Scaling up the social finance marketplace in Canada.

Here’s an interesting map from http://www.xigi.net/ giving an overview of the latest initiative I’m co-creating. If you haven’t checked-out xigi.net… take a look. A very interesting tool that’s growing quickly and has the potential to make a significant contribution to the global marketplace that invests in good. Anyone else get the feeling that this ‘marketplace’ is really starting to take off?




make your own map at
www.xigi.net

My latest presentations.

Here are the latest presentations on the directions that are really interesting me right now. Take a look and send me any thoughts, comments, connections. It grows and gains momentum with the attention of others.

Accelerating the collective potential of individual change:

Systematically applying the entrepreneurial approach:
(UPDATED: April 19, 2007)

For benefit/community interest corporations.

The U.K. and soon the U.S. are putting together some great new hybrid models that look to engage the power of the capital markets in ventures that are created strictly in community interest. Take a look here for a primer on the U.K. model and here for launch pad to some of the U.S. work. Seeing the evolution of markets is a wonderful thing.

How authentic are you?

I just saw two interesting perspectives on connecting with what people care about. One of which is from client/collaborator Communicopia in this presentation and one is in this article in Canadian Business titled “Sell More by Creating Desire”.

This theme is something I’m seeing more and more everyday particularly with the steady growth in popularity of social and environmental justice issues. Whether it’s a company giving to a charity, creating a new product, or simply your own efforts to make a difference the durability and success are anchored in authenticity — is it connected with the true nature of who you are as an organization or an individual?

In the presentation the basis of this is understanding the core of who you are (as an individual or an organization), what you are here to do, and what the value is in what you have to offer. In the case of the article, the idea is more about trying to perceive what people are really seeking in their lives and give them something that aims to satiat that seeking. The trouble with trying to figure out what it is that people are seeking is that it is incredibly transient and shifts with the times and with the trends. It’s also not based on what you are uniquely good at so begins to take on the feeling of a cheap knock-off, pr ‘spin’, or other pile of bs.

We all know that feeling of something quality, integrity, and substance when we come across it. It something that only comes when it’s anchored in what’s true and when the experience and communication speaks directly to the truth. That’s when people can start to form real connections with the organisation or individual behind the product or message. Doing things the otherway around is well… an effort in futility… except for the consultant you’ve hired to work really hard to create something that doesn’t exist.

That said, knowing ourselves is a very difficult thing to do. In my experience with emerging entities this takes a healthy amount of time, courage, and integrity. Think about it for yourself or your organization. Do you really know why you are here? What’s the core purpose that you are here to fulfill and what’s your truly unique contribution in doing that?

For a good overview and some great examples of this stuff from the organizational perspective you can purchase a great article here. Of course, you can always go hire a consultant – either way, good luck, you’ll get what you want. Just remember – the only thing that’s authentic will be finding your truth – not adopting someone elses.

Accelerating the Collective Potential for Positive Change

I’ve just come across www.slideshare.net and figured I’d try it using the latest version of the presentation (here) that I’m working with on the topic of accelerating the collection potential for positive change.

Let’s see how this works… and of course… I’m always interested in feedback!

Thanks for the conversation! AGAIN!

Following up on my conversation post earlier… I just got off the phone with another connection by the same person. The ‘magic’ happened again. This time I consciously took my learning from the previous post into the call and it took the conversation even further. I guess it’s not really magic after all. My gratitude for the relationships I have just continues to grow. Thanks!

Free services!!!

I was just helping a client do a last-minute media launch for something we expected to get a lot of traffic. Naturally I asked one of my long-time communications collaborators to help out. He agreed and we agreed on costs etc… quick/fair/reasonable.

