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Power of Storytelling

Every known civilization in this world has been built based on stories. For time immemorial human beings have been using the different type of stories to create civilizations. Humankind has forayed into agriculture by building a narrative well supported by different kind of myths. The ability of stories to usher new changes are immense, that is evident since evolution throughout our history. But it also matters how effectively can we use stories to change the existing situation, lead the society for a better tomorrow.
Fast- forward to present we are facing several issues in the form of climate change, poverty & inequality. To overcome the present predicament that we are in, powerful stories can bring big changes in the collective consciousness of society. The positive stories can not only be inspirational but also can create systematic changes in society. Real-time examples of successful social entrepreneurship models can really act as a direct route to emotions, hence it helps in decision making. Stories can set new patterns that create a positive impact on the way we think and behave. Powerful stories play a foundational role in changing the values, mindsets & goals.

Stories illuminate
Stores can act as light, glue or web, yet it has a powerful sense to change the way we behave, act and indulge. The point to drive home here is that in today’s chaotic world building positive narratives through powerful stories is very crucial. For instance, supporting and promoting niches in innovation for social welfare can create a wider impact in the system, it builds narratives with a purpose to change the world for a better tomorrow. The stories of people who have been making slow changes in the society need to be highlighted with good supporting narratives. Such impactful peoples’ life needs to be amplified to a larger crowd through powerful stories by leveraging the available platforms.

Changing the future
We can use stories to create riveting visions that can bring desired changes with a purpose. The stories can help to humanize issues. For instance, impactful social business models need to be communicated properly, the desired impact aimed from the business needs to be highlighted regularly with personal examples & narratives. The compelling reasons to become outlier by thinking differently for a better cause. Stories should be built in such a way to highlight the success stories more often than usual
Stories can act as a tool to build a strong community through empathy & unity. Though It helps people to connect across communities and as a glue that holds everyone together.

Way forward
The only way forward to tackle the existing problems is through collective responsibility. Any individual or organisation taking up such causes needs to be given due importance and their activities, efforts need to pass on to larger society through effective stories. Because the world needs more such stories more than the past, Those who are making steady progress in such areas needs to be accepted with respect. However, it is equally important to let others be motivated by hearing such captivating stories that can as a catalyst for a change. So lets all welcome and follow such success stories from business, art, environment and other social issues.

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Misfit & Balder association

The partnership between Misfit & Balder speciality foods seems to be a perfect example of social enterprises working in unison to create an impact. The duo believes in adding value to their products in the market by using the unused fruits & vegetables that are being thrown away as waste. The misfit is a Washington based startup founded by Phil Wong & Ann Yang in 2005 deals with cold pressing juices from fruit scraps. The innovative idea by the founders believes in creating product lines by converting one man’s trash to other man’s treasure. Around the globe, huge quantities of food are getting wasted, so the message is loud & clear from Misfit that they want to be in the forefront to fight this social issue with innovative ideas.
So the duo has decided to tie up with “Balder” one of the leading distributors of neatly cut fresh fruits & watermelons in the market. The process of producing neatly cuts fruits creates wastages daily, So finding this is an opportunity in 2016 Mist fit juicy has successfully tied up with Balder. Although balder is a large corporation involved in the distribution of perfectly sliced fruits to the grocery shops in the Northeast, yet they were clueless in minimising the wastages during the process. Amid all the daily wastages Balder has agreed to sell its carrot tops and trimmings to misfit, This resulted in a significant reduction of wastage of food materials, wastages, Henceforth after the tie-up with misfit, balder started generating a fresh revenue stream by addressing the issue of food waste by associating with a social enterprise.

The partnership between misfit & Balder speciality foods seems to be a perfect example of social enterprises working in unison to create an impact. The duo believes in adding value to their products in the market by using the unused fruits & vegetables that are being thrown away as waste. The misfit is a Washington based startup founded by Phil Wong & Ann Yang in 2005 deals with cold pressing juices from fruit scraps. The innovative idea by the founders believes in creating product lines by converting one man’s trash to other man’s treasure. Around the globe, huge quantities of food are getting wasted, so the message is loud & clear from Misfit that they want to be in the forefront to fight this social issue with innovative ideas.
So the duo has decided to tie up with “Balder” one of the leading distributors of neatly cut fresh fruits & watermelons in the market. The process of producing neatly cuts fruits creates wastages daily, So finding this is an opportunity in 2016 Mist fit juicy has successfully tied up with Balder. Although balder is a large corporation involved in the distribution of perfectly sliced fruits to the grocery shops in the Northeast, yet they were clueless in minimising the wastages during the process. Amid all the daily wastages Balder has agreed to sell its carrot tops and trimmings to misfit, This resulted in a significant reduction of wastage of food materials, wastages, Henceforth after the tie-up with misfit, balder started generating a fresh revenue stream by addressing the issue of food waste by associating with a social enterprise.

