Highlights from the Business for Good Conference 2016
To celebrate the 9th anniversary of the Buy1GIVE1 (B1G1) initiative and the 10th anniversary of its original idea, many B1G1 Businesses from around the world gathered in Bali from the 2nd to 5th July 2016. Many travelled thousands of miles to be there.
A conference like this was the first of its kind in the history of B1G1. At the end of it, all of us went away with unforgettable memories, high-impact ideas, deep sense of inspirations, commitment and connections that will last for a very long time. It was, as one of the participants put it, an unfathomable event. Perhaps even more directly, every delegate said, “this was the best conference I’ve ever attended.”
But instead of just describing what happened, I want to highlight 5 things that made this conference very special and compelling. If you were not able to be there, I hope you will take away the essence of it from this post, so that you can leverage your business for greater impact too.
1: PURPOSE: Re-Confirming the Why
‘Purpose’ is always a key theme for the B1G1 Business for Good Community.
We always think about why we do what we do: why we get up in the morning; why our businesses exist; why we give; why we want to create a positive impact…
We know we should start everything by setting our purpose clear and centre.
So, of course, before we began planning this event, we thought about why we’d create a conference.
The answer was this: “because we all can play an even bigger game”
We were very lucky to have Simon Sinek, who is regarded as the most respected thought-leader in the space, an author of the international best-selling book ‘Start with WHY’ as one of the contributors to this conference. Here’s his answer to one very important question, “what are your top three tips in conveying our WHY to our (new) team members?”
“First, you need to know what it is.
Second, you have to have means to communicate it. Our whys are often future-oriented and abstract. That’s why the vision statement becomes very important. Your vision statement is how the world will look like if everything goes perfectly based on your why. When you ‘see’ it, you understand.
The third one is….you repeat it over and over and over…and over!”
– Simon Sinek
That’s the start of your bigger game: know your true purpose, find a way to visualise it, and repeat the message everywhere and everyday.
And this leads to the next key…
2: CULTURE AND LEADERSHIP: the Real Momentum
During this conference, we also learned the importance of having great culture, and how to actually create the meaningful, resonant culture that allows us to achieve more. And not surprisingly, it was largely defined by new models of leadership.
Dali and Finn from Nalu (one of the newest and youngest B1G1 Businesses for Good), shared their amazing vision. It left us speechless. Youngest doesn’t mean the age of the company but the average age of the directors: 13.5 years old! And they are fantastic business leaders who are breaking ground in so many ways with their thriving fashion business that has been giving back from day one. Indeed it was the reason they started the business, linking online sales of fashionable t-shirts with necessary school uniforms for the underprivileged children in India.
Leaders like them show us hope for the future. And yet we also know that holding the hope is not easy when we are challenged by daunting obstacles. Real leadership is what carries our vision when things get really tough.
Daniel Flynn, founder of a remarkable organisation, Thankyou Group, shared their incredible story of defeats and triumphs. And he expressed the importance of purposeful leadership to create and sustain a real momentum.
“The only way that any one of us can get up and go again (after so many setbacks) is if we have a deep understanding and a deep grip on why we are doing something. For us, our WHY was like an anchor in every storm. Every wave smashed us, it just kept us grounded.
I think one of the roles of leaders is to create a momentum. If you imagine you had a boat in the water cutting through the waves and creating the ripple effect at the back, leaders are there to create that initial cut through, that initial momentum…. It’s our role to create it. And it’s our role to keep it. Because when we do that, everything else we need gets attracted to us and it builds from there. ”
– Daniel Flynn
You can watch the full interview here to learn more.
Of course, once you’ve created Purpose and Culture through great Leadership, you need to create Connection.
3: CONNECTION: Connection is Everything
Everyone agreed that a most special part of this conference was the genuine quality of business people who were participating and how everyone connected with everyone else through the sense of giving.
Weeks after the conference, we still hear constantly about the delegates meeting up with others and discussing ideas and opportunities for collaboration.
It’s hard to describe it … this sense of connection. Maybe you’ll see it captured in some of the Impact Maps created during the conference…
The baby sea turtles we released during the conference were somewhat symbolic to the sense of belonging we experienced too. To be free and to be connected at the same time in the greatness of the world we belong
And with that connected-ness, everything is possible. Especially if we…
4: LEVERAGE: Spreading and Anchoring to Do Greater Good
The problem with most business events is that we learn a lot of things we never have time to implement. Or we end up with a lot of business cards we throw away.
The LEVERAGE session was fantastic. Exploring our digital strategy, learning to tap into the power of online connected-ness that did not exist years ago. How to capitalise on our digital assets? How to work with global workforce to leverage our value and our unique purpose? How to move to a much bigger game leveraging on what we already have?
We were very lucky to have Daniel Priestley, the best selling-author of Key Person of Influence and co-founder of Dent as a speaker to share in this session. Actually, it was not just luck that Daniel came. He was there in the very same room ten years ago when the idea of B1G1 was born in that very spot. In the ten years that have followed, Daniel has leveraged his assets to create an amazing company. He returned to show others in the B1G1 community how they can leverage what they have as well. The insights were stunning.
And the ‘why’ set us up brilliantly to fulfil the reason we all were there together in B1G1 in Bali: to create great IMPACT. And there has never been a time like this to do that.
5: IMPACT: Turning the Spirit of Giving into Measurable Results
This conference was also to celebrate the upcoming milestone of #100MillionImpacts. As the Conference began we were at 82 million giving impacts. So the conference also became a place to figure out how to reach the 100 million impacts milestone by working together in a more powerful way.
That’s why the theme of the conference was “5 Keys to grow your business to create greater impact.” And this theme brought everyone together with a strong focus to give more. Unlike normal business events where networking often involves ‘selling’, everyone at this event was there for the collective mission to give more, to connect deeply with each other and to enhance each other’s businesses purpose.
Through a hilarious and remarkable Giving Auction Dinner alone, we raised more than 332,602 additional impacts via contributions to the selected projects, which included:
- 89,113 tuition classes to empower disadvantaged girls to pass their exams reducing the risk of child-trafficking (Cambodia)
- 178,433 bricks towards building a school (Cambodia)
- 52,916 days of access to life-saving water (Ethiopia)
- 2-day mobile eye clinic for an entire village, providing approximately 500 villagers free eye-checks and 10 cataract operations (Bali, Indonesia)
- 358 trees to be planted to protect Orang Utans (Borneo, Bali)…and much more
These impacts were created by the 78 people who were there, showing the power of real giving spirit. We could see it. We could feel it. We were counting and measuring the impacts live during the event.
And here are some other impacts created during this conference.
- Formation of a B1G1 Business for Good Band (see it with your own eyes!)
- B1G1’s new book Giving Business was launched
- A new book to be written and published among the conference delegates. It’s called, “Better Business. Better Life. Better World.”
- A local project visit to a mobile eye clinic. Getting a deeper look into how our regular giving is creating real-life impacts on the ground.
- The 2017 B1G1 Study Tour was launched and all the tickets were almost sold out in 20 seconds
- The B1G1 Champion Program (a special referral program) was launched and 28 Champions were created
- The Awards Gala Dinner to acknowledge all the people who have made greatest impacts in the last 9 years…
We still cannot believe that all these things happened in just over 2 days.
And seeing this, it looks quite likely that we will be hosting another Conference very, very soon. After all, everyone who was there is wanting it!
So, if you missed it this time and if making an impact in an entirely new way with your business drives you too, we hope you will be there for the next one.
Not part of B1G1 Business for Good yet? See how your business can get involved.