October 30, 2008

The Ingenuity of Human Nature

The ingenuity of human nature should never surprise any of us. I was pleased to read CNN's article, "Google swamped with 'great idea' submissions," which is about Google's Project 10 to the 100th to support "ideas to change the world, in the hope of helping as many people as possible." The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has committed $10 million to fund up to five ideas selected by their advisory board. I applaud Google's efforts in providing financial support to empower people to help others.

I am happy to see Google invest its financial success into others and I encourage other companies to support the potential of human knowledge. Through all of my travels in some of the most challenging markets, I am amazed to see the innovative ideas people create and the strength of the human spirit to do good. In a world where we tend to focus on the negative and destruction people have toward each other and their natural environment, it is vitally important to highlight and support the positive efforts people make as part of their everyday regiment. (Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/camera_rwanda/304301139)

While some will speculate that Google is using this initiative as a public relations ploy, I argue that Google's initiative is to truly support social responsibility. Advising companies of all sizes on business strategy and international growth management, I know many companies find it difficult to become more socially responsible when their efforts are not quantified on a profit and loss statement or balance sheet--particularly when business success is defined by net profit or earnings per share. Given these challenges, however, I hope other companies will replicate similar initiatives such as Google's Project 10 to the 100th to support people who possess innovative ideas on helping others, but lack the capital to implement their passion.


  1. Google has always modeled itself as a "do no evil" company, and these initiatives certainly reflect this credo, but how do you view this in light of accusations of Google's complacency with the Chinese government's efforts to censor web users and freedom is speech, and the potential impact on human rights in China?

  2. Truthfully, I am unsure how to justify Google (and other web search companies) having to submit to political pressure by the Chinese government and censor content. From advising companies on expanding into international markets, I do know companies entering a new market have to abide by local regulations--even if the regulations restrict free speech or impede human rights.

    China is the largest market by population and the second largest ecomony by GDP, which makes China a prime market for many companies of any sector in order to stay competitive in a global economy.