Kat Walsh – Living Tree Paper company
JP Kusz – Center for Sustainable Enterprise
Dawn Danby – WorldChanging
Steve Bishop – IDEO
* 51 of top 100 capitalized business are larger than countries by measure of GDP
* Changing nature of Design:
- 1 time transaction –> Annuity stream
- Designer = socially conscious architect meeting need of end user
* WorldChanging — Book released on Amazon.com
* 3 versions of Triple Bottom Line– 1932 Buckminster Fuller/ Tom Zumg/ James Lovelock of Gaia Hypothesis
* Design process: scope increased to choosing suppliers
* Green citizen– Thought of having a supply chain AFTER the product leaves the cash register.
At this year’s Net Impact conference right here in Chicago, I learned a ton and met a multitude of interesting people.
I got to catch panels about Social entrepreneurship, Corporate Social Responsiblity, and Business and Technology for social good at the Professional Summit.
I will be posting some highlights and notes from the conference since I am supposed to digitize my notes for NetImpact.
Some interesting tidbits:
Bobbi Stillen, Chief Foundation officer of Gap Inc. talked about Gap’s stance on CSR and went into detail about (Product) RED.
She said CSR is changing form at GAP:
- Business influence on social sector is at all time high (philanthropy at all time high too)
- CSR More strategic than ever– Employees want to be associated with a cause or mission, not just selling t-shirts
- Increasingly global -- companies are responsible to all the communities they touch, including those in the developing world where factories are.
- Encourages collaboration between companies — one of the few areas in which foundation officers can call each other and ask “What are you doing in the CSR space?”. (Gap called Home Depot)
- Making headlines — new business models (product RED, MFI, etc).
Things that need to change in CSR:
* Currently, only 5% of total philanthropy is corporate giving. 76% is from individuals, 12% from private foundations.
* Corporate volunteerism is extremely low– Very few companies volunteer more than 1 hour per year (I found this shocking).
Challenges/Opportunities foundations face:
* Complexity of issues (Increasingly global, companies reach vast numbers of people and communities)
* Staying focused (Leverage core competencies– look in your target markets)
* Measuring results (Bring level of analytical rigor to performance of CSR other than $ donated)
* Driving innovation (e.g. Play-pump in Africa)
* Creating sustainability (what happens when the sizzle from Product RED goes away? How will these projects sustain themselves?)
Gap has addressed their challenges in some interesting ways. They realized that teens are their primary markets. They wanted to group their CSR initiative by raising awareness amongst teens about global issues like AIDS in Africa.
Gap acknowledged that employees are 4 TIMES more loyal to a company they feel is pursuing some higher mission than selling their products. (I love this theme, Andy Lock of Herman Miller said it too)..
Bobbi referenced a study that showed 92% of MBAs at top-tier schools are more likely to work for a company with an active CSR program– but here’s the kicker, folks: They’re willing to do it for 14% LESS PAY. Gap took this a step further and suggest that loyal employees leads to loyal customers. 90% of teens choose more socially responsible products based on brand.
Since Gap Inc has 5 brands under its umbrella, the foundation tries to take a back seat and let its brands take the “credit” for their CSR efforts.
Bobbi went into detail about the Youth Signature program, a training program in Delhi/Bangalore, and efforts in Lesotho (where 33% of apparel workers are HIV+!!)
Product RED tenets
- Create DESIRE: Gap wanted to create a remarkable product– not make the customer feel like they are compromising to “save the world”.
- Tap into mainstream: Gap already has a fantastic market of teens and young adults buying their clothes. There are people who already understand the importance of providing assistance for AIDS relief in Africa, but tapping into the mainstream consumer is essential, and a responsiblity of the company (American consumer culture won’t get it any other way…)
- Leverages entire value chain
* There’s this awesome vid clip of Don Cheadle saying “Can a t-shirt change the world?…… This one can.”
* Dr Richard Feacham of the Global Fund is really excited about the Project RED idea– He thinks its the future of philanthropy.
* The founder of Gap, Donald Fisher, emphatically stated “This is the way we’ll do business…”
The “New Philanthropy”
virtue –> desire
fragmented –> focused
reactive –> leading
charity –> social investment
Finally, Bobbi briefly mentioned a relationship with Credit Suisse to measure the business ROI of Project RED, with hopes to expand the project in the future.
