Triodos Bank on growth – forget the numbers

Triodos have nailed the tone of this film, their mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change and this couldn’t come across more. It’s not just about investing in the development of more products, more buildings, more companies for shareholder value but investing in smarter solutions that help create efficiency or social impact.

They call their approach old fashioned in their mission, it seems a pretty innovative financial approach to me.

The problem – civil obedience

Matt Damon reads from Howard Zinn’s speech “The Problem is Civil Obedience” (November 1970) from Voices of a People's History on Vimeo.

‘This performance was part of “The People Speak, Live!” with Matt Damon and Lupe Fiasco at the Metro in Chicago, on January 31, 2012, produced by Voices of a People’s History (peopleshistory.us) in collaboration with Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival.’

Anchoring – the power of our senses

From a very early age anchoring becomes part of our hard wiring, locked deep into our neurology. Those little neurons go crazy programming certain situations and how they make us feel. I remember being given a mixed CD from a family friend when I was about 10, Toto’s Africa always makes me feel a certain way.

Anchoring can be used to create responses, both good and bad. We can all find anchors and fire them to change the mood of ourselves and others, hopefully for the better. The more senses are engaged in an anchor (sound, smell, visual, taste, touch) the stronger the emotion. So pretty useful to be able to fire certain anchors before a presentation.

NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) can be used for personal development as a model for learning, tapping into our behavioural patterns and self-awareness, to create those positive anchors. It gets a lot of criticism and here’s a pretty good blog post about the pros and cons.

“Neuro-Linguistic Programming n. a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them; a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.” – [Oxford English Dictionary]

Surely having some positive anchors can’t be a bad thing – being aware of what some of our triggers are and being mindful of them? I know certain tracks are a positive anchor for me, what are some of yours?

Mos Def being force-fed to raise awareness of plight of Guantanamo hunger strikers during Ramadan fast

This video is bloody horrible and hard to watch but that’s the point. It was made by the human rights group Reprieve, to try to urge Obama to scrap his government’s policy of force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners during the month-long Muslim fast of Ramadan. They’re force fed twice a day and it takes up to 2hours typically to do. Brutal and a very good campaign.

Beabequ (blogger) reports that it’s ‘breaching the human rights of 130 detainees out of 166, who are reported to be on hunger strike. Over a half (86 out of the 166) detainees have now been cleared for release’.

They still remain in the Guantanamo due to the US Government putting a halt on any release efforts being made. So as a sign of protest ‘the detainees whose sentences have been lengthened for a number of years (some facing as long as 11 years in prison) without trial, are now seeking a way out by starving themselves to death’. They obviously see it as their only way out now.

Maybe Obama should test out being force feed #standfast

Ray Anderson: The business logic of sustainability

If you haven’t watched this before, it’s an understated but powerful call to arms. Ray was the founder and chairman of Interface Inc (a very successful carpet company) and ‘recovering plunderer’ (his words). Since the 1990’s he turned Interface’s ‘take, make’ waste’ model on its head, which also lead it to global dominance doubling profits.

His theory, facts and evidence justify his powerful vision for sustainable commerce – which was a ‘Mission Zero’ plan. He used the below impact equation, to transform the way his businesses were run.

His question to us or call to arms: can we reframe civilisation itself, to have more happiness with less stuff? To change the whole system of our economics, creating a ‘new civilisation a sustainable species living on a finite earth, ethically, happily and ecologically in balance with nature.’

After all ‘theft is a crime and theft of our children’s future will be a crime’ surely?

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Starting a career in social enterprise – the On Purpose leadership programme

I love the advice in this film, I’ve watched it 5 times (so far):
What makes you really itch?
What if money was no object?
How would you really like to spend your life?

For the last few years I’d been asking myself  ‘what do I desire’, really desire.
I’d been lucky to work in some great agencies and meet so many amazing people but I didn’t see it being my career forever.

I’d always, right from the start of my career, felt that business should have social value and give something back. It’s not just for stakeholders to profit from. Suddenly 10 years later everything is starting to piece together.

I started this blog as an exploration and went to a talk Escape the City were running with On Purpose:

‘We believe there is a better way of doing business that can help solve many of society’s most intractable problems. We find and work with the best professionals to develop the next generation of social enterprise leaders who have the commitment to tackle these problems by harnessing the power of business for social and environmental good.’

A few months later, after 4 stages of the rigorous interviews, I got offered a place on the On Purpose leadership programme. I start the placements in April.

I’d been considering doing a Masters but wanted to do something practical still. On Purpose is the perfect blend. You do two placements, at two different companies, for six months each (full time). They’re all leading organisations like Social Enterprise UK, Big Issue Invest, Deloitte CR and you’re given specific projects to run.

Every Friday you have training out of the office, with leading experts. You don’t get a certificate at the end or take exams (thank god) but it has a strong business focus, so it’s like an MBA.

Probably one of the biggest pro’s of the programme is the networking opportunities, meeting people doing so many inspiring things. I can’t wait.

As he advises in the video ‘forget the money…better to have a life full of doing what you want to be doing’.

On Purpose are recruiting for their October cohort at the moment. So if you believe business can be done a different way, maybe the programme’s for you

United breaks guitars: a brand not being #kindaware

A musician named Dave Carroll had difficulty with United Airlines in 2009. They damaged his treasured $3500 Taylor guitar during a flight, very annoying. How did they damage it? The United baggage handlers were literally throwing his guitar around.

Dave Carroll spent 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages to fix his guitar, caused by their extreme negligence, seemed only fair. United refused though and Dave let them know he was left with no choice other than to create a music video exposing their lack of cooperation. The manager’s response “Good luck with that one, pal,” so he posted a retaliatory video on You Tube, which has since received over 12 million hits!

United Airlines obviously then contacted the musician and attempted settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Dave’s response “Good luck with that one, pal.” Doh.

Taylor Guitars sent Dave not 1 but 2 new custom guitars in appreciation for the product recognition from the video, which has led to a sharp increase in orders. United didn’t fully appreciate that Dave Carroll was a travelling musician with opinions plus access to creative people, who would all volunteer to help him with his protest song.

It’s interesting to see the new ventures Dave Carroll has since invested in, with Resolution1 and Grapevine cloud based solutions, to help companies manage customer complaints better and be more #kindaware

The truck that’s spreading happiness

Whether you like Coca-Cola or not, I’m sure most people will like this.
They’ve created a ‘happiness machine on wheels’ which can surely only be a good thing?
I like the way the machine is now portable so you don’t know where it will strike next (the happiness drink vending machine from last year racked up nearly 5million views).
Roll on random acts of kindness!