Monthly Archives: February 2009

100 Change-Makers

change-listI came across a blog recently that I hope to see replicated one day by Fast Company, Good, or another change-inspiring publication.  Instead of the Fortune 500, Forbes 100 or even BusinessWeek’s 100 Best Global Brands (thank you Interbrand), Duke Stump of The Northstar Manifesto has created The Real 100.  This list is created of companies and individuals “defined by their ability to spark a revolution of new thought and possibility.”  This list is truly a personal one (I love the fact that Eddy Vedder is on it!), but it covers rich territory.   From B Corporation, to Better Place to Van Jones to Paul Hawken – it addresses thinkers and companies committed to implementing real structural change.

To the next publishers of this list, I would submit that Duke’s list (self-admittedly) leaves out some major players who I hope to see added to the glorified, branded, newly-titled 100 Change-Makers list:

1) The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  With a $U.S. 35.1 billion dollar endowment, the scale of this foundation’s giving and thinking is fueling major reform in global health, education, poverty reduction and access to technology to spark a revolution in philanthrocapitalism.

2) The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Conceived as a public-private partnership financing programs to end these three diseases, it has committed $U.S. 11.4 billion to 550 programs in 136 countries.   As a financier, its role cannot be underestimated in bringing government, science, companies, the health community and its partner organizations together in a collaborative effort to effect the end of these diseases as we know them.

3) Global Giving.  Much has been credited to the for-profit micro-finance efforts of Kiva.  It definitely belongs on the Change-Makers list.  But so does Global Giving.  With a division set up to advise companies on their employee giving, GG is set up to strategically integrate a turn-key giving portal aligned with a well-suited non-profit endeavor that speaks to companies’ cultural ethics and values.  The much bally-hoo’d Wal*Mart PSP set the stage for this endeavor but Global Giving is the mechanism  to mass deliver increased CSR at the employee level.

4) (RED).  Many will disagree with me here.  (RED) has suffered and struggled.  But (RED) was the first brand to attempt to merge the world of consumerism and social responsibility.  It has suffered the way many pioneering concepts do.   But, it was the first model of its kind and it deserves credit for the revenue its generated on behalf of AIDS (US$ 120 million so far).  (RED) has hit some bumps in the road but I’m looking forward to its next steps.

partnering for our urban good

nyc-transportation-alternativesPSFK reported last week on NYC’s Transportation Alternatives program Nine for ’09.   NYCTA been around since 1973 and they’ve done some tremendous advocacy work in the areas of bicycling , walking and taking public transportation to reclaim New York’s streets from the automobile. They have already announced their September NYC Century Bike Tour and clearly they’ve got some talented design folks on their side.

The question I have is why haven’t they enlisted corporate support? Nike Considered Products, Trek bicycles, Timbukt2 bags would be perfect “urban” supporters –  to name a very few. All of these could develop some pretty cool high-profile retail promotional programs around what are already some really well-thought out events.

With a population’s increasing attention on what’s happening locally, for the city by the city, companies would do well to give-back in a way that  parallels what our overstretched and under-funded gov’t is attempting to do.    Tapping existing, smartly run and well-marketed programs is just the way to do that.

25 things…an innovation tool

25-thingsHow many articles have you read about “leveraging social media”  yet how much real implementation have you seen?  Researchers, companies pay attention.  Memes provide very specific opportunities to participate in social media phenomena.   And The 25 Random Things about [insert your product or service here] sweeping FaceBook – among others – is a no brainer to both implement and learn from.

People love to talk about themselves.  They also love to talk about the things they love (and hate for that matter).   Using FB or Ning or any other social network to initiate research on your product using this format has tremendous potential because it: 1) requires a long list…this means patterns will emerge; 2) it also means that people will be forced to think beyond the top well-published “issues”, they’ll be forced to think about the emotions and situations which cause them to love or hate – this leads to real usable insightful information;   and 3) besides yet another reason to publish a personal opinion, who doesn’t love participating in the trendiest thing out there?

Now, 25 Random Things about Me…….