Since 2003, Brazil has had a yearly conference where business people gather and share stories about how they succeed in creating benefits for society and their business. Ilma Barros, the energizer behind this effort, says the initiative has inspired other organisations to increase their societal awareness. The organisers have also discovered that the companies telling the stories scale up their societal efforts after presenting at the conference.
A year after one conference, Ilma inquired into the effects the gathering had on the presenting companies. “The companies told us that after the conference, they generated new and interesting partnerships, and even a whole new way of building these partnerships,” she says.
“They also reported an impact on the growth of their business. And it was definitely clear that presenting at the conference propelled more positive exchange and dissemination of their good practices.”
These conferences have also had a remarkable effect on the image of the organisations, leading to more opportunities for projects. “With the help of the media, they shifted their way of reporting on this issues,” says Ilma.
It is clear that storytelling can scale up change in business and society. Through stories, we can connect business interests to societal issues. There are lots of opportunities out there. It is like Peter Drucker said: “Every single social and global issue we face is a business opportunity in disguise”.
Business has the opportunity to be a new creative force on the planet that could contribute to the wellbeing of people and planet. Through the sharing of stories of creative initiatives that are already taken, we can scale up this generative power.
Written by: Griet Bouwen. Article was originally published on the 2012WAIC website on April 27, 2012.