Mashable Social Good: Building a Private Sector Pillar of Social Change

Simon Mainwaring / Brands / 8 years ago

I had the real pleasure of speaking at Mashable Social Good yesterday. It was a hugely inspiring day with great presentations by Ted Turner of Turner Enterprises,  Alec Ross from the State Department, Scott Harrison of charity:water, David Armano of Edelman, Howard Buffett of the Howard Buffett Foundation, David Jones of One Young World and a Christy Turlington who is doing amazing work for maternal health care.

It was also a really powerful demonstration of effective online engagement as the atmosphere in the room and outside was very dynamic and the twitterstream was non-stop around issues of how to scale social good. So in the midst of so much tough economic news it is so great to see so much positive work going on.

Some people kindly asked me for my slides so I’ve included them above (hyperlinked to case studies and ready for download) plus here is an outline of my talking points in case it helps. Many thanks to those who watched the live stream yesterday and I hope these are useful.

Everyone deeply understands how grave the economic situation is, both here in the US and around the world. But hidden within this challenge is an opportunity to create a third pillar of social change to support government and philanthropy. It’s possible now for 3 reasons.

1. Global Recession
2. Consumer Distrust
3. Connected Citizens

So we have a customer and citizen base that is desperate for new solutions, a private sector desperate to earn back consumer trust, and consumers that can make themselves heard like never before. So how do we build a third pillar of social change that addresses these three issues.

1. Brand/Customer Partnerships (Case Study: Pampers/UNICEF)
2. Contributory Consumption (Case study: Zynga/Haiti & Japan Relief)
3. Global Brand Initiative (Case study: Patagonia/ Sustainable apparel Coalition)

By doing so, we can end the false separation between living and giving, between consumption and contribution, between purpose and profit, and create a third pillar of social change that leverages the might of the private sector to massively scale social change in a systemic and sustainable way. This third pillar is not more than a creative possibility. It’s an absolute necessity if we are to survive as a community of people, thrive as a private sector and build a better world for all.


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  1. Avatar Russ Wallace says:

    Couldn’t agree more about the opportunity. Particularly as it relates to giving power back to the people in government, when government can no longer engage in productive, civil debate.

    It’s time for the people to get engaged, make the changes they want to see in the world, and make their dollars work for good.

    1. Thanks so much and really appreciate your support. Simon

  2. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The energy at the Social Good Summit is inspiring. As I listened to the speakers and talked with others around the table in the media room, I think the “third pillar” is already well underway. Lots of new ideas, new approaches to social problems are already underway and effective. Even the big corporations, such as GE, now get the idea that doing good is good for them as well as for the world.

  3. The Social Good Summit has certainly presented many thoughts, ideas and opportunities for ways to get involved.   Thanks for sharing your slides and talking points, I’m looking forward to viewing with my team as we decide where to focus our resources.

    Onwards & Upwards! 

  4. […] the author of WE FIRST, at the Social Good Summit. At the Summit, Simon talks about “Building a Private Sector Pillar of Social Change.” I asked him a few more questions, which I’ll put it up […]

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