I agree with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. His Davos speech has already been widely quoted in the press. Here's the nub of it, "We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well." Who's gonna disagree with that? He goes on to say something that I think is brilliant -- that businesses need to dedicate their top people to these issues, an approach he feels is more powerful than traditional corporate donations and volunteer work.
Bill, the New Radicals agree with you. Who are the New Radicals? They're the thousands of men and women who have realized that philanthropy and volunteering aren't the only way to do good. That how we earn our living can become the way we give back. Already, there are thousands of men and women of all ages, in each field, every sector, and around the world who are reinventing their work so that they can find more meaning and make a difference in the world.
While New Radical work varies widely, it falls into three categories: Activist, Entrepreneur, and Innovator. Activists might say something like, "I quit my job and went to work for Doctors without Borders." Entrepreneurs might say, "I quit my job and started to manufacture solar panels." Innovators, on the other hand, stay inside their organizations or field, and drive change from within. A great example is Dr. Ed Sutt, of toolmaker giant Stanley Bostitch, who has reinvented the nail so that structures can better withstand the force of hurricanes and earthquakes (it's called the HurriQuake nail).
In my view, while each New Radical is vitally important to saving the world, Innovators are the ones to watch. Because we can't all become eco-warriors or organic farmers. The world needs bus drivers and ballerinas, firefighters and plumbers, IT specialists and bankers. How would the delegates get to Davos if it weren't for thousands of people doing their jobs? And yet each of these people -- including you and me -- wants to do good.
Like Bill, I believe that businesses need to dedicate their people to the issues that plague our troubled world. But here's where we diverge. I think we can ALL become New Radicals, not just senior people. And I think every institution -- whether public or private -- should do all it can to encourage New Radicals in their midst. So that we can start working together and take our organizations to world-changing heights.
So, I'm with you, Bill and WEF delegates. Just don't shut the rest of us out. The world needs New Radicals. And this really can be a movement for all.