Striking right partnership

The association between Misfit & Balder is a classic example of aligning one’s own business with a social enterprise to gain an advantage in the marketplace. The partnership with a social enterprise in today’s world increasingly makes more sense. It also helps both partners in creating social impact by keeping their bottom line in sync with the overall business objective. I think these models can be emulated better in developing markets like India in a big way. Traditionally every organisation gives more importance to improve their bottom line through delivering better value to its shareholders & investors. Now it is time to think beyond this notion in order to create a better social impact in the society. Founders of the Misfit feel sustainable business relationships not only add value overall but also helps to create a better social impact. In this case, Misfit as an organisation is successful as a social enterprise to leverage its strengths to create an authentic impact by addressing the pain points faced by large organisations. So any forward-thinking organisation for that matter can reap real benefits socially and financially by associating with such social enterprises.

Impact Investment

Impact investing offers significant potential for growth. The term Impact investment in the broader sense means a lot. Impact investing literally means “ a financial undertaking that aims to generate specific and measurable benefits to society & environment in addition to financial goals. Conventional investment models are skewed towards giving more importance to financial gains. However, the impact investment philosophy gives equal importance to social and environmental benefits. It uses private capital to fund to address the issues faced in the society and the environment.
Impact investment has been gaining more traction, as evident on the ground, its growth in the last several years looks promising. The investment seeks innovative solutions and ideas with a dual return of assets, It also aims to measure the impact it has created and its outcomes. The organisation that promotes impact investment also benefits handsomely whilst improving overall reputation in the society.
The individual investor, trust, funds or organisation who applies the principle of impact investment would always believe in taking steps to create long-term value for the society. The art of doing impact investment is by adopting careful design and implementation of programs that are scalable to have a very positive impact on the society. The future of this society and environment largely revolves around making sustainable development goals to tackle the problems faced by society. The realm of impact investment looks beyond the single objective of just making financial gains but deploying capital in such a way that benefits the overall wellbeing of the society & environment.

The united nations estimates that reaching the Sustainable development goals in developing countries will cost around 3.9 trillion per year and private and public capital put together provides just 1.4 trillion.

Amid all the benefits discussed so far, impact investment means different things to different people. Some would see it as a strategy for beating financial benchmarks because a business that target the existing gap in social or environmental needs can be profitable, one other hand inspite of the guaranteed lower returns, still they would like to back the investment for the sake of the society or environment.

Social enterprises and impact creation.
At present mainstream managers are willing to allocate their share of money as capital to a promising company for impact-oriented business or to social enterprise, however, most of them are still reluctant to deploy a that significant portion of the money for such activities. So it is the responsibility of government agencies and large companies to expand markets for impact investing.

Designing new products and practices.
The impact fund managers need to be clear about the overall strategies they are going to adopt and its objectives, also it is equally important how to balance the nonfinancial impact with financial returns. Impact fund managers can also create sector or issue specific products whose impact can be measured consistently. Though impact investment still remains as a novel idea, if adopted across the board has the potential to bring significant changes in the society. Unlike traditional investment models, impact investment takes time to bear fruits also due to its long gestation period. it takes a longer time than usual to create an impact that can be realistically measured. But one thing is sure our world needs more of such impact investment themes, professional fund managers to handle and deploy the capital to its best use. But the overall transformative impact it creates in sectors like education, Healthcare and the environment is huge that can fetch huge dividends for the nation as a whole.

