Today, November 27th. was the birthday of both film actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee and musician Jimi Hendrix. Whether or not you were fans of theirs, one cannot deny that they made a memorable impact on the world of entertainment.
Sadly, neither are still with us and neither is someone else born on this day, whose work had a significant contribution to the world. I am referring to Swedish astronomer, physicist and mathematician Anders Celsius.
Celsius was born in Uppsala, Sweden on November 27th 1701. In 1730, Celsius was the first to suggest a connection between the aurora borealis and changes in the magnetic field of the Earth. He founded the Uppsala Astronomical Observatory in 1741, and in 1742 proposed the Celsius temperature scale which bears his name. In 1725 he became secretary of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala, and served at this post until his death from tuberculosis in 1744.
These men worked in very different fields, but each made an impact on the times in which they lived. When I look at the world today, it is interesting to consider those men and women who are making an impact, both diverse and wide-ranging, and will probably be remembered for their work in years to come.
I’m sure we could all name some in politics, the arts, sport and other areas.But I am going to focus on businesses where people are making a big difference.
I looked at the Inventshift website and found an article by Kerry Needs, posted on November 28th. 2016, entitled “Conscious business: 10 social enterprises that are making a lasting impact”. Needs chose these particular organisations as they are “making some serious noise in the world, and changing the lives of thousands of people worldwide.”
I have chosen five of them to share with you:
TOMS was created in 2006 when Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need, creating their famous ‘One for One’ mantra. So far, TOMS has given 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need.
Charity: water is a social enterprise that allows access to clean, safe drinking water for developing countries. Scott Harrison, a former club promoter, decided to solve one of the world’s biggest problems - that there are 663 million people on the planet that don’t have access to clean water. Charity: water have recently developed their own virtual reality film, The Source, with more than 10,000 people viewing the premiere.
Envirofit is less than 15 years old, but has revolutionised the developing world by changing the way energy products are developed. With a goal of improving harmful traditional cooking methods, Envirofit innovated a product line of aesthetic, high performance cookstoves tailored to the needs of customers. Envirofit improves fuel use by up to 60% and reduces carbon emissions by 80%, a benefit that is now serving over 5 million people worldwide.
Terracycle has become a leading force in the recycling industry, by transforming hard to recycle waste. They do this by reusing, recycling or upcycling the products, instead of using it for landfill or incinerating it. They partner with brands around the world to offer free recycling programs, and then use the money for charitable projects. To date, 63 million people in 20 countries have helped to collect and recycle enough waste to raise over 15 million dollars for charities around the world, and Terracycle has won over 200 social enterprise awards worldwide.
d.Light was founded by Ned Tozun and Sam Goldmun in 2004 after Sam witnessed a teenager get badly burnt by a kerosene lamp in Africa. d.light is a global leader in solar power, having sold more than twelve million solar light and power products in 62 countries, and is improving the lives of over 65 million people. Their aim now is to reach 100 million by 2020.
Of course, for many people in the workforce, they are not in a position to make a change that will have a global impact or that will reverberate around the world.
But, it is worth looking at your business and see if there is even a small step you could take towards improving things for those around you. It’s from thinking of ideas that might improve things on a small scale that ideas for a wider impact can grow. What simple action can you take? How could it benefit a wider group? Do you consult others with regard to making improvements?
It’s surprising how inventive people can be when asked. Who knows from where or from whom the next great idea might come? An idea that will not only be of benefit now, but have a lasting impact on the lives of many.
About the Author
Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNN, BBC, CBC, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.
In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com and see what he can do for you in the long run.