The Future of Responsible Business
The Future of Responsible Business: The importance of values in raising the next generation of ethical entrepreneurs
Helping parents, carers, and educators nurture an enterprising mindset in children from a young age is crucial both to their current and future happiness but also to the development of a ‘can-do’ attitude to life problems and opportunities. An enterprising mindset is a creative, resourceful, imaginative, and resilient one that lies at the root of the entrepreneurial character, but will provide a child with a positive foundation for making the most of their life and abilities whatever path they choose to pursue.
Entrepreneurial activity is concerned with the realisation of value, the production of goods and services that meet a need, the creation of jobs, the distribution of wealth and providing the engine for cultural advancement. As such, it is a social phenomenon with an intrinsically ethical dimension. Within the context of nurturing children’s entrepreneurial potential, it is crucial that there is an altruistic and ethical core.
Encouraging children and young people to look at the different kinds of response there can be to social problems and exploring those that appeal most directly introduces the idea of social enterprise as well as socially responsible enterprise. Involvement may include anything from simple fundraising to volunteering, applying technical solutions to problems, or social campaigning.
Learning to focus on the ethical outcome of innovation is an essential part of this process, and a great way to stimulate imagination and analysis, helping children see that all innovation has potential social consequences, and that this matters. Children should be encouraged to be ambitious in adding value to the world, and to understand that this is not just disruption for disruption’s sake, or indeed adding value to a bank balance.
If nurtured from an early age, from a place of play, this core realisation will stay with children as they grow and develop, and provide an ongoing incentive to realising value and overcoming obstacles with compassion and a creative approach to social problems as a cornerstone of their enterprising character.
The Enterprising Child model for nurturing enterprising children is based on the twin pillars of relationship and playful engagement. In this context being ‘playful’ is anything but trivial, since play is essentially about imagination and it is the imagination to see things could be better that is more effective in nurturing ethically aware entrepreneurs than the unimaginatively ‘serious’ attitude that social reality is something we just have to adapt to and cannot change. Through a parent’s relationship with their child, encouraging them to explore the ways in which the world could be made better, they can be inspired to begin to think in terms of finding solutions rather than in terms of adaptation. It is this imaginative and ‘can do’ approach to problems that the business leaders of tomorrow will need, and the fact that this has been shaped in childhood in a context that emphasises our ethical duties to one another is a sure foundation for the next generation of ethical businesses.
| Guest Post provided by Lorraine Allman
Lorraine Allman is an author, speaker, and CEO at Enterprising Child. She combines 17 years of practical business experience with a passion for supporting parents and educators nurture children with the enterprising skills, characters, and innovative behaviours necessary to fulfil their potential and make a difference in the world. Find out more about Lorraine’s work at www.enterprisingchild.com or contact her directly via www.lorraineallman.com