Archive for March, 2008

IBM - Leveling the playing field

kugelkopf_seite_web.jpgIBM and National Geographic invites you to send in a part of your cheek and to see if you’re originally (and genetically) from Africa (I’m a spoiler: Yes, you are). There are a number of other projects available “open source” (IBM-speak for “free and over the net”) that seem to be quite intriguing. Check them out and let me know what you think: PowerUp is a sort of sim-city, complex and within a multi-player environment. Nice and for kids (3-6) is this, for their teachers (who, as Stan Litow, Head of Corporate Citizenship and President of the IBM Foundation, says, does often not have a formal science education) maybe this. For SME, there’s an open source online suite available in “various African languages” (Litow) for Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and others. And, to top it all up, most of us probably have heard about the virtual supercomputer. It seems to work now.

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Social Enterprise to make a killing (well, not really…)

bcorp.gifOK, we’ve all learned that “at the end of the day” starting a business requires funding. Which is why we buy into the notion of “Social capitalism“. Though I personally like the “stakeholder capitalism” Ed Freeman suggests better — see his prez below the entry plus comment from Marcus Kreikebaum on what that might be.

Anyway, as Elkington/Hartegan suggest three different business models (non-profit, hybrid, and for-profit) within the Social Entrepreneurship space, here is a website focusing on the for-profits. Some very convincing examples included here, food for thought for adapting or inventing your own venture. Wanna bet that this site and its impact will grow?

Even adapting the idea of “B corporation” itself doesn’t sound too bad an idea. Or maybe partnering with them to get some non-US (dare I say German?) companies involved …

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Again: It’s not only about reporting

PersilI usually don’t give a sustainability report much of a plug here, but this might be worthwhile mentioning: Henkel not only receives regular laurels within the German CSR-community for their reporting, but does so as well internationally now, see their report, just released a few days back. Comments on the report are provided not only by warm words of the CEO, but as well by qualified statements of the CTO, pointing to sustainability-driven product development and strongly indicating that there is some integration of Corporate Responsibility within the company. It is worth noting, though, that Henkel is not publicly being traded but de facto privately held - just another indicator that, as long as entrepreneurs and not shareholders own a company, the positive bottom-line impact of sustainable business is recognised.

A cautiously optimistic thought about this: With the stockmarkets increasing volatility, private equity funds (called “locusts” in Germany) buying undervalued companies might opt to keep them in their portfolio and have them managed by appointed entrepreneurs (hmm. is there such a jackalope?), instead of reintroducing the companies into the markets - after all, bookbuilding etc. does take a few months…

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links for 2008-03-13

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links for 2008-03-10

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Internet for the next billion

netRecent statistics point out that approx 1.3 billion people have access to the internet. While this sounds like a big number, it leaves out a couple of billion users — or to use a term that excites companies more: customers — that might want to be connected. Which would explain why there is such huzzbuzz around the “not-quite-but-almost-at-the-bottom-of-the-pyramid” solutions. Negroponte led the way in using a meshed network to connect his educational tool, but now comes the next version ot this to bridge the digital divide. Combine this with Rifkin’s “Access matters”, and the future is bright, who knows?

In any case, it seems that Varshavsky wasn’t fast enough with his FON this time. Maybe he should have focused on BoP, too?

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links for 2008-03-09

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