What values are not taught in the game of Monopoly? How can a common language help corporates?

Christina Wehbe
Oct 22, 2018 · 6 min read

The Game of Monopoly | prosperity, impact and communication

We all talk about Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), Impact Investment (II) and Social Impact. The reality is that people, our values for a better world and social behaviour we have towards sharing information is changing the rules of the game for businesses — and gladly so, for poor and disadvantaged communities.

Being sustainable and corporates aligning to SDGs and looking to have positive impact on the poor — what does this really mean and where has this arisen from? Do they know what these values are and who are the players? It is a complex global system which is driven by intelligent individuals and strong values emerging.

GrowthView101 transposes the board game of Monopoly, which many of us have played as kids, to our global economy. This helps demonstrate what is fundamentally missing in our way of thinking and inherent societal values on development.

Values and people are coming together — this is the driver to prosperity and impact. The only missing part to the puzzle is that we haven’t inheritably learned how to collaborate. Remember playing monopoly? Did you ever speak to your neighbours or think about prosperity for all players or did try to avoid the ‘Jail cell’ or cash-in the ‘Free Parking’ jackpot money from all players?

The global landscape is changing as each person has strong values and are now speaking to one another. These are the drivers of prosperity. Also, the UN is asking for evidence from their partners towards the 17 SDGs and particularly corporates.

This scary for all those players who follow the age-old rules of “game of Monopoly” and forgot the notion of equitable collaboration and willingness to be transparent? Trust is not something easily facilitated and can’t be created. So, what is the solution?

“Pareto Efficiency is the new economy with people collaborating and values being the common denominator across industries and countries. Measurements and communication enables increased profits and gains for all.” Christina Wehbe, Partner at UrbanEmerge

Prosperity and Collaboration are shaping the new economic game theory that will enable our values and us people to drive sustainable growth and help the poorest countries around the world. Food for thought:

» Impact Investment, how can corporates be incentivised to collaborate when they are a market leader such as a Forbes100?

» Sustainability and the UN SDG’s, do we understand what sustainability, impact, prosperity means and do we all speak the same ‘language’ to align and deliver on it?

Value-driven corporate language is being blurred when leaders compete on terms such as “CSR”, “Impact Investment”, “Social Purpose”, “Sustainable Sourcing”, “FairTrade”, “Purpose-Driven initiatives” when in reality these are all the same and are linked to prosperity.

To deliver on the impact goals, it starts with the language we use.

To build a robust business model, it starts with the CEO and CIO definitions used.

CEO and CIO’s need to adapt to the language and new “game board” of tomorrow that incorporates prosperity and values cohesively in their business model strategy, investment decisions, data analysis and product development (R&D).

I. What language should Corporates use?

Tech and multi-national manufacturing (i.e.: automobile) firms are stuck in the sustainability dilemma not only with e-waste but customer’s knowledge of ‘built-in obsolescence’. Is planned obsolescence sustainable both for the world and corporate business models? This strategy has strong business advantages as it secures investor funding and reliable revenue forecasts. However, it does the anticipated return calculation incorporate the variable of people’s values and the weight of information and knowledge being shared; namely, how product hardware is built to ‘die’ or ‘expire’. Shifts in values are not shifts in behaviours — these are harder to measure and index.

II. Why should a corporate adapt to a value-driven language?

I don’t want to sound like a cynic but what does aligning to development goals really mean for a business?

“Companies’ end goal is to increase revenue. That is the bottom line.”

GrowthView101 replies to the challenger question of “Why collaborate and build a business model on values when I am already the market leader, listed on Forbes100 or a global Fortune500 company?”

1. People (and consumers) are voicing their values.

2. People value humanity, prosperity and peace.

3. People are behind every business and every purchase.

4. The UN is asking businesses and governments to show evidence.

5. This is your chance to grow and lead the impact ecosystem.

1. Build a robust business model.

2. Adapt with your clients.

3. Define impact and sustainability in-house with and for your clients.

Below GrowthView101 examples how shared values shaped Forbes100 companies inorganically. The value of collaboration and helping others towards economic prosperity and sustaining it for our future generation is what matters….

This is the answer to ‘why’ collaborate and SDG’s are relevant to businesses.

GrowthView101 is a strategic social and economic media source. Founder: Christina Wehbe

Nigeria Mercedes Benz C-class manufacturing

Driving Impact & people talking along Value lines
The case of Mercedes Benz C-Class…

The c-class was built to last and is still driven on the streets of Nigeria. People didn’t upgrade the parts of the car and weren’t aware of this add-on future cost.

Built-in obsolescence didn’t become so apparent for either buyers or suppliers.

Operational efficiency became a topic as cars in Nigeria were breaking down and not lasting. R&D engineers, newly trained after-sales reps and an exit ops implementation were needed. It turns out that it may not a strong business model to have and is not sustainable both operationally and commercially

Nevertheless, if corporates want it or not these values are shaping customer requirements and product choices. Mercedes were fortunate to adapt quickly and people weren’t connected enough to discuss the battery and car parts that would become “out dated”. However, for tech firms and telecoms it isn’t as easy.

Illustration of Tech e-Waste in India.

Tech hardware (planned obsolescence) and Software licenses (incl. versioning) which both have a date of expiration, are creating noise among customers. Isn’t this an odd model since human natural behaviour is to build and buy products that last long and for us to live longer? Why wouldn’t this same logic apply to tech products?

The case of iPhones and e-Waste…

Intentional built-in obsolescence was a turning point for Apple when iPhone users became aware that batteries, computer pieces and hardware had a planned lifespan and become obsolete. Is it sustainable business models? I t is terrible for the environment, increases costs for businesses as they need to train staff, increase operational costs and build after-sales capacities.

Christina Wehbe

Written by

Partner at UrbanEmerge in impact investment and economic growth. Founder of GrowthView, to help fight poverty and injustice — my passion is to help others.

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