Despite the linguistic distance between myself and the four panelists, two themes were discussed that really made me reflect.
The first, more of a personal reflection, stemmed from an explanation of the particular moment at which a person recognizes the internal desire, or necessity, to work towards a common improvement of social and environmental well being. The third speaker opened up to the attendees of the panel when he described this moment. In his case, he described how he had just been notified that he was to become a father. He described how the prospect of bringing another life into the world makes you reflect on what world your bringing the life into. He is a serial entrepreneur, having been a part of four start-ups, and he went on to describe his most recent project, a social enterprise that promotes community values via a ‘social coin’. Essentially, a person completes a favor for someone in their community, and passes along the coin. The act of kindness can be passed along, person by person, requiring only that you try to share your story at each level. Check out the details here: www.thesocialcoin.org A very cool and inspiring project!
Although I have not yet experienced the moment when you’re told that you are going to be a father, my most comparable ‘moment of enlightenment’ occurred on hike through a 2000 year old alerces forest in Argentina. From this time forward I’ve had a deeper respect for the natural world, and I’ve wanted to work towards creating a better balance of resource use and respect between human beings and the planet.
The second theme that came out of this discussion was the ability, and responsibility, that large multinationals have to shape the future of our society. Samsung’s speakers touched on the many different initiatives that they are involved in which are enabling increased collaboration, efficiency, and communication via Samsung’s technological platforms. Their scope is truly global, describing projects from Africa to Australia. The trend of technology is just that – it is everywhere, and large multi-nationals must be present in all markets. Not only does technology have the ability to improve standards of living in developing countries, it has the ability to increase social collaboration as well. Wireless technologies can help bridge gaps in infrastructure and help drive innovation through knowledge sharing. It seems that Samsung is quite confident and comfortable allocating a portion of its corporate social responsibility budget towards social improvements. One interesting question was asked – can you monetize similar projects to ensure that they will be sustainable in the long run? Is profitability, better yet self-sufficiency, a requirement for truly sustainable enterprise?