Renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw once said "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." By this definition, some of today's entrepreneurs are decidedly unreasonable--and have even been dubbed crazy. Yet as John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan argue in The Power of Unreasonable People, our very future may hinge on their work.
Through vivid stories, the authors identify the highly unconventional entrepreneurs who are solving some of the world's most pressing economic, social, and environmental problems. They also show how these pioneers are disrupting existing industries, value chains, and business models--and in the process creating fast-growing markets around the world.
By understanding these entrepreneurs' mindsets and strategies, you gain vital insights into future market opportunities for your own organization. Providing a first-hand, on-the-ground look at a new breed of entrepreneur, this book reveals how apparently unreasonable innovators have built their enterprises, how their work will shape risks and opportunities in the coming years, and what tomorrow's leaders can learn from them.
Start investing in, partnering with, and learning from these world-shaping change agents, and you position yourself to not only survive but also thrive in the new business landscape they're helping to define.
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John Elkington is the Founder, Chief Entrepreneur, and Non-Executive Director of the international consultancy SustainAbility, Ltd. Pamela Hartigan is Managing Director for the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
In this what's-next business manifesto, "social entrepreneurs" Elkington and Hartigan run with a quote from playwright George Bernard Shaw: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." Using that thesis, the authors argue that the best place to find tomorrow's revolutionary business models is on the unpredictable fringes of the mainstream market. There, they find cases like Jack Sim and his Singapore-based World Toilet Organization, who have ingeniously improved living conditions worldwide (and goosed profits) by, among other schemes, convincing governments and corporations to compete for cleanest public restroom honors. The heart of the book are the case studies, of both for-profit and nonprofit social organizations (many of them in Asian and Indian countries), which are mined for ideas and theories regarding their impact on global markets and local communities. Elkington (The Chrysalis Economy) and Hartigan also give nods to such well-known enterprises as Whole Foods, One Laptop Per Child, and Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8. Written with a business-magazine style, Elkington and Hartigan's eye-opening work and noble intent-bridging business acumen and social awareness-make a convincing case for unconventional entrepreneurship.
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