Can We Create Meaningful Jobs Together?
Dave Witzel is a fellow at The EdgeLab and, together with colleagues there, is working with Net Impact on an exploratory collaboration between organizations looking to drive the impact economy.
A change is happening in society. We are gradually realizing that business is not just a way to generate private wealth, nor are jobs worth only a paycheck. These drivers of economic health are also our primary opportunities for creating social value and personal meaning. After all, most of us spend at least half our waking hours at work.
Net Impact has spent the last twenty years helping students and employees focus on creating social and environmental value through their work. Now the organization is upping its game: over the next ten years, Net Impact plans to help more than one million people start to change the world through their job.
We know students have become more and more committed to this notion. The organization’s recent Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012 showed that two thirds of students want to make a difference with their jobs – and many are willing to take a pay cut to do it. But motivated job-seekers aren’t enough. We need an entire ecosystem where businesses that generate triple-bottom-line value, that create and train people for meaningful jobs, regularly succeed and thrive.
An Evolving Ecosystem
Fortunately, this ecosystem is evolving as well. Efforts ranging from the Aspen Institute’s work on corporate values to Ashoka’s focus on changemakers in business, from McKinsey leading the exploration of long-term capitalism to programs in business schools around the country, demonstrate that change is happening. In San Francisco, they're even starting to hack business. Whether we call it natural capitalism or conscious capitalism or creative capitalism or shared value, new ways of thinking are gaining traction. So we know we aren’t alone, and there is plenty of effort to create jobs with meaning and build businesses that create social and environmental value.
"We are impatient. We want more people – more workers, and more employers – to create jobs with meaning."
But we are impatient. We want this transformation to happen faster. We want more people – more workers, and more employers – on board. So we’re working on new approaches to think bigger and reach further, including working with other like-minded organizations and projects. We believe that collaborating more, and sharing and using resources more effectively, will make our ambitious goals all the more attainable.
Exploring a Collaborative Approach
Thus, we’re imagining something like a “business changemakers network” (BCN) of like-minded nonprofit, business, academic, and government entities working to create meaningful work for folks like Net Impact’s members, who want jobs where they can make a real impact. We’re in the process of exploring this concept – getting feedback, suggestions, and comments to see how we might pursue it more actively. And we’re looking for your insights and guidance.
Who do you know that is leading the transformation to value-based work? Are you involved with projects that might engage with the BCN? Who else should we be talking to? Where are these conversations taking place? Do you want to help? Please send your thoughts, comments, and ideas to Dave Witzel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t wait. Remember, we’re impatient.