Nature’s fury in Kerala

 

kerala floodsKerala has never faced such a torrential flood in its history than what the God’s own country has witnessed in August 2018. The magnitude of the crisis withered by the floods is unbelievable and reconcilable. But as a state, we also saw how the people of Kerala unitedly have been fighting the situation with the great amount of resilience and brotherhood. The crisis also brought us together irrespective of caste creed or religion to fight the situation shoulder to shoulder with support received from all possible quarters. The 1.078 million affected people would take time to come out of the tragedy, But as human beings, we have shown the strength and wherewithal to overcome the crisis. The strength of human beings as a creature lies in their audacity to adjust to the situations and fight the odds and become stronger. As a Keralite am really proud the unflinching support offered by people from all walks of life , it has been reflective of the feeling of togetherness that we exhibited to the outside world . Ever since the crisis hit us people from all walk of lives organised collection camps and mobilised other resources and helped it to reach to victims without any delay. Kerala has witnessed one of its largest mobilisation of a selfless act of compassion and empathy.
Albeit crisis also has thrown up questions regarding the various ways and means through which ecological has been severely ruptured over years. So going forward all rehabilitation and reconstruction works should be planned by accommodating aspects of sustainable environmentally friendly practices.

Unprecedented situation

In spite of opening the shutters of Idukki dam after 26 years, the people of Kerala could not stop the 164% excess rainfall in August. Overall, the region’s monsoon rainfall has been 42% higher than usual. The havoc caused by overflowing rivers has led to death, displacement and destruction which takes years to rebuild. The rescue operations continue in Kerala and the state Govt has appealed for more financial support for rehabilitation and reconstruction of houses &other infrastructure like roads, bridges and houses. The initial estimate of loss prepared by the govt come to the tune of around 20000 Cr that might go up the tune more than 50000 Cr in the months to come. So Kerala needs more support and compassion from all quarters to overcome the crisis. However, it is important to note that nation-building is not Govt job perse, But it is important that every citizen of this country has a key role to play. So let’s put up an honest and sustainable effort to rebuilt Kerala. At this juncture, the task is enormous but no matter how difficult the situation would be, Together we would overcome it.

kerala floods

Data on the loses

Please donate generously to chief ministers disaster relief fund, Every contribution of yours matters most.

https://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/#donation

Social business

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Nobel laureate Mohammed Yunus from Bangladesh defines social business as a self-sustainable business created, designed to address the social problems. The social business is a not a new model per se, but it is a new approach of looking at the business with a different perspective to create maximum social impact in the society. The social business model requires new thinking with the aspect of creating maximum value in the society taking the community and the people together for a common good. When the business entity starts focussing the new path it bounds to create altruist impact in the society. However, it should be based on acceptance, embrace the problems faced by the society through collective action with an objective to bring perceptible changes in the quality of life of people. This new approach could create a lasting impact on the society by accepting, collectively to create opportunities for everyone in the community. Besides, that approach has the potential to create an environment of right balance and hence can act as a catalyst for change. Also, the new role if adopted can alter the existing business’ equation significantly in the society by becoming more inclusive in approach & behaviour.

Social business a moment of truth

Time has come for business houses to realise the moment of truth by thinking the way it conducts its business. The moment of truth means business houses need to think and behave as if they are part of the environment and society in which it operates. The moment they see themselves as a separate entity from the society, it leads to the creation of more friction with its external stakeholders and also cannot strike a right chord with the society.

Importance of shared value creation

The current business practices have created enough mess on the environment and society, So the situation certainly calls for a shared value creation means business houses need to extend their hands towards society in which they operate. The decision makers and the employers should internalise themselves the consequence of their action on the society. Henceforth a constant effort and need of the hour is to bring business and society together. Also social business to a great extent can create social harmony and sustainable growth.
Nestle the Global multinational giant has redesigned its coffee procurement process working extensively with small farmers who were trapped in low productivity and poor quality due to environmental degradation. The role of Nestle as a company in giving advice on new farming practices, providing the farmers with plant stocks, distributing fertilizer and pesticides and last but not least company paid the farmers in premium for cultivating quality coffee beans. The social impact created by this move has helped the small farmers in distress and improved their economic benefits and also helped to improve their quality of life.

Impact investment via social business.

Resourceful action seriously can create an impact in the society and could solve the problems faced by society at large, provided stakeholders of the company to act creatively with a mind to usher maximum positive impact in the society. The existing capitalistic business models has been creating unequal scenarios and sapping resources with no remorse has already weakened the nature and society . So going forward if they continue to do same means it would create detrimental effects on the community, natural resources and economy. So social business is the new model of capitalism where owners decide not to take the dividends but keep reinvesting the financial resources for new social business ideas in order to a create much larger impact in the society. Besides, that concentration of wealth in the hands of few can be reduced and effective deployment of resources to the population at the bottom of the pyramid.

