Archive for the ‘Social Enterprise’ Category
Apologies for this post, but this is all about not-so-Despicable me. No offence taken at all if you click away at this point, as I need to indulge myself a little.
After seven and a half years of all things Coethica the time is ready for me to evolve. I know not what that change is specifically at this particular moment – all suggestions are very welcome from anywhere, or any sector in the world – but a new direction will be forged. Some interesting offers are being considered but for the sanity of everybody around me my main hat will at least be worn much less from this day on.
The reason for this channel of personal thinking out loud is to help clear my head and also tap into and share with some of the many amazing people and organisations I have met and shared many ideas online. I am by nature an explorer, a passionate creative nuisance intent on leaving our world better than it would have been without me.
After falling in love with the purest form of this thing called CSR (i.e. holistic, balanced and embedded – you know the one, the lesser spotted variety) about 15 years ago I’ve met leaders from global CEO’s to local start-up entrepreneurs in deprived communities that have both dazzled and depressed. I’ve set up social enterprises, supported corporates and what feels like everything in between. I’m sure there’s a couple of books in there somewhere.
I know for a fact business can change the world, most of the time it just needs giving the confidence to try harder.
This is not to say Coethica will be no more, version 2 is defined and ready to roll, it is that it needs at least somebody else at the helm. Let me know if you want to find out more and take the reins of a ready-made social business to change the world! My gift to the right person, with maybe a couple of thin strings.
It has been for the most part a lonely journey, both geographically and intellectually, setting off in 2005 to challenge and inspire the small and medium market (but not excluding the corporates) to see the benefits of all things CSR / social enterprise /’pick your ethical business buzzword’ all atop a rollercoaster of a personal life that until recently only began to give me genuine freedom to get out and begin to deliver what we had learned through years of grassroots SME and corporate ‘market research’.
Sometimes the hardest decision in the world is being honest with yourself and make that change to re-energise spiritually. My wonderful wife and wider family have supported me through some magical highs and crushing lows and I owe it to them to take a more simplified path. Spinning too many plates for too long, however impressive at the time, is a recipe for one hell of a mess of crockery, not that I’ve broken many but I’ve been close to a couple of wobblers.
In short, I’m taking a the next couple of months to explore my own future as a real person separate from Coethica – a hard task for any entrepreneur, and the options on the horizon so far just don’t feel like the right fit. So, if you or anybody you know has a challenge they need help with or a gap that needs filling, by somebody of certain unique cocktail of experiences and abilities, well, as long as it serves a greater good, my intrigue is open for discussion.
If anybody should want a more focused summary of me, give me a call (get in touch via the comments) as I like a good natter, or for the more passive / furtive out there, my LinkedIn profile is probably as good place to start as any.
And just for pure childish summer fun, here is the trailer for Despicable Me 2. Enjoy. Freeeeze Ray!
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Vodafone’s ‘Your Better Business’ website, which describes itself as
“an open exchange of ideas and opinions that can help shape the future of business. It’s also a platform where the brightest business brains will contribute and share information on the latest best practice models, give expert business advice and talk about the role technology is playing. ”
Here’s a short extract and a link (below text or image top right) to an article I wrote on real world CSR for small business…
“In an increasingly connected world, where political upheaval and environmental challenges are gathering pace, there’s pressure on business to adapt.
As a result, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming more and more relevant – even critical – to the success of businesses of all sizes. The problem is, it’s commonly misunderstood, and its power underestimated. So dismiss it at your peril.
Written by davidcoethica
April 15, 2013 at 10:59 am
Sometimes the world can feel like an overwhelmingly big place and we, as individuals, can do little on our own to make it better against the tide of challenges and barriers, especially our own self-limiting beliefs.
There are those who believe differently though. Are you one?
yourbigyear.com has launched its third year of a global competition that doesn’t take no for an answer when it comes to social impact and talent. Last year I spent some time talking to Chris Arnold, Founder of the Smaller Earth Group that created Your Big Year and shared a few thoughts in this blog post.
So, if you’re aged between 18 – 30 and think you’ve got what it takes to be a global ambassador for the greater good, I dare you to watch the video below.
12 winners from around the world will be flown to Liverpool for the final round and the overall winner walking (or flying) away with the year of a lifetime and a springboard to an amazing career.
World Merit Co-Founder Marti Wigder Grimminck says “We are looking to connect and support the world’s talent, the next generation of leaders. Diversity and common purpose brings about innovation and social change.”
Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is wrong
If you work in social enterprise or a charitable organisation make sure you find 18 minutes and 55 seconds to watch the video below.
