The Doughnut as child's play

Embracing the playfulness of the Doughnut to tell a powerful story

When I first introduced the Doughnut to my colleagues in the Brecon Beacons National Park, my instincts were to shy away from the name.  I considered myself to be a (serious) Policy Planner, writing (serious) Policy that dealt with the (serious) issues facing the people and environment of the Brecon Beacons.  I thought the name 'Doughnut' was too trivial to have a place in a legitimate policy narrative.  Instead, I transformed the Doughnut into a grey graph with carefully labelled X and Y Axis and all the big (buzz) words of the academy.  Where the model was brilliant in its clarity and simplicity, I added complexity almost reflexively at the fear that I would be called out for frivolity in the face of ecological and social breakdown.

The grey graph, unsurprisingly, flopped.  

But luckily for me, there are those far braver than I.  Those with a platform and a voice, unafraid to allow the simple, the unconventional and the playful into their policy discourses.  The example which began for me with the far flung metropolis of Amsterdam then came closer to home with Natural Resources Wales State of Natural Resources Report, Oxfam Cymru 'Welsh Doughnut'  and Cornwall's Decision Wheel.  Innovative thinkers designing policy and practice with the Doughnut unashamedly at it's heart.  Such pioneers are vital to those like me in small local government backwaters who fear that they may be laughed at by the suggestion that we 'do the doughnut'.

From the grey graph I and the Authority have come such a long way.  We now proudly identify as a Doughnut organisation and use the Doughnut to create a series of 25 year policy goals, against which we measure our performance.  The aim is to ensure the people of the National Park a thriving future through the sustainable management of natural resources.  To celebrate this journey we have produced this short video (links below) in glorious technicolour, explaining why the Doughnut is so important to us and how our communities can get involved.  I hope the message of this story is that If you ever find yourself colonised by the grey graph, please please, let the colour in.

I hope you enjoy 

The Park Doughnut as Childs Play (English)


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Donyt y Park (Cymraeg)


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    günther fischer

    Dietramszell, Bayern, Deutschland

    Lets start doughnut connections! Positive Beispiele für funktionierende Kreisläufe zeigen. Chancen der Krise nutzen.

    Désiré Leijs

    Abcoude, Utrecht, The Netherlands

    I'm very interested in helping communities, organizations and companies alligning their work more according to Doughnut principles

    1 comment
    Rieta Aliredjo 9 months ago

    I love this story! Thanks for sharing Helen. Completely agree. I stay a way from the model at the beginning. It's all about feeling the metaphor at the start. Please share your updates on your doughnut journey. Best, Rieta

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