[English summary: The Danish Government has funded a project, where microloans are given to marginalized Danish citizens with entrepreneurial dreams. Great way to take them seriously and to develop social services. We hope for a next step: an actual social lending site for Danish/European marginalized entrepreneurs - peer-to-peer, not just government-to-clients!]
De er vant til at blive skubbet rundt i systemet, at skulle svare på
intime spørgsmål fra alverdens sagsbehandlere, at blive talt om og til
i stedet for med, at være samfundets fejl. De hedder socialt udsatte,
matchgruppe 5, hjemløse, marginaliserede, førtidspensionister.
bliver de anerkendt som individer med drømme, der kan virkeliggøres. I
hvert tilfælde i et nyt projekt hos Socialt Udviklingscenter SUS, hvor 15 "socialt udsatte" får adgang til mikrolån til deres egen iværksætterdrøm. Det er et pilotprojekt støttet af Socialministeriet.
Det får mig til at tænke to ting (og en helt masse flere, men det bliver nok lidt rodet ;)):
Jeg håber virkelig, at SUS vil være gode til at kommunikere
projekterfaringerne til en bred vifte af stakeholders. SUS har
tidligere lavet nogle ret geniale projekter indenfor brugerdreven
social innovation, som de bare ikke har fortalt så mange om.
Innovation uden spredning er så ærgerligt.
2. Det ville være umådelig interessant at se samme mikrolånsidé ført ud i en social lending
community, hvor private mennesker kunne låne til danske (evt.
skandinaviske eller europæiske) socialt udsatte, sådan som danske MyC4 og amerikanske Kiva gør det muligt at låne til fattige i den 3. verden. Eller som engelske Zopa eller amerikanske Prosper gør det i et mere peer-to-peer forbrugerorienteret univers.
hermed en newbizz idé: En social lending community for socialt udsatte
og andre med iværksætterdrømme, som ikke kan gå i banken eller til
investorer for at få deres drømme finansieret. Snup den før din
I found this report very interesting reading. Deeper Luxury takes an in-depth look at the luxury brands market and some of the challenges and opportunities the issue of sustainability raises in this sector.
"We observe shifts in the luxury paradigm, emerging from major changes in social dynamics. In the future the highest quality product or service will be the one that generates the most benefit to all involved in it's production and trade. Consumers' knowledge of that benefit will be essential to their elite experience, and the prestige ascribed to them by their peers. In future, luxury brands could represent the greatest positive contribution any product or service could make to people and planet: they would identify the luxury consumer as a person who has both the means and the motivation to ensure that others do not suffer. The deeper and more authentic approach to luxury would require truly excellent social and environmental performance; consumers expect excellence in this, because they expect it in all aspects of a luxury brand."
I love the fact that they've chosen focus on topics such as celebrity endorsement, dedicating specific guidelines to this area. There are so many examples of celebrities making ill-advised decisions that are totally out of touch with shifting consumer opinion. I cringe every time I flick through the glossy magazines and see the face of some sports personality hawking sunglasses or perfume. It's just seems so shallow. I also love the fact that they've chosen not to overlook the importance of emerging luxury markets too. Factoring these issues in makes it a much richer document.
We've moved to a new office, just around the corner. We are sharing it with our preferred web partners Apt and Naked. We managed to lug all the boxes round here in about three hours flat and now were fully installed!
If you're in the central Copenhagen area, do come by and have a cup of tea (especially if you're a green entrepreneur with a large sack of money and a happy-go-lucky disposition)
The Aid Agency
Kompagnistræde 10, 3. Sal
1208 Copenhagen K
At the risk of sounding like a bit of an extremist, I have decided to write a short post about my views on pets. Now, I know there are many of you out there who might think I'm a little cold hearted or a bit of a kill joy for suggesting this but I feel I have a rational argument against pet ownership.
Pets are an unnecessary luxury.
Just to make it clear, I am referring only to household pets here of course. There is no doubt that keeping animals to provide us with food or as work animals is a perfectly sound thing to do. (this type of animal can also provide companionship too) but for the purpose of this article I am talking about animals we keep for pleasure.
Here are some figures relating to pet ownership in the US in 2007. (I'd imagine they are fairly typical of most developed countries)
Imagine the carbon saving we'd make if we could just get over our obsession with keeping animals at home for our 'pleasure'. When you start to try and define just how much energy we use it starts to become significant.
Related car journeys (walking the dogs, horse riding events, trips to the vet)
Food production and related industries
Accessory production (they get Christmas and even birthday presents these days)
Vets services (heating, lighting, development and production of medical products)
Pet care during holidays (heating, light)
Dare I add extra heating/lighting to this list. (I'm sure there are people who leave the radiators on for the cat)
Does anyone else think amount of love (and energy) lavished on let's face it, dumb animals is totally disproportionate? Isn't it time we stopped pampering our own egos and started to think rationally about animals again? Am I just too grumpy for words or what?
I get the impression that most Danes, quite rightly to some extent, see Valentines Day as a bit of a marketing ploy - a recent cultural import from the States or UK. However, like a lot of other recent cultural imports, it seems to be gathering momentum.
So with the wastefulness of Christmas still fresh in my mind (there's a pile of rotting Christmas trees in our yard which serves as a daily reminder) I am compiling a list of suggestions for green alternatives to the ubiquitous bunch of red roses and chocolates.
