Benefit and the Six Degrees of Separation
Some people struggle with the idea that love can be spread to the world and that business organisations are one big player in this. In this post I’ll try to explain how a company can hug the world with love and compassion by taking small steps in the right direction.
In order to explain this I need to start with the social theory of the “Six degrees of separation”.
All living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. In mondora we demonstrate that the idea of friend of a friend could also be applied to benefit. We can define it as a Benefit journey.
The ingredients of this recipe are: a need, a stakeholder, an evolutionary purpose and money. All these things are common in a Benefit Corporation.
Thinking as a whole, a company believes that everything it produces creates impact in society, so this approach requires that the company identifies all the stakeholders involved in the living organisation. We have identified, for example, several stakeholders including the environment, the farmers community, the employees, and all the conventional parties (suppliers, customers, etc.). Wholeness is about understanding that all these stakeholders are impacted by the business of the organisation. Positive, neutral or negative, there is always an impact. This creates awareness. Stakeholders are all the participants of our journey.
Another differentiator is the evolutionary purpose of a Benefit Corporation. This kind of company has a clear idea about the world that it wants to leave when the mission is done. Taking for giving. Purpose is the direction of a step in our journey. We, for example, think that our noble goal is to help the local community to evolve through small networks and technology is only a facilitator while culture is the key. Farming, land, soil, biodiversity, equality, brotherhood and legality are some of our leverages to bring the purpose to life.
Money, in this society, is important. We agree that will is much more than money, but we understand that ideas must be supported by money. A company is required to create money and to use money for profit and for linking purpose and stakeholders with specific agreements. In our journey, money is for the travel ticket.
We define it as Interdependency between stakeholders and we are travelling in the same direction. This approach crafts projects where parties work detached from money through the spirit of the coalition. In our journey this is the place.
Now we have the ticket, the peers and the place to go. We just have to identify where people will meet. The contract between parties is the Tour Guide of the journey and identifies the relationship between stakeholders.
For instance, we have evolved our business agreement with customers (and some suppliers) by identifying a clause that links all the parties mentioned above. The ticket is the “normal” negotiated discount and the place could for example be a Pro Bono project. With one customer we agreed to work on creating a physical space where young people can meet and do things. With another customer we agreed to translate 1 day of consultancy into 1 hour of private lessons in the space agreed within the previous agreement.
The result is that we’ve linked two customers to the same place in our benefit journey. The ticket is the discount percentage that is left on every negotiation. We created a friend of a friend relationship and we believe this is the starting point of a 6th degree of separation of benefit.
Our creativity is never ending. We have Interdependence Agreements with several stakeholder. Just to cite a few: Environment+Employees=Cycle2Work or
Farmers+Employees=Hire A Farm Friend or
Employees + Cows = HireBitto
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