The 2006 Net Impact conference is taking place in Chicago! Wow, I guess I really lucked out.
I will be at the Professional Summit portion of the conference tomorrow (or I guess this morning now since its past midnight). It’s taking place at Navy Pier, and its *not* too late to register.
There are going to be a good number of interesting breakout sessions tomorrow, organized by Social Entrepreneurship, Business and Environment, Impact at Work, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Business and Technology.
I am planning on spending time between Social entrepreneurship and Business/Technology.. and there is one CSR presentation that looked interesting.
I am supposed to be taking notes for the sessions that I’m attending for NetImpact so I guess I could post them on yakshaving.
I already have an iPod. I don’t need another iPod, especially one that is smaller than the one that I have.
But, this iPod is cooler. It is bright red. And Apple donates part of the profits from this iPod to fund the Global Fight against AIDS. And AIDS, as we all know, is a large contributor to poverty in the developing world (especially in Africa).
So, even though I don’t really need another iPod, i might just consider getting this thing. Its kinda like wearing a yellow Lance Armstrong band on your arm, except this is a functional MP3 player.
You rock, Apple. Thank you.
Whoa, I was very excited to see one of my personal heroes win the Nobel Peace Prize –
Dr. Muhammad Yunus, who pinoeered MFI in the developing world is an amazing man.
If you haven’t already done so, check out his book, Banker to the Poor.
You *have* to hear this man’s story, as he tells it. Here’s to all the people who think that striving for the eradication of poverty is a frivolous endeavor…
People want to simplify their lives. Its been a consumer trend that has been going on for a while now, and its surprising to see that larger companies are attempting to take on this challenge only recently. Thank goodness– Now I will actually think like a consumer instead of a designer– I’m totally willing to spend $ to save time and make my life simpler. The less nauseating random stuff that I need to store in my head that I need to do, the more brain clock-cycles I can spend on more interesting, creative endeavors (I know, I know, I should try GTD)
I read over John Maeda’s Laws of Simplicity from his blog.. and if I wasn’t a poor graduate student I might actually go out and spend the money on the book but I like that he gives us all the laws of simplicity on his website. That’s a nice touch.
Thus far, the best company who has made a conscientous effort to actually connect with the consumer on the basis of simplicity via a discussion forum (ala “crowdsourcing”) is Philips. So essentially, I guess they are eliciting ideas from users who are craving for denovations in the products they use and experience in their lifestyles every day. So, the site seems a tad underutilized. Who wants to sit here and post on this board– WIIFM? –> I think the answer in this comes down to creating user communities that are rich and add unique value to the user. The first thing that comes to mind are the numerous dealhunting sites like Slickdeals. There are forums where people post vast amounts of products that are on a crazy cheap sale (Hot deals forums). Here, users are adding value to themselves by visiting (learning about cheap stuff to buy off the internet), adding value to each other (by posting deals they can find at the local electronics boutique stores), and (if the companies who makes these devices and retailers are smart, it provides a delicious way to sample user needs, learn about user opinions (check out any of the camera threads on the dealsites and you will see people who pick apart these products even more than Amazon reviewers– and they include another important element– price. I was talking about this with someone yesterday– People want to feel like they’re getting a deal.
Anyway I’m digressing from Simplicity, but I think Philips idea, to create a forum like this is great, but will prove to be an exercise in marketing rather than garnering true consumer insights into the simplification (denovation?) of products and services.
LiveSimplicity discussion forum
Today I participated in the About With & For conference that took place at the East Bank Club in Chicago. It is a conference that we as ID students put on– Its a forum for academics and leaders of enterprises to discuss emerging design issues. The conference is largely focused on design research centered around the user (of course)– there is another conference that takes place much later in the year focused on business/design strategy. Link to about, with & for I will blog briefly tomorrow (or soon enough) about the interesting speakers who came to the conference. Now its time to get some badly needed rest. By the way, the latest issue of EngageID has been released and is available here: EngageID October 6, Issue # 18 Note my little piece on Tabblo (and the friggin 3 hrs spent publishing it. (Annoying, meddlesome IT staff and their bass-ackward security measures prevent us from installing any CMS on ID’s servers)