Intelligent Head Quarters http://www.intelligenthq.com Business intelligence innovation network for growth education change Fri, 19 Sep 2014 10:11:02 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Scaling The Impact Of Social Entrepreneurs http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/scaling-the-impact-of-social-entrepreneurs/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/scaling-the-impact-of-social-entrepreneurs/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:00:49 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43478 scaling social innovation

Social entrepreneurship is going from strength to strength as people are beginning to pay more attention to how challenging issues can be resolved through this means. Business people are even moving out of companies solely …

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Scaling The Impact Of Social Entrepreneurs Intelligenthq

Scaling The Impact Of Social Entrepreneurs Intelligenthq

Social entrepreneurship is going from strength to strength as people are beginning to pay more attention to how challenging issues can be resolved through this means. Business people are even moving out of companies solely based on adding value to people’s lives in other ways and towards social entrepreneurship instead. Social entrepreneurs can change the world, and they are growing in numbers. Information availability and accessibility to better understand problems faced by people in difficult situations is part of the reason for that. There is also a trend towards people having a greater interest in “helping society” generally. However, understanding how social entrepreneurs can scale impact the most effectively can still be difficult.

As Katie Smith Milway (2014) of the Harvard Business Review agrees that the social entrepreneurship sector is “hot” but asks:

“Are social entrepreneurs stoking the right kind of growth? With so many start-ups, are social entrepreneurs at risk of creating well-intentioned but fragmented efforts that won’t ultimately change much?”

Smith-Milway (2014) suggests that there are ways in which to work to scale growth so that social entrepreneurs do can have greater meaning and scale their impact to be able to target larger populations and offer even more value. One way in which she suggests that this can be done is by focusing on “scaling impact not organisations”. She argues that organisations are struggling to do this. An example provided is that of youth unemployment, where after 10 years of hard work 2,000 disconnected kids have been helped by Year Up into jobs that actually offer a living wage. This is shown by Smith Milway to be the tip of the iceberg, since in fact in the USA there are 6.7 million young people that are not at school and who are also out of work. And this is one of the most successful organisations in this area. This indicates the great importance of being able to scale up.

Adding more people to the organisation and making the organisation bigger is not the answer. Instead, argues Smith Milway, there is a need for social entrepreneurs to find ways to provide services and products to a broader range of people. One such approach that is argued to be promising is that of MOOCs (massive open online courses) since these have the potential to offer a lot more to a lot more people than small, locally-based approaches. Other options that are hailed as a success in terms of scaling the impact are mobile apps that provide information to farmers on the market and weather, helping them to improve what they do, tactically and operationally. Such approaches aim to change the way people think about how business can be done or how education can be offered. They change the paradigm associated with the situation, and offer social change that can improve many lives at once.

Another important approach for scaling impact according to Smith Milway, is focusing on collaborations between organisations, not just narrowing the perspective to one organisation. One organisation alone clearly will be unlikely to be able to make such a fundamental difference as an organisation that is working in collaboration with a range of different other organisations, all of which have different skills, competencies, abilities and knowledge to bring to the solution. The example is provided by Smith Milway of how modern cancer advances come into being, with teams working across continents from different organisations and sharing information for the common good to be able to drive a solution.

A different way of scaling up the impact of social entrepreneurs can be achieved by “amplifying” the voices of those are to be helped, opines Smith Milway. Giving power to the voice that needs the change can be more effective than simply offering the change on its own. One very interesting example of this is provided by Smith Milway who explains that offering education to women and girls in Afghanistan is one thing, and it is a positive step, but it is even more important for those women and girls to be able to speak up and support these innovative approaches that can help them as well. Without that happening it can be hard for organisations to achieve the scale that can provide the impact they wish to bring.

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Guide to Link Building Part 3 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-3/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-3/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:00:09 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43472 linkbuilding 3

Link Building Tactics and Measurement

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Guide to Link Building Part 3

Guide to Link Building Part 3

This is a Part 3 of a Guide we are creating in Intelligenthq about Link Building. In the following post, you will learn some link building Tactics and Measurement.

Link building is an essential part of a successful online marketing campaign to drive more potential customers to your website. In Part Two of this series we reviewed how to start a link building campaign, focusing fairly heavily on the “content based link building approach”. In Part Three we will now examine other approaches and tactics for link building as well as understanding the metrics that can demonstrate success with link building campaigns.

In the content link building approach, the focus is on creating content that will be appealing for other people to link to. As Paddy Moogan (2014) a link building expert explains, this might include creating an infographic, a data visualisation, a white paper, a how to guide, a video or an image gallery. Once these items of content are created you are then able to show others that might want to link to you what they could link to. This is a lot of work but it can have great results.

Another tactic that could be helpful is guest blogging. Moogan states that guest blogging is: “The process of approaching other websites to see if they will publish a piece of content that you write on their blog.”

This can be a good approach but only if the quality of what you write is high and is not crammed with keywords. Where it is badly done, Google seeks it out and penalises your website for it. Some people believe that guest blogging is no longer a viable approach, but with good quality blogs it can be effective. However, Moogan argues it should not be the only approach utilised.

Another interesting approach offered by Paddy Moogan is termed “ego bait”. The idea behind this is that you work to attract the ego of those featured in content. This means that people that are mentioned will be more interested in sharing the content with a link, according to Moogan. There are four steps to this tactic. The first is coming up with a concept and researching potential ego targets. The second is writing the content and the third is outreach. The fourth is follow up. To make it work you need to target blogs that post regularly (and that have recently), that have followers and for which you can find contact details of bloggers (Moogan, 2014). Then you write the content and include a link to their website, after which you write to those included in the text and let them know what you did. The person may be flattered sufficiently to share it. Don’t forget to follow up to get the results you are looking for (a shared link).

Broken link building is yet another tactic. Lots of websites have broken links. You can find those links, create content for those webmasters to link to and then contact them to link to the content that you created. Link reclamation is a similar approach that is considered to be tougher, and this involves fixing or “reclaiming” links that were once pointed at your website but now do not have any value (Moogan, 2014). You can use Open Site Explorer to identify 404s and then get those links fixed, or search for places where your images have been used without permission and then ask for a link back.

Understanding your success (or not) is essential to being able to modify your campaign and increase your effectiveness. This requires you to review metrics. One way of doing this is understanding the strength of your domain. This can be found in Domain Authority where your page rank will be displayed. The closer to 10, the higher your domain is ranked. Page strength is another approach and this can be reviewed by understanding page authority (Moogan, 2014). The higher your page authority is the better. The number of links that you have is also important, though you do need to remember that all of the links that you have need to be of a high quality. Again, Open Site Explorer is an excellent tool for counting the number of links that you have to your website. Other helpful indicators include the relevance of the linking page and positions of links on those pages.

Guide to Link Building Part 1
Guide to Link Building Part 2

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10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/10-ways-an-mba-degree-can-help-entrepreneurs-and-business-owners/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/10-ways-an-mba-degree-can-help-entrepreneurs-and-business-owners/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:00:30 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43459 MBAs Rahim

A Master of Business Administration bestows various benefits upon the holder, including theoretical knowledge, real-world connections and the prestige of an alma mater. An MBA holder can use the degree to further his or her …

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MBAs Rahim
10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

A Master of Business Administration bestows various benefits upon the holder, including theoretical knowledge, real-world connections and the prestige of an alma mater. An MBA holder can use the degree to further his or her professional, social and academic aspirations. Granted, this is no easy or cheap diploma. But the investment in time and money is worth it.

If you are an entrepreneur, seeking a master’s degree can thrust your business and personal aspirations forward, as long as you know how to cultivate the right relationships inside and outside classrooms.

1. You Understand Business Management Theory
After completing an MBA, you will understand management theory, the essential concepts underlying business planning, and what differentiates a winning strategy from a losing one.
Not to say you cannot grasp those concepts with a graduate degree, though.
The point here is that a typical MBA curriculum covers some subjects in depth, and triggers intellectual stimulation you might not have acquired otherwise, especially when the classes are taught by world-class lecturers, some of whom may be Nobel Prize winners.

2. You Learn Different Ways of Running Your Business
An MBA shows you different alternatives of running your business. Whether it is centralized or decentralized, you will fathom the pros and cons of each option. Obviously, there are as many ways of running a company as there are, say, human beings. But the bottom line is that MBA case studies give you insight into the minds of leaders at large companies, teaching you how to replicate the successes of the winners and how to shun the mistakes of the losing companies.

3. You Make Lifelong Contacts
Don’t be shy when you enroll in an MBA class. Remember that each person in that classroom is a current or future business leader, an expert in his or her field, or an up-and-coming social entrepreneur. Make as many contacts as you can. Reach out to others, engage a frank and relevant conversation, and make connections that could turn out to be lifelong contacts. You never know: You could parlay these personal linkups into future business or social partnerships.

4. You Can Take Your Business Global
An MBA gives you the conceptual tools and practical guidance needed to take your business global. In today’s marketplace, international expansion is a must, especially if you operate in a field that is domestically crowded or an international market whose entry barriers are minimal or nonexistent.

5. You Can Hire The Right Talent When Needed
At some point, your business will need an influx of talent, the right talent, to grow and make money. A master’s degree provides you the framework needed to identify who you really need to hire, why you need, how to allocate staff resources properly, and how much to pay them. This goes back to the points we discussed earlier, when we said an MBA helps you understand management concepts but also shows you various ways of running your business.

10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Intelligenthq

10 Ways an MBA Degree Can Help Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Intelligenthq

6. You Can Write A Proper Business Plan to Attract External Funding
A business plan, when properly written, can lure a potential investor. After acquiring an MBA, you will know how to pen a convincing, substantiated business plan, with a synopsis or executive summary as catchy as the last Apple or Nike commercial.
Again, you can hire an expert to write the plan for you if you don’t have an MBA or don’t know much about business planning. But having the degree gives you the knowledge…and the option to say ‘I want to write my own business plan.’

7. You Have a Professional Safety Net
If your business goals don’t materialize soon enough and you find yourself scrambling for money, you can go back to the corporate world. With an MBA, you have job security – plain and simple, no questions asked. You will find a job and restore your financial situation, so you can go back again later to entrepreneurship if that is what you want.

8. You Could Become a Thought Leader
The intellectual rigor an MBA program requires makes most degree holders potential thought leaders in their fields. And so could you! Irrespective of your business aspirations, you can establish yourself as an intellectual authority in a field or on a specific topic. That, again, is another source of revenue, just in case your business ventures don’t pan out.

9. Your Alumni Connections Could Help Later
Your alumni connections – those one-time classmates you kept talking to – could help boost your business needs in the medium and long terms. They could be potential customers and business partners or refer you to their own business and social contacts. Furthermore, you can hire some of your old classmates, which is a smart move financially and operationally because you know them already and, we are sure, they will ask you a certain level of compensation that will not break your bank.

10. You Can Build a Solid Online Presence
You can translate your web of offline connections into a strong online presence. We suggest you create personal and business accounts on the most popular social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Actively participate in activities that your alma mater and alumni association periodically post.

Final Word
An MBA opens the gateways of financial and social success. The degree helps you improve your business operations, providing you insight and tools you need to make money in the long term.
If you don’t have time or money to take a full-course MBA degree, look for alternatives, such as a Management Certificate, an Executive MBA or management courses specifically tailored for busy entrepreneurs and professionals.

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Guide to Link Building Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-2/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:00:15 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43448 Guide To Link Building Part 2

Starting a Campaign

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Guide To Link Building Part 2
Guide To Link Building Part 2

Guide To Link Building Part 2

This is Part 2 of a Guide we are creating in Intelligenthq about link Building.  In the first part of our guide we gave an overall view about what is link building. We will now explain what is necessary when starting a campaign.

