Doing well while doing good
Teaching someone to fish is always better than giving them one. Tom’s Shoes is handing out fish. Well, shoes. But customers are lining up and exclaiming that they feel better knowing after they buy a pair of shoes, someone in an underdeveloped country gets a pair too. That’s nice for customers and even nicer for the founder of Tom’s Shoes. They’ve found a purpose. One that resonates with consumers.
But, did anyone ask the person in that underdeveloped country what would help them move beyond just meeting basic needs? Put yourself in that situation, without any way to get out, relying on what you had around you to survive. Sure, you might be grateful for those shoes from Tom, but wouldn’t you want a way to control your own economic outcomes? Wouldn’t you want to find something, make something or design something you could share with the global marketplace?
Capsule is a firm that believes giving knowledge empowers more than giving stuff, and our clients at Pacha Soap do as well.
Pacha Soap travels to Africa and teaches families how to use the resources they have around them to make soap. Pacha empowers these communities by not only giving them a pliable trade and building up their small businesses, but imparting knowledge on proper hygiene, ethical sourcing and clean water usage. Instead of just being given something, individuals become contributing members of the global marketplace, creating something that they're proud to send off to the shelves of Whole Foods and other retailers.
Business can and should be a force for good, but if you’re going to attempt to do well while also doing good, be aware of what good you do. It matters to those you are intending to help and if you’ve designed your venture using “design thinking” principles, this would become evident quickly. This means having deep empathy for the person you are intending as the audience and beneficiary in order to give you a better perspective. Design thinking has a number of other tenets, which will bring greater clarity when designing any new offering.
The next time you’re asked to “give,” look at where it goes and what purpose the giving serves. Consider the recipient of the gift, and how you can not only make an impact on their life today, but how can you teach them to fish for tomorrow.