investment, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report, “higher in Africa than in any other developing region.”
Even with the problems African nations face, their economies are developing fast, almost as fast as the BRIC nations. To keep development going requires innovative thinking. I was privileged to be part of a panel discussion on “Innovation by Design.” We discussed how design can make products, buildings, and even villages better. I shared my thoughts, as did architects Frank Gehry, Rodney Harber, and Luyanda Mpahlwa.
And speaking of innovation, we were able to feature Herman Miller’s latest innovation, the Embody chair; 400 of them filled the main conference room, along with our classics and Setu chairs in the lobby, thanks to the efforts of our local dealer, AllOffice. All in all, it was a great experience, although I didn’t get a chance to buy a vuvuzela.
Photo via David Rogers/Getty Images
Better World, What's Up
April 12, 2010
Until recently, the words “fortune” and “green” might have only conjured up images of the color of currency. And certainly they seemed like words from different parts of the thought spectrum. But my, how things have changed.
Now those words are part of the regular vernacular—from cutting-edge entrepreneurs to leaders of Fortune 500 companies to environmental organizers. Businesses now believe that being “green” isn’t just the nice thing to do; it’s the smarter thing to do, creating more economic and social value. It’s the approach Herman Miller has practiced for years.
This week, Herman Miller will be an active participant in the “green” dialogue at the Fortune Brainstorm: Green conference, held April 12-14 in Laguna Niguel, California. Representatives from Herman Miller will join leading thinkers from different industries and sectors for the second annual event. As the title alludes, this will truly be a brainstorm—a working conference where ideas will be shared, sparks will fly, and perhaps participants will blaze a trail in some new and exciting direction.
As a leading advocate for sustainable design and solutions, Herman Miller is proud to sponsor this meeting of minds. And since it’s in on the beach in California, I’m really excited to be attending. Watch for my updates on @HermanMiller, hashtag #betterworld.
Herman Miller Journal, What's Up
March 31, 2010
In 2008, only six companies in the U.S. (Microsoft, Cisco, Apple, Google, Whole Foods, and Herman Miller) made three top lists: FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and Most Admired Companies, and FastCompany’s Most Innovative Companies. In 2010, four of those six made all three lists again—Microsoft, Cisco, Google, and us. Why are we telling you about it?
For many reasons, but mainly because we think it means good things for our customers. When you work with a company—and its people noted for pioneering new approaches and advocating for a better way—the chances you’ll benefit go way up.
In any case, we’re proud to be the only company in our industry on any of these lists, and we’re humbled by the organizations we appear with.
The reality behind these rankings—at least in the case of the FORTUNE lists—comes from employee surveys. Making these lists is a sign of the health for our business and our communities. It also says something good about the relationship between our leadership and our employees. We know our customers ultimately benefit.
In the case of the FastCompany award, we were further distinguished as an “Innovation All-Star,” the only Michigan-based company on the list. We guess our selection has something to do with our award-winning Herman Miller Performance System.
We do a lot of talking around here about working for a better world around you. By “you” we mean our community of customers, employees, shareholders, and contributors of all sorts. Whatever else these awards mean, others are recognizing us for doing what we say.
Herman Miller Journal, What's Up
February 2, 2010
FORTUNE magazine recently published its 13th annual listing of “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Several recognizable brands made the list, including SAS, Whole Foods Market, Google, FedEx, and Herman Miller. These brands represent a variety of industries, so what do they all have in common?
According to FORTUNE and the Great Place to Work® Institute, a global research and consulting firm, the listings are a result of a survey that solicits information from organizations and their employees about credibility of management, job satisfaction, camaraderie, recruiting, and employee services.
But this year’s list also considers the ways companies are helping their employees weather the recession. Although this past year wasn’t an easy one for Herman Miller, we reinforced our commitment to our employees by developing supportive programs and initiatives. These programs and initiatives are highlighted in three categories–Balancing, Including, and Celebrating–included on the Great Place to Work Institute Culture Audit©, which is used in part to establish the overall FORTUNE rankings.