Starting a campaign

Link building is key to online marketing success and can help businesses to become well placed in search engine results pages. In the first part of this series we examined what link building is and why it is important. In Part Two, we now look at getting underway with that all-important link building campaign to try to start to build up a number of links back to your website from others out there. Paddy Moogan has plenty that is helpful to say on this topic. Specifically, Moogan defines a link building campaign stating that it is:

“The process of actively trying to increase links to your website, usually accompanied by some kind of overarching objective.”

Starting with the overarching objective part, Moogan argues that by developing goals at the outset you will stand a much greater chance of achieving link building success. However, at the same time he argues that numbers aren’t enough. There is no point thinking that setting a goal of 10 or 20 links will be sufficient if those links are not of sufficient quality to drive people to your business and improve your search engine standing. Additionally, the link building process does not bring immediate results. Rather, it can take some time for search engines to pick up that you have new links added. This means that making sure that any goals set are focused on the building of high quality links that will actually offer search engine optimisation value, as well as measuring improvement over time – that is, over months rather than days.

Paddy Moogan also argues that knowing that you want links is not enough. For a start you can’t simply buy links – this is a definite no-no with Google and will have a very damaging impact on SEO if you are caught. This means you need to understand what you have of value on your website and why other organisations might want to link back to yours. This means considering the content, data, products and services featured on your website, opines Moogan. You also need to consider the type of links that you need to get, and Moogan explains that there are four kinds. These are links to your home page, links to pages further down in your website such as product pages, links that include your brand or company name, and links that include the keywords that your online marketing campaign is targeting. You can for example use Open Site Explorer can analyse the links you currently have so you can see where you need to improve.

Of course, other websites are being contacted all of the time to add links to them. You need to show these websites why they should link to you. People need to be interested enough in what you have on your website and what you have to say to link to you. Paddy Moogan argues that the approach needs to be carried out in four steps. First you create content, second you find an angle that is new or interesting, third you do outreach to the organisations that might post your link, and fourth you follow up on these contacts.

Understanding what people may be interested in could involve trial and error, but Moogan explains that some useful hooks that may make you more interesting to link to include humour, news, controversy, competition, ego-bait and detailed content, among others. Understanding what other people share and why is critical to understanding what you can offer. Then you need to find the target websites you will approach. For example, if you are creating a website about barbecue recipes you might target food bloggers, barbecue companies, recipe websites and events websites, among others. Then you need to search online to find specific targets to approach. While doing this look for contact details so that you can target an actual person. Targeting bloggers and websites that already are considered to be high influence will be the most helpful approach. Not all will be interested, so review their website before you start to see if they do add links and whether their site or blog is active before you bother contacting them (Moogan, 2014). Don’t forget to tell them why they should want to link back to you. Moogan also argues that you should avoid mass emailing software as this gives you less opportunity for personalisation and you might get blacklisted for spamming, as well as the fact that in some countries it is against the law to email people in this way.

Another useful resource can be the following youtube video:

Guide to Link Building Part 1
Guide to Link Building Part 2
Guide to Link Building Part 3

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Guide to Link Building Part 1 http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-1/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/guide-to-link-building-part-1/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:00:02 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43433 Guide to link building part 1

Introduction

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Guide to link building part 1
guide-link-building

An introduction to link building

This is a Part 1 of a Guide we are creating in Intelligenthq about Link Building.In the following post, you will learn what is link building and what is its purpose.

If you’re new in business and new to having a website, link building is an area you need to understand and get on top of. Why? Well, it will bring business to your website, and ultimately that’s the whole point of having a website. This short series on link building will help you to understand the what, why and how of link building so that you can get started for yourself.

Search engines work on the basis of trying to provide the highest quality results possible to those that enter keywords and keyword phrases into their search. You want your website to be on the first page, and ideally in the top five results returned for the types of keywords that your potential customers will type in. That’s because if people have to go to the next page, or even scroll down (yes, people are that lazy) then they won’t necessarily be bothered to do it. Instead they’ll click on something else or carry out a different search. Link building is just one of several approaches called “search engine optimisation” (SEO) that helps you to move your website up through the search listings that are returned for the keywords and keyword phrases that you are targeting.

For those that have never had much involvement with websites and online marketing before, this all might seem like a bit of a mystery, but luckily, Paddy Moogan of Distilled has developed a simple guide to link building that can help.  As Moogan explains:

“The landscape of SEO and link building is always changing, and today, the importance of building high quality links has never been higher.”

So what exactly is link building? Well, link building is an activity that leads to you acquiring links from other websites back to your own website. These links are helpful to users that are looking for useful information online, as they will click on these links if they seem to be relevant to them. Moogan argues that many SEO specialists find link building to be quite a difficult activity. Of course the great thing about that is that if you can become an expert at it, you will excel at search engine optimisation through having a lot of good quality links back to your website that drive people to your website and increase your ratings in search engines. That’s because websites that have a lot of inbound links are often considered by Google and the others to be of high quality (since so many other websites want to refer to yours).

The four components of links

Moogan explains that links are made up of four main components: start of link tag, link referral location, visible/anchor text of link, and closure of link tag. The opening part is described to quite simply let a search engine know that something else will follow it. The link referral location will show the URL to where the link is pointing, which Moogan points out could be a web page, image, file or something else. The visible anchor text is the text the user sees on the page, that they click on to open the link, explains Moogan, while the closure of link tag simply denotes the end of the link to the search engines.

The following video, done by agency Moz, will let you know what are the basic rules of linking building:

Links are important for search engines because they help search engines to find them in the first place. Links from other places to your website tell Google and other search engines that your website was considered high enough quality by other websites to be worthwhile to link to, so this validates your website and moves you up in the search engine. They are tied together with the algorithm of the search engine.

However, links are not all good, and Moogan points out there are both good and bad links. Some can degrade your search engine position. The best types of links of all are those that are embedded in editorial content. However these links can be quite difficult to get. Self-created non-editorial links that are included on your website (or others) were once considered to be “good” but are now thought to be less helpful, as Google and the rest caught onto this approach which was designed to manipulate search engine results. Understanding this can help you to target the best kind of links that will help your business rather than hinder it.

Guide to Link Building Part 2 
Guide to Link Building Part 3

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Welcome To FutureLearn, The First British MOOCs Platform, http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/welcome-to-futurelearn-the-first-british-moocs-platform/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/business-education-2/welcome-to-futurelearn-the-first-british-moocs-platform/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 12:58:25 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43428 futurelearn

How FutureLearn Aims To Transform Education Through Social Learning

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futurelearn
Image source: Intel

Image source: Intel

The education industry is undergoing a period of transformation. With a mind-set of more entrepreneurs than ever before wanting to help society and advancements in online technology that allow educational courses to be delivered online more effectively than ever before, opportunities have arisen for courses to be provided free to people that want to learn. Provided that people have an internet connection there is no longer any excuse for not being able to learn. Accessibility is rapidly becoming available to many.

FutureLearn is one such organisation that is pioneering this change. FutureLearn offers a wide range of different high quality courses for free via its platform. This includes courses in studies from science and technology to business and management and everything in between – humanities, arts, body, mind – it’s all there and up for grabs for those that are motivated to get learning. Online courses are designed to be flexible via this platform so that people can fit learning around their lives and other commitments. Educators have been involved in the creation of these innovative courses, including the development of materials such as articles to make learners think, videos to stimulate interest and quizzes to test learning. They also lead discussions and debates. At the same time, the system is set up in such a way so that learners can chat with one another to work through ideas through healthy debate and discussion.

FutureLearn is considered to be the UK’s first massive open online course (MOOC) platform. The site launched in 2013 via a beta website , and according to Rebecca Paddick of Education Technology, since that time (and up until June 2014) there have been 350,000 learners signed up for 700,000 courses. This is recognised as an excellent start, though it is thought by the organisation itself that it needs to create more features and improve. The organisation benefits from the support of the Open University and is both completely owned and funded by this entity. As explained by Paddick (2014), following the development of the OU vision for a MOOC in late 2012 the organisation worked hard to get other educators on board. Paddick states that:

 “By the end of January 2013, Nelson and the team had joined forces with 20 universities in the UK, and had the first prototype ready to launch in September 2013.”

The concept behind FutureLearn is “social learning”. This is because the organisation has a sense that distance learning can be isolating and that this feeling can be reduced or eliminated through using a platform like FutureLearn where it is social and interactive and consequently more enjoyable. Social networking concepts have consequently been programmed into the FutureLearn platform to make sure that the experience is as social as possible. People are able to add comments to the videos that they watch during their learning, for example. They are also able to set up a profile page and add other people, as well as like comments (Paddick, 2014). An example of a course offered by FutureLearn is the following, about creative coding.

The concept of MOOCs has sparked some controversy and debate with some hailing them as an excellent way to bring an improved level of education to the masses, while others argue that they are ineffective because they have high dropout rates and they are “faddy”. FutureLearn does not claim to change the world, but it does offer a solution that deals with some of the problems of MOOCs that might lead to drop outs in the first place by providing the opportunity for people to be able to interact socially with one another online. There have also been criticisms of MOOCs according to Paddick, which suggest that these are trying to “replace the traditional degree model,” but FutureLearn is certainly not saying that it will achieve this. Rather than being a replacement model the FutureLearn platform is offered as a value-add additional extra to enhance learning.

A quick scan of the courses on offer only serves to evidence this point. Courses available at the time of writing include “Psychology and Mental Health: Beyond Nature and Nurture”, “Heart Health: A Beginner’s guide to Cardiovascular Disease”, “Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier”, “Introduction to Journalism”, and “Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life”. Each course is offered by a major British university. All are short and require approximately three hours of time per week. FutureLearn is impressive. It is to be seen whether it becomes new standard benchmark for excellence in MOOCs, but it is certainly off to a great start.

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How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/how-to-transcend-failure-by-forgetting-about-success/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/how-to-transcend-failure-by-forgetting-about-success/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 11:43:17 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43421 How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success Image source: http://amgamountainguidesearch.com/

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison In a business climate that changes continually and increasingly rapidly, failure is a fact of life. Many business leaders fully believe …

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How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success Image source: http://amgamountainguidesearch.com/
How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success Image source: http://amgamountainguidesearch.com/

How To Transcend Failure By Forgetting About Success Image source: http://amgamountainguidesearch.com/

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

In a business climate that changes continually and increasingly rapidly, failure is a fact of life. Many business leaders fully believe that failure is a blessing. Failure can be learned from, they think. Thomas Edison understood that he had to fail in order to succeed, and most entrepreneurs are familiar with the quote above. Setting up business is cheap in the digital age. Big investments do not necessarily have to be made to set up a shoestring operation that can prove a concept. In fact, as Greg Satell (2014) of Digital Tonto puts it:

“Venture investors, for their part, are looking for just one or two big wins out of ten”.

But does that mean that failure is good and should be embraced warmly? Satell argues no. He disputes the point that you have to fail to succeed. He goes against the grain of current business thinking and says, “only a maniac or a fool would embrace it”.

While Satell’s mind set differs from the common thrust right now, does that mean he is wrong? In fact, Satell makes some solid points that quite simply make sense. After all, as he puts it, “failure means that we messed up”. Satell believes that the concept of embracing failure is fundamentally wrong. And digital solutions or technology that fail do not make life better, so who wants that? However overcoming difficulties and failures to add value is excellent on the other hand.

