Putting the Heart Back Into Business

– with Pamela Frost (Because) and Geoff Manchester (Intrepid Travel) – Wednesday, April 26th.

This was a really engaging and interactive session as the audience was challenged by Pamela and Geoff about what organisations should care about. To answer this requires an understanding of the purpose of a business. Is it one-dimensional as we would expect i.e. looking after the financial interests of the business owner and/or shareholders, or are there other aspects to consider?

Geoff told us about his business – the Intrepid (Travel) Group – and how they have grown into the No. 1 adventure travel business in the world on the back of addressing social, environmental, health & safety, governance and financial concerns.

Intrepid focusses on maximizing shared value, benefitting all stakeholders, this model acknowledge the interdependent relationship between stakeholders and businesses. A focus on creating shared value is a move away from a focus on creating shareholder value.

The point was that new businesses are not built by people who have profit as their primary focus, rather they are built by people with a passion for a product or service with an eye to the range of people (stakeholders) impacted by what the business does. Furthermore, in this day and age meaning is the new money, people are looking for meaning in their work.

Geoff introduced us to “B-Corp” accredited organisations in which people use business as a force for good (see ). Intrepid is currently undergoing certification.

Lastly, we “workshopped” questions around what the implications are for how businesses should be managed in the future, what the implications are for HR/OD professionals and us as individuals, and lastly what the future of work will look like. A summary of responses is in the members’ area of our website along with the slides used for the night.

All in all, a fascinating night and many new OD friends.

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