We didn’t quite understand the impact this was until we started digging in deeper with all the rest of the fellows. Many of them are extremely talented and came out of the Ivy League B schools. Intimidated? Just a bit. But I was so aptly reminded that I also did not go to the top design school yet somehow through divine circumstances I ended up in some of the best design firms working with Fortune 500 companies. I am now a freshman again in a new space.
We started our week by showing off our blankets at Google’s Entrepreneurs Week. It was fun to hear how Google is making tools for entrepreneurs. Google-ites are proud of their campus and products. Throughout our workshops there was one prevailing question that we kept on challenging. “What does true impact mean?”
Typically in the tech start-up world it’s about a fast ramp up to buy-out. One entrepreneur challenged that notion because our bottom-line isn’t necessarily for the hottest VC to pay millions of dollars to acquire our companies. Many of us social entrepreneurs are doing what we’re trying to do because we believe in a triple bottom line. That means that social responsibility is at the core of why we do what we do.
I realize that this is a new dynamic in our world today. Most people measure success by how profitable you are as a company, but one must see that profit is just a means of validating you as a company. Profit doesn’t say how you are being responsible as a company. So many companies have decided to only measure their success through profit, which is a dangerous and slippery slope when you start thinking about how they got that profit in the first place.
How do we as consumers start challenging that notion? Does a company exploit factory workers in order to bring you the cheapest goods? Where did the raw materials come from? Were they sustainably harvested? Were harmful pesticides used? There are a lot of questions that we as consumers can ask so that we CAN make a difference.
What are some questions that you would like to ask your favorite companies? Target has been known to “copy” other designers, knock-offs are industry standards. But is that acceptable? Did you know that Coca-Cola was banned from the state of Kerala, India for a time period because it was found that there was a high amount of pesticides? They were also under-scutiny for taking water away from the local farmers. How can we as consumers be the heroes to fight for what is right?