Greg Satell argues that we have to take a new approach to failure. We have to use big data to figure out in advance what is going to fail and avoiding that. An excellent example is given of Barack Obama’s campaign for office. As explained by Satell, the Obama team simulated 62,000 different scenarios of voter behaviour based on data that had been gathered, and worked out from that what would be necessary to succeed, rather than to fail. That data considered every single voter and looked at how social media could be used to persuade voters to vote Obama. The proponents of the approach believe that this led to 78% of the great undecided finally falling in and voting for Obama.

This represents a whole new approach – learning how not to fail by running the numbers in advance. It means having the data to be able to simulate the scenarios that would lead to failure, and then avoiding those. It means transforming the approach to failure, and transforming failure itself. Meantime, according to Satell, Mitt Romney took risks that did not pay off. Those risks were not supported by the big data evidence of the Obama camp.

But it is not just big data that can be used to prevent failure. Greg Satell also points out that in a digital age we have access to way more information than ever before. We have open source information and access to people. We can glean ideas online from research or quite simply asking people. We have many opportunities to use technology to grow and expand ideas and test them before putting them out to fail. Satell argues that’s what we should be doing rather than “embracing failure”. We should be transforming it instead to plan to make sure that it doesn’t happen in the first place.

Another interesting story concerning the feeling of failure is the one of Elizabeth Gilbert. Elizabeth had been in the past an “unpublished diner waitress,” overwhelmed with constant rejection letters until she finally publish one book that was so successful that it remained on “The New York Times Best Seller list” for 187 weeks. And yet, paradoxically, the success of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ triggered in her once again,  strong feelings of fear of failure. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on a TED talk, why success can be the other coin of failure, and a very confusing experience. Her solution is simple — though hard — carry on, and go back to work, to work on “what you love more than you love yourself”. regardless of outcome.

In both stories, the bottom line is that technology is helping us both to simply work until we implement our vision and idea, and to learn how to avoid failure. Instead of embracing failure we should transform our approach to it so that we can learn from it before we even fail in the first place. It’s a mind-set change,  that abandons the black and white dicotomy of failure/success, and embraces solutions and “work”.

The most powerful man in the world already did it with his election campaign. Will you make that mind-set change too?

 

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Interview With Pascal Freudenreich: Co-Founder and CEO of Carbon Connect-AG http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/interview-with-pascal-freudenreich-founder-and-ceo-of-carbon-connect-ag/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/interview-with-pascal-freudenreich-founder-and-ceo-of-carbon-connect-ag/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:56:51 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43393 Sustainable-world1

How to participate in the sustainable revolution and green innovation

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Sustainable-world1
Interview With Pascal Freudenreich: Founder and CEO of Carbon Connect-AG Intelligenthq

Interview With Pascal Freudenreich: Founder and CEO of Carbon Connect-AG Intelligenthq

It is no breaking news to anyone that global warming is dangerously threatening our green planet. Since 1997′s Kyoto protocol agreement, that various key players and prominent figures come together, to look for ways to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, as these are damaging the environment in a profound way. But its not only governments that should try to do something. Citizens and Businesses can play an important role in finding a solution to the environmental problems.

Carbon-connect AG, is a Swiss based company that was founded in 2013 with the clear purpose of providing individuals and companies with simple solutions that contribute to climate protection. The company’s inspiring and original vision is to support high quality climate protection projects, by offering various labels to their clients inviting them into being part of the solution of our planets problems ( that span from the common citizen to a big organization).  By acquiring a label, any individual, company or website is able to neutralize their carbon footprint. In the following interview to Intelligenthq, the company’s CEO, Pascal Freudenreich explains in detail what inspired him to co-found Carbon-connect AG, and how his company is actively tackling the important environmental issues that are threatening our days.

1. Can you tell us about you, your education background?

After having concluded my education in finance, I spent 10 years abroad (USA and Germany) and returned to Switzerland in 2007. During that time I did several extension studies.

2. You created Carbon Connect, can you tell us about the history of the company and its goals?

The company is the result of enthusiasm and commitment to make a contribution towards a solution of the biggest challenge humanity faces in 21st century. The way it operates is that in collaboration with our customers, we support high-quality climate protection projects, thereby creating a more livable world for us and our children. We show environmentally and socially responsible companies the simplest way to make their entire organisation or processes climate-neutral. Through the targeted support of high-quality climate protection projects, our clients can improve their image and assume a pioneering role in active environmental protection. We create a WIN-WIN situation with advantages for our clients, the environment and society.

3. When did you become interested in Green Economy, Carbon Markets and The Emissions Trading Market ?

In 2012 I was introduced to the carbon market, which was very inspiring for me. I became immediately fascinated by this market. I wanted to be part of the solution of the biggest challenge humanity is currently facing.

4. How do you see these topics in the context of global business and economies?

Getting involved in climate protection is an opportunity that astute businesses will turn to their advantage. By taking positive action on climate change right now, you will differentiate yourself from your competitors, increase your profitability and, at the same time, improve the environment , which is a triple bottom line return. The reasons to why climate commitment pays off are various:

• When you save energy, costs and carbon, you also save money/ reducing operating costs.
• New business: Your clients base their purchasing decisions increasingly according to ecological criteria.
• It attracts new capital as you become a more attractive prospect for investors.
• You contribute actively to environmental protection; climate protection is not an option.
• Pre-compliance: countries will be forced to introduce stricter regulations in order to fulfil their international obligations.
• Positioning: If you establish your company as an economically, socially and ecologically responsible player, you gain a competitive advantage
• Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
• Strengthen your reputation and increase your customer loyalist
• Act rather than react!
• Achieve a carbon neutral position.
• Enhance your visibility (SEO!) & increase your credibility Carbon Connect thus provides a single source both for services and solutions.

5. In what ways do you think the carbon market can work toward sustainability?

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005. Even though it was not rectified by the United States of America & some Asian Countries (Canada left the Kyoto Protocol), there are some established carbon emission trading systems in the US & China. Retiring CO2 reduction certificates to offset an emission, should be done in my opinion, with precedures which cut a carbon footprint. This is why we are building an expert partner network. I believe it is necessary to combine avoiding, cutting, and handling our resources in a more sustainable way and offsetting a carbon footprint. In my opinion, elements such as equitable pricing measures, requirements for monitoring and reporting, offset policies and penalties for not complying, must be addressed at a global level. Climate change is a global problem and we must approach this on a global level.

6. How do you see green innovation and its weight in the Global Economy Development?

The sustainable revolution and green innovation have the potential to become the next major social and economic turning point and could become the next growth engine for the global economy.

Quote by Pascal Freudenreich

Quote by Pascal Freudenreich

7. In what ways can companies and individuals contribute to sustainability and climate protection ?

Our solution is the following: avoid and cut carbon emissions when possible and meaningful, and compensate the balance. We offset 100% of your carbon emissions with high quality climate protection projects. Sustainability has to be positioned as a strategic driver as the relationship between the environment and resources is obvious.

8. There is some controversy concerning whether the emissions trading market truly works as a way to cut the CO2 emissions and GHG emissions. What is your opinion on that ?

Yes, this market (regulated emission market) is still in its infancy. If you look at the European Emission Trading Scheme, by far the world’s largest emission scheme, there are some problems, as the market is oversupplied. In phase 1 allowances have been given away, in phase 2 the system was more rigorous, in the next phase (2013-2020) allowances are being auctioned. Gaps were set at boom times, and as the economic situation in Europe is still not too bright, prices have fallen too low now, which can be be an hindrance as price is what drives behaviours. The Kyoto Protocol was set out as an international Agreement. Europe was the first to establish a market in the hope the rest of the world would follow but this unfortunately did not happen even though there are new markets being put in place around the world slowly (USA, China etc). Again, this must be approached at a global level as it is a global problem.

9. What are the climate friendly products/ labels you developed ? How does it works ? How do you access whether these are implemented or not ?

With our label family we show our clients the most efficient way to become carbon neutral. We offer our “carbon neutral car label”, which lets you offset the carbon footprint you produce when in the process of driving a car. When driving or flying one can easily calculate their carbon footprint, as we provide an easy to use online calculator with integrated offset oportunities and an online payment system. The more sophisticated labels include : “carbon-neutral company” and our latest label “climate friendly website”. Our services include of course a cyberlabel along with a physical label and a unique PR package and help in CSR-Policy for all our customers, to help them getting the message out.With links and backlinks we help our customers with their online visibility and SEO. With our expert partners carbon-connect AG we can help reducing our customer’s carbon-footprint. Carbon-connect’s registry accounts are being audited by third party, so every customer can be sure we retire the amount of offsets we sell. All audit reports are available upon request.

Labels offered by Carbon-connect AG

Labels offered by Carbon-connect AG

10. What are your next plans? Any ideas for new products/labels ?

There are still plenty of plans : the next step is to set up an online network & competence centre for our clients and the highly niche companies operating in the sustainable industry. Together with our expert partners carbon-connect works successfully towards climate protection. These partners will be available last week on September and will be added to our homepage in the carbon-connect AG Network section. There is much more in the pipeline, so stay tuned!

11. You developed a label for sustainability for websites. Can you tell us about it?

Yes this is our latest product called the climate friendly website. As we all know the internet is an enormous “power guzzler”. That logo comes with a snippet tool and can be implemented on any company or individual which operates a website. With the atribution of that specific label, carbon-connect compensates the carbon-footprint of the cross water consumption (the gross per capita water use in the EU is over 4000 Ltr. per day !) and the per capita electricity consumption (calculated on the number of employees/individuals operating the website). In addition we support organizations which plant trees in South America and Africa. It is our goal to plant three million new trees with the help of our customers buying this label.

12. How do you see the challenges of the present Economy and the relation between Democratized Capital and Sustainability?

This movement is not new and has been around for quite a time, look at food co-ops along with employee-owned businesses. The movement sees it as a course correction towards a more green and moral capitalism. Sustainability has become unavoidable for businesses. A study speaks for itself, sustainable businesses have outperformed their competitors by about 3%, sustainability is a growing trend. My opinion : Any company not adopting a sustainability policy will eventually lose its « license » to operate.

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/the-bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/the-bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 06:00:31 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43385 The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intelligenthq

IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations - Part 6

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intelligenthq
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intelligenthq

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intelligenthq

This is a Part 6 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations. In these series of articles we will be highlighting the top international Foundations focused in social business and social entrepreneuship.

Bill Gates is perhaps best known for his work at Microsoft, and he is continually ranked in the Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world. In September 2014, Bill Gates was considered to be the second wealthiest person on the planet. One aspect about Bill Gates that is less well known however is his philanthropy. Together with his wife, Melinda Gates he set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation works together with organisations and partners across the globe to tackle difficult challenges associated with poverty related to specific issues. As Bill and Melinda put it:

“We focus on only a few issues because we think that’s the best way to have great impact…we think they are the biggest barriers that prevent people from making the most of their lives”.

The organisation was born in the late 1990s, and both Bill and Melinda are reported to have come from families that believed in volunteerism and civic engagement. The early signs that an organisation may spring up came in 1997, and in that same year, Bill took his first trip to India, working with the foundation to give polio vaccines to children. The Gates Library Foundation was launched also in the early years. One of the earliest projects was to bring Internet to public libraries. Between 2000 and 2009 the organisation was consolidated and the actual Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation itself was formed in 2000. Some early projects of the fledgling organisation included one in 2000 to address homelessness in the Puget Sound area in Washington State, as well as another in 2001 which launched an office in Washington D.C. to create partnerships with government funded programmes. Other important milestones during this period were the launch of a HIV/AIDs prevention branch in India in 2003, and in the same year the completion of the original libraries work. In 2005, the library work went global, working to bring computers and internet access to libraries in a variety of countries including Chile, Lithuania and Ukraine. In the same year $258 million was assigned in grants to anti-malaria work. In 2006 the organisation settled on three main priorities: global health, global development and work in the US. In 2007 a Beijing office was opened to tackle health problems in Asia, and in 2008, Bill Gates left Microsoft to work full time at the Foundation. More recently the organisation has continued to consolidate its work worldwide, based on the premise that all lives have equal value.

