I love to write about customer experience and other meaningful business strategies, one such topic I am wildly passionate about is social responsibility, and yes, I see social responsibility as a highly meaningful business strategy. I am kicking off a new blog series focused on “mass responsibility”, examining a radical new approach to traditional social responsibility and philanthropy.
Hopefully we can all agree that today’s philanthropy model is not working, much has been written about why that is, however the question remains, how to fix it? The answer, while perhaps radical, may not be as hard as you might think. It is important to visit the why before exploring the how. In today’s post, we will examine the why.
I see today’s philanthropy as a “legacy system”, one built for scarcity rather than abundance. In today’s model the rich give to the poor and maintain, often strengthening, that dependence. Worse, we have not updated our “system” to scale for abundance, so while much more is being given, the relative amount is not being received. As a result we are faced with an artificial philanthropy that mistakes the value and impact of giving. This faux-giving is painfully wasteful and needs to be radically reinvented. While there are numerous pervasive issues that are obstructing philanthropic evolution, there are three fundamental problems that need to be addressed to set this revolution into motion.
One of the fundamental problems is that it does not respect the labour of individuals, communities and organizations that take ownership of social responsibility. Though the not-for-profit model was developed to protect fiscal intentions, the inability to pay fair market value for talent has prohibited fiscal evolution for non-profit entities. What we really need is our most talented tribes to be focused on social responsibility, not merely those noble enough to sacrifice making equitable income. There are alternative, more effective, ways to police fiscal intentions that will enable the notion of both a prosperous and socially responsible solution. To do this we need to rebuild philanthropy on a trusted and transparent foundation that is fiscally responsible and value driven. Conceptually we are building a mashup of today’s not-for-profit and for-profit models. Hybrid models are not new and have typically suffered from alienation from the opposing perspectives; a trusted and highly transparent approach is the only way this model will work.
Another fundamental problem with our legacy “system” is that it does not leverage today’s open and innovative technologies. We have seen adhoc instances where social technology has assisted philanthropic efforts but we have not even begun to scratch the surface with regards to the untapped potentiality at our finger tips. Jumo, a new social platform, was launched earlier this week and may be the best example thus far, but again here they have only begun to scratch the surface. Amy Sample Ward provided a great first glace on Jumo. Massive kudos to Jumo for this step forward but the kind of radical change I am talking about is much more powerful than a philanthropic Facebook. Going back to my software analogy, a common mistake made when replacing legacy systems is to simply upgrade the platform without examining and updating the business strategy it supports which is also dated. We need more than a new platform, we need to reinvent social responsibility and philanthropy at large. We need to leverage proven technologies and processes and remain agile enough to embrace the multitude of influencing factors ahead. Continuous awareness is critical to build a sustainable solution.
Finally the third fundamental problem is that we have misused mass collaboration. Mass collaboration misused can be as destructive as its inverse can be powerful for the greater good. Today we give in mass but the value exchange for giving is tragic with a growing sense of mistrust that will ultimately dilute our collective ownership for social responsibility. We need a trusted and transparent marketplace engaging all forms of value exchange and responsible entities. This requires developing a sustained solution for manifesting our global IQ to solve pervasive issues. It is time to catalyze our culture where we are all on the same team.
How do you view social responsibility? And how do it impact your business?
In the next installment of this series we will examine some of the proposed strategies from some provocative thought leaders which will enable us to finally explore the how.