Well… as sometimes happens it didn’t come off as we expected and the results were disappointing. I just got a note about this from my colleague with the additional comment:

On another note, given the poor results of this campaign, unless things
change considerably I don’t plan on charging for any of my time; only the
hard
costs…


Of course, this is magic to the client’s ears but it’s also a reflection of the trust and professionalism that comes with having a long-term relationship. It’s actions like these that make it possible for companies that are getting going to be able to take some risks… sometimes they pay off… and sometimes they don’t. But, not having to pay for it means they’ll be able to try again.

Thanks for the conversation!

Yesterday, I had a great conversation with someone that a friend/colleague/client thought might be a worthwhile introduction. And he was right. The conversation was enjoyable and very helpful. Similar to the conversation a couple of weeks ago that had me step back from the full-blown financial model and pitch deck to trying to apply the venturing process I am suggesting to the creation of what I’m building… this one prompted another launch path that fit with both my entrepreneurial drive to ‘push’ something forward, and also with the process I’m suggesting.

What’s interesting is that it wasn’t that it was a new approach that I hadn’t considered but rather the conversation prompted me to revisit the idea and see it differently. And it didn’t come from the direct suggestion or intent of the person I was talking with. So what in that conversation helped it emerge?

  1. Personally we hit it off with common interests, experiences and perspectives.
  2. The conversation was a sharing of ideas and experiences vs. an attempt to inform/critique/advise.
  3. We both were more interested in helping and learning than selling and telling.

I guess the other question to ask is what prompted the conversation to happen?

  1. My friend/colleague/client knew me, who I am, and what I’m working on.
  2. Something in his conversation the person he connected me to gave him the impression that there would be a) a personal connection b) the potential for either one of us to be helpful to the other.
  3. He took the initiative to make the introduction.

So what? I guess it comes down to:

  1. Nurture meaningful relationships
  2. Share what I’m working on and what I need to make it happen
  3. Make and follow-up on connections for and by those I have meaningful relationships with
  4. Be helpful
  5. Interact by sharing and learning

Oh and now that I can harness that entrepreneurial drive again… back to work on the other launch path!

Thanks for the conversation!

Walking the talk.

So here I start… in that period where an idea shifts, changes, grows, implodes… and hopefully emerges better.

I took some time this summer vowing not to make any commitments to any project until the fall… and to not launch anything new on my own. In September I emerged refreshed from some time with family and some time with myself… alone. The product of that time was my best attempt to describe what it is that I do and where I want to focus:

“co-creating entities and initiatives in service of restoring balance among people and the planet”.

A little wordy but captured a lot of meaning for me. Of course, my first bit of work was to engage with those that are doing some work in the area of ‘restoring balance’. It wasn’t long into that that I realised that somehow, in the midst of those conversations, I began talking of that statement as a project I was working on. There went the commitment not to start something on my own.

The underlying beliefs that began to form were that:

  • venturing is one of the most powerful tools in creating systemic change
  • ‘social entrepreneurs’ are leading the charge but they can only do so much (it’s hard to create new entrepreneurs)
  • it IS possible to ‘manufacture’ companies for specific purposes (without requiring entrepreneurs)
  • some keys are in setting-aside seed investment for a specific topic, determining the root cause, engage the community in formulating and developing the solution, and having dedicated trios (initiator, facilitator, and analyst) shepherding the process from set-aside to launch.

Over the past two months I’ve explored this idea taking it as far as drafting up my financial model and pitch deck… and a week ago was kindly reminded of the opportunity to walk the talk.

My challenge, is the model I am proposing turns the traditional venturing process around with having the seed funding set-aside up front which then motivates a process of community engagement to uncover rout causes to issues and subsequently the solutions to them. I fundamentally believe in the approach, but my instinct has me chomping at the bit.

As the year winds down I’ve initiated a few more conversations with key people I see as thought/action-leaders in some of my key communities. I don’t know what to expect from them as I’ve sent more of a thesis rather than my more conventional pitch. What I hope though is to have a better sense if I should walk the talk or get back to running.

I guess it’s the entrepreneurial drive… but it’s amazing how hard it is to sit still.