Innovation, National Competitiveness and Values-based Business

While out running errands one evening this week, I had the radio on – as usual. It’s either set between the local talk station and NPR. I might have been in my car for a total of 10 min, but picked up a portion of an interview on The World. Most of the time, the radio is just background conversation, but a few of the statements filtered through the endless “do list” in my mind and caused me to listen a little closer.

What I heard was an interview by Lisa Mullins of Rosabeth Moss Kanter about how US companies could take a page from their global competitors and use new technologies to create jobs in America. It was a conversation on a fairly popular topic in this country, U.S. Competitiveness – but I was hearing something different.

It sure sounded like my definition of what a forward-thinking business must be doing to be successful in the 21st century. There were a few examples that some of us in the CSR/Sustainability world have heard a few times – CEMEX, Diageo even Banco Real. I haven’t read Ms. Kanter’s newest book – America the Principled, but that’s what this interview was based on and I have to admit, it’s aligned with the case I’ve been laying out for several years. Namely, that the businesses that will be successful in the future need to comprehend a new set of drivers and circumstances from successful companies of the past.

The interview laid out the balanced characteristics of the successful companies –

-They globalize and localize.

-They standardize and innovate.

-They foster a common culture and respect individual differences.

-They maintain control by empowering employees to do the right thing.

-They produce business and societal value.

I’d say these characteristics are pre-requisites for successful businesses going forward. Much of the interview involved the future of U.S. competitiveness and jobs in the global marketplace. Again, while I agree 100% with the premise, I think it applies to any company in any country.

Listen to story if you have a chance and tell me if you don’t think this is the real definition of a leading corporate citizen – or one of a company that understands how the sustainability challenge impacts and provides opportunity to their business model.

I keep telling myself to get pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write my own guidebook on this subject. But considering how successful I’ve been at finding time for that….I think you’d be better served by checking out this interview and perhaps her book.

Either way, it’s nice to be able to write a blog without using the word “Green” every once in a while.

3 Responses to Innovation, National Competitiveness and Values-based Business

  1. An established brand is everything what it needs for success in a big business. Yahoo! and Google as examples.
    Small companies win market with the real value and then mostly are bought by others to develop the business. And the most competitive ones become the established brands.
    Most of them – are American ones.

  2. Hello Mr.Stangis,
    I’m writing on behalf of Meaningful Media, a nonprofit organization aimed to harness business and media into making change. I found that this may be the most direct way to contact you, but I found that you are a member of Net Impact’s Advisory Council and was wondering if you’d be interested in working with us. Please contact me at my email, and thank you very much!

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