Thursday, May 20, 2010

Risky Business

What if your food came with no price tag? What if you were the CEO who measured his profits by the amount of people you helped?

It's not idealism. It's happening, and not just in the free love world. It's happening around the corner and down the street.

Last Friday I was lucky enough to see Muhammad Yunus speak. If you haven't heard of Yunus, or Grameen Bank, then you must have at least heard of microfinance.

Yunus is a brilliant economist, scholar, businessman (D: all of the above), and has literally led kids to the light with his idea of Social Business. In his world, you don't make companies to make money. You make companies to help kids regain vision at night, or to empower women so that they will be their own type of CEOs and CFOs.

Yunus, in all his homespun-cotton-wearing glory, asks more from his partners than out of the box thinking. When he partnered with Dannon to make yogurt for malnourished kids, he asked them to go one step further than a biodegradable yogurt container: he wanted a container that they could EAT. And no, an ice cream cone will not do.

Moving on to smaller, but just as inspiring initiatives. I've been lucky enough to be involved with Karma Kitchen since I moved to DC. Every Sunday the team takes over the Polo Indian Club restaurant in Dupont Circle and serves delicious Indian food. The bill at the end says $0.00 and all donations are anonymous. Serving at Karma Kitchen gives me a new appreciation for waiters, and a fuzzy feeling that people walk away with more than a fully belly.

And this idea, the idea that not everything has a price value, seems to be catching on. The CEO of Panera, Ron Shaich, stepped down from his post, and then stepped up to the plate to help introduce a non-profit version of the yummyness. Think paninis and muffins for whatever price you feel like paying. Not too shabby, especially for the college wallet. Now if we can just get it to be local produce...


Early Light said...

There's far too much greed in the world. Far too many people who feel they need to control others. Nice, thought-provoking post. :)

Jet said...

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