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← Social value creation, an opportunity of a lifetime | Dan Iversen | TEDxVicenza

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Showing Revision 61 created 02/20/2020 by Peter van de Ven.

  1. I have a confession to make:
  2. most of my adult life
  3. I have been working because of money
    and because of prestige.
  4. It was not about high moral standards
    or creating social value.
  5. It was about money
    and it was about prestige.
  6. The more money, the better.
    The more prestige, the better.
  7. It's a bit sad, but that's the truth.
  8. But I want so much more
    than money and prestige.
  9. I want to make a difference.
  10. Think about it.
    We are born as human beings.
  11. We are born, we grow up,
    we live our lives, and we die.
  12. The same cycle
    you could apply to companies.
  13. They are created,
    they start, they develop,
  14. and eventually, many of them die.
  15. So what is the meaning about all of this?
    What is the meaning about our work life?
  16. And what is the meaning
    about the companies,
  17. more than just giving a profit?
  18. Some of you here have
    not even started your working life,
  19. and some of you have, just like me,
    been working for decades.
  20. And what's the purpose of that,
  21. and how's that actually link
    to creating social value?
  22. What is also the purpose of the companies?
  23. I think, so far, we have talked
    about creating social value
  24. as something nonprofit
    organizations are doing.
  25. I think we need to change that model.
    We need to think in a different way.
  26. And I think this is important and leads
    to some very interesting questions.
  27. Think about it, we are working
    more than we have ever done before.
  28. For what purpose?
  29. And the markets are flooded
    with services and products.
  30. For what purpose?
  31. How can you build a company that can last?
  32. I think one of the answers here
  33. is that we are more clear
    about our purpose.
  34. It's all about for us -
    as individuals and also the companies -
  35. creating economic and social value.
  36. And if you think about it,
    creating economic value
  37. is probably, you know,
    it's pretty obvious for us.
  38. As individuals, we need to survive,
    we need to pay our mortgages,
  39. have a vacation
    once in a while, and so on.
  40. And the companies all also need profit.
  41. They need to invest in employees,
    they need to invest in products,
  42. and also give something
    back to the owners.
  43. Well, we need to create a new model,
    and I see that because of two reasons:
  44. first of all is reason number one,
  45. and that is we are facing
    some major challenges in the world.
  46. According to the
    World Health Organization,
  47. 2.1 billion people lack access
    to safe, reliable water every day.
  48. Think about it: 2.1 billion people.
  49. 4.5 billion people lack access
    to safely managed sanitation.
  50. So when Greta Thunberg,
    the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist,
  51. says to the World Economic Forum,
  52. "I don't want your hope,
    I want you to act,"
  53. I see that as a proof
    that our model has to change,
  54. it has to transition.
  55. The reason number two
    is divided between two things:
  56. one thing is the individual part
    and the other thing is the company part.
  57. What you see here on the screen,
    you know, that is proven for us,
  58. that is things that
    are actually given to us
  59. when we are helping and giving to others.
  60. We know from studies
    that it activates parts of the brain
  61. that are associated with pressure
    when we are helping and giving.
  62. We know when we give back,
    we are more likely,
  63. and when we give something,
    we are more likely to get it back.
  64. We know also
  65. when we do social value creation,
    we build stronger social connection,
  66. and that's one of the things that's proven
    to give us a happy and long life,
  67. more than anything else.
  68. So that's, you know,
  69. from an individual perspective,
    why we should do this.
  70. If you look from a company perspective,
    the business case is very, very good.
  71. We need here - a company needs a mission.
  72. Why are we here?
  73. And that needs to go beyond profit.
  74. And we need that mission
    to spark a purpose,
  75. and that purpose, as I said before,
    is so important because the purpose,
  76. that's where employees
    and customers will buy into.
  77. And also talent.
  78. Young people today
    don't want money and prestige only.
  79. They also want to make
    a difference in the world.
  80. That purpose will create
    engagement in your workforce.
  81. That engagement
    will give more productivity.
