Why do we need the arc and social enterprise?

Social Enterprise Flow Chart GraphicThe question is, if the United Nations was fully funded, why do we need the arc and social enterprise?

Though the United Nations has their own development programme to tackle development problems such as poverty and equality, the world still needs more social entrepreneurs. The skills that are found in social entrepreneurs are different than those of the UN. For example, the UN is a huge organisation that has access to capital, whereas social entrepreneurs are individuals who build themselves through limited capital and resources. These individuals will then have to make measurable returns by allocating their resources efficiently.

These ideas of the arc and social enterprise are opening major pathways to youths across the globe. Anyone can become social entrepreneurs if they have the vision of making social change through innovating, sharing and limited funding. Countries need to cultivate hopeful, ambitious children and young adults because they are at an age where dreaming is central to their life. Hence, anything is still possible in their minds. Ask young adults how they would like to change the world, and we get hopeful, daring answers. Ask people over the age of 20 how they would like to change the world, and we get limited, doubtful answers.

Thus, the world needs more social entrepreneurs. It gives hope to people at an early age and it advocates that limited capital and resources are not problems that should hinder one’s ability to make a difference.

Nestlé’s Foward Thinking Approach

Nestle, Creating Shared Value

Nestle, Creating Shared Value

Not surprisingly, Nestlé is the first company to come up when I searched for “companies who create shared value”. Drawing from Jessica’s post, I also agree that Nestle shows the concept of shared value perfectly. They are one of the few companies who realize that social problems are as central to the core business as economic problems. So how does Nestlé create shared value?

Realizing that “this” is the largest business opportunity they have

The concept of shared value is contrary to the idea of corporate social responsibility, where doing good is separate from profit maximization. Whereas, the value of decreasing negative externalities through creating shared value is integral for making profits. Nestlé acknowledges that shared value is crucial in creating long term value for shareholders by offering products and services that help people improve their nutrition, health and wellness.

Collaboration with NGOs and government

As Michael Porter says, the key now is to support deeper collaboration with NGOs and government to pull entities together in the name of progress. Nestle is currently partnering with UN Global and the Danish Institute of Human Rights to assess and address human rights impacts in their operations and supply chain.

I believe that Nestlé ’s forward thinking will help the company sustain success in the years to come. Their commitment, progress and objectives to create shared value will put Nestle in front of other companies who are trapped in an outdated approach to value creation. However, being one of the top multinational companies in the world, Nestlé will have to abide to their commitments well since the smallest fault the company does will attract global attention.

Generation Y and Change In the Workplace

The "Millenials" a.k.a Generation Y

The “Millenials” a.k.a Generation Y

Upon realizing that I’m part of the so-called generation Y, I took solace in knowing how our mind works and why it is different from previous generations. The way we think and how we present our values will certainly affect the way we work and want to work in the future. Like it or not, Millennials will change the workplace, as one headline says.

Though we respect strong work ethic, we try to redefine it. For example, deciding our own hours and dressing the way we want are essential motivational factors for us to generate our best work performance. These workplace flexibilities are contrary to old models of work, which are quickly becoming obsolete.

Nevertheless, our social mindset complements our seemingly self-centered and demanding nature, in which extrinsic factors does not simply satisfy us. Our heavy use of social media and smartphones cause us to become more aware of social, health, and political issues that are happening around the world. As cliche as it may sound, we become inclined to the idea of giving back and helping the earth to be a better place through various methods.

With this mindset, I believe that the generation Y will most likely seek workplaces with strong values of giving back to society and individuality at the same time. Working in a place where people share the same values will provide internal satisfaction and a sense of belonging in their field of work. Thus, satisfaction comes from intrinsic factors, which allow growth potential and fulfillment.


Is Uber a Breakthrough Innovation or Disruptive Innovation?

Uber's Slogan: "Everyone's Private Driver"

Uber’s Slogan: “Everyone’s Private Driver”

Such companies like Uber strive to disrupt the market from the bottom and eventually move up the market. However, does Uber conform to the characteristics of disruptive innovation? We all know that taxi and limousine companies in every city Uber has entered are trying to ban its existence.

