Exponential Innovation, CSR and Bureaucracy

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For most of my life, I have been working with the tech community. As a real estate developer, I provide them with high-end facilities. But, real estate development also means working hand in hand with government and local authorities, which, to say the least, do things very differently than multinationals.

So why am I tying these two in a single post?

Multinationals have a hidden gem, which has been flourishing in the last couple of years – CRS, they have an authentic need to impact society for the better.

The second insight regards the public sector. After years of engagement, I’ve come to understand how deep bureaucracy runs. While some may think this is trivial, I believe that when factoring in the exponential rate of change digital technology is creating – red tape will finally bring society to a dangerous halt.  

Yet, while CSR is a force for good, something has been keeping it back from delivering the full impact that it potentially holds.  This has left me puzzled for a while, how is it that the most amazing innovative companies in the world, haven’t been able to create truly valuable social impact? I think it starts with intention. Today when we do CRS, we do not intend to make a difference in the world; it’s more about our branding, good vibes in our companies and employee engagement. It’s not really about changing the world. We frankly don’t believe we can, or maybe even should create real impact outside of our business objectives.

But if you lift your eyes from the monitor, you will see we really can’t afford not to create change in the world anymore. The public sector is lagging way behind, and there’s an ever-growing gap, which society will not be able to endure much longer before it cracks down and collapses. Paying taxes, no matter how high they are, is not enough, we need to lead.

So how do we level up our CSR to make it count?

Well, after deeply engaging in CSR, myself with many other great people from the tech and business community, my humble conclusion is that we need to change our mindset and let a new type of players into the ecosystem. I call these players – Impact companies. Such companies will provide the business community with high-quality platforms to channel its CSR efforts in a most effective manner. In exchange, they will win our CSR efforts together with operational costs, and hence be able to turn a profit and create value. These companies might be committed to giving back to the community their revenue above a certain rate like Lemonade did (amazing company). Yet, first they must prove profitability, this is the only way to attract both investments and the best talent into them.   

Obviously, we will assess these companies and their services in the same way we evaluate others – are we getting the best ROI? Are we getting the optimal engagement for our employees?

The market is moving fast, if we are smart and use its forces to do good, we can lead society to a brighter future… and maybe even put the public sector back on track.

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