I have been on a hiatus of sorts from this wall. No reasons, really. Just didn’t find anything that inspired me to write in the last few months on this site, even though I have been writing for a bunch of other blogs and such. But somehow, 2012 has started on a rather inspirational note. So here I am.
When social meets business
Among the many inspiring chats I have had in the last few weeks, one would be surely meeting Ramin Khabirpour of Danone. He shared with me the vision Danone has for social business and how they are stitching the fabric of sustainability and social impact within Danone’s regular business. Even if one would pooh pooh much of what he said as superlative marketing, what with Prof Yunus spearheading the whole initiative, the way Danone has structured the Danone communities fund really caught my attention. In my mind, this is really an example of how business can truly contribute at a strategic level to creating large scale social impact. Just imagine if some of the world’s bigger businesses and HNIs were to come together to mentor such programmes around the world!
When social meets fun meets getting a sense of identity
Has it even happened to you that someone you meet over a casual coffee just completely blows your mind?! It happened to me a few weeks back when I met the irrepressible Mel Young at an EBS programme I was co-facilitating. Over dinner, he was this typical Scot with brilliant understated tongue-in-cheek humour. And then he told me what he does- “I run a football world cup for the homeless”, he said, casually. At first I thought I didn’t hear him well. And then the dots connected and I realized that when the power of unreasonable people is truly unleashed how magic happens. The Big Issue, a street paper that Mel started in Scotland has been described as one of the most successful street newspapers worldwide, selling nearly 300,000 copies a week and hailed as the world’s most circulated street paper. One of the main criteria for being a vendor for selling this paper is that they need to be homeless. Selling the paper gives them a legitimate income and gives them a chance to reintegrate back into society. The Big Issue Foundation supports vendors in gaining control of their lives by tackling the various issues which lead to homelessness. Mel told me proudly that one of his “homeless football stars” got selected by the Manchester United football league for an obscene amount of money recently. When I told my football crazy son about this he googled his out and told me that there are more countries participating in the homeless football due to happen this year in Mexico than the regular one! Go figure!