Thinc Iowa: Jerri Chou on ‘passion to make the world a better place’
Jerri Chou, co-founder of Lovely Day, All Day Buffet, The Feast and TBD, firmly believes that we can create a better world by purpose-driven social collaboration in which people "do well by doing good." “Social enterprises are driven not by just the bottom line but by purpose and passion to make the world a better place,” Chou said this morning during the second talk of Thinc Iowa.
1. Big Shift
Chou said the “old way” of one-way communication is dead. We are now in an era of continuous two-way communication. “That shift of values has happened before; looking at the '60s and '70s,” Chou said. “Now it's global.” There is a shift from just producing a product and delivering it to the consumer to working with people to actually create value together.
2. Business Application
How does this translate into actual business applications? One interesting example Chou pointed to is the case of Local Motors, a company that produced the first truly crowd-sourced car. This collaborative approach at personal transportation dramatically reduces design time and allows for a hyper-customized machine. Much less has to be done from scratch. And the most important distinction: they are not taking on the motor companies. Instead, they're working with big auto makers to help fill empty production time in their manufacturing facilities with Local Motor orders.
3. New business driven by purpose and passion
Social entrepreneurs are beginning to give a lot of insight into where major global industries are headed. They can provide a lot of understanding into socio-cultural issues, issues that traditional businesses often pass over. “This presents an opportunity” Chou said. "Innovation is a set of tools and processes by which we create the future.” There is great potential for partnership — between the two entities — and a much better chance of actually solving a problem when they work together.
4. Moving from scarcity to open collaboration
Building structures and ecosystems that let people (consumers) be a part of the process instead of sitting on the sidelines is key, Chou emphasized. This challenges and redefines the traditional model of consumption and ownership. “We are moving toward a ZipCar model, a more shared economy,” Chou said.
5. What does a better future in large social issues look like? Working together
Realizing the potential of people to focus on continuous, purpose-driven improvement in the sectors of health, education, mobility, environment and finance is the future, Chou said. It’s all about participation, self-actualization and human potential. Chou's goals aren't small by any means, but she intends to face them head on.