Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Organizations committed to sustainable change bake it into their business model.  There are a host of labels and designations for those that “do good”: conscious capitalism, social impact, social entrepreneurship, BCorp, etc. In this episode, we explore the differences and how they function. Suzanne Smith, founder & CEO of Social Impact Architects and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University and the University of Texas at Arlington unpacks it for us.

Show Notes

“[As a social entrepreneur] You don’t always do things (directly) connected to your bottom line, you don’t always have to get an immediate benefit out of something, because it’s part of who you are and your ethos – baked into your DNA.”

– Suzanne Smith

The nuances of doing good

We hear a lot of labels today around “doing good” in business: conscious capitalism, social impact, social entrepreneurship and more. But what are the differences and how do they function in the business world?

Today Suzanne Smith – an expert in social impact who works with nonprofits, foundations, socially responsible businesses and individuals – unpacks it all. She founded Social Impact Architects back in 2009 with a goal to reshape the business of social change, and she teaches on these topics as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University and University of Texas at Arlington.

Looking differently at social change

We discuss how social change exists in a middle space between the business world and government where neither has entirely tackled it head-on. Historically, the business sector hasn’t created enough of a market for social change, but in recent years brands look differently at how they engage. Creating change has become much deeper than charity donations and volunteering. With such a surge, it’s important for brands and individuals to rely on research-backed methods and best practices without reinventing the wheel. But it’s also important to not lose sight of what you can uniquely bring to the table.

Social entrepreneurship, charity, conscious capitalism

[8:40] “So the traditional notion of charity is the whole idea of ‘I’ll give a man a fish,’ if we want to use that analogy. Social entrepreneurship changes that narrative and says, ‘You know what, let’s teach a man to fish. Let’s figure out how to do that to scale.’

“We leverage the toolkit that businesses established to create market-based solutions.”

[12:22] “Social innovation is about the idea, social entrepreneurship is about the mindset, and social enterprise is about the business model.”

[21:55] “That’s where I would put the conscious capitalists, those are the people who are hardwired around the idea of, we want to, we want to do a better job of creating social change. But typically, they’re looking at it more from a business practice perspective, it’s part of their ethos.”

The difficulty of effecting social change on a grand scale

[10:58] The danger of starting from scratch: “Leapfrog innovation, which is yes, we want to create change, but we want to give ourselves the best chance at creating impact. So we want to build it on a solid foundation of best practice research, problem, ideation, etc. So that way, we get as much impact as we possibly can from that innovation.”

People are drawn to social change

[30:15] “I consistently look at what I purchase, and I vote with my dollar…if you look at some of the research that’s been done, those companies who perform better time after time, are the ones that are socially conscious. People running those organizations are making more thoughtful decisions, they’re making less decisions that are in the short run, the better decision versus the long run being the better decision.

“Companies have to start thinking about these issues. It’s not just about them creating the product or service anymore… Do their employees have appropriate daycare? Are they moving their employees up in a career pathway?”

Her recommendation to students

[37:40] “Find that thing that they’re uniquely passionate about, marry that with the thing that they are uniquely God-given from a talent point of view,”

Resources mentioned in this episode:

https://socialimpactarchitects.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/social-impact-architects/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzannesmithtx/

https://twitter.com/socialtrendspot

https://www.instagram.com/socialtrendspot/

https://www.facebook.com/SocialImpactArchitects

Sign up for Social TrendSpotter blog:

https://socialimpactarchitects.com/newsletter-signup/

Sign up for Rise Leaders newsletter:

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Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

Silicon Mountain: Finding Multi-Stakeholder Wins in the eWaste industry

Silicon Mountain | Finding Multi-Stakeholder Wins in the eWaste industry

Hillary and Joel Patterson transformed a business opportunity into a passion project.  After designing ERP solutions for clients in the electronic waste recycling industry, they jumped into the fascinating world of recycling, repair and redistribution of the electronics we regularly toss in our trash.   They became SO passionate that they privately funded and produced a documentary, Silicon Mountain. 

Episode 20   | September 15, 2020

Show Notes

 

 

It’s the ultimate win-win-win situation where we help the environment, we help businesses, we help people – the products that are sent off to other countries can help with education. There’s just such a big benefit. I wanted to show what all the opportunities are, and how individuals and companies can make a difference.

– Hillary Patterson, The Vested Group

 

The Unintended Impact of Constant Innovation

Today we use more electronics and gadgets than at any point in history. Electronics are used in everyday life, with people upgrading their phones to the latest model, buying new technology for their companies, homes and more. This raises the question: What happens to the waste? How can we recycle and safely dispose of it? And who might this benefit?

What is Electronic Recycling?

[17:05] “Only 20% of any of the waste in the world gets recycled. So that shows you the potential of growth and the amount that can be gained by just recycling our own devices… “Such a small percentage of what’s out there that can be recycled is actually being recycled… Approximately 400,000 smartphones are thrown away every day in the United States.”

[18:14] There’s $343 million worth of gold in those phones, $46 million worth of silver. If we don’t recycle that, then we have to dig that out of the earth again. The environmental ramifications are obviously ongoing and large – something that we can easily take a big chunk out of.”

