September 10, 2018 | Written by: Urban Roth
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… and what Philanthropy and Sweden’s summer wildfires has to do about it
What a summer! Coming back from vacation you see more smiling faces than usually in the usual catch-up conversations. But how do you bounce back from a summer like this? Maybe you had time, like I had, to do more than soak up the sun – reflect on your situation, and on what you are doing with your time and why? Living in a society where many of us are fortunate enough to have our basic necessities covered, these things become more and more important.
This topic has become a hot topic even among corporates. Influential thinkers and lecturers claim the road to increased competitiveness goes through engaged coworkers and the ability to attract top talent. To do that, you need to prove your reason for existence beyond shareholder value and answer the deceitfully simple question; Why?
Similarly, some talented young people have already realized they want to invest their time and mind in work beyond pure profit making. This results in established non-profit organizations having to compete with social entrepreneurs for talent. The companies have different form and direction, both for-profit and limited-profit companies, but all looking to make a positive impact on the world. This new sector creates a growing need for conscious led investments, commonly referred to as impact investment. A radically different take on the old tradition of philanthropy.
How should you engage? Beyond donations, there are other ways to make a difference
A starting point for those working for a larger company is reaching out to your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team in order to find a project to engage in. At IBM we are fortunate to have a large amount of CSR initiatives to volunteer for, both locally and globally. In Sweden for instance, you can make a difference by just having lunch with a newcomer (through the fantastic welcome movement), teach programming to schoolkids at Code club or inspire innovation to high schoolers in #hackyourworld.
Next level – Call for Code, accepting the challenge and put your skills to use
If you are not working for a company that offers volunteering possibilities or if you are aiming a bit higher, there are other ways to go. Engineers without borders is an option. Here, engineers from Sweden address challenges linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, both in Sweden and around the globe.
At IBM we have Corporate Service Corps where volunteers grouped in cross functional teams are deployed full time in a community somewhere in the world to help develop basic services.
With Call for Code, a worldwide developer challenge together with United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross, we now invite you to help us make real change. The basic idea is to call on developers across the globe, to invent and develop smart solutions to be used in IBM’s CSR Corps engagements all over the world. The winning team will be offered to join within the field, putting the actual solution to use, in addition to prize money and open source maintenance by Linux Foundation. It is an annual challenge running for five years and this year’s focus is disaster relief and prevention.
Natural disasters are a force of pain and suffering throughout the world. Although carrying empathy for those exposed it can still feel like a problem far away from us in the Nordic countries. This summer’s severe drought and rapid wildfires throughout several European countries, including Sweden, Norway and Denmark, changed that. The need for rehearsed readiness, smart ways to organize volunteers and solutions to control and monitor the fires became apparent.
Are you going to answer the call for code? Will you engage as a volunteer? Either way hope I inspired you to bounce back from a great summer into an autumn of making a difference!
To read more about the mentioned initiatives, please consider:
For any further questions do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org