I’ve seen the link to this video enthusiastically being bounced around the social media world for a few days and I finally managed to squeeze in a watch over lunch today.
I’ll let Dan do the talking first and add a few thoughts after you’ve heard what he has to say…
He’s absolutely on the money and he knows what he’s talking about. Too many in the social world are too disconnected from the strengths of the private sector.
I also understand that even given an acceptance of his ethos the next massive barrier is the delivery quality of this more aggressive approach to fundraising and marketing. Increased overheads can only be justified by operational results, and social impact over any agreed time period.
The big challenge is to encourage a significantly stronger entrepreneurial approach to social impact and mitigate the unease created by the increased blurring of the boundaries between private sector methodologies and social sector aspirations.
What will the Amazon of the social impact world look like?
Written by davidcoethica
March 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm
A new dawn approaches.
It is six and a half years since an idea became a company and Coethica entered the world. The early road was shrouded in mist with never-ending alternate junctions and diversions. Coethica was a response to Corporate Social Responsibility being, well, very corporate. Too corporate and not enough entrepreneurial. With a useful address book, a few awards, a stubbornness and a ‘plan’, we were setting off to make work a better place to live.
Like any entrepreneur will tell you each day is a test of priorities and Olympic plate-spinning challenges. In many cases days are filled with fire fighting the almost pitiful burden of red-tape and planning is a very reactive pastime. My particular journey had a bewildering array of none business related potholes for the first leg of the travels that kept the project in first gear. The second leg was dominated by our experiment with social media, which is pretty much public record, all great fun, full of reward and learning.
The third leg began only recently as the potholes and distractions cleared, and for a while and an absent friend called space was an initially unrecognised surprise visitor. Wow – years had passed, including my son’s whole lifetime, and Coethica had grown like awakening from a dream with no time having ever passed. The ability to think creatively without a list of attention stealing demands soon became tolerable.
To be specific, and to garner your support, here is the current position…
Read the rest of this entry »
The things I love most about doing what I do are the amazing people I get to meet, no two days are even close to being similar and the exposure to a countless stream of world changing ideas.
I’ve always been a natural connector and constantly looking to learn from new and strange sources. The Coethica social media rollercoaster of the last few years took me from a pretty isolated laptop to a whole new global community of friends, colleagues and connections – all with that similar values set that I’d craved for so long. It’s only now comfortably coming to terms with how to have a productive relationship with so many people!
Occasionally though, it takes a perspective on the entire planet to stumble across fantastic people and concepts much closer to home.
The European Union publishes 2011 – 2014 strategy on CSR
The new definition of CSR in the eyes of the European Union is
The responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society.
It’s only a fifteen page document and well worth a read as another stake in the ground for the accelerating development of CSR as a core business consideration. It never goes as far as many stakeholders would have liked it to, but then again it never was. For me it’s a pretty well balanced carrot and stick approach that owes much to work already done for ISO 26000.
There is one particular paragraph that sums up the ethos of CSR beyond the above definition:
To maximise the creation of shared value, enterprises are encouraged to adopt a long term, strategic approach to CSR, and to explore the opportunities for developing innovative products, services and business models that contribute to societal wellbeing and lead to higher quality and more productive jobs.
…which sounds scarily like my usual description when defending CSR.
The rest of the document outlines the alignment with Read the rest of this entry »
Written by davidcoethica
October 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm
When you’re asked to judge six entries in a student technology competition it could be easy to not relate to the more than 350,000 first round entries from across the entire globe. Wait a few hours and throw in appearances by the
Salesman Mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg and Eva Longoria and the cream of student technological innovation at an extravagant Awards finale and you really aren’t able to miss the big picture.
The Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s student competition encouraging innovation through technology in order to solve the world’s toughest problems. This year following feedback from students themselves the Millennium Development Goals were offered as inspiration for the teams to focus their efforts on.
I’d agreed to take part in judging the finals in New York City and ended up seeing the Imagine Cup world the wrong way around. I arrived in to cast my eye on the best and then got to see the rest of the 400 invited students at the event Showcase at the Lincoln Center the following day.
I’ll always offer whatever time I can to support or encourage young people of every circumstance to strive to make an impact for a better world. It also usually a fantastic environment for perspective and inspiration. I recently participated in a very similar event as a judge for Societe Generale’s Citizen Act, but with more of an obvious financial focus. I will guarantee that a social impact leader will emerge from either if not both events, and most others like them.
The Imagine Cup 2011 goes to the winners in the Software Design category, my judging task, and was awarded to Team Hermes from Ireland (pictured right and in the video below) with their approach to improve road safety. Read the rest of this entry »
Written by davidcoethica
July 18, 2011 at 2:06 am