[33:31] “They have almost unlimited demand for their products when they recycle and repair these items that come in. Their struggle as [an eWaste company] is getting this stuff.”

What About Data Security?

[20:58] “As long as you’re going to a certified recycler, they have the process in place…as long as you’re using somebody reputable, they’re going to take care of it … because their reputation is on the line as well; they’re going to make sure that that that it’s secure before it’s actually sent to anyone.”

A Circular Economy

[22:47]“It’s taking something that one person has stopped using. And a lot of times people will buy the new iPhone because they want a new iPhone, not because there’s anything wrong with the last one that they have. Instead of leaving it in a drawer, they’re giving it to somebody that can either sell it, refurbish it, and putting it back into the economy.”

Silicon Mountain Documentary

Premier Information:
Date: Thursday, September 17th , 2020
Time: 7pm CST
Streamed through: http://www.siliconmountainmovie.com/

Thank you for listening and reading!  I’ve included links to various resources covered in this episode.  

And remember…Elevate Your Part of the World!

To learn more about Joel and Hillary Patterson and The Vested Group please visit:
Joel Patterson http://www.thevested.com/meet-your-team
The Vested Group http://www.thevested.com/netsuite-provider-the-vested-group
https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-vested-group/?trk=top_nav_home
https://twitter.com/TheVestedGroup
https://www.instagram.com/thevestedgroup/
https://www.facebook.com/VestedGroup/

 

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.

 

 

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Social Impact | From Idea to Enterprise with Suzanne Smith

How to Talk About Race at Work

How to Talk About Race at Work

Publishing Concepts (PCI) didn’t wait for the perfect long-term solution to address concerns about race.  Drew Clancy, President, and Lori Bishop, CPO, saw people hurting and they responded. They thoughtfully organized Meaningful Conversations as a way to talk about race.  This is their first step for improving long term trust and for healing throughout the entire workplace.

Episode 15   | August 11, 2020

Show Notes

 

“What we’re creating here is, first and foremost, just living our values. Just being who we say we are and digging deeper as it relates to the structural racism that we have all been forced to live in here in the United States...” 

Lori Bishop, CPO, Publishing Concepts – PCI

“I think this calls for leadership and leaning into it… I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to ultimately strengthen the culture of the organization and have better conversations, better relationships, a stronger organization. ”  

Drew Clancy, President, Publishing Concepts – PCI

 

Are You Having Meaningful Conversations About Race?

Organizations are all over the map in terms of how they’re addressing the issue of racial and social justice within their own companies. I can empathize with the feelings of uncertainty and fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Where do you even start?

Conversations in this domain can be delicate and deserve to be handled with care.  It takes courage, commitment, and humility to open oneself to hear the experiences of those who have been marginalized. It can be uncomfortable.

It can also be transformational – on all levels.

Following are a few quotes and several links.  I will be following up with more podcasts and tools to help you along your journey.  Stay tuned.

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.

 

Start By Listening to Experiences

[06:28] Drew:  …what I said to them that afternoon was, Im really just here to listen and I’m interested in your perspective. Many of these guys, weve worked together for many years but wed never had a conversation about race or these types of issues, and it was, I will say, for me, very eye-opening and just the level of frustration, the level of discouragement, the hopelessness in certain cases around what was going on.

Each of the men told some version of a story of growing up and a parent or maybe a grandparent saying, “When you leave this house, you need to be very careful what you say, how you act, especially around law enforcement.” After that conversation, it really struck me that the advice they were getting was you essentially have to be invisible. Again, good advice, but what a message to hear.

I’m just fed up, and we’ve reached a moment in time when action is required here. As businesses, as a for-profit business, perhaps businesses can be on the – We can be part of the solution.

Vulnerability + Courage

[10:21] Lori: I was afraid.  I have learned that Im going to have to take off some masks. …. There was a level of safety and caution that I wasn’t sure I can let go of and really embrace from a trust perspective. I had to tell myself, as a black person, all the things that I’ve heard from growing up and how my safety depended on me never trusting in white people. I had to admit that to myself before I could help Drew on this journey.

Structure Your Conversations About Race

[19:04] Lori: … the original conversations had breakout sessions … and people are very unvarnished and open …  people are embracing it. Theyre asking questions. They’re doing their homework. Theyre sharing stories. Theyre coming into levels of self-awareness that they never thought that they would have as people, and theyre doing it at work. To be able to experience this with people has been incredibly fulfilling.

… and people are answering with real-life experiences. We’ve made that a rule because we don’t want to start debating, as Drew says, politics and a bunch of whataboutisms and frankly just ways to stay stuck on either side of this issue. … We decided that trust was the only way to get there…

 

More Links from this Episode:

Transcript

Drew Clancy

Lori Bishop

Eric Mosley

PCI

White Fragility

Robin DiAngelo

Servant Leadership

Bob Kegan

Immunity to Change

An Everyone Culture

Additional Guides and Articles

Storycorps Guide to Talking About George Floyd’s Murder and Black Lives Matter Demonstrations

Forbes: Yes, You Must Talk About Race At Work

Wharton: How to Begin Talking About Race at Work

Wharton: Leading Diversity: Why Listening and Learning Come Before Strategy

 

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