Agency, brand and trust: help or hindrance?

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Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize, 2006
Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize, 2006

Bringing in the money is not the most important thing for us to do if we want to eradicate extreme poverty. Clearly that is part of the solution, but if it was the solution then there has been enough invested to make change already, and the end of poverty remains elusive.

I actually think it comes down to ‘political will’. I don’t mean a sharper focus within a country or institutions like the UN or G20, although that is helpful. I actually am talking about our own actions. Where do we place our priorities and what will we no longer accept?

There has been a lot written about consumer advocacy and how this might start to impact on poverty. In some respects, I would place that in the same bag as Corporate Social Responsibility- well meaning initiatives with a narrative around change, but ultimately in themselves they fail to be levers to make change happen. Muhammad Yunus argues this point strongly in his recent writing, and I like what he writes.

There is a need for greater participation, on both incremental and radical interventions. And not just by ‘big brand’ not-for-profit NGO.

Brand and trust have become confused concepts, possibly intentionally. ‘Agency’ starts to trade on a currency of brand because it brings with it high level of trust. Meaningful systemic change suffers for the sake of maintaining that brand.

This is not true of every organisation, and there are some awesome thought leaders and interventions happening most of whom are working selflessly and tirelessly in unseen places because of a driving passion to help others.

Has ‘brand’ gone too far? Is there still room for the maverick social entrepreneur?


The Double Bottom Line

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Check out this video circulating about social enterprise with a case study of D.Light Design.

Well articulated and presented.

Social Alchemy is a social business, also known as a social enterprise. But what is in a name? All too easy for people just to slap the label across their charity activity?

What does this mean for opportunities in the eradication of poverty, not just extreme poverty, but poverty in general? How can this also relate to the human dimension beyond physical need for everyone throughout the supply chain?

A silver bullet? Perhaps not, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Inspiration- moving past barriers (pun unintended!)

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Bannister and Landy
Bannister and Landy- contest over one mile.

The words of Roger Bannister have served as an inspiration as I found the courage to move past discomfort and regain the confidence in picking up speed. He is quoted in Wikipedia having said:

The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.

This journey is not about winning, but about raising awareness and overcoming what was once thought to be a barrier to action, that is the first of the objectives to the 10 City Bridge Run:

To raise the awareness of an individual’s capacity to act to positively influence the eradication of extreme poverty from our world.

The pun in the title to this post, unintended when drafting this entry, sums it up best. Not only is this about moving past, as is beyond, barriers that are thought to exist. More so, it is about moving, or better stated as “removing” past barriers- barriers that were once, but now no longer are.

What is holding you back today, and what are you going to decide to do now to make that barrier a thing of the past? Go on, we’re waiting…