Collabonomics – A New Socio-Economic Framework

Klaus-Michael Christensen

President | Swiss Impact Investment Association 19 November 2018

We must collaborate to overcome our global challenges. There is no other way.

Competition is hailed as necessary to promote innovation and creativity in creating product and services we want to pay for. However, competing for pure selfish reasons, disregarding common interest, is resulting in a downward spiralling vicious circle, fuelling a perpetuating self-promoting journey to get ahead of others and force the common good to take a second row seat or no seat at all.

Trust (or faith) in people to collaborate with each other is needed more than ever. We are not separate, we never were and we are not now either. Today we put faith in an economic system to connect the dots between us as buyers and sellers. These economic relationships are unfortunately crowding out social relationships more and more. Without social relationships life become meaningless and we lose our sense of direction. But every one of us are part of every solution. We need conscious contributions from people, to make the right changes and decisions. We must empower them to do exactly that.

I believe we are all aware of this fact. Even the finance industry is incorporating social and climate risks into their financial analysis when valuing stocks and bonds and other financial instruments. They have seen the writing on the wall especially in targeting women and millennials as their new found future clients. But are they doing it for the right reasons. Only time will tell.

We needed to value the intangible values “Externalities or Dark Matter” in our society, in contrast to the tangible and financial values in financial reports. Without understanding the underlying human values that keeps society together, we will have no purpose for whatever we do. These social values needs to be strengthened and protected for us to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and with our earth. To do that, we need a framework of collaboration. I call it Collabonomics, “the art of collaborating for collective socio-economic goals”. We need collabonomics to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

No company can achieve a single SDG alone. It must work with other companies and stakeholders in society to integrate their efforts. It is as simple as that. We must learn to collaborate for common goals thereby developing a mindset for shared purpose in business, science and finance.

  • Start-ups and multi-internationals can share creativity and financial stability.
  • Faiths and secular institutions can exchange values & economic thinkings.
  • Governments and private capital can work together to catalyse & sustain projects.

By connecting intent we will succeed.

Elliot Harris, UNEP, told me at my Zug Impact Summit in 2017, “Be aware of the silent revolution going on in the heads of millions of people from all corners of society, whether they work in banks, are farmers, scientists, government officials, CEOs or employees, young or old. They all feel that we are steering in a dangerous direction, but they do not know what to do about it. If we empower and connect them with each other, and tell them that they are the solution, we will see solutions emerge at grand scale everywhere.”

That’s what I’m doing with SIIA | The Swiss Impact Investment Association.

We, the entrepreneurs and investors, are the solution!


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