Jacqueline Novogratz is the CEO and founder of the Acumen Fund, whose mission is to create a world beyond poverty by investing, employing business analysis and criteria, in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthrough ideas. The Acumen Fund has invested more than $75 million in 70 companies in South Asia and Africa, all focused on delivering affordable healthcare, water, housing and energy to the poor. These companies have created and supported more than 57,000 jobs, leveraged an additional $360 million, and brought basics services to tens of millions. Jacqueline has an MBA from Stanford and a BA in Economics/International Relations from the University of Virginia. She has been featured in Foreign Policy's list of Top 100 Global Thinkers and The Daily Beast's 25 Smartest People of the Decade. She was appointed by Secretary Clinton to the Department of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board. And in December 2011, Acumen Fund and Jacqueline were on the cover of Forbes magazine as part of their feature on social innovation. (Source: www.acumenfund.org)
Click here to view Jacqueline Novogratz's interview with Katz Professor of Business Administration, Dr. Ravi Madhavan. Within this video, in addition to discussing how the Acumen Fund began, sharing its challenges and successes, and revealing her future hopes and plans for the company, Ms. Novogratz describes a case in which the Acumen Fund decided to invest in a private entrepreneur who wished to build public/private toilets in Kenya. It was a high-risk proposition because at the end of a 5-10 year period, the government would have the option of buying back these toilets. For Ms. Novogratz, the investment was worth the risk because "What's been fascinating is now, a year and a half later, we have eleven of these toilets up and running, 2,000 people a day are using them on average each, so you're at about 20-25,000 people a day having access to a very beautiful, dignified sanitation experience which hasn't existed in Kenya, really ever... Ultimately, with the portfolio we want to at least break even, but we knew we were taking an outsized financial risk with a cap on our financial returns for a super, if you will, possibility of social impact."
By serving the needs of an often-forgotten population, smart and good businesses are making billions. And case studies show that companies that seek to serve these markets foster technological innovations that enable them to attain very low price points. And as they seek to better understand and serve these markets' needs, further technological innovation results that stimulate new and better products that then can be targeted to higher income segments. The Tenet Group in IIT Madras, a collaboration formed of electrical engineering and computer science professors, is a good example of such aspirations and resulting innovation. Started with the intent of bringing broadband communications to rural India, the venture's initial strategy was to reduce the cost of the broadband communication technology by an order of magnitude and to make the technology viable without connection to an electrical grid. An epiphany of understanding of the customers' basic needs changed the initial and quite successful strategic focus from reducing the price point of existing technology to developing broadband technology, both hardware and software, to meet the three essential needs of rural India - health, education and livelihood, as the professors phrased it. The resulting breakthroughs in technology have created the potential of global billion-dollar businesses.
Ford Motor Company offers a powerful example of "good business" decisions guided by the touchstone of "humanity." This video case focuses on an example of Ford's strategic decision making.
In Brazil, Ford has recently built its finest assembly plant on a greenfield site in the rural, non-industrial, underdeveloped northeast region of the country. It has closely and very successfully partnered with local government to build needed infrastructure including a dedicated harbor. It trained and developed a very large and totally inexperienced workforce. Women constitute fifty percent of the workforce. Its manufacturing processes and even the sanitation system are the greenest of any automobile plant. It has integrated suppliers' operations under its roof. The cars designed and built at this plant in Camaçari are uniquely and demonstrably well-suited to the needs of Latin (Central and South) America. Ford's Camaçari plant has also become the benchmark for industry-government cooperation and economic development of less developed regions.
Ford's commitment to the humanity-based criteria of safety, quality, environmental and social sustainability, diversity and gender equality, as demonstrated by its Camaçari operations, have undoubtedly played a large role in enabling it to withstand the recession and positioning it for robust, long-term viability
By "breaking the rules" for the customer, Vodafone in the Czech Republic has created a unique identity and strategy that enables it to compete effectively with companies that possess large shares of the Czech telecommunications market. Vodafone CZ's identity, defined by its values, aspirations and competencies, finds expression in its brand which drives "everything" we do and "makes things happen." Vodafone CZ is also highly regarded for its thoughtful dedication to corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR is in Vodafone CZ's DNA and is part of its identity as a distinctively and proudly Czech company operating under Vodafone's corporate umbrella.
