Building a network requires processes, structure and lots of alignment. But in order for the network to truly work, it requires trust and deep-felt human connection around a common purpose. For over 10 years, YSB has built a strong network and every year we are learning more about the effects of communities and networks. This allows us to address social problems in bold new ways.
Our CEO Saskia Bruysten networking with Joachim Drees (CEO of MAN Truck & Bus) during the MAN Impact Accelerator Closing Ceremony in Munich.
The network approach promotes an active search for new connections and new ideas which can increase productivity and innovative solutions. Allowing the use of resources such as leadership, money and talent across organisations and sectors has the potential for impact on a much larger scale than otherwise possible.
In many ways, our approach is similar to the open source standards. In traditional thinking, you would not want to share your intellectual property, data or other assets. But we do not believe in zero-sum view of the world. We believe that by sharing and collaborating, we can create much more inspiring solutions to the key challenges we face.
And so we employ a strategy of paying forward. Of providing insights and value when people ask us to. We do not expect a quid-pro-quo. If we can, we do not insist on being paid for every phone call. And we share our insights wherever we can. And yes, sometimes that is scary because there is no guarantee that it will create positive outcomes. But over the years, our experience has built our own trust in our network and the impact community.
What does this mean concretely? Well, let us explain through a concrete project: Our current research project is focused on gathering both qualitative and quantitative data about the journeys of social intrapreneurs in companies across the world. Those intrapreneurs build social business initiatives within large companies – and through that, transforming them from within. This is a nascent space that we expect to get much more traction in the future and will play a huge role in transforming the role of corporations towards positive forces for development.
“A university should not be an island where academics attain higher and higher levels of knowledge without sharing any of this knowledge with its neighbours.”
— Prof. Muhammad Yunus
Instead of keeping the data from this study to ourselves, we much rather share this data with research institutions and fellow practitioners (within our beloved GDPR frameworks, of course). We work with a steering group that is comprised of peer organizations like the League of Intrapreneurs, Business Fights Poverty, the World Economic Forum, Schwab Foundation, Endeva or the B Team. It also includes academic researchers from universities such as Oxford University, the Skoll Forum, INSEAD, HEC, McGill or Fundacao Dom Cabral.
With the resources and expertise of these organisations, we can create much more impact out of the data we gather than if we would just analyse it with the scarce resources in our team. We have no idea what the direct benefit will be for us. But that does not matter. We know that the benefit to the ecosystem will be huge and we simply trust that there will be a strong impact on the work that we do as well.
We believe that by understanding and mobilising our networks we can most effectively drive social change. Our aim is to continue building communities, managing established networks and sharing experiences and stories that energise us and, inspire us to achieve greater impact.
Before Susan Mubiru bought a water purification system for her school, Namutebi Nkata Primary in Uganda, she had to find a way to boil water for all of her 516 students. “When we used to boil it, it was never enough. The children would not always have drinking water regularly”. For Susan, and schools across Africa lack of access to safe drinking water is a huge challenge.
On 20 March this year, Luis Miguel Botero discovered that his social business, Pomario, faced an existential threat. It was the day that a nation-wide quarantine in Colombia was announced, which was ultimately extended until the end of August. For Botero, as for many business owners, this presented the threat that his social businesses’ revenues would disappear overnight.
As an output of the ANDE SGB Finance Learning Lab, ANDE India and Asha Impact have collaborated, with the support of SAP and UNDP SDG Finance Facility, to put together this playbook on Social Success Notes.
The MAN Impact Accelerator #2 isn’t quite over yet and now is your chance to celebrate the journey and the closing of another successful batch.
India has an enormous population of 1.4 billion, within it there are a staggering amount of people who live rurally with no access to a reliable or regular electricity supply. Roughly a third of the planet’s electricity deficit is in India with only 82% of its inhabitants having access to electricity – meaning a total of 239 million people are left in darkness (as of 2016).
Once the dust has settled, the Covid-19 outbreak may fundamentally shift everyone’s professional lives. Even before the pandemic, there was a rising demand for more flexibility in the workplace and now with its recent mass scale experimentation, remote work may become the new normal. If that is the case, HR will have to evolve ‘remotely’ and become essential to any small or large business’s conti