Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pragmatic durable development

80hommesJust got back from a few days off in the Vosges, France. Lovely place, great break, clean air (by the way do you think smoking is a lot worse than what we breathe in our cities?).. Lots of thoughts. And great inspiration from a refreshing book written by two Frenchmen who spent 15 months tavelling and studying over 100 economically viable and socially & ecologically durable operations selected out of an initial sample of over 500 initiatives.

This book shows in a great way how focusing on people and carrying out local pragmatic actions can yield fantastic results that are also economically viable. It will tell you about an Indian eye clinic in which 2/3 of patients do not pay to get world-calls surgery and the clinic is profitable. It will give you an account of micro-credit and its inventor Muhammad Ynus. And also how there are other ways to wash your clothes that do not require you to pollute the environment with all the waste contained in P&G's or Henkel's (or another big brand's) washing products...

Overall it is a really refreshing set of stories that will show you that the often crazy rule of venture capital and Wall Street are not the only avenues to grow businesses. It also asserts that businesses can be far more than financial black-boxes worth the net present value of their hypothetical and "perpetual" future cash-flows. There are other ways to create and to grow.

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