Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Recognizing wealthing in others

Ashoka has just realeased the selection of Senior Fellows... If you ever think the world is going backwards or sideways... you've got to know about these amazing folks!


Alito Alessi, Mexico, Senior Fellow
Eliminating prejudices and misconceptions towards disabled people through mixed-abilities dance that enables expression for all people.

Tasneem Siddiqui, Pakistan, Senior Fellow
Overhauling the traditional housing scheme by granting former slumdwellers access to affordable and developed plots of land.

Asad Danish, Afghanistan, Fellow
Bringing harmony to war-torn Afghanistan and the Pushtoon tribal belt in Pakistan by encouraging a culture of reading and increasing the literacy rate.

Junior Smart, UK, Fellow
Providing new avenues of reintegration for prisoners through a peer mentoring system led by ex-offenders.

Sanjeev Arora, USA, Fellow
Spreading a new model to treat complex chronic diseases in rural and underserved areas by connecting urban healthcare specialists with rural providers through communication technology.

Albert Jovell, Spain, Fellow
Democratizing healthcare by giving patients a platform to play a more participatory role in decisions concerning their health.

Jorge Gronda, Argentina, Senior Fellow
Creating a self-sustaining, alternative healthcare system for bottom-of-the-pyramid patients.

Anna Alisjahbana, Indonesia, Senior Fellow
Combating high infant mortality rates and child development problems through a model that combines early monitoring and intervention and strong doctor-patient relationships.

Julia Borbolla, Mexico, Fellow
Transcending traditional methods of child psychology with new forms of multimedia treatment.

Pierre Rabhi, France, Senior Fellow
Offering an alternative to agricultural industrialization patterns by demonstrating technical and philosophical relationships between human beings, food production, nature, and modernity.

Ingrid Munro, Kenya, Senior Fellow
Providing urban poor and slum dwellers access to business and housing loans, health and life insurance, and business education through the largest microfinance institution in East Africa.

Zeinab Al-Momani, Jordan, Fellow
Empowering female farmers to organize unions and gain access to economic and social opportunities.

Lucie Chagnon, Canada, Fellow
Bringing a new solution to help employees manage their personal responsibilities through the first online provider of work-life balance services.

Jean-Claude Decalonne, France, Fellow
Increasing the performance of at-risk youth by teaching them teamwork, discipline and self-esteem through participation in school orchestras.

Fairouz Omar, Egypt, Fellow
Normalizing the idea of counseling for all individuals through training in-school counselors in methodologies adapted to Egyptian culture.

Connie Siskowski, USA, Fellow
Bringing recognition and value to youth who have dual roles as students and caregivers for ill, frail or disabled family members.

David Castro, USA, Fellow
Building the capacity of marginalized communities by identifying grassroots leaders and teaching them the life skills to be agents of change.

Manon Barbeau, Canada, Fellow
Restoring damaged aboriginal culture through a professional film-making process that connects indigenous communities internationally.

Olivier Gaillard, Belgium, Fellow
Transforming the youth years in Belgium by organizing teenagers as agents of social change.

Tom Steinberg, UK, Fellow
Demystifying politics and democracy through participatory internet technology interfaces.

Raziq Fahim, Pakistan, Fellow
Countering the recruitment of young people by militant and extremist groups by engaging youth in the development of their region.

Rob Hopkins, UK, Fellow
Providing a holistic, bottom-up solution to the problems of climate change and peak oil.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Entrepreneurship and Innovation vs Corporation

Jim Hesket, from Harvard Business School posted a very interestig dilemma...

Do Innovation and Entrepreneurship Have to Be Incompatible with Organization Size?

I love the dilemma, for when I met my husband I told him I've never knew a happy and successful corporate executive... and he told me he had never met a happy and successful entrepreneur. The reasons why we both succeed is a powerful combination of the three Ps: passion, purpose and prosperity.

What works for me is creative destructionism... what works for him is impecable execution. Eventually I hope we'll find a way to meet in between -instead of complementing each other!

The main issue with innovation is that it has been poorly executed, the main issue with entrepreneurship is that most tools are about safety, and invariable, as I was telling my friend Nicolas Erdordy in New Zealand, it's all about playing 'safe' and setting goals so low that they are reachable. The main issue with corporations is that risk and chaos is poorly managed. In all cases, we forget the most valuale lesson: Businesses don't make decisions, people do!

See what others have to say about Jesket dilemma in Harvard here

Are corporations againgt entrepreneurship and innovation?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Communal Justice

A decade ago I invited Sally Bendersky -the CEO of Chile's Intec- to visit Boston. We met with Howard Stevenson, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard; Ed Dunn, director of MIT forum and the superb Edward Roberts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Edward_B._Roberts), brain behind the MOT program at MIT.

At that time Stevenson told us about the four factors he believed promoted or hindered an entrepreneurial culture. I do not remember three of those factors, but one kick me in the head: the joy of other's success.

As a typical immigrant, having been in Chile only for a couple of year, I still longed for Boston (not its winter) and Switzerland (no its rules) but more than anything else I longed for the Venezuelan happiness. We seemed to be always celebrating, any minute achievement was a reason to rejoice. We not only enjoyed other's successes, we took it as our own.

The issue has always been in my mind and popped up recently when reading a very interesting book. In his book 'Sway' cousins Rom and Oru Brafman mention an unusual finding in a popular TV show in France and Russia.

"Who wants to be millionaire" is a TV show broadcast locally in several countries of the world, using the same format: A contestant selects a question and picks an answer amongst four choices. If correct, he or she wins a certain amount of money and have an option to take it or to continue to the next level to answer another question, if correct he or she will advance to the next higher level, otherwise he or she will lose the money.

Respondants have the option to use help for an emergency by calling a person once, asking the audience once or asking the programmer to reduce the number of selections from four to two once. This program has become very famous thanks to the movie called "Slumdog Millionaire", filmed in India.

In his book Sway, the Brafmans commented that, in both France and Russia, when contestants asked for the audience's help, they were lied to on purpose to make them lose. It seemed that the audience believed that if they couldn't win, they did not want the contestant to win. This attitude contrasted sharply with other countries including the United States, where the audience genuinly tried to help the contestant win.

Why would an audience of a TV show would prefer to see a person lose for no reason? Reading these reflections make me think about my own personal evolution. In my work with entrepreneurs I always had the intention of creating win/win propositions. Later on, when talking to Linda Holcman who joined us, she mentioned the triple win (including of course, the customers).

The joy of other's success, mentioned by Howard Stevenson seems a key issue. What do you think?

The book is here by the way...