Jon Miller & Lucy Parker's new book Everybody's Business shines a narrow but penetrating light on the relationship between business and society, and make an well researched argument that business can and should drive positive change in our world.
Without specific examples of how this can happen the idea could easily be dismissed, especially here in the United States. However, the authors challenge this perception in 'Everbody's Business' with a serious and meticulously researched contribution to one of the most important contemporary political and social issues that is relevant in today's society.
Jon and Lucy believe that we face "global challenges of unprecedented magnitude, and business has the scale, resources and expertise to make a positive difference".
I entirely agree with this assertion. I recenty gave a TEDx talk in which I made the case that business should tackle what I called the BIGGER issues we face.
Miller and Parker argue that this is in their best interests to do so. And in their book they are challenging us to use creativity to take on 'the bigger issues'.
I couldn't agree more.
Because everything they are talking about today represents, in microcosm, exactly what our world needs now. At a much broader level, great ideas are aimed at connecting people who make decisions with the people who are affected by those decisions. Universal connectivity can equate to greater understanding, social change, AND betterment of life. Ideas can generate social value.
Jon and Lucy come from the advertising, media and marketing world, but their concept goes way beyond the day to day work we do in our industry -- all the way to how all of us can and should try to change the world for the better.
That might sound like high-minded idealism but it translates into sound business sense -- because it makes that cultural connection and spreads ideas that have the power to change the world.
Case in point in the book is the example of Mahindra, one of India's most powerful companies. In Everybody's Business, Miller and Parker look at how this massive globalizing organization has sparked a movement to drive positive change in India and around the world. My marketing agency -- StrawberryFrog -- and I worked closely with the management of the company to define a strategy that led to a brand movement called Rise. When Kevin McKeon and I came up with the motto "Rise" we were feeding off of the passion of the management team and their desire make the world a better place. Being in the room when the idea was debated, I can attest that it wasn't marketing mumbo jumbo, it was based on the DNA of this company and a vision for where it and the world should be heading.
In addition to Mahindra, the authors of this book explored a large variety of enterprises including telecoms, manufacturing, mining, technology, pharmaceuticals, apparel and engineering to see how a business can add value to the world around it by doing what it does best: doing business.
The authors argue that big business may in fact be an ally in solving the world's biggest challenges.
Jon and Lucy classify 11 big challenges confronting the world today, naming them 'The 11 Conversations" -- including health, energy and climate, and human rights to name but three. This book captures a clear new framework of how and where big business can contribute to these key conversations, in a positive and meaningful way. The authors believe that business should benefit customers, employees, suppliers, neighbors and the wider world.
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