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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Evidence of a Sea Change

Posted by admin | November 29th, 2006 | Filed under Compassionate Capitalism, Positive Change, Who We Are

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In 1990 I chose to work at The Body Shop, not because I was particularly interested in selling soap and shampoo, but because I was interested in the potential of business as a force for positive change. In those days, it would have been unimaginable to think you could gather together a large group of MBA students who were passionate about exploring the same subject. Back then, the subject might have been intriguing, in a fringe sort of way, but not the stuff careers are made of. That’s why I found my participation at this year’s Net Impact conference to be so inspiring. The conference attracted 1500 MBA students from around the country. They were brimming with curiosity, intellectual smarts, passion, and the desire to make a difference and they were there to explore everything from the role of micro finance in eradicating global poverty to the case for green building. Alan Webber, the founding editor of Fast Company, observed that real social change necessarily “starts with looking at the brutal facts of life in the eye and admitting that the status quo is broken.â€? This group of students seemed to get that, but instead of wallowing in cynicism and resignation, wanted to respond to the obvious challenges in a creative way. As for me, well, I left feeling even more conscious of my age, but energized by a new dose of optimism about the future.

4 Responses to “Evidence of a Sea Change”

  • November 30, 2006 at 11:29 pm | Marty McDonald says

    Ian,

    Funny, I just literally finished reading a very wonderful article about Bainbridge Graduate Institute that essentially gets to the same point within its contextual description of the school, its mission, and wonderful founder, Gif Pinchot. (It is the best I have seen on the school.) Then, I ended up here and was pleasantly surprised to find your post.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.washingtonceo.com/index.php?id=90&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=225&tx_t
    tnews%5BbackPid%5D=49&cHash=0e77104e49

    -Marty

  • December 2, 2006 at 1:34 pm | Ian says

    Mart,

    Evidently we’re swimming in the same stream. That’s cool.

  • December 5, 2006 at 11:28 am | brian says

    Ian,
    I enjoyed your talk this morning. When I read the post above, I thought of some projects OneEconomy (http://www.one-economy.com) sponsors. It seems there are myriad worthwhile projects; the challenge is how to get involved with them on a workday to workday basis.

  • December 5, 2006 at 8:20 pm | Alexis says

    What is so exciting to us, as students at these conferences, is to see how extensive the community is becoming – how many others there are who are also looking to change how (and why) business does business. Though each of us believes that there is a sea change happening out there, it is easy to feel as if we are swimming upstream against some of the more traditional business school models… it is energizing and exciting to see how many others are also dedicating themselves to working toward the same goal.

    Not only that, but this is a crowd who goes out of its way to help give each other a leg up, forging a strong network of business professionals which will hopefully reach a tipping point in critical mass the near future. I’m looking forward to day when we look back and say in amazement, “Wow, remember the days when we didn’t do cradle to cradle design? What were we thinking?!”

    Thanks again, Ian, for your presentation at the conference – in my opinion, you guys are fast forwarding into becoming one of those business models of the future. Best, – Alexis

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