In a recent interview, published in TED, Bill and Melinda Gates reflect how the work they do in their foundation is the most satisfying thing they’ve ever done.

The organisation works based on gaining an understanding of the problems that people face. Regardless of the type of problem – whether it is an inner city problem in the USA or a farming problem in rural Africa, the approach is the same – listening first. Then the decision makers review whether or not it will be possible for the organisation to make a real difference, and if so, a grant or a contract is awarded. The organisation collaborates with grantee and partner organisations that work to align goals of projects with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s strategic priorities. This means agreeing upfront what the desired outcomes will be.

Deciding on developing grants and contracts is well structured, in four stages to make sure that all bases are covered. The first stage is concept development. During this stage, the Foundation’s officers work with partners in the field to review if a concept is aligned to a Foundation strategy or not and whether or not the foundation should proceed in this direction. The second stage includes a pre-proposal where concepts are explored and further refined, to understand several perspectives regarding the suggested work that will be carried out. This can include a request for a proposal (RFP), discussion or direct solicitation of an organisation in some cases. The third stage is investment development, and during this process applicants are given guidelines and templates since they need to complete a proposal, budget, results framework and tracker. Then their proposals can be properly reviewed, and a foundation executive can make the final decision regarding whether the grant or contract should be funded. In the final stage, the project goes ahead with close communication between the Foundation and the project.

Bill and Melinda Gates are a shining example of philanthropy by successful business people. If more of the world’s richest business people step up, maybe we can all work together to solve the problems of the world.

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 1- Skoll Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 2 - Ashoka Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 3  - Schwab Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 4 - UnLtd
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 5 - Omydiar Network

 

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The Makers Movement In Action http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-makers-movement-in-action/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/the-makers-movement-in-action/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 06:00:44 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43369 Guide to the Makers Movement part 2 Intelligenthq

Guide To The Makers Movement Part 2

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Guide to the Makers Movement part 2 Intelligenthq
Guide to the Makers Movement part 2 Intelligenthq

Guide to the Makers Movement part 2 Intelligenthq

Due to advances in the internet, open innovation, sharing and crowd funding, the Makers Movement is on its way up, as we saw in Part 1 of this series. The maker movement was shown to be an extension of DIY, leading to the development of inventions and prototypes that in the past would have been the domain of large organisations only. The strong emphasis of this Maker Movement development is that of the social environment within which the maker is operating. The maker finds information, help, support and even money to progress ideas online. Sharing of information is paramount, and maker culture is driving considerable change in society.

The Makers Movement has already been leveraged in a number of ways. For example, Makey Makey provides what it describes as “an invention kit for everyone”. Some examples of items that have been created using the kit include “piano stairs”, a “banana piano”, the ability to play Mario Brothers using Play Dough or allowing a cat to take a picture of itself. Makey Makey was developed by two graduate students at MIT Media Lab, with the vision that everyone can make items. The process uses alligator clips and a maker board. While none of the examples are really going to change the world profoundly, the concept behind the idea just might. There is no programming involved, so the idea is accessible to all, and really all you need is a level of creativity to get started (as well as the Makey Makey kit of course).

Another example is Raspberry Pi. Fundamentally, Raspberry Pi is a small computer that costs just £25 and has been designed to teach young people how to programme. It enables some interesting items to be made. The idea behind Raspberry Pi is that in the future more and more computer programmers will be needed than ever before, so getting children interested in this at an early age is not just important, but also necessary. The Raspberry Pi has to be connected to a TV or monitor and a keypad and then the child can begin. There are many applications of this system such as in science and music. There are also Raspberry Jam Events that allow people to get together to discuss new idea s of how the Raspberry Pi can be used. Children can learn how to create games, or build robots for example.

Arduino is yet another example of a maker tool. The Arduino tool is used to make computers that are able to sense and control more of the physical world and not just the desktop computer. It allows interactive objects to be built by taking information from different switches and sensors and allowing items such as lights, motors and other physical outputs to be controlled. Arduino boards  are able to be purchased reassembled or assembled by hand, and the code that is behind them is open source and is able to be downloaded for free. The programming language is called the Arduino programming language. There are lots of different tools that can do the same sorts of things as Arduino can, but Arduino recommends its option since it is cheap compared with other micro controller platforms. It also works on a variety of different platforms (Windows, Macintosh OSX and Linux) and has a simple and clear programming environment. The fact that both the software and hardware are open source is also a big selling point.

Meeting other makers

For those that want to meet with others, they may wish to attend a Markers Fair, or  look locally to find a club or organisation that encourages people to do this.

Motorized hammoc at NYC makers fair 2012

Motorized hammoc at NYC makers fair 2012

For example the South London Makerspace is an organisation that aims:

“…to promote and encourage creative, technical and scientific skills through social collaboration and education, and to provide and maintain shared community workspace and equipment in Greater London.”

The South London Makerspace is currently located in Herne Hill and it offers four desks. There are areas for electronics, computing, arts and crafts. There is also a long work bench that has power tools. Tools include various types of saws, drills and sanders. Members join and then they gain access by getting keys. New members are encouraged to go along on Wednesdays when there are open evenings. All in all the space is great for encouraging creativity and providing the tools needed to get started. In the United States you can become a member of TechShop.

Enthusiasts of the Makers Movement forecast in it the second industrial revolution. According to Chris Anderson, a famous author and entrepreneur, who wrote “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (2012)”:

“The next generation of industrial designers are going to be the kids that get 3D printers for Christmas this year.”

Chris Marker believes that the current and next generations of “Makers”, will be able to use the web’s innovation model, and will drive the next big wave in the global economy. As he optimistically puts it, new technologies of digital design and rapid prototyping, facilitated by the increasing amount of information available to individuals and the decreasing cost of electronic components, empowering all of us with the ability to invent and create whatever we have in mind.

Which is what the makers movement is all about.

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How The Makers Movement Will Transform The World http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/how-the-makers-movement-will-transform-the-world/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/how-the-makers-movement-will-transform-the-world/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 06:00:55 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43367 How The Makers Movement Will Transform The World Image source: Sabrina Staires

Guide To The Makers Movement Part 1

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How The Makers Movement Will Transform The World Image source: Sabrina Staires
How The Makers Movement Will Transform The World Image source: Sabrina Staires

How The Makers Movement Will Transform The World Image source: Sabrina Staires

Some are predicting that the Makers Movement is going to change the world. Some say that it already is. Probably you have not really heard of the makers movement, but makers everywhere are making solutions to difficult problems from the comfort of their own homes. People of all ages are doing this, and creating tools for change in society. As Jane Wakefield of the BBC explains:

“From the 15 year old high school student who created a pancreatic cancer test using Google as a research tool, to people making money from home made electronic devices, citizens are most definitely doing it for themselves”.

That a 15 year old was able to achieve such an outstanding feat is indicative of the kind of change that is possible when people put their minds to it and think creatively. According to Wakefield, certain changes have led to this being more possible than before. These include the ability for people to be able to access cheap components online, as well as the opportunity to crowd source, and share ideas and funding. All of this provides opportunities that did not exist in the past, but that are now driving people to achieve amazing things.

In the past, creating a prototype or a new product was often the remit of organisations with resources behind them. However, now people are using all kinds of “making” techniques as diverse as sewing and electronics to be able to make products that add value to society and change lives. According to Wakefield, Make Magazine has had a role to play in this as well, and there are Maker Faires held in San Francisco, India, Tokyo, Newcastle and Africa. These types of events are excellent for makers as they are able to get together with people of a similar mind set and share ideas, further driving the Maker Movement. Of course it is also facilitated by the internet and accessibility to information that helps people to come up with information and get advice on how to go about what they are doing to create innovation. The web offers guidance in so many different areas, and every step of the making process may be defined in some way or another online for those with the ideas to create new products. Many consider this to be a creative revolution, with people coming up with their own designs for products.

A person considered to a pioneer of the Maker Movement is Mark Hatch, that published in 2013 the book: “The Maker Movement Manifesto”, that captures the movements revolutionary spirit. In his book Hatch writes how “Now, with the tools available at a makerspace, anyone can change the world.”

Mark hatch Quote Intelligenthq

Mark hatch Quote Intelligenthq

Hatch is the cofounder of TechShop - the first, largest, and most popular makerspace. Interested people can become a member by paying  a small fee for access to its advanced tools-everything from laser cutters and milling machines to 3D printers and AutoCAD software. TechShops exist in various states of the US, and members are guided by a “dream consultant”.

How to Find Funding

Both Hatch and Wakefield explain that of course makers have always been out there making things, but that now they do present a new threat to existing corporations because they are able to find ideas online, and even more importantly they can find support and financing online through websites such as Kickstarter. This has made large organisations start to pay attention. Specifically, Wakefield cites the case of Intel which is one of the sponsors of the Maker Faire. Organisations are starting to recognise the skills that makers have to offer and are seeking them out and recruiting them for R&D teams.

Wakefield provides the example of Etsy which is an online marketplace for handmade items. The organisation brought in £307 million in sales in just eight months of 2012, at the time of writing of the Wakefield article. Another major maker breakthrough is the concept of the 3D printer which Wakefield describes as being a “killer app of the maker movement”. While a threat, at the current time the technology is not yet advanced sufficiently to really pose a challenge to talented, creative and innovative makers across the globe.

Ultimately, so-called “ordinary people” are achieving amazing goals through making, and have been able to build up companies through it and get their ideas funded and financed. Harnessing the tools and information that the internet has to offer has brought about a fundamental change in this regard, in the sense that a person no longer has to have a high level of training or lots of money to be able to advance an idea. With a bit of web savvy and lots of research a person can progress an idea from home instead. It is hard to imagine anyone outdoing the 15 year old that produced the cancer test at home, but it is yet to be seen what else may be achieved in the future. Only time will tell how far the Makers Movement goes.

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Omidyar Network: Conjugating Investment With Philanthropy http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/omidyar-network-conjugating-investment-with-philanthropy/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/omidyar-network-conjugating-investment-with-philanthropy/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 06:00:34 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43356 Omydiar Network Intelligenthq

Part 5 of the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations

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Omydiar Network Intelligenthq
Omydiar Network Intelligenthq

Omydiar Network Intelligenthq

This is a Part 5 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations. In these series of articles we will be highlighting the top international Foundations focused in social business and social entrepreneuship.

Omidyar Network

Looking for funding to get a philanthropic venture off the ground? The Omidyar Network may be a good place to start. The Omidyar Network is an investment firm with a difference. It focuses specifically on making investments that are philanthropic. It seeks to provide opportunity for people to enhance their lives through investment in initiatives that drive economic and social change.

The Omidyar Network was founded by Pierre Omidyar. He was also the founder of eBay, and this experience had an impact on Pierre’s development of the Omidyar Network. The organisation is of the firm belief that market forces have the ability to drive positive social change, and for this reason the organisation invests in both for-profit businesses and non-profit organisations. Both of these have the power to drive the change that is hoped for, according to the Omidyar Network. The Omidyar Network boasts big figures. Indeed since its inception it has committed $709 million in total. It has provided $325 million for for-profit investments since inception, and $384 million in non profit grants.

The Omidyar Network has its own take on philanthropy. It argues that:

 “In its truest sense, philanthropy is about improving the lives of others, independent of the mechanism”.

