Karmic capitalism


There is a revolution underway in business. It goes by several different names but I believe that all of these movements are working towards an exciting and better future for the world. Here’s a quick summary:

Social business
This focuses on human interactions both internally and externally at an organisation. The idea is that if organisations become better at human, authentic, meaningful conversations and interactions then the company, employees, customers and investors all win. It emerged from the social media marketing/PR/systems movement when it became clear that there is a need to drive real change much deeper within organisations to become truly social and realise the benefits that this brings.

Conscious business
This movement is driving businesses that are profitable but deliver value to a broad set of stakeholders; and believe in human development, growth, involvement, awareness, communication and transparency.

Happiness at work
Ask a buddhist what the purpose of life is and they will simply tell you: ‘To be happy.’ After sleeping, we spend more time at work than doing anything else so we can only be truly happy if we are happy at work. And unsurprisingly, happy workplaces are high performing.

Social enterprise
These are businesses specifically set up to create social benefit. But they do this through providing products and services just like any other business rather than through charity. Some are run as not-for-profit and others for-profit. I believe that there is nothing wrong with profit. It’s a great way to attract investment, ensure long-term survival and allow you to grow in order to provide ever more value.

Organisational democracy
The least catchy title, but the term I use most often. It’s about running an organisation using a set of 10 democratic principles including transparency, reflection, individual freedom and choice. It’s very similar to conscious business, but for me, democracy is the wrapper for all of these movements. Democratic organisations are social, conscious and they lead to social benefit and happiness for everyone involved.

Karmic capitalism
OK this one isn’t really a movement. I just thought it sounded pithy when I read it in Chip Conley’s excellent book ‘Peak’. But it kind of simply sums up everything I have discussed. The idea that capitalism can be a force for good in the world, to generate positive outcomes for ourselves personally as well as businesses now and in the future.

Whatever you want to call it doesn’t matter, but it’s time we all joined the revolution to make capitalism karmic.