SIME a conference about internet and digital opportunities that first began 1995 has now been concluded. The new “non-profit” section for NGOs and social entrepreneurs was a novelty for this year. As the program for the “non-profit” attendees started one could hear murmurs around the categorization of “non-profit”. The first speaker at that session also concluded that he didn’t really like the word “non-profit” and he suggested that all-profit should be used instead, because everyone profits in the end. During the second day someone came up with an even better word, Good-profit. The notion of “non-profit” simply implied that if you wanted to do good you couldn’t earn any money. In reality however, both NGOs and social entrepreneurs first and foremost contribute to public goods so all may benefit. That doesn’t mean that regular companies can’t do good, but because that isn’t their main focus it becomes easier to forget that even regular companies need to take their responsibility and contribute to public goods.
In this conference we had people who knew how to make profit and people who knew how to do good. Essentially a perfect opportunity to meet and learn from each other. As someone concluded at the end of day two in a “non-profit” session, doing good and making money is much more difficult. Therefore one certainly can’t expect that if NGOs and social entrepreneurs learnt how to think more commercially everything would be fixed. Of course the opposite is true as as well, nothing will be solved if companies learnt how to good now and then. It needs to go deeper than this, the way business is done needs to be transformed, for both parties.
I firmly believe that it’s in conversations new ideas come to life. To this purpose the SIME staff had even arranged a matchmaking tool for the participants to use. A great idea indeed, but sadly the implementation was somewhat lacking. The fact is that even though such a diverse crowd visited SIME it was difficult to find a place and time to actually meet all these intelligent people. Most of the time “non-profit” and regular attendees was at different places listening to speeches about great case studies. But what if “non-profit” and regular attendees was at the same place and talked about great case studies instead. Essentially a shift from a consumer perspective where attendees are expected to listen to a stakeholder perspective where participants are expected to contribute. I therefore encourage that SIME will take to heart the message of engagement that some of the speakers brought with them as well of some of the concepts of what an unconference is like, because there is definitely potential in this event. So I hope the very fitting logo for the “non-profit” will have grown a bit more until next year.
The reverbation of today's society through the eyes of a person deeply in love with planet earth. The transformation of today's society is going on in front of our very eyes, I'm striving to be one of the persons to tell the tale of how it was done.
I think at the core of a happier planet and happier persons is community, sharing and telling stories.