Sometimes I wonder why we have forgotten these principles from the late Paul Polak. When I chatted with him about the $300 House, he wanted me to reconsider and make it a $100 House. His point was simple: affordability drives design.
Now, as part of the research agenda of the Regenerative Marketing Institute, I’m thinking about how these BoP principles and Stuart Hart‘s BoP protocol apply to the developed world — to communities trying to find a way back from the COVID-crash.
Here are Polak’s principles:
1) Go to where the action is. You can’t solve poverty from a World Bank office. 2) Talk to the people and listen to what they have to say. 3) Learn everything about the context of the problem and the people. 4) Think and act big. No reason to be modest. Small solutions applied thousands of thousands of times. 5) Think like a child to find the obvious solution people have missed in the past. (Irony of thinking big and like a child) 6) See and do the obvious. Emersing yourself in the problem helps. 7) If someone has invented it–you don’t have to. Find existing solutions 8} Make sure your approach can be scaled up. 9) Design for the poor. Affordability rules the design process with poor customers. 10) Follow practical 3 year plans. Must transform into effective work plan for 3 years. 11) Continue to learn from your customers. (Interviewed more than 3000 farm families, $12 solar lantern) 12) Don’t be distracted by what other people say (Almost every project I’ve done has had sceptics)
Regenerative marketing is defined as marketing practices which nurture communities and build local prosperity over the long term. The outcomes of regenerative marketing include value creation for customers, employees, and local communities. Regenerative marketing practices must – by definition – build community wealth.
It’s time to put aside our toys – our ideologies and guns – and look at this time in history as our final exam. This is a test, as Buckminster Fuller said, to see if we, the human species, deserve to carry on. COVID has shown us that we cannot find consensus on how to deal with the virus.
What are we going to do now? The #forkintheroad which Buckminster Fuller warned us about is here now >> “Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment… Humanity is in a final exam as to whether or not it qualifies for continuance in the Universe.”
P.S. – Bucky Fuller was wrong. Thanks to Sonmoy, one of our W7 advisors, we now see that there’s a triple fork in the road, and utopia is simply no longer an option. What we must fight for is survival.
Once again, it is useful to study the past to learn what applies here to our ecosystematic journeys. Of particular interest is the work of Donella Meadows, who taught us how to focus on having the most impact on a system (Bill Gates, listen up!) >>
Where to intervene:
12. Constants, parameters, numbers (such as subsidies, taxes, standards). 11. The sizes of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows. 10. The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport networks, population age structures). 9. The lengths of delays, relative to the rate of system change. 8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the impacts they are trying to correct against. 7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops. 6. The structure of information flows (who does and does not have access to information). 5. The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishments, constraints). 4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure. 3. The goals of the system. 2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises. 1. The power to transcend paradigms.
I still think of Larry Keeley‘s 10 types of innovation – and think about how the model can be applied to social innovation – to meet the “unmet needs” of society.
The 11th type of innovation is purpose – to what ends are your capabilities and talents being deployed? Are you inclusive or is your company supporting new forms of apartheid? That is what Brand Activism, and by extension – the Wicked7 Project – are about.
One of the points of the Wicked7 Project is to demonstrate how we have a shared responsibility — business, government, and social institutions — to work together for the future of the planet.
By definition, solving society’s most urgent problems is a balancing act between the various requirements and needs of the different stakeholders across all sectors. Our policy-making must be driven by this idea of balance if it is to create a sustainable and resilient society.
We are now at that point in history where collapse seems inevitable: political, social, environmental, civilizational. The decisions our politicians make are killing us.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” — Proverbs 29:18
In Texas, we can applaud our fearless Governor Greg Abbott and his Republican mafia for destroying any pretense of serving the public good (see exhibits A and B). Every decision made by leaders in the Republican Party is made based on ideology, not reason, science, or even common sense. Some argue we live in the Age of Social Murder. The Democrats, for their part, are slightly better — but certainly not equal to the task which lies ahead.
The work of leadership has never been more clear: it is to bridge the gap — across all boundaries — and to create a way forward for the common good. The pyramid of love reminds us that it is possible to resolve conflicts and escalate peace.
Says David Hinds of Steel Pulse: “Where there is no love, there can be no justice; and where there is no justice, there will never be peace.”