– By Martina Mok, SVPHK –

CREATIVE COLLISION 2019

SVPHK Creative Collision: Tri-sector Panel

On 27 November, we convened CREATIVE COLLISION 2019, our first non-conference and largest tri-sector event yet, bringing together business, civil society, public sector and social innovation leaders to spark Shared Value action.

More than 130 people attended, not counting volunteers (our de facto youth delegates), well exceeding our expectations. This was the first time we truly brought together our business community with our social innovation partners and public followers, with resoundingly positive feedback.

We were lucky to have Explorium HK as our generous and mission-aligned venue sponsor – enabling us to bring corporate people out of their “natural habitat” to Lai Chi Kok, an emerging social innovation hub – between Fung Group, D2 Place, Dream Impact, Teach For Hong Kong and other changemakers within a few blocks. We are also grateful to HSBC and Barclays, our forward-looking sponsors and two of our Founding Members.

💥 Breaking the Mold: Diverse Views & Experimental Formats

Everyone says we need more cross-sector collaboration for social impact – between private sector, government and civil society, including NGOs, academia and social innovation players. However, too many sustainability and social impact events are largely preaching to the choir – little progress is made in recruiting the unconverted – or convertible. How can we change things if we keep talking in circles?

With CREATIVE COLLISION, we spent considerable effort reaching out to those beyond our network – via Members and partners – and curated the target stakeholders intentionally to ensure diverse representation while opening up to anyone discovering us through interest-based searches or referrals.

Based on envisioned outcomes and a sense that people are looking for HOW to create Shared Value, not the WHY or WHAT, we designed every session around one early-stage Challenge of Creating Shared Value, all critical in combination:

💥 LEADERSHIP 💥 TALENT 💥 COLLABORATION 💥 FRAGMENTATION

💥 NEGOTIATION 💥 ADOPTION 💥 COMMUNICATION 💥 FINANCING

We experimented with unconventional formats to maximise experiential learning and interactive exchanges, valuing participant input as much as speaker expertise – hence the likes of a simulation, Shark Tank, roleplay game and time-based auction. We sought to disrupt traditional power dynamics and give a voice to the underrepresented at business conferences, such as youth and impact entrepreneurs.

The goal was to empower participants with Challenge-specific skills, knowledge and connections to progress Shared Value transformation efforts (for business) and improve social innovation partnerships (for other stakeholders).

Rather than our summary, we hope you’ll enjoy a round-up from our speakers and partners, in addition to the Opening and Closing word clouds from the audience.

 

💥 Reflections from Key Speakers & Session Hosts

{1} Opening: Challenge of Leadership

Stan Tang, Chairman, Stan Group, as WISER keynote speaker:

“The WISER opening keynote was an excellent opportunity to showcase how corporates transform from solely profit-making into a business that creates Shared Value, benefiting stakeholders in the ecosystem. What Stan Group has accomplished was challenging and risky, yet rewarding and influential.

“At the end of the day, what it takes is a leader who seizes every opportunity to innovate, to unleash the potential of the next generation and to bring a positive impact to society. One must also have the epiphany that businesses and society are in a symbiotic relationship where no one can thrive alone in the long run, thus it is crucial to explore a mutually beneficial, sustainable business model.”

{2} Reverse Interview: Challenge of Talent 

Michelle Chan, Business Development Manager, Enactus Hong Kong, as interviewee:

“Reverse Interview has been an open and candid conversation between senior executives and the youth. As much as we talk about generational gaps, little do we do to understand the ‘why’ behind them, and this lack of understanding poses a challenge to talent management for many companies. The session explored the fundamental difference of different generations to be the socio-economical environment they grew up in: how, in previous decades, people had been struggling to meet more basic needs on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; and how in the vibrant society today, people are looking for something beyond.

“One key takeaway from the session is perhaps to un-demonise differences. Differences surely exist among any individuals, but it should not be the barrier that set people apart. It is about acknowledging, understanding, and respecting differences and from there, envision a future that is inclusive of all the differences. I very much look forward to that day and I am sure SVPHK would be a great catalyst to that.”

{3} Tri-sector Panel: Challenge of Collaboration

Jo Hayes, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong, as panel speaker (NGO representative):

“At Habitat for Humanity, we want to increase and deepen our impact in Hong Kong and influence systemic change for good. One of the main takeaways from our panel discussion, was that cross-sector collaboration is a key enabler to achieving scalable and sustainable change.

“We are seeing organizations increasingly making the direct correlation between the support they give and the impact they can have when partnering with NGOs, and it was clear from our discussion that bringing together different sectors, perspectives and expertise will take us a step closer to our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

{4} Impact Auction: Challenge of Fragmentation

Tim Parker, Founder & CEO, Circular City, as impact venture pitcher:

“The Impact Auction was very relevant for my new Social Enterprise startup, Circular City, as it gave an opportunity to promote what we are doing to create impact in Hong Kong and what the benefits could be by linking, or partnering with corporates to create Shared Value.