For these reasons it believes that philanthropy is more than just a kind of funding. The organisation has a positive approach towards humanity and it starts “from the premise that people are basically good”. This means that the platform has been created to make sure that everyone has access to information and opportunities. The Omidyar Network invests in entrepreneurs that have the drive and commitment to social good in the same way that the organisation itself does. There are five areas of focus for the organisation that are being targeted and these are:

  • Consumer Internet and Mobile
  • Education
  • Financial Inclusion
  • Government Transparency
  • Property Rights.

These areas have been selected as targets as the Omidyar Network believes that they are critical to the development of prosperous, stable and open societies. Initiatives followed are those that offer access, connection and ownership.

Quote by Pierre Omydiar

Quote by Pierre Omydiar

Consumer Internet and Mobile

Consumer Internet and Mobile is an area that is close to the Omidyar Network’s heart. The organisation believes that innovations in this area have the ability to “shrink geographic boundaries and expand people’s horizons”. They allow people to exchange information in a trustworthy manner. The organisation has strong ties to Silicon Valley which helps it to be able to invest and leverage these types of innovations, hence its strong support in this field. In the area of education, the organisation supports initiatives that seek to help people to develop and offer a better future for themselves and their families. The organisation particularly supports opportunities to deliver high quality affordable schooling, pre-primary education and vocational training to areas where access and opportunities have traditionally been scarce. Meanwhile, financial exclusion is considered to be a massive problem worldwide, with the Omidyar Network quoting that 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic financial services. Here the organisation works not just in developing countries to help those in extreme poverty, but also in the US market where people “live paycheck to paycheck” and are thus underserved in the USA. With government transparency the organisation seeks to provide people with the information and tools that they need to make sure that their best interests are represented and also to ensure that citizens are able to hold their leaders to account. This includes defining best practise and supporting independent journalism that reports on government actions. Finally in the area of property rights the organisation seeks to help individuals, groups, businesses and communities to protect their rights to property, given the fact that many people worldwide have weak or no rights in this regard.

The Omidyar Network has invested in countless organisations. In consumer internet and mobile these include the Alliance for Affordable Internet, Change.org, Nation Builder, Meetup and Wikia. In education, some of the organisations supported include the African Leadership Academy, Aspiring Minds, English Helper, Tree House and Teach for India. In financial inclusion, those supported include the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, BRAC, Kiva, LeapFrog Investments and MFX Solutions. Government transparency beneficiaries include the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, the Code for America, Fundar and Global Voices. Finally, with regard to property rights, Landesa, MicroBuild and Red Tierras have all been supported, among many others.

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 1- Skoll Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 2 - Ashoka Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 3  - Schwab Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 4 - UnLtd

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UnLtd: Changing The UK For The Better http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/unltd-changing-the-uk-for-the-better/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/unltd-changing-the-uk-for-the-better/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 06:00:23 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43352 UnLtd: Changing the UK for the better

This is a Part 4 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations. In these series of articles we will be highlighting the top international Foundations focused in social business and social …

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UnLtd: Changing the UK for the better
UnLtd: Changing the UK for the better

UnLtd: Changing the UK for the better

This is a Part 4 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations. In these series of articles we will be highlighting the top international Foundations focused in social business and social entrepreneuship.

UnLtd: Changing the UK for the Better

Social entrepreneurs often have amazing ideas for exciting projects that can change people’s lives for the better. In many cases however, these social entrepreneurs need support to be able to get started, just like any other kind of entrepreneurs. Enter UnLtd, the UK’s leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs. Operating on an awards based programme, UnLtd is able to invest directly in individuals, offering comprehensive packages of resources which include funding, advice, networking and also practical support. UnLtd explains that it aims to help those leading social organisations in the UK, of which it argues that research shows there are 1.7 million.

UnLtd believes that during the period of austerity that we currently face in the UK, that social entrepreneurs are needed more than ever before. Given this mind set the organisation has created a five year strategy with a goal of bringing people together and giving them the confidence to act. In particular, the focus of the organisation is on disadvantaged areas and working towards building lasting change, through delivering major impact. For organisations that have an idea to create social change and are passionate about getting started there are “Do It” Awards available. However, these are limited and very competitive. Some may want to grow ventures that are already doing well and have been doing so for more than a year. In this case a “Built It” Award may be an option, though there are only 18 such awards available per year. These awards offer cash for living expenses as well as one to one support. The third type of award offered is “Fast Growth”. This type of award provides cash for living expenses and business support and is available for those organisations that are already early stage social ventures that can achieve rapid growth.

In particular there are various forms of assistance for younger people to get involved in social entrepreneurship. One such programme is for those that are aged between 11 to 21. This programme is for those youngsters that have an idea that can help in the community and do good but who need support to get it underway. There is also the “Social Switch on (NCS) Awards”. These Awards are for people that are aged 16 to 20 years old and who graduated from NCS or will do in the upcoming summer. These awards are for those in England. They provide assistance to young people who want to know how their social action idea may also make money for them. Those who are at university are not left out, and people who are currently students, recent graduates or even members of university staff that have an idea that they want to try out, do full time or build up can find assistance as well.

In addition to all of these types of opportunities, there are also options for those that want to collaborate with other social entrepreneurs for greater collective impact, options for those that aim to tackle social care issues, especially social isolation among older people, and those that want to create social change using digital technology to do so.

UnLtd also develops partnerships to develop its goals. As it puts it:

“Partnerships are key to our strategy and hugely important to us. We work with several types of partners to create different types of impact.”

There are various different kinds of partners that the organisation works with. One is funders that have funds that they wish to give to social entrepreneurs. Another is research and collaborations in this area. The organisation also looks for mentors that may be able to help social entrepreneurs to get off the ground by sharing their specialist knowledge. Those within communities that can help social entrepreneurs on the delivery side area also helpful partners for the organisation. UnLtd works with partnerships in a collaborative manner, to connect social entrepreneurs to business professionals and to provide reach to areas of society that it cannot reach on its own. Partners are expected to be proactive people that are eager to learn but also to share their learning. They are keen to support or fund social entrepreneurs in some way. With this extensive range of support for social entrepreneurs of all ages and types, it is not surprising that UnLtd considers itself to be one of the most important sources of support for social entrepreneurs in the UK.

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Schwab Foundation: Catalysing Social Innovation http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/intelligenthq-series-on-social-entrepreneurship-foundations-schwab-foundation/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/intelligenthq-series-on-social-entrepreneurship-foundations-schwab-foundation/#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 06:00:39 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43337 Schwab Foundation Intelligenthq

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 3

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Schwab Foundation Intelligenthq
Schwab Foundation Intelligenthq

Schwab Foundation Intelligenthq

This is a Part 3 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations. In these series of articles we will be highlighting the top international Foundations focused in social business and social entrepreneuship.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurs looking for support to drive their social innovation forward may wish to look no further than the Schwab Foundation, or at least consider it on their list of possible opportunities for gaining help. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Cologny-Geneva in Switzerland. The organisation aims to promote social entrepreneurship and to foster and nurture social entrepreneurs, given their important role in catalysing social innovation and progress in society. However, what the organisation does not do is give grants or invest financially in organisations of its selected social entrepreneurs.

Mostly the Schwab Foundation acts as a community and serves to highlight what social entrepreneurs are doing. One of its main goals is to select between 20 and 25 social entrepreneurs from around the world each year, and it does this through its Social Entrepreneur of the Year competition. The organisation posts the profiles of these selected social entrepreneurs online. In addition to the competition, there are already 260 social entrepreneurs that are an integral part of the Schwab Foundation community. These people are located across the globe and the community serves to encourage peer to peer exchange among the social entrepreneurs. The Foundation works to connect social entrepreneurs and it holds regional and global meetings at a World Economic Forum. These forums provide excellent opportunities for networking connections to be made. As well as the support already mentioned, the organisation also works to support young social entrepreneurs with a forum specifically targeted at those under the age of 40, the Forum of Young Global Leaders. It also works with Harvard University, Stanford University and INSEAD to make sure that scholarship opportunities can be available for selected social entrepreneurs.

The organisation was founded in 1998 by Klaus Schwab and his wife Hilde. They provided an endowment for the Foundation to promote entrepreneurial solutions with social commitment designed to impact at a grassroots level. Klaus Schwab also created the World Economic Forum in 1971, bringing together a community of world leaders to improve the state of the world. Leaders at this forum come from the worlds of business, academia and government. The two entities are separate from one another and have different boards. However, they do work together relatively closely to achieve mutual goals.

The following video gives an overview of Schwab Foundation and the types of entreprises thry support:

For those that want to get involved with the Schwab Foundation it is necessary to apply to the aforementioned competition. Applicants are expected to complete the application form and submit requested information such as a CV, income statements and other items. There are certain criteria that the foundation looks for when selecting people into the Foundation Network. These include the ability of the social enterprise to be able to produce transformative social change, which may be achieved through a new product or service, a new production or distribution method, a new labour supply, reformulating a product for a population and new organisational structures or funding models. Another is organisational sustainability, including financial sustainability, but also a business model that is demonstrably sustainable and which has a proven track record. The organisation will not consider start ups or pilot projects, and applicant organisations must have three years of operations under their belt before being able to apply.

Transformational change and sustainability are not the only criteria for consideration. For example, the organisation must have the ability to have either a proven social or environmental impact. Organisations must be able to demonstrate this by having monitoring and evaluation processes and systems in place, and they need to be able to show how this impacts decision making and improvement of what the organisation does. Additionally, the reach and scope of the social entrepreneur’s project needs to have already extended beyond its initial location, and to be further scalable. The social entrepreneur needs to be okay with sharing tools, approaches and techniques with others. Finally the candidate has to be able to demonstrate that he or she is able to act as an ambassador for social entrepreneurship.

The rewards for being able to demonstrate a strong candidacy are high in terms of social entrepreneurs being able to further their own causes and showcase what they are doing. For social entrepreneurs that are at the right level, it may be well worth the effort needed to apply in order to become accepted into the

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 1- Skoll Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 2 - Ashoka Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 3  - Schwab Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 4 - UnLtd

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Guide to Collaborative Finance Part 3 http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/social-saving-saving-through-social-commitment-and-technology/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/social-saving-saving-through-social-commitment-and-technology/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:00:49 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43326 Social Saving. The Intelligenthq series on Collaborative Finance Part 3

Social Saving: Saving through Social Commitment and Technology

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Social Saving. The Intelligenthq series on Collaborative Finance Part 3
Social Saving. The Intelligenthq series on Collaborative Finance Part 3

Social Saving. The Intelligenthq series on Collaborative Finance Part 3

This is a Part 3 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Collaborative Finance.  Collaborative Finance is an umbrella term that assembles together various processes of money exchange happening right now that are revolutionising finance. In the second part of this series we looked at peer to peer lending and now we will look at Social Saving.

What is Social Saving?

Saving is hard, especially for people that are not good with money, or people that do not have a lot of money that they could potentially save anyway. Social saving is a new concept that aims to help people to save through providing support to help people to achieve their goals. The idea behind it is that people are more likely to do what they say they will if a person will hold them responsible for it. As Collaborative Finance explains:

“In terms of goal setting, accountability does not need to be formal – just the fact that someone knows about my goal and will think poorly about me if I don’t complete it is enough to encourage me”.

According to Collaborative Finance this is equally true of financial goals as it is of any other goal. One example of such a service is SmartyPig. This organisation helps the saver and their friends and family to all engage in the saving process. Friends and family are informed of the saver’s goals, and the site even suggests ways in which the saver can get friends and family to donate. While this might be a bit much for some people, just the level of engagement that friends and families know what they are doing will bring appears to be of benefit, providing the pressure that the person needs to stick to their targets. Another great thing about SmartyPig is that social networking tools are offered, and savers can exchange money saving tips with one another. Even better, SmartyPig gives out rewards to those individuals that are able to meet their targets. Account holders that achieve this can, if they wish, buy gift cards that allow a cash-back reward of up to 14% to be received. This may be deposited into a new savings account or added to the card. By providing goals and rewards in this way, social saving does seem to be paying off for some. These types of approaches (goal savings) are designed for short and medium term savings rather than longer term savings plans.