Though disruptive innovation allows the greatest chance to create explosive growth and transform markets, disruptive innovation is not a breakthrough innovation, as Clayton Christensen has said. Companies tend to innovate faster than their customer’s need evolve and too often they create products that are too sophisticated, which does not get the customer’s job done. In order for the product or service to disrupt a market, creators need to address a certain pain that most people go through. However, not just any pain, but the kind of pain that almost anyone is itching to get rid of.

Based on my personal observations and experiences with Uber, the company seems to do well in getting people’s job done faster. People in busy, fast paced cities such as New York where cabs are almost always taken in the midst of traffic must have felt their frustrations subside knowing that Uber is there to help. Nonetheless, there’s nothing special about what Uber has built.

Uber doesn’t provide their own vehicles and rely on people who has a car and a license. In addition, riders can track the location of their dispatched drivers using GPS and pay directly on their phones. Essentially, Uber uses existing resources and compiles it into an app, which is accessible to anyone who has internet access and a smartphone.

Bottom line: Uber’s service is not a breakthrough innovation, yet it allows more people to have easier access to cabs.

Why Evernote Is Everyone’s Go-To Note-Taking Software

First look on Evernote Context in their annual conference, EC4, this month

First look on Evernote Context in their annual conference, EC4, this month

Like many other start-up apps, Evernote started with one simple job in mind: note-taking. Along with the increasing use of laptops and tablets, its founder, Stephan Pachikov, recognize that note-taking is a daily activity that customers want to get done quickly, but in an organized manner. But what makes the Evernote progressively different than other note-taking platforms out there?

When Rise and Trout talks about positioning, they say it is a battle for the mind. So instead of getting the “product right”, Evernote focuses on getting the “right product” for its customers by getting their job done. They are constantly expanding and adding new features to Evernote as a follow up to their start-up success.

Most recently, the Evernote Context is making headlines on tech blogs this month, with one stating that by bringing in Context, it is also positioning itself as a place where people can not only create content, but now also discover new content.

Just like Facebook and Twitter, Evernote is taking the route of expanding through other platforms by bringing in third party sources into their app, recognizing the importance of interaction in today’s society. Not only does this create a networking advantage for the company, but it also gets another of our daily tasks done easier in one software.

In essence, Evernote took a common point of parity and expand it successfully through their features, which act as their points of difference.

Bottom line: Evernote gets your job done.

Taseko’s New Prosperity Mine or Tsilhqot’in’s Tribal Park?

The Dasiqox Tribal Park includes Fish Lake, above, as well as the site of Taseko’s proposed New Prosperity mine. Photo by Garth Lenz/Special to The Sun

The Dasiqox Tribal Park includes Fish Lake, above, as well as the site of Taseko’s proposed New Prosperity mine. Photo by Garth Lenz

What strikes harder than the opportunity cost of delaying a billion dollar project and moving forward is the cost of revitalizing a company’s public image once it is ruined.

Taseko’s proposed new prosperity mine has been in the spotlight due to its clash with Canada’s First Nation’s values. The $1.1 billion copper-gold project will not be able to move forward until social and environmental issues are settled between Taseko Mines Ltd and the First Nation.

From a historical and social stance, the natives seem to have more rights to claim their land and its nearby surroundings. Their rationale is based on culture and environmental concerns that, to say the least, sounds more favorable than big scale business projects that may hinder sustainable development.

Evidently, this issue seems to put Taseko in an unfamiliar situation. It is crucial for Taseko to delve into more research and develop communication with the First Nation (which, the letter of understanding will become beneficial) since there is much ambiguity about what a tribal park is, how it is constituted and what the governing rules of the park are.

With Taseko’s project and Tsilhqot’in’s land at stake, both groups might want to consider moving into a strategic alliance as other aboriginal and non-aboriginal companies have done. The alliance will enhance the project’s strength and the native’s opportunity of giving and receiving employment respectively.

Nevertheless, Taseko should always consider what the effects to their public image are once a decision has been made. It is easier for profit making companies to become the target of social or environmental criticism by various stakeholder groups.

An Outlook On Netflix’s International Streaming

Netflix, the leading Internet TV provider

If not one of the first, Netflix is the leading internet TV provider with the most subscriptions in the states. They see faster and more accessible internet as an opportunity to build their platform on. In recent years, they are looking to expand into unreached countries such as New Zealand and Europe. However, there are still a few hurdles to overcome in order to reach a successful international scale:

Domestic vs. International Margin Contributions:

So far, domestic streaming contribution is still much higher than Netflix’s international streaming contribution despite already having subscribers in 40 countries worldwide. Forbes predicts that what stands between Netflix’s domestic and international success are content acquisition costs.

