How do you find a real superhero? How do you get a well of volunteers? How do you increase communication and commerce in economically depressed areas of the world? These are questions creative and enterprising entrepreneurs are answering with new business models and an underlying set of good values. By encouraging young people to volunteer, recognizing good-doers and go-getters, entrepreneurs and everyday individuals are paying forward and re-enforcing good values for generations to come.
Real Superheros — In America, we’ve grown up with Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Superwoman and many other crime-fighting superheroes. But what about the real heroes? The enterprising inventor that saves thousands of children with a new water-delivery system or even a local Red Cross volunteer? The Real Life Super Hero Project is a website for individuals to go and get inspired by real-life superheroes. Originally started by a photographer wanting to shine a light on the everyday superheroes, the site expanded beyond photographs and now features video interviews of hard-working volunteers. The site aims to encourage individuals “to become more active, more involved, more committed, and perhaps, a little super in the process,” writes the site.
Volunteer Mob — You might have heard of flash mobs — some serving little-to-no purpose, while others taking a violent turn. The Big Help Mob is using the concept of a flash mob as a tool for the good. The 100-person “mob” “get together to do superhuman acts of awesomeness for non-profits and communities in Perth, [Australia],” writes the website. The group has gotten together to plant 10,000 trees within a few hours, renovated a community center and even made some train-goers feel particularly happy (see video below). Volunteer mobs have only begun in Australia, but as technology brings us closer together and enhances our ability to organize and impact change, expect the concept to reach beyond the shores of Australia.
Business-in-a-Box — Indonesia has incredible cellphone penetration rates and three quarters of the population live in poverty. The RUMA organization aims to combine the two to empower individuals to emerge from poverty. RUMA sends a “business-in-a-box” to qualified franchises for $23. The individuals are equipped with a phone, promotional materials and an operating manual to set-up kiosks and sell prepaid airtime to their community. The enterprise has taken off with support from the Grameen Foundation and Qualcomm. RUMA sent over 1,600 microfranchises in its first five months. The “business-in-a-box” enables and empowers impoverished individuals to dig their way out of poverty.
Krafty Giving — Social giving is nothing new for established brands. However, Kraft is launching the most ambitious multi-brand social giving initiative to date, according to Springwise. Kraft’s Fight Hunger Bowl is leveraging social media and celebrities, such as Joe Montana and Patrick and Gina Neely to give out 20 million meals to people in need. Every user that “likes” Kraft on Facebook, adds a photo to the brand’s page or tweets about Kraft will result in the give away of one meal to a person in need. Although the initiative is somewhat self-serving (i.e. promoting the brand), it enables anyone to impact change.
Prediction — Altruism is nothing new, but there is an undercurrent of individuals and brands trying to encourage good social values. It can be anything from tweeting about a brand to donate a meal or getting inspired by real superheroes. We should expect entrepreneurs and individuals alike to plant the seeds of giving and good values.
Read the entire 2011 market trend report
Image from Real Super Heroes website