Jaqueline Novogratz at the EVPA conference in Warsaw painted a picture of a year key to Poland and beyond. It was 1989. She was studying business at Stanford. The wall had come down. The world was in the middle of a tech revolution as the home computer became a reality, and her class were being taught it was their duty to maximise shareholder value. She described a time full of promise.
A lot of this promise was delivered on over the last 30 years. But it has come with deep inequality and with challenges for our planet that her economics professors back in 89 had not factored into their theories. Novogratz made a bold call for a moral revolution. She asked the audience of 600 impact makers to have the courage to create a new capitalism where all human beings can flourish.
She described her venture philanthropy approach which is to ‘invest in character’. To create this new world, she admitted we need business models but felt impact would be achieved by identifying social entrepreneurs who have a vision that is grown out of their ability to walk in other people’s shoes combined with the resilience and grit to keep them going with that vision. Once we’ve found these new leaders, we need to provide the capital that is patient enough for them to grow their ventures.
We no longer have the single measure of shareholder value that she and her classmates had at Stanford. Instead, we have to build our own road map, and Novogratz says the journey starts with a moral compass.