“I particularly loved the auction aspect which gave startup pitchers the opportunity to have an hour of each bidder’s time to discuss the business and potentially lead to shared value opportunities or simply business guidance in particular aspects that are often hard to determine when not coming from a corporate background. I walked away with 24 hours of bidders’ time!”

{5A} Case Sharing: Challenge of Adoption

Vince Siu, Founder & CEO, Epiphany; Vice-Curator, Global Shapers Hong Kong Hub, as panel moderator:

“In Catalyzing Shared Value Business Models, we heard about not only the importance of having a clear organizational structure shaped around social impact and strong buy-in from top management, but also the necessity of devising profitable business models that equally serve shareholder needs and achieve social good.

“Across three organizations of varying maturity levels adopting shared value as a vision – G For Good starting as an impact vehicle within the New World Development Group, Social Ventures Hong Kong synthesizing capital to enrich local communities, and Novetex Textiles living and breathing social impact through their innovations and core business – we saw the importance of self-starting reinvention as well as the need for conscious governance, and that the right way forward is tri-sector collaboration to find the right balance between profit, impact and accountability.”

{5B} “Hot Seat” Stakeholder Simulation: Challenge of Communication

Rachel Catanach, President & Senior Partner, Greater China, FleishmanHillard, as facilitator:

“The Hot Seat stakeholder simulation was an excellent opportunity for participants to prepare themselves for the realities of making a business case for shared value and understand the multiple different perspectives of stakeholders in response to their case. The session was very engaging but there were a number of clear learnings as a result.

“First, managing expectations and not over-promising was extremely important.  In this respect, partnerships were seen as a key way for business to manage any resource or expertise gaps. Teams whose initiative and ‘ask’ had a clear focus fared better than those who didn’t. And teams who could clearly articulate what value they would be creating for both business and society made a more compelling case.

“The exercise really demonstrated that the more we can share and compare in a positive learning environment, the better prepared we are to make a strong case when we really need business and societal endorsement and support.”

{6A} 2030 SDGs Game: Challenge of Negotiation / Constrained Resources

Carol Yeung, Founder & Managing Director, iNNOVGoals (Hong Kong), as Certified 2030 SDGs Game Facilitator:

“The SDGs are ambitious and it is often seen as an overwhelming topic for people and businesses to achieve. The 2030 SDGs Game (a multiplayer, card game) was a great experience for participants that stimulate the ‘real world’ for participants into the year 2030. The game approach gives participants a direct opportunity to explore how to co-create a sustainable world by looking first at their own actions. People will say what I do makes a difference or I too can be a starting point.

“Apart from own actions, the engaging game experience takes participants forward in making dialogue with a diverse group of stakeholders regardless of their position or background. Creating awareness and urgency to make conversations in order to co-create our world with a balance in economy, environment, and society. The ultimate outcome for all participants to obtain awareness the ‘why’ our world needs the SDGs and to experience ‘what kind of possibilities’ the world has through the SDGs – and we need everyone, everywhere to action now!

“From the game reflection, participants shared insights on how they had to make changes to achieve own goals and also the world’s sustainable goals. The game world is our reality, we are faced with limited time and resources until 2030 to achieve the SDGs. Our world is connected and our global problems should not be viewed in isolation, from today onwards, within and across organizations, we must have the confidence to design initiatives and solutions in shaping a better future together.”

{6B} Shark Tank: Challenge of Financing

Thomas Huang, APAC Partnerships Lead, Agorize, as Shark Tank host:

“Pitching to external investors and internal company stakeholders is a challenge many CSV champions face. By allowing three pitchers to share their projects to real industry experts, everyone in the room was able to observe and learn from what went well and what did not.

“The Shark Tank-style sharing revealed the importance of a focused pitch with a clear objective / ask, in addition to having data to back up claims. By clearly demonstrating the value the projects create, paired with successful case examples, individuals are better able to move these beneficial projects forward.”

💥 2020 Vision: From Sparking to Creating Shared Value

What’s next? Since that day, we have been asked by many when the next CREATIVE COLLISION will be – and thanks to your overwhelming feedback and active co-creation, we have decided to convene a bigger, better one next year! Of course, we will continue to hold public events roughly six times a year, focused on specific topics.

More importantly, we ask that you take your new connections, the insights, the questions and the hurdles yet to emerge – and look at them together. Work through them collaboratively. Profitably. Generously. Ambitiously. Keep talking to us, and stay tuned for our next touch point to build on all that energy and inspiration.

Thank you for your interest and support of the first CREATIVE COLLISION. Special thanks again to our partners and co-creators (you know who you are). We have collectively created a new wave of Shared Value growth; you could feel the energy spilling over well beyond the day. We’re counting on you to accelerate change together, so let’s work toward more transformations in 2020.