Savings Groups

Collaborative Finance also argues the case for “Savings Groups” which it believes to be a revolutionary approach. Savings Groups are explained to be groups that are self-selected of people that get together to save and borrow. Usually somewhere between 15 and 30 people are involved. This is particularly helpful for the very poor, such as people living in villages in developing societies. The Savings Group may also offer loans to members of the group through the collective savings in some scenarios. In this case usually all participants in the group have to agree with the loan and the loan is made only if the borrower is completely trusted. Collaborative Finance explains that there are limits on how much a person can borrow, and commonly this is no more than three times what that particular member has saved.

Money Go Rounds is explained by Collaborative Finance to be a social network that helps people with group saving. It shows how peer to peer services can be used. Within there are rotating savings groups (RSG) that meet and work together to save and borrow. Members contribute the same amount at each meeting, describes Collaborative Finance, and then at each meeting one member takes the whole sum. This is an interesting and innovative form of saving money. The RSG helps to provide people with the self-control needed to save, and helps to tie people in and commit them to saving.

The following video, done by Fidelity Labs explores another possible operating method of social saving connecting it with investing:

Saving through goal visualisation, social commitment and technology

Yet another approach provided by Collaborative Finance is Piggymojo. This website offers the chance to use goal visualisation, social commitments and technology to increase saving.  Piggymojo focuses on stopping impulse buying and helping low income earners to increase their saving. Rather than impulse buying they are encouraged to impulse save. It does this by increasing the link between spending avoidance and savings.

In times that are economically challenging for many, encouraging saving through social saving is an important approach that can help people to improve their financial standing, and ultimately their choices and lives. Concepts being applied to social saving are relatively new but it will be interesting to see which direction these take, and if goal based saving and commitment through peer pressure really does help people to achieve their saving goals.

Guide to Collaborative Finance (part1) – What is Collaborative Finance 
Guide to Collaborative Finance (part2) - Peer to Peer Lending
Guide to Collaborative Finance (part3) - Peer to Peer Lending

 

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Is The Sharing Economy Here To Stay ? http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/is-the-sharing-economy-here-to-stay/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/is-the-sharing-economy-here-to-stay/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 12:35:11 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43304 illustration nesta collaborative economy

“Making sense of the UK Collaborative Economy” an event and new report promoted by Nesta

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illustration nesta collaborative economy
Is The Sharing Economy Here To Stay ? Illustration by Maria Fonseca to Intelligenthq

Is The Sharing Economy Here To Stay ? Illustration by Maria Fonseca to Intelligenthq

“The sharing economy is here to stay” Dax Lovegrove

“Making sense of the UK Collaborative Economy” was an event promoted by Nesta, UK’s Leading Innovation Charity, that happened the former  2nd of September (2014), to launch an interesting and comprehensive report that maps the main trends on collaborative economy happening in the UK.

“Making sense of the UK Collaborative Economy” happened in London, at Nesta´s headquarters, and joined together various promoters and key player interested in this vibrant emergent new trend of the economy. The public attending were founders of startups, researchers, governmental agents and many others, curious and interested in debating and reflecting about the collaborative economy, which has been object of a lot of attention lately.

Nesta´s report resulted from a partnership with Collaborative Lab, and it focus and explores UK’s emerging collaborative economy. Authors of the report are Kathleen Stokes (who gave us  comprehensive review on its findings), Emma Clarence, Lauren Anderson and April Rinne.

The event, moderated by Helen Goulden, the executive director of Nesta Innovation Lab, started with a presentation via skype on what is collaborative economy. Rachel Botsman,who is a global tought leader on the power of collaboration and sharing through digital technologies, has written the book: Whats mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the way we live and is considered to be a pioneer in the field of collaborative economy. Rachel is the founder of Collaborative Lab, which aims to be the leading source of expertise for businesses and governments willing to embrace the collaborative economy.

Other speakers included Debbie Wosskow, Founder and CEO of Love Home Swap,  Dax Lovegrove, the Director of Sustainability and Innovation, of company Kingfisher that launched Streetclub, and Matthew McStravick, Founder and CEO of Echo – The economy of Hours.  Attending the event was a varied group of people, from researchers interested in studying the collaborative economy to various founders and CEOs of other collaborative economy projects, such as Sam Stephens, the founder of Streetbank, Lesley Zhang, the CFO of Rentez-vous, and many others.

The report

Helen Goulden gave us an overview of the comprehensive report on collaborative economy. The report, divided in four areas, aimed to:

  • Define what is the collaborative economy
  • Who is operating in it
  • Who is participating in it
  • How should we appropriately regulate and manage the collaborative economy

What is collaborative economy?

“A fairer, greener alternative to capitalism, or capitalism’s newest, most efficient form? A new way of organising the economy, or a phenomenon as old as humanity itself? A technology that frees us from the power of monopolies and big corporations, or a destroyer of steady jobs and consumer rights?”

The collaborative economy corresponds to an innovative way of both thinking and doing business, that is based in exchange, value and community. How to define it is still confusing as it an emergent field, and its definitions are varied, as its parameters and main traits are still in a processs of evolution. Some call it Sharing Economy, others, collaborative consumption. Anyway and according to the report: “Models within the collaborative economy enable access instead of ownership, encourage decentralised networks over centralised institutions, and unlock wealth (with and without money). They make use of idle assets and create new marketplaces.”

Fostered by the internet, that has profoundly transformed the way people connect with one another, coordinate and manage their activities, the result of such a novel way to approach business, is that it is revolutionizing and challenging more traditional approaches of doing business. Collaborative Economy has grown so much, that new questions arise, with researchers interested in knowing who uses it, what are and should be its rules, and governments willing to adapt existing regulations.

Many look at it with suspicion. If some might think of it as a fairer, more sustainable and greener alternative to capitalism, holding great opportunities to both consumers and producers due to its focus on sharing, others see it as “capitalism’s highest form, sweeping away vested interests and complacent incumbents”. Amongst the biggest concerns is if it will lead to the  loss of skilled jobs, being replaced by low paid casual work.

Image source: Report "Making sense of the UK Collaborative Economy" by Nesta

Image source: Report “Making sense of the UK Collaborative Economy” by Nesta

 Who is operating in it?

NESTA’s report resulted from an  online survey, that received 68 answers mainly from the UK, Slovenia, Poland, Spain and France. The goal was to understand what types of businesses and organisations are operating within it, what they are doing, how they are doing it and what values are underpinning their activities. The survey discovered how this field is very young, as 64 per cent of the companies were founded after 2010, which emphasises the young, tech–driven nature of the collaborative economy. On the other hand, a curious finding was the one of how established companies are beginning to be attracted to the collaborative economy as a new type of business model, and are already taking measures to extend their current activities to incorporate it. An example given is how Zipcar was  acquired by Avis, and how B&Q/Kingfisher introduces neighbourhood platform Streetclub. In June 2014, Santander became the first bank to enter a partnership with a peer–to–peer lending platform Lending Club.

The study has also concluded that the main areas approach by the collaborative economy are finance, education and consumption, and that its three main traits are:

  • creating value out of idling capacity,
  • connecting networks of people and assets
  • encouraging meaningful interactions and the development of trust between the people participating

Finally, the different drivers that distinguish the collaborative economy from more traditional business models are three: To rebuilding social capital, to creating new economic relationships and to promote Environmental sustainabilitity.

Who is participating in the collaborative economy?

As a common sense truth, it is known that collaborative businesses and organisations can only grow if there is increasing demand from the population. But whether or not people are interested in sharing, is still a big question mark.  The lively public attending the event, made interesting questions concerning this issue such as :  how do we make sharing attractive ?  As someone was saying: “There is an sustainability resistance. People don’t want to share their stuff. There is an engrained culture that needs to be challenged.” Dax Lovegrove  pointed out how it is necessary to get across a massive cultural shift. He proposed that it could be more useful for now to “focus in convenience, and not in green.”

The report showed how there is not a lot known whether the UK population participates in the collaborative economy or not. Concerning the global picture, some companies have started to measure their impact: for  instance, Airbnb announced in March 2014 that it had over one million guests from both the UK and France (totalling over two million travellers). Another survey is the Neilsen Global Survey of Share Communities, an online poll of over 30,000 respondents in 60 countries, that aimed to measure public willingness to participate in collaborative, or sharing economy, activities, and a survey done in 2013 by Vision Critical and Crowd Companies, that interviewed over 90,000 customers and communities of client organisations across the UK, United States and Canada. Its results reported 23 million ‘sharers’ in the UK and outlined their participation (and intention to participate) in a selection of collaborative activities.

As part of their report, Nesta commissioned TNS Global to survey a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults about their participation in collaborative activities over a selection of sectors, arriving to the conclusion that 64 per cent of UK adults had participated in collaborative activities (with and without internet technologies) in the last year. One man participating in the survey, living in the East of England raised an interesting question: “As a culture I also don’t think we are social enough to easily accept “strangers” in on things like lift sharing.”

Another point raised by the public was on the issue of “trust”: How do you deal with the different understandings of agreements established within the contracts of a collaboration ? And how to make collaborative consumption attractive to “emergent” economies and post socialist EU states ?

How should we appropriately regulate and manage the collaborative economy?

As the collaborative economy grows some concerns start to appear. Is there any direct risks of the collaborative economy ? is it safe? Can it harm people? Lately various stories have appeared particularly with AirBnb concerning guests breaking the rules of the platform. On the other hand, taxi drivers have complained and made protests in various cities in Europe (London, Berlin) considering the service Uber as a rival that offered no safety and was making people loose jobs. The taxi drivers concerns raise one of the most worries coming up with this new economic trend which is if the collaborative economy will drive down wages in some sectors.If this is really the future of economy, how can it be approached holistically as a great opportunity to all ?

Governments and the public opinion start to think about the need to regulate. But how to do it ? is it the role of the government to intervene and how much? The main areas to tackle are taxation, licensing and certification.

Conclusion

The event concluded with Helen Goulden asking the panelists what had they learned that day that they didn’t had learned before. A common conclusion was that we are still in the beginning. As Dax Lovegrove said: “We are at the very beginning of the journey. There is a lot to be looking at. Things are changing massively. When sharing becomes as convenient as ownership. It will work.

Time will tell whether these new collaborative technologies and models gradually get taken up and what would be the ones that will flourish. Nesta reports mentions how it plans to work with other organisations in the field to provide finance and support for the most interesting experiments, and how it will continue to research and market intelligence to foster the development of this field. This approach, the report says: “will balance enthusiasm and support with reflection and, where necessary, critique.” Its main goals, will be that their efforts will inform and contribute to the development of an equitable,  sustainable and efficient collaborative economy in the UK.

 

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Making it Big! Strategies For Scaling Social Innovations http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/strategies-for-scaling-social-innovations/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/innovation-management/strategies-for-scaling-social-innovations/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 06:00:17 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43244 MaKing it Big! Strategies for scaling Social Innovations

Strategies for scaling social innovations

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MaKing it Big! Strategies for scaling Social Innovations
MaKing it Big! Strategies for scaling Social Innovations

MaKing it Big! Strategies for scaling Social Innovations

Social innovation is fast becoming considered a critical way in which society’s problems can be tackled, providing effective outcomes that serve the greater good. Social innovations change lives, and social innovation is not new. For example, Nesta, a firm advocate of social innovation argues that pre-school education, first aid and e-petitions are all examples of social innovations. However, Nesta also asserts that scaling these types of innovations can be very difficult, and even inappropriate in some cases, given context. However, in some cases small social innovations can lead to tremendous change if scaled effectively. This can be challenging but very worthwhile.

