The Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit


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  • CWRU undergraduates including second-year Weatherhead finance major Evan Harris earn over $100,000 in funds for developing a foot-pedal generator for off-grid villagers.
  • Richard Boyatzis will lead this one-day seminar on June 11, 2015 at Cleveland State University.
  • Chris Laszlo, associate professor of organizational behavior, argues for sustainability as an opportunity for students to study, scholars to invent, businesses to innovate, nonprofits to influence, and governments to legislate all in service of the democratic majority's desired outcomes.
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Fairmount Santrol Professor of Social Entrepreneurship David Cooperrider provides his insight on current articles relating to Business as an Agent of World Benefit.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.
I don't often think of New Jersey as a pace setter...but legislators there are calling for new economy thinking: a bight green economic logic is calling for 80% renewables. Who knows if it can be done, but New Jersey is already a solar power leader in the United States. Thirty-five years is a long time, and it appears that the rate of solar adoption will continue to quicken. Solar power is more affordable than it has ever been. However, most Americans may still not be aware of that fact, and remain attached to the idea that is out of reach. When perception catches up with reality, solar might expand in a way that seems explosive.
80% Of New Jersey’s Electricity From Renewables.

80% Of New Jersey’s Electricity From Renewables.

“State senators in New Jersey are proposing legislation that would require the state to produce 80% of its electricity from renewables by 80% Of New Jersey’s Electricity From Renewables? was originally published on CleanTechnica.”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.
There are CEOs and then there are leader CEOs. Some see the larger meaning of preparing for the future... The news today is that the Level of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere has hit a worrying milestone. Not to ring the alarm bells on global warming or anything, but you should know that the worldwide reading on carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere has hit a significant milestone. CO2 levels surpassed 400 parts per million for the month of March, NOAA scientists said today. There have been readings this high before, but this is the first time that concentrations of the gas have averaged 400 ppm for an entire month. Carbon dioxide is invisible, odorless and colorless, yet it's responsible for 63% of the warming attributable to all greenhouse gases, according to NOAA. Research seems to show that the last time carbon dioxide reached 400 ppm was millions of years ago. It's with this kind of contemporary backdrop that we need to understand the leadership of CEOs like Unilevers Paul Polman. He writes: "So if we are still to create a more sustainable and equitable world for all, we must act quickly and boldly. To stave off economic and environmental catastrophe, companies and policymakers need to come together in order to protect our investments and the public’s wellbeing. That is why, along with other B Team business leaders, we are calling on international negotiators to set a goal of net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 in this year’s international climate agreement. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found that global greenhouse gas emissions would need to reach net zero by the end of this century to avoid catastrophe, but we can and must do better. An ambitious long-term global goal is a critically important complement to the individual short-term offers that countries will bring to Paris." What about the business case? Is Pplmans sustainability agenda good for the business? Recent analysis is unequivocal. Consumer goods maker Unilever says its brands that most fully embrace its CEO's passion for sustainability perform the best, adding fuel to its oft-repeated argument that social responsibility is good for business. Of the more than 400 brands Unilever sells, those with the strongest sustainability credentials – such as Dove, Lifebuoy, Ben & Jerry’s and Comfort – have seen sales grow at a high single-digit or double-digit rate over the past three years, Unilever said on Tuesday. The company doesn't normally break out sales for individual brands. "These brands accounted for half the company's growth in 2014 and grew at twice the rate of the rest of the business," said Unilever CEO Paul Polman in a statement. Consumers are "increasingly demanding responsible business and responsible brands".
Unilever's CEO is a leader.

Unilever's CEO is a leader.

“Floods, wildfires, droughts, heat waves, and other disasters pose a direct risk to our families, friends, and neighbors both near and far.”
Business and society: ceo's like Doug McMillon fully embrace the multistakeholder view of the firm

Business and society: ceo's like Doug McMillon fully embrace the multistakeholder view of the firm

“ In the long term, corporate and societal interests converge. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and SVP of sustainability Kathleen McLaughlin argue companies have an opportunity to use their scale and expertise to reshape global systems and mitigate complex problems.”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

So many of the award winning entrepreneurs are working with exponential technologies intended to change the world for the better.

 

For example: Vivienne Harr, chief inspiration officer at Stand.

 

When a 10-year-old entrepreneur partners with Biz Stone to launch a mobile platform designed to spur social change, you watch. Vivienne Harr has come a long way since selling lemonade to fight human trafficking; and if she’s already accomplished so much, who knows what’s possible next.

