If you are interested in permaculture – whether its as an approach to growing crops, or perhaps as a more general approach to life, then you will need to understand the permaculture design principles.
These are core, underlying principles which can be applied to any sphere of life, allowing us to engage with people, projects and places in a sustainable and productive way.
To get a full idea of the 12 design principles (Observe & interact; Catch & store energy; Obtain a yield; Apply self regulation & accept feedback; Use & value renewable resources & services; Produce no waste; Design from patterns to details; Integrate rather than segregate; Use small & slow solutions; Use & value diversity; Use edges & value the marginal; Creatively use and respond to change) a good starting place is this excellent site, which details the permaculture design principles, and illustrates their practical outworking.
The content of the site is based largely on the work of David Holmgren, who along with Bill Mollison (an interesting interview with him here) is credited with the co-origination of the concept of Permaculture.
I personally believe that if we were to apply these principles to a wide spectrum of our lives, particularly in the sphere of work, we would find ourselves creating more imaginative and sustainable businesses and institutions. Certainly they teach us to consume less energy, to not just accept the way things are always done, and to apply a way of thinking which works with our environment, rather than against it.