Nesta seeks to help social innovations to scale where appropriate. Writing on this subject for Nesta in 2014, Madeleine Gabriel argues that:

“Social innovations can be said to have scaled when their impact grows to match the level of need”.

Finding strategies that can help social innovations to scale to an appropriate level can be harder, and Nesta has developed some suggestions for achieving this. One is working out what the social, organisational and personal goals are of scaling a social innovation and getting these in place at the outset. The second is determining what to scale. The third consideration is the route that will be taken to scale, and the fourth is gearing up to deliver a scaling strategy.

Social Innovation Spiral. Image source: Nesta

Social Innovation Spiral. Image source: Nesta

In particular, the route that will be used to scale up an innovation can be difficult to determine, but Nesta offers a variety of different options that can be used in conjunction with another in some cases. The first is called “Influence and Advise” and is based in using campaigning, consultancy and training approaches. It requires public speaking and publishing as well as communicating with and engaging with policy makers, and training people. The second option is “Build a delivery network”. In this case the social innovator might consider models such as licensing and franchising, or collaboration with partners. In this case, training might also be a consideration, but also community building could be important. There is a need with this route to use approaches that will help to transfer knowledge and share good practice as well as to raise awareness. A third approach is to “form strategic partnerships” that can scale the innovation. Options here could include making strategic alliances, using another organisation’s infrastructure or approaches such as joint ventures or mergers. With these approaches it is critical to develop a common set of values and mission. Alternatively a fourth route is called “grow and organisation to deliver”. This involves setting up new branches or increasing a team’s delivery capacity. It requires building up staff and investment and developing capacity and systems.

Critically when social innovators want to scale up an idea, regardless of the type of route taken to do so, a very important factor is managing supply and demand. It requires making sure that there is the demand in place for the innovation, and then ensuring that supply can definitely be delivered to meet this demand. This may require some education of the target audience, as it is not necessarily a given that everyone will realise that they would like or need a particular innovation or how that innovation is specifically designed to help them improve their lives.

stages in developing a scaling strategy. Image Source: Nesta

stages in developing a scaling strategy. Image Source: Nesta

Scaling up also creates choices that have to be made that can be difficult to determine the best answer to. For example, identifying the best way to control the scaling of the innovation can be a real challenge. This is in terms of quality, reach and pace of scaling. While closer controls could increase quality, being open to adaptation might potentially decrease quality but subsequently increase effectiveness. While controls may reduce the speed at which a social innovation scales, it can sometimes be better to do that to ensure that overall the innovation is more scalable in the longer term.

Scaling up can also mean that skills need to change and develop according to Gabriel. Competencies that are required to get an idea off the ground are different from those that are used to develop operational efficiency and sustainability at a later stage of the process when an organisation is more established. This means that social innovators need to be able to develop these skills themselves or alternatively secure people with these skills that can help.

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Guide To Collaborative Finance Part 2 http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-intelligenthq-series-on-collaborative-finance-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/finance/the-intelligenthq-series-on-collaborative-finance-part-2/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 06:00:58 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43242 Intelligenthq Series on Collaborative Finance Part 2

Peer to Peer Lending

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Intelligenthq Series on Collaborative Finance Part 2
Intelligenthq Series on Collaborative Finance Part 2

Intelligenthq Series on Collaborative Finance Part 2

This is a Part 2 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Collaborative Finance.  Collaborative Finance is an umbrella term that assembles together various processes of money exchange happening right now that are revolutionising finance. In the second part of this series we will look at Peer to Peer Lending.

Peer to Peer Lending

Peer to peer lending is a relatively new approach to finding money to advance projects, and it has also been termed as “crowd lending”. There are websites of this genre springing up all over the place and understanding them can be helpful, especially for people that are looking to invest and make some money, or those that need to borrow some money and want to go through alternative means other than a bank. One of the great advantages of peer to peer lending for the borrower is that rates tend to be lower because there is no institution (such as a bank) sitting in the middle. The websites that offer peer to peer lending solutions charge a fee and make their money that way, and savers or investors benefit from better rates.

As Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert explains:

“Lending isn’t willy nilly though; borrowers are cherry picked by credit checks and rated according to risk.”

Additionally, the websites carry out all of the repayment chasing, which makes it somewhat of an easy option for investors/saver, asserts Martin Lewis. Of course, peer to peer lending is not without its risks and those that are lending should be aware of those before they get started. Lewis recommends starting off small “until you’re used to it”, as well as gaining an awareness of the different ways in which the different sites work so that there are no nasty surprises.

Martin Lewis explains that with peer to peer lending, tax is paid like savings. The interest that is derived will be taxed as income tax, the same way in which it would for normal savings. Savers or investors that use these sites will pay tax on all of the interest that they are paid, regardless of whether there are bad debts as well.

The following video, explains us what is peer to peer lending:

Looking more closely at the risks, one of the main ones that Martin Lewis outlines is the fact that there is a chance of not getting repaid. The different sites all have different kinds of approaches to try and reduce this risk, so Lewis recommends exploring these and understanding them properly before selecting a site to lend through. However, there are also some other considerations. One is that cash might not be lent immediately and in this case it will not earn any interest while it is sitting there waiting to be lent to someone or an organisation. There are also no savings safety guarantees. Lewis describes how in the UK generally speaking there is a Government-backed Financial Services Compensation Scheme. With this, individuals will get the first £85,000 of their UK savings back per financial institution if the institutions fail. However, this is not something that peer to peer lending sites benefit from. Another definite risk is that if the site ceases doing business you will be responsible for getting the money back from the person that it was lent to. This could be very difficult to achieve in reality.

Lewis reviews some of the peer to peer lending websites that have sprung up. One of these is Zopa, which is a site that has been running for the longest (since 2005). On this site there are 52,000 lenders and £550 million has been lent so far. The website spreads the impact of bad debts across all savers and uses a Safeguard fund to achieve this. Lenders through this site get paid back monthly, but if you need your money back urgently you will have to wait three to five days and pay a 1% fee on it. Ratesetter is another option and at the current time over a five year period it offers better rates than Zopa. It uses a Provision Fund that is similar to the Zopa Safeguard approach. So far the organisation has lent £252 million and there are 13,248 lenders. A third option reviewed by Lewis is Funding Circle. This website has lent £290 million so far and has 30,000 lenders active on its site. You choose how to mitigate your risk by lending over the number of businesses that you choose to, however, Funding Circle recommends that lenders spread their risk by lending to a minimum of 100 businesses. Working with this site, if you need your money back quickly you can get it back in a day for a 0.25% fee.

Guide to Collaborative Finance Part 1

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Inscaping: Fostering Social Innovation From the Inside Out http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-innovation/inscaping-fostering-social-innovation-from-the-inside-out/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-innovation/inscaping-fostering-social-innovation-from-the-inside-out/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 06:00:01 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43249 Innovation from the inside out

Looking at the inner experiences of people inside the organisations

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Innovation from the inside out
Innovation from the inside out Intelligenthq

Innovation from the inside out Intelligenthq

Social innovation differs from regular types of innovation, and new ways of thinking about how it should be achieved are being developed. It is different because it requires fundamental change to individuals, communities and institutions. A body of thought is emerging that suggests that organisations should not restrict themselves to taking an external approach to social innovation. Rather, organisations are argued to be able to create a greater capacity for social innovation by looking inwards rather than outwards.  Writing for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Warren Nilsson and Tana Paddock (2014) state that:

“The idea that organisations should turn inward may seem paradoxical at first. When we’re trying to wrestle with the large and complex issues ‘out there’, why would it help to dwell on the relatively small issues ‘in here’?”

However, Nilsson and Paddock explain that in fact the issues that are external are often also internal as well. Experiences of people within the same room can be used to drive social change and generate ideas. This process has been termed as “inscaping”.It involves looking at the inner experiences of people that are members of an organisation during their every day work, argue Nilsson and Paddock. This can mean looking at a variety of different areas such as ideas, intuitions, aspirations, fears, values and memories. It requires people within the organisation to be able to speak honestly with each other about what their experiences are. These might include covering areas like racial issues and mental health problems.

Intelligenthq

Intelligenthq

Nilsson and Paddock argue that inscaping can offer solutions for social innovation. It can also provide considerable benefits to a firm. For example, it is explained that inscaping can lead to people talking with one another, defining problems and coming up with solutions through energy and creativity. This requires people to be able to be honest with one another so that divergent thinking space increases (Nilsson and Paddock, 2014). This is considered to be “work inscaping”. There is also “life inscaping”. This looks at areas outside of work. It considers our aspirations, values, cares and where we find meaning in life. People sharing life experiences can come up with solutions together that can lead to social innovations. This can be challenging to do at work, because it requires opening up more than some people are necessarily used to or comfortable with. However, doing this at work can lead to people uncovering social possibilities that “transcend immediate organisational objectives” (Nilsson and Paddock, 2014).

Nilsson and Paddock argue that there are three types of organisations that use inscaping. Catalytic are those that use work inscaping but not life inscaping. They tend to limit themselves to their field, but work relationships are improved and benefit from an openness, directness and honesty that drives results. These organisations like to create, but they do not necessarily look at the social impact of their work. This therefore does not lead to social innovation because life experiences are not drawn on during the inscaping process. There are also “communal organisations”. These are those organisations that use life inscaping but not work inscaping. In these organisations people are empowered for the purpose of finding solutions to large social and moral problems. They do not have an “operational tunnel vision” that catalytic organisations can often have, according to Nilsson and Paddock. However, these organisations also have problems with social innovation and struggle to develop a culture that supports this. This is because people do not necessarily propose alternative solutions that may lead to conflict because they do not wish to disturb the harmony that exists.

Meanwhile the third type of organisation, the “transformative organisation” uses both work inscaping and life inscaping. This leads to a “profound visceral shift” according to Nilsson and Paddock. These work places are engaging and the effect social change, but they also become a living expression of the change that the employees within want to create. They are often experimental and try out different ways of working through both types of inscaping to be able to achieve social innovation. For those organisations that want to introduce social innovation, it is argued to be this that makes the difference and this is what they should strive for.

In the following video, given for an independently organized TED event, Warren Nilsson further explains what he means by “Inscaping” and sustained social change:

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Foundation Ashoka: Innovators For The Public http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/intelligenthq-series-on-social-entrepreneurship-foundations-part-2-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/intelligenthq-series-on-social-entrepreneurship-foundations-part-2-2/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 06:00:04 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43251 Ashoka Foundation Intelligenthq

Ashoka, Innovators for the Public

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Ashoka Foundation Intelligenthq
Ashoka Foundation Intelligenthq

Ashoka Foundation Intelligenthq

This is a Part 2 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations. In these series of articles we will be highlighting the top international Foundations focused in social business and social entrepreneuship.

Ashoka Foundation

Given the chance, social entrepreneurship has the ability to really change the world for many. The focus of social entrepreneurship is to develop innovative solutions that address social problems. Social entrepreneurs usually work to create social value. People from all walks of life may be social entrepreneurs, and these may include philanthropists or social activists. What these people have in common is that they seek to try and develop benefits for society in a way that corporations often do not through identifying social problems and getting the resources to bring their ideas to fruition. The focus is on driving social change and bettering lives rather than on profit.