  82. More productivity is equal to profit.
  83. So it's a very good business case
    in creating social value.
  84. And the Edelman Trust Barometer,
    they confirm that.
  85. They say that 73% of us believe
  86. that we would rather be in a company
  87. that creates both social
    and economic value.
  88. Before I get too carried away about this,
  89. I just want to give
    everybody here a word of warning.
  90. If you were to hear a TED Talk
    about social value creation,
  91. or you think this is the new Black
    and you want to do this as a leader
  92. and you're not really engaged,
  93. you will fail.
  94. In order to do so, you need to be sincere,
    you need to be honest,
  95. and this needs to be delivered
    with integrity;
  96. otherwise, both your employees
    and your customers will see you're a fake.
  97. I would like to give you an example
    that we have tried in real life.
  98. It's Xylem Watermark.
  99. I come from a company
    where we have 17,000 people.
  100. We are dedicated to solve
    the world's water challenges.
  101. We do that by producing solutions
  102. to transport, to treat, to analyze,
    and to data [manage] water -
  103. so where we can get
    what we call "smart water" moving
  104. to solve the challenges we have.
  105. In 2008, we started
    a program called Watermark,
  106. and so far, we have supported
    3.5 million people in 55 countries.
  107. So what we do here
    is that we go to countries.
  108. We make water towers to make sure
    that people have access to clean water.
  109. When we had the situation
    in Thailand with the cave,
  110. where the 12 boys
    were there with their coach,
  111. we were one of the companies
  112. that supported the team there
    to get the boys out.
  113. But we also do things
    on a smaller scale,
  114. so in the office where I am, you know,
  115. we bake cakes and we sell them,
    and the money we donate to Watermark.
  116. We wash the cars of the neighbors,
  117. and the money for that,
    we donate to Watermark.
  118. Or we do a football tournament,
  119. and we take 10 euros
    from each person participating,
  120. and we donate these monies to Watermark.
  121. All of this is small stuff.
    Let's try to see how it works.
  122. (Video)
  123. Narrator: Because this
    same spirit of respect,
  124. responsibility, integrity, and creativity
  125. that makes us invaluable to our customers
  126. is even more valuable
    to communities in need around the world
  127. and knows where we live
    and work every day.
  128. To our corporate citizenship initiative,
    Xylem Watermark,
  129. we provide safe water resources
  130. to remote villages
    in the Philippines and India,
  131. protect water resources
    in the rural areas of China and Brazil,
  132. educate children from Cambodia
    to Columbia about water,
  133. and work with local nonprofits and NGOs
    to help solve local water issues.
  134. We do all of this so people everywhere
  135. have a better chance at living
    healthy, prosperous and sustainable lives.
  136. But none of these profound changes
    happen on their own.
  137. First, it requires great partners,
    and we have the best,
  138. but the most vital component
    in making a difference
  139. is the collective action of our people.
  140. The power and passion
  141. of more than 16,500 employees
    is enough to change the world.
  142. So when we volunteered to put our hands
  143. and our feet and our hearts
    and our minds into action,
  144. we helped Haiti, Houston,
    and Puerto Rico recover.
  145. We make rivers in Germany
    and North Carolina cleaner
  146. and our neighbors wiser.
  147. We give children
    a chance at a better future.
  148. And we come to understand
    why it is we do what we do.
  149. Woman: Thanks to this donation,
  150. our community is going
    to be able to have water.
  151. Man: It's very difficult to comprehend.
  152. It's massive for these guys.
    It's massive for them.
  153. Narrator: In 2016,
    we made a bold proclamation:
  154. Xylem colleagues would dedicate
    100,000 hours of time
  155. to water-related volunteer activities
    by the end of 2018,
  156. and we're well on our way
    to meeting that goal.
  157. Xylem. Let's solve water.
  158. (Video ends)
  159. (Applause)
  160. Dan Iversen: Thank you too.
  161. If you're sitting now and saying,
    "How do we start this?"
