How To Solve Economic Problems

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In this case, scale is fueled through conscious consumers and everyday citizens who are interested in doing good.

Of course, the goal isn’t always to keep getting bigger and bigger.

Safaricom extended its basic service offering to serve an unmet need, and while they didn’t set out to be a social enterprise per se, this initiative is providing significant social benefits to its users. The distinguishing feature, as in the case of Unilever and Safaricom, is the idea of embedding social good into your business strategy.

You call these companies ‘multirational multinationals’. These companies take corporate social responsibility several steps beyond philanthropy in an effort to really understand their footprint in a community, in a country, and on a global basis, and how that can be addressed as part of their business strategy.

A huge percentage of Kenyans didn’t have access to banking in any form, so Safaricom filled a need while also having a tremendous social impact: with their M-Pesa mobile banking phone app, people can now conduct business and receive entitlement payments, amongst other things.

Thanks to this initiative, over 17 million subscribers now have access to financial services.These organizations operate on the understanding that caring solely about profits is no longer rational in this new economy and that in the long run, this is actually a liability.Multirational multinationals embrace this idea and understand that relegating socially-minded activities to the sidelines ignores the tremendous (positive and negative) impacts that a company’s mainline operations can have.As such, they tend to be ‘built for scale’, with the potential to reach thousands—if not millions. It’s a platform set up by a couple of Americans where everyday citizens provide loans to social entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world.In just half a decade, it has raised half a billion dollars for a million entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries.They also launched a café to train young baristas, combating the city’s high rates of youth unemployment and homelessness.Market innovators, on the other hand, specifically set out to address unmet consumer needs, filling a gap in a previously-untapped market.As per the title of your book, you believe that we are in the midst of a ‘solution revolution’. It has become clear to most people that we can’t rely on government alone to tackle wicked problems such as climate change, poverty and crumbling infrastructure.My Deloitte co-author William Eggers and I set out to explore the growing space that exists between government performance and citizen expectations, and how society is working to close the gap.We found that there is a new, more collaborative economic system emerging that has a distinct ‘solution orientation’ around solving big problems.We call it the Solution Economy, and the players include business, government, philanthropy, and social enterprise.


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