This week a great article came out in SSIR (Stanford Social Innovation Review), by Judith Samuelson called Big Business Matters.
I’d encourage you to read it. The premise is that we need to engage big business in achieving social impact because they bring a great deal of resources to the table in addressing our global challenges – and I couldn’t agree more.
One of the challenges Ms. Samuelson addresses in her article is that with all the attention on social enterprises, who are generally small and under-capitalized, is that we are sending an underlying message to the next generation of leadership that big business is not a credible career alternative.
It’s true, speaking as a small resource strapped social enterprise! We do need big business at the table, and it’s clear that many are already there. I don’t know this, but I imagine Ms. Samuelson’s would agree that ultimate success lies in the power of partnership and rigorously engaging the strengths of all actors in the marketplace. Big business, non-governmental organizations, small entrepreneurial organizations, consumers, governments and academia.
However to the point of the article – engaging big business – Ms. Samuelson puts forward very valuable ideas that would help ensure that our next generation of leaders are aware of the ways that big businesses must be part of the solutions we seek.
I especially like the movement in business schools toward a “Hippocratic oath” or credo where graduates pledge to do no harm. That’s not a bad oath for all of us to take.