Social entrepreneurship is furthered by Ashoka, and this ground breaking organisation claims that it has almost 3,000 Ashoka Fellows, spread across 70 different countries in the world. The organization’s name is the same of Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great, who was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from circa 269 BCE to 232 BCE.  Ashoka became renowned for having transformed himself from a wicked, blood thirsty emperor into a magnanimous peaceful one, due to his conversion to Buddhism. He ruled for forty years, bringing prosperity peace to his empire.

The organisation Ashoka was set up in 1980 by Bill Drayton, that aimed to contribute for a better and more purposeful world.

Quote by Bill Drayton Intelligenthq

Quote by Bill Drayton Intelligenthq

His foundation resulted from a growing understanding that the world was changing, as he says, in an interview given to Mee-Hyoe Koo published in Forbes:

” Building up from all of this is our understanding that the world is making the transition from millennia where the game was efficiency in repetition (think assembly line and law firm) to one where the ability to contribute to change is where value lies.  Once the world understands that it is already well into this transition, it will move through the remaining steps very quickly and with far fewer bumps in the night”.

Ashoka offers start up financing, professional support services and connections to its worldwide business and social network. It also provides a platform for those that aim to transform the world through using social entrepreneurship. The organisation is continually on the lookout for people and ideas that seek to address social problems. At the community’s heart are the Ashoka Fellows who provide insight support to help people to be “changemakers”, as Ashoka describes it. As a result the organisation focuses on providing people with the skills and connections needed to develop their ideas at the scale necessary to be able to fix problems in their family, community, city, workplace, field, industry or country. The overarching value behind this is that the goal of ideas should be to contribute to change for the good of all. Indeed, it says of itself:

 “Working in partnership with private, philanthropic and citizen sector players we are achieving large-scale social innovation that is grounded in decades of entrepreneurial experience”.

Ashoka’s approach to social change

Ashoka’s approach to developing new ideas for social change is threefold and focuses on the individual, the group and the sector. With regard to the individual, the organisation supports social entrepreneurs, by identifying these people and then investing in them to help them to reap as much social impact as possible. In terms of groups the organisation promotes group entrepreneurship by getting communities of entrepreneurs engaged with what it is doing and encouraging collaboration between people. For the sector, Ashoka works to build the infrastructure needed to support what it calls a “global network of changemakers”. It does this by offering access to financing for social developments and links to business and academia. It also provides frameworks that can help with the development of partnerships that can deliver social change.

The organisation has a number of different emphasis areas that it focuses on, particularly for group entrepreneurship, helping its Fellows to collaborate with one another for the benefit of all. Particular areas of interest for the organisation are Youth Venture, Nutrients for All, Law for All, Full Economic Citizenship and Empathy. The latter seeks to help children to master empathy and to make sure that children develop in such a way that they can bring innovations to life. Nutrients for all works to try to make sure that full nutrition is available to everybody, focusing in particular on factors such as a healthy environment, nutrient rich farming, full nourishment foods and wellness and vitality in people everywhere. The Youth Venture arm seeks to enable youth participants to be able to start a social venture and helps them to realise that they can create change and lead it themselves. Full Economic Citizenship meanwhile has an emphasis on making sure that all individuals are able to take part in local and global economies as consumers, producers and creators of wealth. Law for All has an emphasis on defending changemakers, encouraging a pro bono legal culture and fostering access to justice.

The following video explains what Ashoka’s various fellows do:

Ashoka and Higher Education

Ashoka has also contributed to develop social innovation in higher education, and it has achieved this through its branch named Ashoka U. Through this particular initiative it aims to collaborate with educational institutions to try to foster social innovation in campuses worldwide. Goals in this regard include “Catalysing innovation in higher education” and “Creating a thriving global network of changemaker campuses”, among others. A particular useful resource is its library of videos concerning social change.

Change generated through Ashoka U is targeted both on campuses and beyond. In this way, Ashoka U targets bright young minds to get on board with social entrepreneurship at an early age, leveraging their ideas to address challenging social problems.

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 1- Skoll Foundation

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Skoll Foundation: Driving Social Entrepreneurship Forward http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/intelligenthq-series-on-social-entrepreneurship-foundations-part-2/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/social-business-2/intelligenthq-series-on-social-entrepreneurship-foundations-part-2/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 06:00:20 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43255 Skoll foundation

IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 1

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Skoll foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Skoll Foundation

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Skoll Foundation

This is a Part 1 of a Guide we are creating in the IntelligentHQ Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations. In these series of articles we will be highlighting the top international Foundations focused in social business and social entrepreneuship.

The Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation is one of the leading organisations in driving social entrepreneurship forward for the benefit of all. The foundation was set up by former president of eBay, Jeff Skoll in 1999 with a view to pursuing peace and prosperity in a sustainable world. This is achieved by supporting social entrepreneurs that create innovations that improve the world for the better. The Skoll Foundation works to help these entrepreneurs extend their reach as well as strengthen their impact and improve society as a whole.  To date the organisation has awarded $413 million which has comprised investments to 87 organisations and 108 social entrepreneurs. The money has gone to five continents. Within four years of the organisation’s launch it had already brokered a partnership with Oxford University’s Said Business School to set up an academic centre focused on education in social entrepreneurship.

The Skoll Foundation has an admirable mission and values and knowing what these are helps to understand the thoughts and concepts that sit at the heart of the organisation. Its mission is:

“The Skoll Foundation drives large scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems”.

Its values include seeking leverage to achieve a “whole lot of good” from its investments of time and resources. They also include respect for the individual and community, individual and collective responsibility, tough-minded optimism and innovation within the organisation as well as in the social entrepreneurs assisted.

The organisation’s approach seeks to cultivate the social entrepreneurs that have the potential for a high level of success. The organisations and entrepreneurs that are supported by the Skoll Foundation are those that are able to create large scale change with difficult social problems. It is the belief of the Skoll Foundation that timing is very important in driving this change, and they look for what they call an “inflection point” which is the moment when changes that are made by social entrepreneurs can lead to an outsized impact. Consequently, the organisation uses a 4-I model. The four Is are: Issue, Innovation, Inflection Point and Impact Potential. All of these areas are assessed and evaluated when considering supporting a particular social entrepreneur.

Financial resources are at the core of the support that is provided to further social entrepreneurship.

Grants and Other Financial Opportunities

The organisation uses grants, equity, debt and various other financial instruments to drive change. One grant offered is the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Change areas that have benefitted from this particular grant include issues such as deforestation, education, healthcare access and treatment, smallholder productivity, food security, sustainable markets and sanitation. However, the money is not given to just anyone. As Skolll explains:

“Skoll social entrepreneurs are innovators who have developed, tested and proven their approach”.

Consequently the Skoll Awards are not for programmes that are very new or at an early stage. They are for those that have proven chances of significant success. Indeed one criterion is that applicants need to have a track record of at least three years with demonstrable results that are documented. The Skoll Foundation assesses this and then partners with the organisation or entrepreneur to replicate or scale their impact. Another option is Program Related Investments (PRIs). These offer social entrepreneurs capital at rates that are below the market with a goal of furthering a charitable purpose.

The Skoll World Forum

The Skoll Foundation is as well behind the Skoll world forum, a yearly event that assembles more than 1,000 distinguished delegates from the social, finance, private and public sectors to convene in Oxford for three intensive days and nights of critical debates, lectures and work sessions concerning ways to innovate accelerate and scale the best solutions to social challenges.

The following video, called “Dare to Image” resulted from the latest Skoll Forum. In it various people tried to imagine how the world will  look like in 50 years and brainstorm ideas on what to do.

Work in specific areas

The Skoll Foundation has some specific areas of focus. Deforestation is one important one and the goal is to slow it down or stop it as far as possible by focusing on policy or market and community approaches. Providing opportunity to people to enhance their economic status is another. Making sure that aid is more accountable and transparent and that it can really bring about development that is sustainable is another. Projects that seek to provide access to healthcare to those that do not have good access is an important goal. Water management transformation for people and agriculture is another focus area that is important to the Skoll Foundation. Promotion of peace is another. By targeting these areas, among others, the Skoll Foundation has the capability by working with social entrepreneurs to bring about large scale transformational change in people’s lives, bettering their situation permanently.

Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 2 - Ashoka Foundation
Intelligenthq Series on Social Entrepreneurship Foundations Part 3 -Schwab Foundation

 

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Move On From A Relationship Gone Sour At Work http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/move-on-from-a-relationship-gone-sour/ http://www.intelligenthq.com/resources/move-on-from-a-relationship-gone-sour/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 06:00:59 +0000 http://www.intelligenthq.com/?p=43247 sour relationship

Move on from a relationship gone sour Relationships are often difficult in all areas of life, not just at home. In fact, working relationships can be among the most difficult relationships of all. Working relationships …

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sour relationship
Move on from a relationship gone sour

Move on from a relationship gone sour

Move on from a relationship gone sour

Relationships are often difficult in all areas of life, not just at home. In fact, working relationships can be among the most difficult relationships of all. Working relationships between people can become frazzled especially with the problems that we face in the work place every day. The continual stresses and challenges can add up and cause pressure that leads to relationships going awry. This can lead to working relationships turning sour in some cases. In other cases, working relationships may be difficult from the get go. However, turning this around is important for effective functioning at work.

Having good relationships at work means that you will be more productive. That makes it important to try to turn negative relationships around into a more positive situation. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Amy Gallo (2014) suggests that it is often easier to simply ignore the problem and bury your head in the sand rather than dealing with a difficult problem head on. Commonly people will try to avoid the issue rather than end up in a confrontational situation. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.  And dealing with the situation can generate many benefits that make it worthwhile to address the problems.

Amy Gallo explains that there are different kinds of relationship problems. Some relationships are simply non-existent, and Gallo argues that this can occur when people are in a rut. These are called “over-competent” relationships, and in this situation often people do not get past a “Hi, how are you doing?” However, the other side of the poor relationship at work scale is characterised by people having continual problems with one another, with either one or both sides feeling as if they are walking on eggshells (Gallo, 2014). These relationships are classified as “over challenged”. Understanding exactly what is happening can help to enable the individuals in the poor working relationship to address the situation. Gallo argues that in some cases people do not share information with each other, or alternatively they keep track of the wrongs that the other has done.

Amy Gallo offers some steps that can be taken to put the working relationship back on course. One is losing the idea that you are always right. Gallo says:

“When you’re hooked on the idea that you’re right you can’t start to repair the relationship because the issue of who is at fault becomes a distraction”.

The advice given when you feel sure that the other person is wrong is to imagine that person with a sign on them that says “I am wrong”. This allows you to move forward, and lets you feel as if you are right without taking it out on the other person. Another good piece of advice offered up by Gallo is that people need to face the future rather than going over every problem that ever occurred and getting angry about it. Of course this advice is given for all kinds of relationships. The problem is that if you focus on the bad things that the person did in the past, in your eye, you will find that the issue grows and becomes more challenging to deal with. It is better to let the past go and focus on a positive and productive future.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gallo offers up empathy as another solution. Being able to see the other person’s point of view and understanding why that person feels that way is important to being able to build any kinds of relationships. Understanding what guides those feelings and perceptions in that person is helpful in being able to truly understand them. Additionally, getting away from each other’s territory in the office is also recommended as a way to break the ice. Indeed, Gallo suggests going for a coffee or out for lunch to discuss matters of mutual interest, such as a shared goal. This can help to break down some of the barriers that may exist as well as looking to the ways in which you might work more positively together in the future.

Finally, when working on rebuilding the relationship it is better to show people your intent than tell them. If they see that you are genuine and you do what you say you will, trust will start to build between the pair of you.

Additional resource : infographic on improving wellness at work

Infographic done by http://www.confessionsoftheprofessions.com/

Infographic done by http://www.confessionsoftheprofessions.com/

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