New Business Prize ‘Something Wanting to Be Born’

New Business Prize ‘Something Wanting to Be Born’

Recognition process will accelerate shift already underway

It’s the right time for an aspirational new prize for business, Michele Hunt says. “This is something wanting to be born.”

Whether it’s designing “socially conscious” clothing like Vancouverite Nicole Bridger is doing, or kids asking Crayola to start a take-back recycling program for the half-a-billion plastic markers they make every year, a shift in public consciousness is underway in the realm of economic exchange.

  Michele Hunt

A Nielsen survey last year reported that of 28,000 online respondents from 56 countries, 66 per cent would call themselves socially conscious consumers.

In the last 10 years, social enterprise — businesses applying commercial strategies to enhance human and environmental well-being — has also become somewhat of a global phenomenon. The uptake is exemplified in such activities as the Social Enterprise World Forum, which brings together sector researchers and practitioners from across the globe, as well as the introduction of the Social Enterprise Mark, in 2010 as the international certification authority for social enterprise.

“There is an exponential movement; it’s rippling. I see it everywhere,” says Michele, a transformation catalyst formerly with the global furniture company Herman Miller and President Clinton administration. She predicts that companies still entrenched in the “it’s all about the profit” mindset won’t survive five years out.

Michele is on the advisory board for the new prize that will recognize business leadership “at the nexus of societal well-being and flourishing,” where business is a force for peace, the eradication of extreme poverty, eco-innovation and the generation of sustainable value.

The prize process will accelerate this shift through celebration, storytelling and learning as a global community, she predicts.

On March 1 and 2, a group of academics, business leaders, students, journalists and other professionals rapid prototyped a full business recognition process for this prize at the Fowler Center for Sustainable Value of Case Western Reserve University.

  Beau Daane

The resulting dozen prototypes are now being blended into one masterpiece — a true co-creative effort, says Fowler Center director Beau Daane, who is undertaking this blending.

Business schools around the world could be engaged to help nominate local businesses that are acting as agents of world benefit. This is what Beau says gets him really excited. Not only business, but business curriculum and education, could be transformed.

“Those are not small hopes, transforming business education and business, but I really think (this new prize process) can help to do that.”

As someone who’s identified a quintuple bottom line he’s aspiring to — people, profit, planet, passion and purpose — the effort harmonizes with Beau’s life mission.

“This is the kind of thing that I’ll be able to look back to and say, ‘Wow, because I was a part of this, my life had meaning.’ ”

The new recognition process is to be announced at the 2014 Business as an Agent of World Benefit forum, titled “Next Generation Business: from Sustainability to Flourishing +.”

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Writer Bio

Michelle Strutzenberger's picture
Michelle Strutzenberger

Michelle Strutzenberger has been a Generative Journalist and curator with Axiom News for more than 15 years.

She's most grateful for the incredible people she gets to work with every day at Axiom News, as well as the many other amazing folks she's encountered through this work.

"I have always seen the opportunity to do this work as a gift," she says.

Michelle's writing has also been published by a wide variety of other organizations and publications, including the following:
- Abundant Community, an initiative of authors John McKnight and Peter Block to awaken the power of families and neighbourhoods
- PLAN Institute, a network dedicated to enabling families to create a good life for people with disabilities
-.New Scoop YYC, Calgary's news co-op practicing Generative Journalism
- The Canadian Community Economic Development Network
- Nieuwmakers, a Belgian news agency
- Restore Commons, an initiative of Peter Block and friends
- Academy for Systemic Change

Contact Michelle: 705-741-4421 ext. 27 or michelle(at)

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