Tuesday, 10 May 2011

What is a Holistic Social Business Movement according to the Grameen Creative Lab?

GSBS 2010 Day 2 Governer of Caldas from The Grameen Creative Lab on Vimeo.

Let's step back and breakdown this appealing "Holistic Social Business Movements" (HSBM) title so that we all start from the same page.

Holistic: emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts.

Social: concerning or belonging to the way of life and welfare of people in a community.

Business: an industrial, commercial, or professional operation; purchase and sale of goods and services.

Movement: a series of actions and events taking place over a period of time and working to foster a principle or policy.

The idea is to focus on a region and create the right environment in which social businesses can thrive while having the unique goal of eradicating poverty in a whole region through different aspects of social business (SB).

After some early experience and valuable knowledge, the Grameen Creative Lab (GCL) has established a logical progression which seems to be based on three steps. First step is the creation of a micro finance network served by the Grameen Bank. Second step is the development of social businesses with special focus on SMEs. Third step is the establishment of the HSBM creating impact on a whole region through social business.

In theory the challenge of creating a self-sustainable ecosystem that supports social development works flawlessly. On the one hand, considering professor Yunus's 7 principals, the capital initially invested for the birth of social businesses is payed back to investors and reinvested for the creation of other social businesses forming an ongoing cycle. On the other hand many ideas need to be generated so pilot testing can be done and social businesses can be reviewed and redesigned. This is precisely what the D4SB team is going to do by collaborating with GCL and going to Caldas (Colombia) from the 16th of May to the 4th of June 2011.

The way I see it is that SB networks have many players, therefore how will it be possible to evaluate something that is inside a such complex network? How to measure social impact and its evolution? And how to know if the chosen path is the correct one? These are some of the first questions which I'm guessing some might be answered with some practical experience.

So let's start designing and redesigning social business!

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