Apollo Hospitals has transformed the healthcare landscape in India. The Government of India has recognized the profound importance of Apollo Hospitals, even issuing a postage stamp in its honor. Apollo Hospitals' Managing Director, Ms. Preetha Reddy, describes Apollo's vision and the strategy that has created this globally recognized, iconic organization in the healthcare arena.
EMCO, a private company in the fast moving consumer goods industry in the Czech Republic, is very much a reflection of the values and aspirations of its founder and CEO Ing. Zdeněk Jahoda. A 1991 startup enabled by the Velvet Revolution, now with over a billion crowns in sales, EMCO is an iconic example of Czech entrepreneurial success. EMCO's identity - its values, aspirations and competencies - drives its strategy and its success.
These audiovisuals were employed at a keynote address at the 36th National Management Convention of the All India Management Association (AIMA) held on September 18 and 19 in Chennai, India. The keynote address was based on the emerging findings of the Business of Humanity® project. The theme of the Convention, "Creating Lasting Value," is viewed through the lens of the modified paradigm of strategy development that is emerging from meta-analysis of the case studies that are the foundation of the Business of Humanity® project.
This article in the May 2008 issue of Harvard Business Review describes and addresses the challenge posed by the extreme complexity and uncertainty characterizing many strategic issues faced by companies today. These strategic issues are not just tough or persistent; they are "wicked" - a label used by for problems that cannot be definitively resolved. Poverty and terrorism are classic examples. A wicked problem has innumerable causes, morphs constantly, and has no correct answer. It can be tamed, however, with the right approach. This article explains how executives can tell if they are dealing with a wicked strategy problem and how they can conquer such problems.
The economic logic underlying a focus on shareholder value as the singular goal of firms is examined by Dr. Joseph Mahoney, Investors in Business Education Professor of Strategy & Director of Graduate Studies at the College of Business of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Mahoney identifies the assumptions on which increasing shareholder value is proposed as the sole objective of businesses. He presents the evolving thinking about the validity of these assumptions and develops the economic logic for adopting a much broader "stakeholder" theory as a more realistic and appropriate basis for strategic management decisions.
Dr. John Delaney, Dean of the Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, University of Pittsburgh shares his views on the "business of humanity;" its significance and meaning for businesses, and its relationship to his vision and strategy for the business school.
An interview with Mr. Kiran Karnik, President of NASSCOM, the industry association of Information Technology (IT), Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms in India. The topics discussed include innovation ecosystems, transnational relationships, the role of academia in promoting innovation, and the future of the IT in India.
Drawing from her experience as senior business correspondent for two of India's leading newspapers, the Deccan Herald and the Deccan Chronicle, Ms. Chengappa offers an insider's perspective on the Indian business context and the phenomenon that is the city of Bangalore. Her analysis of the Indian consumer provides insights into the characteristics of urban and rural consumers. She points out that the rural segment is the core of the "bottom of the pyramid" in India, that it constitutes seventy percent of the population and that its purchasing power is growing more rapidly than that of the urban segment. Ms. Chengappa describes distinctive aspects of the strategies of companies that have successfully addressed the needs of the important rural segment and identifies the most dynamic and promising sectors of the Indian economy.
A visionary leader, Tom Sokolowski, leads the transformation of a single-artist museum in a staid industry, into an organic entity, a crucible of culture uniquely linked to its Pittsburgh location, with a growing global presence, encompassing both the visual and performing arts and an evolving mission that embraces alliances. The case also describes the Museum's use of possibility scenarios and robust actions.
The case focuses on strategic planning at Glade Run Lutheran Services. In addition to how strategic choices are visualized and diagrammed, the case describes how Glade Run, under the inspirational leadership of Dr. Charles Lockwood, utilized its explicit values to guide resource allocation and make decisions about adding and dropping major programs.
The challenge of linking innovation ecosystems across national boundaries ensuring win-win outcomes for both countries and avoiding the significant potential perils is the focus of this video. The two countries considered are U.S.A and India. The negative strategic and long-term viability implications for firms engaging in "high-end" outsourcing, involving domain and technological knowledge, are addressed.