 

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Governments’ role as a facilitator

Elected government through its administration alone cannot suffice the role in bringing radical changes in the society and it has proven beyond doubt that collective effort from business houses and industry leaders could bring a very positive and impact full change in the status quo. So Government as a dispensation should become more of a facilitator in framing new laws and policies for a smooth operation of social business models across different areas. Since the magnitude of the problems faced by the majority of the population is huge, it is also equally important that all stakeholders in the society should think and act with empathy to get rid of the issues faced by the society. Hindsight issues at hand certainly ask for fundamental changes the investment made on business and how the profits made out of the business get redeployed to create maximum social impact. The government should come forward with policies to create an environment for such a smooth transition. When proper policies are in place might pursue business houses and its owners to proactively take up the most pressing issues in the society and unitedly find solutions by giving the opportunity for everyone’s sustenance.

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Calibrating CSR in India

The CSR spending in India has seen a surge at CAGR of 14 % in the last two fiscal which is a promising sign despite having only 5% growth in their net profit. However, the majority of the corporates had taken the help of  NGO’s for  CSR spending it also means internally companies had deployed minimum resources to monitor their CSR activities. Perhaps post amendment of companies acts in 2013   business houses ever since has shown good compliance prescribed by the law.  But in a larger country like  India problems are galore in the areas of healthcare, education and the environment. Hence,  CSR funds could only account for a mere 1% of the total public spending in 2015-16. The spending model of  CSR funds in India are generally are programmatic grants. So in the hindsight to make a meaningful progress in CSR spending the very nature of their involvement needs to be evolved further to create a better impact.

CSR sector wise

Need for a  participatory approach

Generally, the CSR spending trend in India needs to get evolved from individuals to an Ecosystem where corporates can play a very proactive role in creating visible changes and perceptible impact on the problems faced by the society.  In order to create a larger impact, the existing model of CSR spending need changes and corporates should take serious initiative internally if they really want to create a meaningful impact in the society. Instead of being just grant givers, corporates should transform themselves from delivering services to building capacity & enabling the market for overall development.  The participatory approach should be a continuous affair whereby companies should constantly engage with various stakeholders in the society and ensure that measurable output is generated through their engagement.  Also, business houses internally should set an objective and drive those objectives meticulously similar to the ways how their business is been driven.

 

 

Become a catalyst for development

1)To become the catalyst for development, the companies in India should take various steps

2) Better use of resources and leveraging it effectively to create a better impact.

3) They need to establish better synergy between various players for the desired impact.

4) Bring in new stakeholders to the system and gain more competencies from them.

Promoting socially responsible business

Corporates should take a keen interest in promoting micro-entrepreneurs in the community, helping the people with financial support in starting a small business that could create a multiplier effect in the economy. So forging such useful long-term association can help improve the situation on the ground. Henceforth corporates in India should focus more one such aspect frequently rather than just becoming grant givers. The synergy between the various stakeholders in the society would help to create a win-win situation for all.

Importance of shared value creation

Beyond the corporates’ pet projects and largely advertised philanthropic activities, it only helps to improve the branding of the company and leaves very little to create an impact in the society. So beyond the objective of building a company’s brand, The active involvement in the society can only be achieved through “smart partnering “. Only through smart partnering creative solutions and strategies can be devised to address the very fundamental core issues faced by the society. The successful smart partnering initiative from HUL named “Project Shakthi”  was a very good initiative that had empowered the women folks in the rural sector by providing financial independence and have helped to achieve self-reliant.

Strengthening the core values internally&externally

Business creates impact, So it does matter how an organisation lives up to its core values extrinsically and intrinsically in relation to the society and vice-versa. How far corporates leaders are serious in practising those professed values in all aspects, Besides making profit business as an entity has a social commitment to the society or towards the community it operates. So it does matter the seriousness in which companies have aligned those core values to the overall development of the society. The whole aspect of doing business through the prism of generating value to shareholders should be replaced with a much more sanguine way of taking every other stakeholder together.

Engage the entire workforce and lead by example.

 When it comes to CSR, the workforce of every organisation is very crucial in bringing maximum benefits to the society. When it comes to employees they choose an organisation whose values resonates with them.It also helps in retaining existing as well as attracting fresh talents towards the organisation. Besides that activity that encourages the core values helps in improving the motivation level of employees which further leads to foster innovation and creative thinking in many spheres both inside and outside of the organisation.


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