  162. you know, when something new starts,
    it's always a bit vulnerable,
  163. and that was also the case
    when we started this in the company.
  164. I was doubting myself.
  165. I remember some of my colleagues said,
  166. "Well, this will go over.
    It's a virus, you know, it will go away,"
  167. but it didn't, and like many other things,
    it was dependent on leadership.
  168. In 2014, we had a new CEO,
    and he started to change our look at this,
  169. and he said to us as leaders
  170. that he looked a bit on Watermark
    like a business unit.
  171. So he gave us individual targets.
  172. I had to do that many individual hours,
  173. volunteer hours.
  174. So, he also did that
    for the business unit I was leading,
  175. and that changed that.
  176. And more important than everything else,
  177. he had and he has a really honest desire
  178. to make a difference in the world
    with the company.
  179. The big difference
    for myself came in 2015.
  180. We, Watermark, had until then been
    internal for us as colleagues.
  181. We now decided to spread
    this more around the world,
  182. so we invited 12 customers to build
    four water towers in the Philippines.
  183. It was an idea. It was a test.
  184. We didn't know it would work,
    but the result was quite amazing.
  185. I remember, in the evening,
    after building the water towers,
  186. I took my phone,
    and I recorded the customers.
  187. And I asked them this simple question,
    "How has the day been for you?"
  188. And they answered that question,
    and they started to cry,
  189. and then I started to cry -
    that's not the goal in itself,
  190. but it just showed that something here
    was truly, truly amazing.
  191. I think that's one of the formulas here
    in creating social value.
  192. We shouldn't talk so much about it.
    We should actually go and do it.
  193. And remember, this is so rewarding.
  194. When you see a child that's learning
    something new in school
  195. or you see a child that sees
    clean water for the first time
  196. or the customer crying
    in front of you, it's so rewarding.
  197. It's contagious.
  198. I've seen some funny stuff on these trips.
  199. I will show you now a clip
    that was done last year in Cambodia.
  200. I was there with customers from UK
    and from France, in Siem Reap Province.
  201. (Video)
  202. DI: Hey.
  203. So now we have put up the tower
    here with our customers.
  204. It took us around a couple hours,
    and we're almost ready to fill in water,
  205. and what we're doing over here
  206. is that some of the customers
    and my colleagues
  207. are actually training the kids
    in how to have a high level of hygiene.
  208. So we tell them how to wash their hands
  209. and these things they're doing right now.
  210. As you can see, they are having
    a lot of fun over here,
  211. so we're almost there
    and in, I think, half an hour,
  212. we'll finalize
    and put water in the system.
  213. I'll be back.
  214. (Video ends)
  215. (Applause)
  216. DI: Thank you very much, and you know,
    think about it, this is contagious.
  217. And why is this contagious?
  218. I think it's contagious
    because it goes away
  219. from the rational stats
    about the challenges we have.

  220. We all know about that.
  221. Then it goes into the personal reaction
    you see when you help people
  222. and the personal gain we have ourselves
    when we are helping others.
  223. Well, we have to change the model.
  224. That means, we also, as leaders,
    have to change the way we're doing things.
  225. In 2016, I took a decision as a leader.
  226. I took the decision,
  227. a bit tough, but I took the decision:
  228. You cannot be in my part
    of the organization
  229. if you don't buy into the idea
    of social value creation.
  230. I don't care how talented
    you are, how good you are.
  231. If you don't buy into that idea,
  232. you must strive, grow,
    perform, and be happy
  233. in another organization, not with me.
  234. So in the end, I don't think
    we really have a choice.
  235. As individuals and as companies,
  236. we need to create
    both social and economic value.
  237. It's pretty simple.
  238. So I'm asking you,
  239. what will you do to make
    a difference in the world?
  240. What gives you a purpose?
  241. What gives your life
    personal growth and learning?
  242. And remember, it doesn't have
    to be big and fancy and [overt].
  243. It just has to bring value
    to someone and to yourself.
  244. Good luck in making
    a difference in the world.
  245. Thank you.
  246. (Applause)