Unreasonable Group takes Diamandis to heart and goes for it
In recent weeks, we’ve seen a number of intriguing tweets and articles from the Unreasonable Group. What’s this all about? Obviously something about making positive change, not taking no for an answer. . . but how, and from what perspective? Perhaps a radical offshoot of Occupy? Nope, not quite. Not even close. It turns out that the Unreasonable Group is an umbrella for several related initiatives that aim to catalyze big money into a network of companies that are “dedicated to a new mode and new way of going about business. One that takes into account the value of all stakeholders involved, that is dedicated to transparency and vulnerability, that is pathologically collaborative, and one obsessed with leveraging profit to solve BFPs (Big F***ing Problems).” And they’re definitely thinking big, with the Virgin Group as their long-term model:
Capitalism is seeing a shift as significant and as large as the industrial revolution. We are living amidst an Entrepreneurial Renaissance. This fundamental shift in the way we go about and think about business is a trend that transcends all verticals and sectors. We need a brand that does the same. . . . To use an analogy, we hope to become the “Virgin” for the 21st century. Today, Virgin has over 400 companies in 40 countries that are part of the Virgin Group. We are striving to launch at minimum 50 companies operating in over 50 countries, all under the Unreasonable brand, by 2020. For us, this benchmark, if achieved, will only represent the beginning.
Will it work? Time will tell. We are the first to admit that we are shooting for the moon and that all of this is a massive experiment. That said, we hold the conviction that there is no experiment more noteworthy than this one and we can’t convince ourselves out of giving it a shot.
Peter Diamandis is likely the most high-profile champion of the potential for exponential societal breakthroughs driven by mission-based entrepreneurial initiatives. His two most recent books, Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think and Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World, preached this gospel in a convincing way, and his participation in the Singularity University community carries the message forward.
While the Unreasonable Group is primarily designed to support and inspire entrepreneurs, and their one investible fund, Unreasonable Capital, is a venture initiative available only to accredited investors, their website is a great place for anyone to get excited about the ways that the promise of capitalism—that people with excess money can innovate, experiment, and take a crack at solving problems—really might be redeemed by a new generation of wealth that cares as much about social and environmental issues as it does about their own fortunes.
For starters, check out this series of posts on Gender Lens Investing in Asia. Or this collection on the BFPs, including energy, poverty, health, and water. The most recent additions are rolled out on the Unreasonable blog. Poke around the site a bit and you’ll find all sorts of resources: a web series called Unreasonable TV, information on their training programs (including one for businesses that aim to create products and programs that benefit girls in poverty, called the Girl Affect Accelerator), and much more.
This is impact investing on steroids, boldly tackling issues that matter to our future by attracting capital, offering support to help entrepreneurs get better at what they’re trying to do, and educating the public about the good news that is out there but rarely finds its way into our conflict-obsessed media. For resilient investors who have the money to support such efforts, this and similar projects are quintessential Zone 9 investments; for those not able to invest their money here, it’s a Zone 3 activity of learning more about the evolutionary possibilities that are getting their footing. You may then want to explore the more modest opportunities that are out there that allow any of us to invest some of our savings in loan programs that support socially and environmentally beneficial initiatives worldwide; scroll through our Zone 9 resources for some initial possibilities (Calvert Foundation is a pioneer in this; several lending sites also serve all investors). Those of us who are fortunate enough to be just dealing with normal human problems need to also invest some of our time, energy, and money in those that are tackling the BFPs—by doing so, we’re investing in our shared global resilience.