All entries for Saturday 26 March 2011

March 26, 2011

I have a problem, and I'm relieved!

It has been a tough week. My house is undergoing renovation (I don't currently have a working kitchen or functioning bathroom). I am ill (it's a pretty devastating case of man-flu :P). My girlfriend is away. I didn't get to see my brother for his birthday.

Still... all that pales in comparison to the stress that my project has been giving me lately! But, the bright side is that it is starting to pay off. I'm getting very close to being able to define my work properly. That in itself has been a long, drawn-out, frustrating process, that has resulted in me getting far behind my colleagues. It's not that I haven't been looking, I just couldn't find a problem that REALLY grabbed hold of me until this week. The question you have to ask yourself is what can keep you interested for 900 hours? Well, maybe I've been too picky, and it's surely resulted in me being behind on other work, but I feel like it was a necessary and worthwhile sacrifice.

So, what will my project be about? Essentially, we live in a world full of social and environmental problems, and in many ways, we have lost our ability to deal with them effectively. Currently, governments worldwide are somewhat crippled, preoccupied by various crises, be they financial or natural. Business around the world is also undergoing a lot of change. There is increasing customer requirement for business to act more responsibly and ethically, but beyond that, business doesn't currently have much financial incentive (the only thing it tends to respond to in the short-termist world that we live in) to do so. CSR is vital, but the way it is currently deployed is as an add-on; something that business attaches to the end of its existing activities.

This is where the concept of creating shared value (CSV) comes in. In the same way that we attempted to integrate CSR practices into our Waverider strategy plans, the concept of CSV aims to make the solving of social and environmental problems integral to business and value creation. While many large companies, for example Unilever or GE, are already doing this, there are many more needs that are not being met. Social enterprises, have, of late, begun to fill this gap, as CSV is at the heart of what they are attempting to do. One of the key aspects of CSV is partnerships; many companies can achieve a lot with a CSV approach, whereby value is created for both themselves and society, but collaborative efforts can make use of even greater resources, knowledge and expertise, to solve problems in potentially more efficient ways.

The area I plan to focus, therefore, is to investigate how social enterprises can best utilise partnerships to further society's goals, and thus create added value for all. In terms of the benefits this can bring me... well, I would very much like to become a social entrepreneur in the next 10 years.

Excellent 7 in particular, what do you think?


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