Is it worth working on ideas and projects for social good vs. projects for profits?
Again and again I am asked why i-Sparks, a new online platform for individuals and organizations interested in social change, is focusing on ideas and projects for social good vs. projects for profits. After all, the underlying approach and methodologies are also applicable in the business world. This is true. They are applicable and work nicely. Indeed, I have developed the approach and methodologies through my own business consulting activities. However, this is not the point.
I have worked in professional project management for more than fifteen years now. I have seen projects fail and projects succeed. I have seen dull, boring projects and WOW projects that excite the people working on the project and the client and customers. Personally, I am interested in successful projects with a WOW factor.
There is one key ingredient for a WOW project to evolve: A clear motivation and vision. Without them, a project is just a project.
Yes, you can have clear project objectives but that is not sufficient to get a project to a good start. You need to know the driver behind a project. You need to understand the overall picture where your tiny project fits in.
Example: I worked on a project which objective was to develop and execute a global marketing of a newly introduced product. The scope was clear, the stakeholders defined and known. What was missing was a common understanding of the mission of the product. What was the one value of the product every stakeholder, project member and customer could agree on. When you asked five stakeholders why this product and campaign was important you received five different answers. It was an interesting and challenging project, no doubt. We delivered on time and budget. From this perspective it was a success and the client was happy. But there was a lack of team spirit, no team synergy, no WOW. Why? The company lacked a clear motivation and vision. The most common answer about the driver and goals were financial in nature. Fact is, money alone does not move people. You have to understand their deep motivations and visions.
i-Sparks doesn’t want to attract individuals and organizations who join for the quick buck. i-Sparks is for individuals and organizations who care about social change and social good. It is for individuals and organizations who believe in their ideas and visions and who are not distracted by things such as money. Don’t get me wrong, money is important. This is why i-Sparks will offer crowdfunding functionalities in the near future. However, a well-funded project without a clear motivation and vision is not worth working for. At least as it comes to social change and social good. This is where i-Sparks comes in. And this why i-Sparks focuses on ideas and projects for social change and social good rather than “traditional”, commercial projects.