How To Solve Economic Problems

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These organizations operate on the understanding that caring solely about profits is no longer rational in this new economy and that in the long run, this is actually a liability.

Multirational multinationals embrace this idea and understand that relegating socially-minded activities to the sidelines ignores the tremendous (positive and negative) impacts that a company’s mainline operations can have.

They also launched a café to train young baristas, combating the city’s high rates of youth unemployment and homelessness.

Market innovators, on the other hand, specifically set out to address unmet consumer needs, filling a gap in a previously-untapped market.

In this case, scale is fueled through conscious consumers and everyday citizens who are interested in doing good.

Of course, the goal isn’t always to keep getting bigger and bigger.When larger societal issues are seen not as ‘charity cases’ but as actual market opportunities, the actions taken are automatically more scalable and viable over the long term.Many of these organizations are creatively applying or re-combining technologies, and in doing so, they are eliminating trade-offs and producing dramatically better results for a lower cost.For instance, if you’re going to sell hydroelectric power in an emerging market, how could community-based groups come into the picture?Are you leveraging different forms of capital, whether through not-for-profit or international development networks? Increasingly, we are seeing corporations partner with civil society organizations, other businesses or international donors.A huge percentage of Kenyans didn’t have access to banking in any form, so Safaricom filled a need while also having a tremendous social impact: with their M-Pesa mobile banking phone app, people can now conduct business and receive entitlement payments, amongst other things.Thanks to this initiative, over 17 million subscribers now have access to financial services.A prime example here is Unilever, which has been introducing its products into markets at the bottom of the pyramid in recent years.It started Project Shakti as part of its efforts to introduce Lifebuoy soap in India.By erasing private-public sector boundaries, the ‘Solution Economy’ is unlocking trillions of dollars in value.Organizations that mix profit making with a social mission fall into two categories: social enterprises and market innovators. Social enterprises address a community or social need through a business.


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