Innovation is a powerful tool, not only to create competitive organizations, but also to improve the daily lives of people in developing countries and emerging markets. Innovations can in many cases make a critical difference and contribute to empower people and make the world a more equitable place to be.
President Obama ‘crowdsourced’ a part of his political agenda with his change.gov initiative, which embraced the conversation and allowed users to identify topics that were important to them and vote on their relative importance. The addition of social media tools and philosophy to the mix resulted in a perfectly ordered list of the political issues that mattered most to US citizens.
The Institute of Design held a seminar in Chicago this week to create a discussion on the role of a design-based approach to forming public policy. The premise for the discussion was that, "the prevalent perception that 'nothing works' in the public policy arena, or rather, public policy itself rarely seems to be working, challenges democratic systems at their core. Coincident to this spiraling public pessimism and partisan gridlock, foundations are turning to designers with renewed hope that their skills in problem definition and resolution can make a difference and help foster success."
I happened to learn about a new book by the legendary Charles Handy when I visited him a couple of months back at his home in Norfolk England ' the new philanthropists'. True to the title of the Book of probably Britain's most prolific management thinker (together written with his wife Elizabeth who is a portrait photographer), Charles talks about a new trend of successful young businessmen who don't only believe in giving money for just causes but by working on the spot with the needy so as to create a sustainable impact. He offers examples from entrepreneurs from South Africa, Ireland and Australia among others.
Is sustainable business the missing link in alleviating poverty and boosting global trade and prosperity? If so, how should companies exploit this opportunity in practice? Louise Koch, Danish Anthropologist and Business Innovator, talks about best practice, mindsets and resources for sustainable, people-centred innovation in developing countries.
Innovation in today’s business environment is a must. Opportunities for innovation can be a problem to solve, a demand to satisfy, needs to meet. However, increasingly inspiration for innovation does not come only from underserved or emerging markets, but also from the social sector.