Author Archives: Lawrence Lee

Social Impact & Innovation Conference Wrap-Up (April 2017)

We are introducing a new ongoing series on the highlights and key takeaways from social impact and innovation conferences around the world. Our team is actively engaged in helping to create a better world and one way we can help is to share the stories and visions of like-minded individuals and organizations. You can view our calendar of upcoming conferences and we would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations about other learning opportunities.

The month of April brought us better weather and a wealth of information from conferences in England to ones in Durham, NC and Philadelphia.

Media relations and marketing were the focal point at the Create Good Conference. “Offering a creative space for nonprofit communications professionals to ‘get the tools to get to work,’” the conference hosted workshops ranging from grassroots organizing and marketing to Millennials to the future and effectiveness of nonprofit communications. Keynote speaker, Shanelle Matthews, Director of Communications for Black Lives Matter, reminded us that “Mass communications is changing. Gmail has a 4% open rate. Remember that next time you send an email.” We can all work to inspire each other and help better the communities that we want to live in.

This year’s Skoll World Forum opened with Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise,” touching on social, political and economic fissures that divide our communities. Workshops highlighted the split in international development financing, between sustainable revenue generation and the traditional donor/philanthropic capital.

There is a growing interest to create hybrid business models that would use the philanthropic and donor capital to offset the worries of maintaining cost recovery by businesses and allow those social enterprises to focus on delivering their vision. The Polaris Project, a 2017 Skoll Award recipient, which works to address and end human trafficking, was able to identify 25 different types of trafficking and begin to build tailored, specific solutions for each type. Even outside their scope of work, through the collection and understanding of new data, we can identify a problem, create a solution and make it our task to scale and replicate the solutions worldwide.

The Farad Finance Forum in Luxembourg focusing on finance, insurance and funds in FinTech industries stressed the importance of embracing changes and incorporating new technologies in our businesses. This year’s Wharton Social Initiative Conference in Philadelphia allowed participants to discuss the role and strategies for impact investing and how to make economic growth more inclusive of more people. In her closing keynote, Cornerstone Capital founder and CEO, Erika Karp, mentioned that “Impact doesn’t have to be about nice people losing money.”

During Conscious Capitalism 2017, participants learned how to be conscious leaders from practicums on neuroscience and how to be better from within, to learning how to build better office culture and building connections. We can learn from “The Freak Factor” author, David Rendall when he says “What makes us weird makes us wonderful and what makes us weak is what makes us strong.” We should always feel inspired to elevate humanity through our businesses.

I recently attended another Conscious Capitalism conference, HigherPurpose17, and my blog article was featured on the Bay Area chapter website. You can read my insights and what I gained from the conference here.

As April came to an end, we discovered how innovative leaders and businesses are focusing their visions on creating social impact on all levels. Our job now is to take the lessons we’ve learned and apply them to our own lives and inspire others to be just as great.