BIZ+Social: SSIR, Business Fights Poverty, Fast Company, More

WASHINGTON, DC | July 14th, 2014 - This week on BIZ+SOCIAL, we bring you the best from SSIR, Business Fights Poverty, Fast Company, and more.


CSR & The Cluster-Help 

Ever watch six year olds play soccer? They all cluster around the ball, desperately kicking it and each other. No one plays a position and no one scores a lot of points. That’s what it can look like when companies, NGOs, and governments try to work on a problem. They cluster around it, rarely talking to one another, often kicking or undermining each other, and a lot of energy gets wasted without achieving much impact. I call it cluster-helping. At Pyxera Global’s Annual International Corporate Volunteer Conference and Public Private Partnership Forum on April 7-8, leaders from all three sectors came together to look at how they could work better together to, in the words of the conference’s theme, “Catalyze Growth in Emerging Markets.” With such a concentration of people working on cross-sector collaboration, I took the opportunity to ask how the sec- tors can “un-cluster” and work better together. While answers varied, many of the people I talked to focused on the need to divide up roles when it comes to risk-taking, financing, and innovation. Figuring out who’s taking the risk and who’s paying for the innovation underlies untangling the cluster-helping challenge. Read More…


The Case for Social Innovation Micro-Credentials

We’ve seen the disruptive power of “micro” in the fields of finance (micro-loans and micro-savings), insurance (micro-insurance), work (micro-jobs), housing (micro-homes), and entrepreneurship (micro-consignment). Now, it’s education’s turn. Many schools, companies, and nonprofits are starting to experiment with micro-credentials, using a common digital framework (“open badges”) developed by the Mozilla Foundation. Even textbook giant Pearson has launched its own badging platform, placing a huge bet on this new trend. Similarly, Blackboard is integrating digital badges into its learning management systems. If digital badges start to gain traction as a credentialing tool, they will force us to re-think and redesign learning and education, especially for emerging fields such as social innovation. So how do digital badges work? Unlike traditional academic degrees that tend to communicate what subject you studied and where you studied it, most digital badges are more granular in scope. They point to specific knowledge and skills you’ve acquired, and in most cases, demonstrated. For example, instead of going to a reputable business school and leveraging that institution’s MBA to get a job, you would earn a series of badges that would demonstrate your business acumen—such as your mastery of business model canvas, Lean Startup, and customer development. Read More…


Q&A with Amanda MacArthur: Leadership Development with Social Impact

Corporations operate employee volunteering programs all over the world, but often they are sporadic, limited initiatives. PYXERA Global helps companies send employees on skills-based assignments with nonprofit and government partners, small- to medium-sized businesses, universities, associations, and other institutions in developing countries, giving both the employee valuable experience and the partner organization expertise for critical business issues. PYXERA Global’s VP of Global Pro Bono and Engagement, Amanda MacArthur, answered my questions regarding the benefits such programs bring, and trends the industry is seeing.  Global pro bono is a practice in which multinational companies such as IBM, The Dow Chemical Company, and SAP send high-performing employees to work on skills-based, deliverable-driven projects in emerging and frontier markets. One of the main drivers for this is cultivating new talent. Global companies need globally competent employees and this is a great approach to combine that with providing transformative value in emerging markets. Projects are usually team-based and provide the opportunity for employees to develop their soft skills (i.e., leadership, cross-cultural communication, and resiliency)…Read More…


Mobile4Development And The Triple Bottom Line

George Soros heralds Africa as the last bright light on the economic horizon. It is boom time for companies wanting to grow their market share - and mobile is the only true mass media channel in Africa to speak of. Juxtapose the Triple Bottom Line principle and the well accepted term “doing good is good for business” and you’re looking at a compelling opportunity. This blog (the fourth of a series of blogs from Every1Mobile) touches on the converging of business and the development sector in the quest for, traditionally, very different goals. To set the scene: - Africa’s consumer spending will double by 2020 to $1.4 trillion - 128 million African households will have a discretionary income in 2020 - mHealth in Africa is set to reach $1.15 billion by 2017 - mEducation in Africa will be a $1 billion market opportunity by 2020. We are starting to see that “Mobile4Development” (M4D) is no longer a territory reserved for development agencies and NGOs. Commercial companies are becoming increasingly prominent stakeholders and shrewd marketers in delivering solutions, campaigns and services that positively impact lives via mobile. Read more…


With Vayable’s New Travel App, Everyone’s a Local

Travel is a strange thing: simultaneously one of the most freeing things a person can do-partying in Istanbul! snorkeling in Nassau!-while also one of the most tedious, with hours spent pouring over Lonely Planets and “36 Hours In” articles and soliciting suggestions from friends. A new app from Vayable aims to more thoroughly infuse your travel with a sense of improvisation, by enabling users to book spontaneous experiences offered by local guides. Though the app is new, a desktop version of Vayable launched in April 2011 as something like an Airbnb for experiences, with individuals in destination cities offering custom-made tours. Vayable drummed up $2 million in seed funding, and eventually expanded to 850 destinations around the world, with its primary cities being New York, San Francisco, Paris, Barcelona, and Rome. The improv-travel-focused app, says CEO Jamie Wong, comes from the feeling she had that “we all need to plan vacations, but no one has time to plan.” She says with the growing demand for spontaneity (a demand probably fueled in no small part by the rise of the iPhone in general), “the app has become a priority for us.” Read more…


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