It is always a pleasure when Sir Richard Branson releases a new book. Yet, it is another dimension when his key message is aligning what MYC4 has used several years to realize; profit and purpose going hand in hand. Thanks for making my day, Sir…
In Screw Business As Usual Branson basically states that there should be no conflict of interests between philanthropy and profit-making! It is a shift away from profit alone being a driving force to a state where everyone feel the ‘responsibility for taking care of the people and planet that make up our global village.’ He uses the term: ‘philanthrocapitalism’ to capture the blend. We agree to this term, so far we have just been stating it as: ‘Business must be for a profit, but profit must be for a purpose’.
As he puts it in the book: “Imagine the potential if all the businesses in the world came together as a force for good, what an incredible place we would live in.” – spot on!!
You can download the first chapter for free from his Foundation’s site here.
In this regard, it is going to be very interesting to follow how Branson will transform his acquisition of Northern Rock and how he will navigate in a regulated world of banks. I guess, his initial provocation is a kind of an indicator of where this will lead; he tweeted some days ago to hear what people thought of the name of the bank as he was considering to call it: Virgin Rocks!
In my opinion, it is people made of this kind of material that will help turn around the ship and get financial services back on course (‘back on cause’ I perhaps should say) both in terms of:
- Trust – I think he will add a layer of transparency, which is not very common for this industry
- Mix of services – I believe that he will offer new services that take point of departure in people’s real needs – as he has done when entering several other industries
- Philanthrocapitalism – obvious move also in combination of the above mentioned transparency
Would I like to see Virgin and MYC4 collaborate some day??
P.S. I was attending a very interesting conference on Friday: Remaking Finance and I must say that I am truly optimistic relative to how financial services are being developed. The scarry part, if you are a bank, it is not coming from within the traditional bank sector, but from businesses outside of this sphere and they are developing with a blazing speed. Yes, I would be rather scared if I was a traditional bank!!