Hello, this time I’m going to tell you something definitively, utterly cool.
Last night, I attended British Council Indonesia’s Inspiration Night which was held alongside the exhibition of 50 social enterprises competing in the Arthur Guinness Fund’s CEC Wave II.
The Inspiration Night was opened by a video of a TED talk from R.A. Mashelkar. The talk was a heart-warming one about a new concept of engineering, Gandhian Engineering. Engineering nowadays are all about plain innovation. There is nothing more to it. The Gandhian Engineering is a concept of engineering that comes with compassion and passion. The way of getting more, from less, for more.
What captivated me most was that. Getting more from less, for more. Mashelkar talked about how medicines are invented. Through years, meds are developed with extremely big budget with fewer outcomes. And what results are high-priced medicines, affordable for only some wealthy ones. This is getting less from more, for even less people.
The great example of the gandhian engineering concept is the Nano car. Moved by seeing how Indian families used to ride on motorcycles, which, as you might say, is extremely dangerous even in an Indonesian’s perspective (imagine seven people, including infants,riding one tiny motorbike), Ratan Tata and a group of young scientists invented the Nano. Nano’s price was 100000 rupee~~ USD2000, an ultimately affordable car.
There are also the Jaipur feet. A European artificial feet for the disabled was priced USD 20000 when The Jaipur feet was priced for only USD 28. You might think it’s got much lower quality than the European’s. You’re wrong, it’s got more. The Jaipur feet were invented in demands of a normal Indian, so basically it was much different to the European’s which is unfortunately only able to walk on such perfect pavements and roads. Now, the Jaipur feet enabled the disabled to walk on uneven or marshy grounds, cycling, climbing trees so on and so forth. That is, pleasantly, extreme affordability and feasibility, fantastic, eh?
In the end it’s not all about the money. The compassion point is very important. It is how you look at people with issues and go do something about it, even do business which profits you and profits your customer as well.
After such gripping video, Cliff Southcombe, the founder of Social Enterprise Europe took over the stage. Now, A business is a person, partnership, or corporation that seeks to provide goods and services to others at a profit, as I quote from my business textbook. But, Southcombe introduced to the audiences a concept of businesses (the one Mashelkar is doing ) that not only revolving around profit, but also social objectives which based on values. An idealists’ crap some commercialists’ might think, but to me it’s wonderful and such a bold move in these era.
He then introduced us to Coin Street, a building owned by the local community. There was also SUMA, a wholesaler that claimed to have no bosses and was managed by the local owners democratically. And who doesn’t know about FC Barcelona? That glorious football club is owned by 150k of the locals. “Unlike the premier league’s clubs whose owners are millionaires and where financing is a mystery, it is all transparent in Barcelona and they even get to sponsor UNICEF,” Southcombe explained.
The following speaker was Goris Mustaqim, the Business Week’s Best Young Entrepreneur, as well as the founder of ASGAR(stands for Asli Garut) Muda. His Idea was “Membangun Bangsa Dari Desa”. He showed several examples of this; 1. The states, whose development is mostly moved by the private sector, build its country on an each states’ excellency basis. 2. The China, the opposite, developed by government, built their nation in the same spirit of localness. They didn’t only build the cities, but also infrastructures in villages that support economy growth and stuffs.
He then emphasized on how the youngsters can do that. “Bung Karno pernah berkata, Beri Aku sepuluh pemuda, maka Aku akan mengguncang dunia. Kalau Saya, beri Aku sepuluh pemuda maka Aku akan bangun sepuluh daerah.” He modestly declared.
After the young enterpreneur, The 2005 WWF’s Climate Hero, Tri Mumpuni, supported Goris’ idea of “Membangun Bangsa Dari Desa” with her Pro-Poor Development Road Map. She told us things every Indonesian must have heard before. Truths like how wealthy this nation is, how abundant of natural resources this country has got, etc. But she pointed out how commercial investment disconnected the people to their own natural resources, how the profits of all these resources go to corporations and multinationals rather than the people who actually own it.
There goes the social business, the business that brings advantages to society. The involvement of society in social businesses were vital since the profits not only go the owners’/investors’ pockets but also to the locals’ involved and there started a difference.
That night, I was thrilled to be introduced to this not-that-new paradigm of doing business. I am truly inspired by all these men and women who tried to do so. I can’t express of how many respect they earned from me who saw their works last night, but all I can say is, You guys rock, Keep rocking in the business of doing good! *does sound like a pesan sponsor of AGF but no, it’s not one*
Catatan tidak penting: I wonder what Rupert Murdoch and other succesful profit-pursuing-businessmen would say about this kind of business, That’d be hugely interesting.
Kay, not important as well.