There are five powerful forces that are building a better world, faster. And if you’re using business as a tool to achieve social, environmental, and/or economic progress, these forces will help you, too.
Serving as the great leveler, technology is providing access to information, education, and talent in order to empower people around the world. The proliferation of the smart phone is a clear example, but even more impressive is the growth of the tablet, one of which is now available for $35 thanks to DataWind. As technology (and access to it) continues to become easier, people will benefit greatly by improved access to tools and information.
Innovative companies like X PRIZE FOUNDATION are using cash incentives to influence positive outcomes where there is no short-term financial gain. Prizes have been a popular way to drive innovation, including be credited with accelerating social innovation, the public space race, and progress in almost every other sector. On a smaller scale, GOOD’s GOODMAKER platform continues to offer small prizes and grants to individuals and entities making the world a better place.
Do-it-yourself innovators are teaming up around the world to make a huge impact. From creating a $300 drone to building Wikipedia, individuals are donating time and expertise to build tools and resources useful for making the world a better place.
Individuals are putting more and more money behind positive, sustainable progress. One need only look at the rise of investors putting money behind social innovation. Even more so, the generous donations of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and their Global Giving Pledge, are even better examples of philanthropy targeted at social progress.
5. Reporting and sharing
How does one know if all the money and effort is actually setting out what it is achieving to do? In the U.S., B Labs has undertaken the daunting task of developing a rigorous certification measure for any company claiming to be socially responsible – its latest 2012 Report shows over 500 companies that are making an impact, and how they’re doing it. Globally, two groups have set out to measure and audit positive impact, the Global Investment Rating System and the Global Impact Investing Network’s Impact Reporting and Investment Standards.
As these five forces continue to increase momentum, and new forces are added to the mix, positive progress will continue to accelerate.
Did I miss any forces worth mentioning? If so, please leave a comment and let us know!To read more about these forces, and for more good news about our future, read this great article in The Economist, ‘Now for Some Good News‘, which served as inspiration for this blog post.