Friday, July 31, 2009

Sustainability workshop- Aug 7 at Stanford

My workshop, Media and Management Bridges for Heart-Head Impact is on August 7th 9-4. Check out the video link for details. Presentations include Hybrid business lifecycle, The Millennium Project and MetrixLine platform and practical tips on using online media tools for brand creation and management. Discussion items:
° Managing tradeoffs between business (profit) and social (people, planet) goals
° Public-Private Partnership strategies for harnessing markets to solve social/environmental problems
° Pragmatic changes non-profits should take to be effective and to scale

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How to increase your personal wheel of influence

At the annual WITI keynote last month, I heard about the "personal wheel of influence" - about how you treat every business interaction as a "relationship". The idea is simple- people intuitively understand that relationships are a lifelong thing, not one-time transaction and it alters behavior from short term wins to long-term mutual benefit behaviors; inspires give-take and inspires us to think in terms of increasing "social currency" defined as our value to others. Think of a wheel with YOU at the center. Around this draw all other interested parties into circles (sales, marketing,customer etc) and then pretend that you are not in one meeting but in a long term relationship at every meeting you have. What would you do to grow the inner circle? Add value to others. Key to growing the YOU circle is understanding what your value is and to grow that vale. If you engage from the perspective adding value, the personal wheel of influence grows automatically - an outcome, willingly supported by others of what you do. To know your key value and grow it - complete the following sentences:
1. - I am known for... (write 2-4 things)
2. - I want to become known for ...(write 2-4 things)
and then have fun!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Microfinance to Mainstream?

Micro finance methods have captured our imagination, hearts, social conscience and even our technology innovation dollar, but, sadly, never the institutional support that ideas need to go from boutique to mainstream. Till now. Eric Bellman, Wall Street Journal July 6, 2009 headlines "Rural Demand Helps Indian Banks". Bless his WSJ heart, the byline says "once considered a burden, remote branches prosper on aid for farmers". Note: aid, not loans. Other than that quibble (though technically aid is correct, because there are some subsidies involved but given all the baggage associated with the word "aid" I would rather use "stimulus" or something else), the rest of the article is worth every bit of ink. India has been resilient to the global meltdown because of growth in rural India; technology to reach remote areas and as market is growing, traditional for-profit banks are moving in too- completing a virtuous cycle. Key points:

- rural banking growth - from 12% to 20% has offset decline in urban - from 28% to 19% which is more tied to the global economy
- technology helps - remote branches have a finger-print scanner and mobile phone for identification and processing (State Bank of India) - loans and deposits are small amounts
- the benefit is felt by the state owned banks, which were forced to maintain rural branches (at a loss), but as the "market" is growing, multinationals (e.g. HSBC) are entering the market -thus taking it mainstream
-because of low default rates etc. - interest rates are competitive (10%)
- customer profile- "No one in my family has ever had an account"
I generally highlight media coverage of business+technology+social impact - and coming from WSJ - I thought it was especially noteworthy. In fact it made me track down other noteworthy articles (one especially on cell phone growth in India) by the same author.
For emerging markets -if there is a killer app - it is banking - whether it is delivered through cell phones, kiosks or moving vans; think of the potential customer base! I hope this story is an indication that "microfinace" is moving to "finance" - its the kind of change the world needs.