The need for Change

Ingo outlining a potential pathway to encourage social responsible business behavior. The Global North may learn from the Global South, while both simultaneously realize shared value.


Good morning! May I ask you a question? Have there been a time in your life, asking yourself if you could do more? A time when you felt the need for change?

I am Ingo, and I love change. Change that comes from within!

Reinventing myself professionally and personally, but also on a wider scale and I am talking about social change. Something I believe will only work if we do it together.

We, which I would like to define as society at large, including the corporate world as well nonprofit sector. Both which I have experienced. The former in IT and Telecoms for more than 10 years and the latter rather recently in India, the U.K., and Africa.

In 2011, I left my business life behind, mainly upset about how things are done – rather irresponsible and towards maximizing profit. I thought in external advocacy I could change this, but soon after had to realize that it is not black and white. The social sector appeared as well to be flawed. Profit maximization in a different way, towards more social capital gains!

Change comes from within and so I am striving to bring them closer together – the corporates and the social / developmental idealists.

I believe we are doing a fantastic job in infusing ethical values in today’s MBA students, but this is a rather recent endeavor. During my MBA studies in 2007 –in the vogue of the financial crisis – social leadership fellowship, for example, have not been around.

So, I am asking you, ‘are you confident we are targeting the right group? Aren’t they yet too young to make a difference? Surely, it’s a generation game, or gamble, but can we not find ways to start now?

We are assuming that most those fellows will end in a position of power to make decisions. Maybe true, but power also changes. Working in management has shown me how ones might forget his or her idealistic values over time, too strong are demands from the ones a manager is accountable towards – his stakeholders.

So, the question is: how can we engage today’s middle and senior managers to support nonprofits causes? How we make them share their extensive expertise and simultaneously remind them of the social ills that are there to fight?

Corporate Voluntarism might be an angle and the all-encompassing CSR another to instill ethical values for just business behavior. However, the debate about the latter shows that this is still way too flawed, much too far away from reality, which is a business needs to create business value.

In my opinion, help stems from where the Global North driven social sector assumes help is needed– from the Global South.

In nowadays economies the emerging markets are willing and capable of expanding into the developed world. However, in Europe, for example, our social consciousness disguises the immoral business practices of countries like Bangladesh.

Could we as a third sector not expand our offerings of leadership programs and invite senior managers from those markets to invest some of their time in a nonprofit in the Global North?

Would that not mean they can showcase social responsible behavior, while giving away some of their extensive knowledge?

If we then simultaneously offering them the time and possibility to network with other business leaders and, hence, explore the markets they want to enter, have we not just provided business value and a reason to invest in social causes?