1. Compose your own love song.
You don't have to be a musical genius to sound good these days. If you're a Mac user, Garageband is packed full of enough interesting loops and effects to have even the most inexperienced composer sound good. There's also all kinds of interesting web-based options. Try for example soundjunction. Start writing those lyrics.
2. Be his/her slave for a day.
The promise of unconditional 'service' for 24 hours could turn out to be a lot of fun for both of you. Just remember to stipulate that any activity undertaken must not be environmentally damaging in any way.
3. Say it with pictures.
What about a three minute film that tells the story of your love? Be creative. Have fun doing it. It will be something they remember forever. (at the very least you'll be able to laugh about it)
4. Say it with words.
Why not write a poem? If you're lacking inspiration you could always use this.
Here's the last few lines of one I generated earlier. I think you'll agree, it's almost Shakespearian:
"My heated front bottom leaps to my bikini. I wait in the moonlight for your secret choir so that we may vibrate as one, front bottom to front bottom, in search of the magnificient red and mystical tiger of love."
5. Restore something they love.
There must be something he or she has a special fondness for, that's just sitting in a dark corner collecting dust. It might be an old lamp or a picture frame. Whatever it is, if you spend a few hours polishing/varnishing/painting it so it's all shiny and new again, they'll love you forever. (maybe get some exepert advice first or you might end up in the dog house)
There you go. Five green Valentine tips so you can declare your burning love without contributing to global warming. Please feel free to add to this list if you have any other bright ideas.
The new Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy has taken to innovative communication measures to make climate concerns a more emotional and personal concern of the Danish citizens. The ministry hired 10 prominent Danish poets to each write a poem about the weather and climate. Besides the theme, the poets had complete artistic freedom.
How bold and fun of a governmental body to team up with artists to get a message through. Granted, poems are not the highway to a broad Danish audience, but the concept has made a lot of noise - and I will definately rush out to get a copy. If nothing else, I think the title rocks: Hallo jeg er vejret / Hello I am the weather. Sweet.
Philanthropy. In my world, it isn't always a good thing. Understanding philanthropy as an art of giving surplus money to people, projects, places in need, it doesn't measure up to the more refined ways of contributing to a better world. Well, at least in a business perspective, philanthropy is the easy way out, when you want to create social value. It's quick and easy to communicate, and the causes you choose for your generous donation are grateful and happy - for the present you gave, and for the fact that it doesn't include any interference from you; the donor.
It's almost too easy! For all parts. So the hardcore CSR engaged companies work with more demanding aspects of being socially responsible and active. For example through engaging in partnerships with the social causes; the NGO's. Of course, many partnerships also have a certain element of philanthropy in them - donating time, money and products to the NGO partner. But most companies who engage in business-NGO partnerships, consider philanthropy less efficient than partnering up to solve core business issues or working with advocacy and awareness ("Business Guide to Partnering with NGO's and the UN; Dalberg).
Hear, hear. I love it, that business and NGO's come together to solve "core business" issues together, with all the toil it takes to find common ground and new ways of adressing problems and creating solutions. And I absolutely cheer the growth and innovation this may create. ... So I am one of the ones patronising philanthropy a little.
But I don't like being arrogant like that. Which is why I got exited about this new initiative spotted on PSFK; school classes on philanthropy in a rich UK private school. "We are helping [the school children] to realise they have responsibility beyond their own self-interest", the Headmaster says. The school teaches the children how to grow money, and then how to choose a charity they find important, to give the money to. It is simple and quite beautiful. And it's no different than the I-give-you-take logic that I, in my academic approach, find so unrefined. But I'm sure it leaves the children with a new understanding of all the needs they can address through supporting all the idealist people out there, who are already working hard for worthy causes. It is about learning the greatness of giving. It makes me remember, that there is already an abundance of people out there helping this world. And sometimes we don't need to be all inventive and involving, but just to be giving. To what is already there and needs our help.
Anyway...I still think they should supplement the philanthropy classes with a hint of partnerships, an ounce of innovation and several spoonfuls of social entrepreneurship.
This post from Russell Davies really captured my imagination.
The whole idea of the world becoming a place were we might need to re-learn a lot of forgotten skills seems a little daunting. In this era built on cheap-oil we've become so used to the idea that if something doesn't work, you simply replace it. Clearly, this mentality simply isn't going to see us through. At some point we're going to run out of options and start re-thinking the way we consume. I think Russell is right in pointing this out. I too have had a nagging feeling about this.
I have had similar feelings about the skills I'm going to be able to pass on to my kids. I can repair a puncture though! That's about it.
However, when I'm feeling depressed about my lack of skills in this area I try and look at it from another point of view.
The kind of enormous change we're talking about here will also require thinkers - ideas. Although I do believe things might get pretty rough and necessity will replace aspiration in many cases, I do not believe people will instantly forget about brands. They'll still want brand experiences and they still identify themselves with interesting concepts. How, for example could you make it cool to repair your television or sofa? Might it become more of a statement not to buy something in the first place and how might we brand this?
Russell, has previously blogged and talked about delivering brand experiences without delivering a product. I can see there's lots of scope for really exciting stuff here.
Actually, the sort of challenges that lie ahead of us represent a brilliant opportunity for people like us.
We have the opportunity to be radical. We have in fact the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and re-design life and the role brands have. Now there's a creative brief.
I am feeling better about my poor carpentry skills already.