15 Women Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015

15 Women Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015

Angelia Trinidad, founder, CEO and designer at Passion Planner.
It’s no surprise that a woman who dedicates her time to helping people pursue “that thing that makes them excited to get up everyday” has caught our attention. Angelia Trindad initially created Passion Planner – a portable life coach, organizer and daily dose of inspiration, all within the pages of a planner – in 2013. Two wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns later, she shipped more than 2,000 Passion Planners in just 20 days and will continue to help transform the habits of thousands in years to come.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

 

When a woman or man in Outer Mongolia answers his or her smartphone, they are using a device a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful than a supercomputer from the 1970s. That’s what exponential change looks like in the real world. Now when you combine exponential technologies with the idea of “business as an agent of world benefit” you get CEOs such as Elon Musk, Larry Page, and Naveen Jain.

 

This volume calls them exponential entrepreneurs. Exponential entrepreneurs give us the ability to solve many of the

world’s grandest challenges over the next two to three decades. That
is, we will soon have the power to meet and exceed the basic needs of
every man, woman, and child on the planet. For the first time in
history, this volume demonstrates,  humanity holds the potential to significantly and permanently address our grandest challenges on a global scale..

Thousands of years ago, it was only kings, pharaohs, and emperors who had the ability to solve large- scale problems. Hundreds of years ago, this power expanded to the industrialists who built our transportation systems and financial institutions. But today, the ability to solve such problems has been thoroughly democratized. Right now, and for the first time ever, a passionate and committed individual has access to the technology, minds, and capital required to take on any challenge.

 

Even better, that individual has good reason to take on such
challenges. As we will soon see, the world’s biggest problems are now
the world’s biggest business opportunities. This means, for
exponential entrepreneurs, finding a significant challenge is a
meaningful road to wealth.

 

Ultimately, as they teach at Singularity University—an amazing entrepreneurship program based on exponential thinking—the best way to become a billionaire is to solve a billion-person problem.

 

How about a less that $20 iPAD that will bring education, knowledge, and MOOC courses from the Harvard and University of Tokyo and Indian Institute of Management to every young person on earth?

 

Some business person is likely already designing it!

 

Bold: How to Go Big (new book by Diamandis and Kotler)

Bold: How to Go Big (new book by Diamandis and Kotler)

From the coauthors of the New York Times bestseller Abundance comes their much anticipated follow-up: Bold: how to go big, create wealth, and impact the world.

David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

Elon Musk shows how moonshot thinking, successful entrepreneurship, and a mission to harness the best in business to benefit the world is today's most important leadership formula. And yes there are the basics too: ability to inspire others; insanely great products; ability to execute and attract investments of all kinds. But all of this pales in comparison to boldness built around a purpose so powerful that it fires an internal passion, what I've called an epic positive attractor. I love how he uses very few words:   “Our goal here is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy,”Musk said during Thursday’s Tesla Energy event. “At the extreme scale.” 

How Tesla's new battery will revolutionize energy consumption

How Tesla's new battery will revolutionize energy consumption

Tesla is expanding its business beyond luxury electric cars and looking to power homes and businesses with renewable energy stored in batteries. Will Tesla's experiment prove successful?
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

Thomas Friedman, just in from meetings in Germany, concludes that the Germany's Energiewende (energy transformation) deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. What the Germans have done in converting almost 30 percent of their electric grid to solar and wind energy from near zero in about 15 years has been a great contribution to the stability of our planet and its climate. The centerpiece of the German Energiewende,  was an extremely generous “feed-in tariff” that made it a no-brainer for Germans to install solar power (or wind) at home and receive a predictable high price for the energy generated off their own rooftops.


Friedman's  prediction is also perceptive: "Germany will be Europe’s first green, solar-powered superpower. Can those attributes coexist in one country, you ask? They’re going to have to."

Germany is a Green Superpower and Deserves Nomination for Nobel Peace Prize

Germany is a Green Superpower and Deserves Nomination for Nobel Peace Prize

This is a world-saving achievement. And, happily, as the price fell, the subsidies for new installations also dropped. The Germans who installed solar ended up making money, which is why the program remains popular, except in coal-producing regions. Today, more than 1.4 million German households and cooperatives are generating their own solar/wind electricity. “There are now a thousand energy cooperatives operated by private people,” said the energy economist Claudia Kemfert.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

Casey Crawford, 37, is chief executive of the nation’s fastest-growing private mortgage bank. He’s on track to oversee $7 billion in new home loans this year. And over the next decade, he wants to give it away. All of it--and have it generate social impact funds for years to come. How? Transfer 100% of movements shares to the nonprofit arm, yet still have the company aiming for industry-wide leadership in growth and impact.

 

After providing superior value for customers and employees, they intend for all dividends to be paid to The Movement Foundation, where it will be used to invest in community centers and charter schools.

