The need for change and for sharing of our joint potential
Danish Ethical Trade Initiative (DIEH) and KJAER ADVICE together hosted a book-launch dinner and debate with prominent guests from business, public and private organizations, academia and media. Prompted by Neil Gaught presenting his book: “CORE: How a Single Organizing Idea Can Change Business for Good” attendees debated how to move affirmation of sustainability goals and visions to the next level in terms of real action and multi-stakeholder collaboration.
The speed of change in our global and interconnected society is unprecedented. Should we be fearful or optimistic about the future, was one of the questions that participants debated. One of the novelties in our time is the UN Global Goals that call on business as ‘a force of good’ to assist in tackling global challenges. But is the demand for businesses to be a central part of the solution to global challenges too demanding? And does the focus on business move focus away from the obvious responsibility and authority away from governments? And where does it leave the NGOs?
Partnership collaboration, experimentation and long-termism were among the recommendations coming from participants who were generously sharing their experiences, aspiration and ideas:
Too often do we look at traditional solutions – instead of challenging our perception of how to make profitable business or best social service provision. But thankfully, stories shared by e.g. IKEA, Arla Foods, Novo Nordisk and A.P. Moller Maersk gave evidence of many experiments ongoing, where partnering with new players from both civil and public sector represents an innovative and risk taking approach. “We need to get our hands dirty” and allow for more experimentation, was a comment repeated in the group. Because there is so much more potential waiting to be reaped if organizations (public and private) would encourage cross-sector partnerships and allow a different time perspective for ‘return of investment’.
But there are barriers to change-making and innovation within organization: Lack of incentive structures, traditional focus of shareholder expectations, concerns of brand safeguarding etc.
If, however, we are to move beyond sporadic CSR initiatives and obtain the promise of the UN Goals we need to get our organizations fit for transitioning into the future.
This is where Neil Gaught inspired the audience by explaining how a Single Organizing Idea’ may help businesses ‘think smarter’ about the long-term and more clearly organize around a strategy set at the core of the business. “By translating your purpose into a clearly defined Single Organizing Idea (SOI), you can expect to be able to set goals, objectives and targets with greater ease across all the functions of your business. And you can expect to see greater clarity in decision making to see new possibilities and opportunities to deliver greater and different types of value to your key audiences”, Gaught argued.
Creating the most successful partnerships
The group was generally enthusiastic about opportunities and potential for creating greater impact in multi-stakeholder collaboration. It is time to cross-fertilize from different sector resources and contributions. The group acknowledged, however, that there are oftentimes cultural barriers to overcome. We know too little about what’s going on in terms of strategic thinking and change potential within sectors different from your own. We must learn to more clearly articulate our respective ‘value propositions’ and to listen more carefully and be inspired by those who think differently from us. It may be useful to invite on board a professional challenger and facilitator helping you look at your business or organization to help you quickly uncover how best to build new initiatives in collaboration with others.
The dialogue across sectors and positions left us with an even stronger belief in multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration as a direct route to accelerating fruitful partnerships and innovative work contributing to the global goals.
Summing up and while finishing dinner and wine it was agreed that:
Neil Gaught is on a world tour to promote and debate his idea of a Single Organizing Idea within organizations. Until now he has held similar dinner-debate events in Seattle, Boston, Washington, Montreal, London, Oslo, Beirut, New York and more to come.
Find the CORE book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Core-Single-Organizing-Change-Business/dp/178353785X
Outthinking migration challenges
Tech-giant IBM and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) are discussing innovative solutions to better forecast and respond to the global phenomena of mixed migration.
Brought together as the result of a KJAER ADVICE ideation process, the two partners have over the past 6 months been discussing how to blend their respective competencies and co-create forecasting models that can predict future mixed migration flows and the drivers of the same: The purpose is to be able to prepare better and preventive measures.
The partnership is building upon IBM’s position as world-leaders within predictive analytics and machine learning, i.e. making sense of multiple data sources ranging such diverse data sets as weather forecasts, news, social media or country specific statistics on a scale that would normally be out of reach of human analysts.
DRC’s presence on the ground in 40 refugee producing countries across the world provides first-hand data about drivers and consequences of migration.
A design-thinking workshop took place on August 9th at IBM’s premises to explore potential longer-term collaboration models.
Louise Kjaer invited as Strategic Partnership Advisor to the Urban Institute, Washington D.C
While there are high levels of private sector interest in providing solutions to the over 50 million refugees, low levels of actual involvement are the reality due to regulatory, economic and logistical reasons.