Technical Barriers:

Further content acquisition costs due to technical barriers. E.g. censorship, language, and other localized contents that need to be tailored for specific countries.

So how will Netflix overcome these barriers while not compromising current user experience?

Well, Netflix’s long term view and consistent expansion seems to be what investors and consumers hold on to. Their strategy is to grow content spending plus marketing more slowly than they grow revenue, so still keeping the promise of providing new content. And while content acquisition costs might be an impeding factor to their growth rate, they are negotiating these costs as fixed costs. Over time, these costs will be more spread out as they gain more subscribers.

However, there’s a catch: to successfully gain more subscribers worldwide, Netflix will see their marketing expenses go up (at least in the short run).

Starbucks and Fair Trade

Drawing from Rene’s post, many business are now focusing on being socially responsible. Likewise, the value of being socially responsible is gradually diminishing as more and more companies are using it differentiate themselves. However, big companies such as Starbucks are more successful in doing so since they are seen as trendsetters and have more financial backup to actually implement fair trade.

They will have the ability to mark up their price based on the justification of using fair trade and people won’t have any problems with that. As a multinational company, their public image will also improve across the globe with this step. Consumers and potential employees who are socially concious will most likely choose Starbucks over other coffee shops because they feel as if the company holds the same value as they do.

Hence, I agree that by implementing fair trade, Starbucks will only become more profitable. Not only will it help Starbucks’ marketing department, but it will also help their human resource department as more people are willing to genuinely seek a company who shares the same value. In this case, that value would be helping producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and promote sustainability.

Is Mass Customization the Way To Go?

Burger King's signature slogan, "Have It Your way"

Have it your way”, Burger King’s 40 year old slogan shows the gist of mass customization, a production method that many of today’s businesses believe play a crucial role in increasing market share and profit.

After 20 years of consistent success, Burger King saw the opportunity to advertise their products through the idea of personalization, an idea that McDonald’s view as “expensive”, as it would sacrifice speed or price in their fast food business.

Nike ID's user friendly website

Nike ID’s user friendly website lets people customize their shoes

Without compromising time or speed, companies in other industries are also making mass customization an integral part of their strategy such as Nike. The Nike ID website allows customers to personalize their own shoes within minutes.

Though it seems difficult for a company to tailor every individuals’ custom orders, Nike’s economies of scale and strong brand image have enabled them to do so without making losses. It allows Nike to increase their price as customization adds more than just style, but also a kind of sentimental value for the owners.

The results of using mass customization as a core strategy are contrary to what mass production advocates thought. While McDonald’s view customization as sacrificing speed and price, Burger King view it as an opportunity to gain loyalty. Similarly, while the shoe industry is in a category that runs on mass production, Nike found a way to differentiate themselves through mass customization, which positions them as the leading shoe manufacturer despite its relatively high price.

So what? Mass customization is the way to go.

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/undertheinfluence/season-3/2014/03/01/have-it-your-way-how-mass-customization-is-changing-marketing-1/

Corporate Social Resposibility (CSR) as a Marketing Tool

Corporate Social ResponsibilityThe idea of putting business and ethics together already sounds like it may have some controversial issues within the two terms. As it is said in one of our reading preps, most businesses incorporate ethics “to cover the view that the pursuit of profit is wicked and immoral”. As such, business leaders view Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a core strategy and opportunity to gain competitive advantage through brand loyalty. Though strong brand loyalty can help a company withstand criticism and survive, to what extent should a company use its CSR to identify their brand?

Once a company implements CSR, their costs might increase in order to fulfill the responsibilities they promise. For example, last year Oxfam reports several big multinational companies (Nestle, Coca Cola, etc.) who have failed to commit to their CSRs, such as paying adequate wages to workers. Therefore, using CSR to gain competitive advantage or brand loyalty is actually at the expense of their budget and public image. It is costly and it might lower their image if a company don’t commit to their CSR goals, especially if they want to identify themselves through ethical values to appeal to society. Nonetheless, giant multinational companies like Nestle seem to only experience criticism in the short run, which does not affect their long term sales, as news eventually subdue over time.


Source: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/oxfam-multinational-companies-failing-csr