 

“The vision is that everything beyond our capital requirements would be reinvested back into communities across the U.S.,” Crawford says in an interview. “People will come to us because we give them great service and great rates. But how cool would it be for people to know that because they patronize our organization they’re helping reinvest in the community, doing good and loving others. That’s the story I want to tell.”

 

Think about that for a moment. A rising star CEO, running an Inc. 500 success story, with no debt or outside equity, instead of plotting a big exit or an IPO while the market is hot, is preparing to gift his company to nonprofit work.

 

“I think we are cashing out — into other people’s lives,” Harris says. “If all you accomplish is making money, that’s a pretty empty life.”

Movement Mortgage is a Business and Society Innovation Worth Watching

Movement Mortgage is a Business and Society Innovation Worth Watching

Casey Crawford, a charisma-filled former football star, stands in a dilapidated brick building less than two miles from the stadium where he once played in front of thousands. Today, no one is watching or cheering. And he’s not smiling. The only sound is the echo of his black dress shoes tapping across the empty concrete floor of a cavernous room once used for hydraulic-equipment repairs. There’s a determined look on his face, a focused cadence to his words.

He’s in charge of a multibillion-dollar mortgage business, but today he talks about the homeless. He talks about kids who sleep in cars before going to nearby Ashley Park Elementary School. He talks about immigrants who arrive in Charlotte unable to land good-paying jobs and the generational curse of poverty in the west side.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.
It is moving forward: the proposed Solar Park would be the world’s largest solar PV power plant, with a total solar installed capacity of 750 MW. Acquisition of 1,500 hectares of land for the Rs45 billion ($750 million) project is said to be close to completion.
World’s Largest Solar PV Plant in Motion in India

World’s Largest Solar PV Plant in Motion in India

“A cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister of India’s Madhya Pradesh, Mr Shivraj Singh, has approved the proposal for commissioning the world’s largest solar power plant in the Rewa District.”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston: Professor, author of Appreciative Inquiry, and designer of large group planning and whole system-in-the-room Ai Summits.

How do you cultivate appreciative intelligence? You learn from people who see the future in the tiniest successes, progress moments, and strengths of today. For example Xerox could have been Apple. However it could not see what was precious right in front of them. Remember what Steve Jobs said in 1978 when he visited the Xerox research labs to look at what everyone else called a very flawed new computer interface. He looked at it, this ugly and very flawed display, and said something like, "“I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen in my life…it was very flawed…still, the germ of the idea was there and within, you know ten minutes, it was obvious to me that all computers would work like this some day.” 


The other night, in Hawthorne, California, Elon Musk unveiled “the missing piece” in the transition over to clean energy. The Tesla Powerwall, a large household battery (with industrial applications as well), was that piece.

 

"Our goal is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy," Musk told a press conference at the Tesla Design Center on Thursday night.

 

"It sounds crazy, but we want to change the entire energy infrastructure of the world to zero carbon." 

 

In Musk’s mind, we orbit the key to weening the world off of fossil fuels. “We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky called the Sun,” he said to the crowd as his keynote. Solar energy then, relying on commercially available solar panels, is the first step in the weening process.

 

We’ve long heard the promise of solar power, but the public hasn’t viewed it as a real competitor to fossil fuels (at least the American public). However, the math is all there. Musk referred to a striking graph to make his point (shown in the video). The blue square is the total amount of surface area that would need to be covered by solar panels to take the US off the grid—and the area is miniscule—like placing a dot on a basketball—a very small dot, from the tip of a felt pen.

 

Why is it so hard to think like an Elon Musk-- someone seeing so much possibility for world transformation in just a tiny battery and the ability to harness the best in business to create value and build a better world? I think, in Tojo Thatchenkery's words its an ability to "see the mighty oak in the acorn"--an appreciative intelligence that comes from disciplined inquiry (look up Tojo's book Appreciative Intelligence.)

 

Leadership = affirmation: its the ability to see the future in the tiniest signs of what works, what's best, and what's possible-- and then to unite all of that with a businessworthy purpose. Appreciative inquiry, together with meaning and purpose, is such a powerful combination.  Changing the entire fossil fuel basis of our economy is bold, for sure, and it's not often you hear CEO's give speeches like this. But its certainly a precious glimpse into appreciative intelligence. You deserve to take a look:

 

http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/1/8527543/elon-musk-tesla-battery-feels

 

But beware its not this leader's flawless oratory skills that make this so powerful: its the authenticity of his vision. Leadership is about seeing; its about the appreciative knowing and the ability to read the world for its intimations of something more.  

 

http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/1/8527543/elon-musk-tesla-battery-feels