The Urban Institute has been commissioned by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to conduct research into a number of cases of business-humanitarian partnerships, currently unfolding in Africa, Asia and the MENA region, with the aim to respond to the following: Under what circumstances should companies participate in collaborations benefiting refugees? Should business development, technical, or CSR professionals within companies lead such arrangements? What is the medium to short term value proposition for companies to engage with humanitarian partners?
To assist in answering these questions Louise Kjaer has been invited to provide her expertise as Strategic Partnership Advisor.
During fall 2017, the Urban Institute will host a convening in Washington D.C. of business leaders, multilateral agency officials, bilateral donors and thought leaders to reflect on the landscape of such partnerships. The expected outcomes will be to offer concrete recommendations to UNHCR and host government on ways to better harness the private sector’s financial and human/innovation resources, and to support private sector partners’ quest to become more effective collaborators for benefiting refugees.
The Urban Institute is a Washington D.C. based research institution working on social and economic policy topics, including aspects of the global refugee crisis. Read more about the project here: Harnessing the Power of Businesses in Responding to Refugee Crises: A Blueprint for Improved Humanitarian Private Sector Collaboration.
Louise Kjær was interviewed by Amy Lieberman for Devex at this year’s Shared Value Leadership Summit 2017 in New York.
“I am convinced that there will be a huge business opportunity once it becomes clear to the world that we are wasting a lot of money by providing unsustainable solutions.” – Louise Kjær
Read the full interview here
Louise Kjaer presented her work as strategic partnership advisor to the Danish Refugee Council at this year’s Shared Value Leadership Summit 2017 in New York. Louise spoke on building a new strategic approach whereby the Danish Refugee Council will engage with businesses of different sectors to enhance job opportunities and foster local economic activities in refugee producing regions. The case of sustainable water provision in the world’s largest refugee camp in Uganda – unfolding in a partnership with the Danish water pump producer Grundfos – was highlighted and caused great attention in a Lab Session jointly delivered with our partner in Norway, Stine Bratsberg.
The Shared Value Leadership Summit 2017 gathered more than 400 international business leaders in New York eagerly engaged in turning the world’s complex challenges into opportunities. This year’s Summit gave specific attention to the unprecedented refugee crisis that our societies are facing today. Please click for more information on the Shared Value Leadership Summit 2017 and the Shared Value Initiative.
Shared Value Leadership Summit 2017
Louise Kjær is invited to co-organize and run a Lab Session at this year’s Shared Value Leadership Summit taking place on May 9-10, 2017 in New York.
The Lab Session on “Shifting the challenge of refugee migration into opportunities – how to maintain safe, inclusive and sustainable societies for all” will feature among other the innovative cross-sector partnership conceptualized by KJAER ADVICE that is on-going between the Danish water pump company Grundfos and the Danish Refugee Council.
The Summit will focus on the issues that are front and center in the minds of business leaders across the world in today’s turbulent times – be it the refugee crisis, climate change or corporate equity. Attendees from around the world will together explore how business and its partners can use shared value to tackle these pressing challenges.
You can follow the summit via live stream or on social media.
Staying ahead of the game with Creative Business Solutions
KJAER ADVICE assists the new alliance between Stylus Media Group and the Creative Business Cup (CBC) working to boost innovation and stay at the forefront of global trends.
As a London-based trend forecasting agency Stylus predicts consumer behavior in everything from fashion to financial services. Yet, still more companies have difficulties to meet these fast-paced global trends. CBC, on the other hand, accelerates innovation in creative industry start-ups.
The alliance with CBC allows Stylus to draw on an extensive ecosystem of innovative start-ups in the creative industries around the world. In essence, the new alliance offers to source in creative thinking the companies’ need for innovation.
Strategic partnership development at CPH Municipality
On February 21, 2017, the Copenhagen Municipality and KJAER ADVICE celebrated the achievements of a 1.5-year journey of enhancing strategic partnership efforts in a final workshop. KJAER ADVICE has assisted the municipality’s designated partnership division: Our work has spanned from brokering multi-partner collaboration projects to giving strategic advice and internal training of employees.
During the workshop, we together with the team of partnership advisors evaluated the municipality’s broad partnership portfolio and deciphered key learnings from the respective partnership projects. As pointed out by John Pape, Service Area Manager, “The many experiences and learning obtained by the partnership division can now be shared and hopefully multiplied with the larger part of the municipality.” KJAER ADVICE, therefore, wrapped up the workshop by brainstorming new partnership ideas to kick off Copenhagen Municipality’s next partnership phase, moving thus from a pilot stage towards more consolidated strategic efforts.