Alan began professional work on sustainability in 1988, serving as executive editor of the pioneering journal In Context: A Quarterly of Humane Sustainable Culture
. In 1990, he and other colleagues co-founded the Sustainable Seattle initiative, later recognized by the United Nations as a model project in urban sustainability and indicator development. Also in 1990, Alan began to introduce the concept of "sustainability change agents" through workhops and lectures, and to develop the tools and methods that are now called the ISIS Accelerator and used world wide.
In 1992, Alan began consulting on sustainability and founded the small business that has grown into the AtKisson Group. He has led the Group since then, with two breaks to take other positions temporarily: Director of the National Indicators Program (and later Interim Executive Director) at Redefining Progress, a US economic policy think-tank; and transitional Executive Director of Earth Charter International, the coordinating hub for the global Earth Charter Initiative. In 2001, he moved to Stockholm Sweden, established the office of AtKisson Europe, and continued to grow the AtKisson Group and spread its tools and methods.
Alan is the author of two books on sustainability theory and practice. Believing Cassandra: An Optimist Looks at a Pessimist's World
(1999) explains the origins of the modern sustainability movement through the lens of the mythological character, "Cassandra," who was given the special gift to see the future, but cursed so that no one would believe her warnings. An internet bestseller, reviewers called Believing Cassandra "a pivotal book" and "a very important work," and organizations purchased it by the box to spread its "message of hope" to their colleagues.
Alan's latest book is The ISIS Agreement: How Sustainability Can Improve Organizational Performance and Transform the World
(Earthscan, Sept 2008). Using the same personal, engaging writing style that made Believing Cassandra so popular, The ISIS Agreement
is an empowering and inspirational guide to sustainability today. Mixing global trends, practical guidance, systems-based analysis, case studies, and profiles of successful "Change Agents," The ISIS Agreement
reads like a mystery novel, while taking the mystery out of sustainable development - and leading the reader to a powerful and hopeful conclusion.
As a consultant, Alan works with large companies, business associations, governmental initiatives, cities, foundations, and global NGOs, helping them to find new and accelerated strategic pathways forward. He draws on over twenty years of experience in sustainable development, including leadership roles in organizations such as Sustainable Seattle (which he co-founded) and the International Network of Resource Information Centers (also known as the Balaton Group, over which he currently presides); and two periods where he served as a transitional chief executive, helping to lead institutions through major change processes (the economic policy group Redefining Progress in 1996-97; and the global Earth Charter Initiative in 2006-2007). With a background that combines business management, journalism, science and the arts, he is dedicated to helping clients meet the practical challenges of sustainability with innovation and a strategic vision.
As a speaker, Alan makes frequent inspirational keynotes and leads motivational workshops for international audiences. As a communicator, he writes for popular websites, develops media, and also writes songs. A former band leader in New York, Alan continues to make music and is known for surprising audiences with songs designed to make sustainability ideas engaging and memorable.
A citizen of both the United States and Sweden, Alan lives in Stockholm with his wife, Kristina AtKisson, and their two children.
You can read more about his work at www.AtKisson.com