Talking about Social enterpreneurship @German-African Economics Forum – it’s not all about Millennials

 

Talking at the German African economic forum
Talking at the German African economic forum
 
It’s time to share social entrepreneurial examples and initiatives on where traditional business partners meet and new business connections are done. Yesterday I met business people, investors, people who want to invest and mostly are already several years very successful in what they do at the German-African Economics Forum in Dortmund, Germany. There is a high interest in innovation and different business thinking, also in the generations above 30 years, those who mainly make business and world-related decisions happen today. Traditional business as well as social activities have their limitations. We all know. Really, also the people above 30 know ! Sometimes I’m bored by the changemakers hype that talks about the next generations only. The hope that the Millennials will become a changemaking generation is high. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not against the younger people, but should we wait until this generation becomes the leading manager generation?

If I remember well also we, our generation – at the age of 18,20,25 years- wanted to change the world. (And many of us still want!) I remember protests and our dreams to make the world better. We have tried, too. We have made a difference. But it was not enough. Otherwise in the last 30, 40 years we would have changed the world. But we all, our companies, our NGOs, our academia and governments did not resolve even one of the most pressing issues in the world in a real sustainable way. Just think about the seventeen sustainable development goals, recently launched by the United Nations. Just have a look around…

This time we have better conditions

Probably the advantage today is to think social change in a more strategic way and to promote it differently, to share, connect and to scale up. We have many possibilities to share and connect, to travel and to meet people from all over the world. 

 

At the forum I talked about social entreneurship, artificial separation of business and social world, about win- win approaches, about co-creation ideas with unusual partners from completely different backgrounds and examples on social entrepreneurship in Africa and Europe. There were many people in the room  joining me to share ideas on how to achieve sustainable results, to tell about experiences where intercultural differences were underestimated, where Western thoughts for good business in Africa  did not get accepted local wise, and about the  need for innovation that goes beyond technical solutions only … Africa, the big continent of undiscovered potential. 

I was very surprised about the high interest. One focus discussion was about innovative leadership programs, too.  

How do we prepare today’s leaders?

The knowledge that we need to think differently how we do business, how we want to live is widely accepted.  People are very interested in combining social and business. Even the older, powerful generation of today’s managers is aware that we need to change. It is not just the Millennials. Let’s simply start. Let’s give a try, there are opportunities at the horizons we cannot even immagine. We have to act differently if we want to make innovation happen. Just thinking and planning is too less! Just hoping for a new generation could be fatal. 

Change an combining social and entrepreneurial thinking? 

We should start with the leaders of today! It’s about us, not the next generations. 

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