Got social problems? Business can help: Michael Porter at TEDGlobal 2013

Originally posted on TED Blog:

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Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter is here to make the case that business can help tackle social problems. Issues such as healthcare, access to water and climate change are bread-and-butter concerns for TEDsters in the room, who clearly agree with his early statement that we’re all very aware that these problems exist. Many of them also clearly agree with his analysis that business is often seen as the problem, not the answer.

Here’s the problem with the problem. The systems that we’ve developed to deal with social issues, including NGOs and philanthropies, are well-meaning and motivated, but they’re not designed to scale. “The awkward reality is that we’re not making fast enough progress. We’re not winning,” says Porter. “These problems seem very daunting and intractable. Any solutions we’re achieving are small solutions, incremental progress.”

The issue: the current model doesn’t have nearly enough resources to finance the…

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