Grass Roots to Ivory Tower - CSR Report 2012 Cultiv8 Solutions.


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Written by Joel Graham-Blake AGP, Founder of Cultiv8 Solutions -
An independent report on the impact of CSR strategies and practices, by small to medium sized businesses in Birmingham, UK.

Official follow up to the inaugural Midlands CSR Summit that took place at Aston Business School in April 2012, creates by Cultiv8 Solutions and the Thrive Network

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Grass Roots to Ivory Tower - CSR Report 2012 Cultiv8 Solutions.

  1. 1. GRASS ROOTS TO IVORY TOWERAn independent report on the needs of local communities,to be considered in the creation and delivery of CSR strategies,by small to medium sized businesses in Birmingham.Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder.Company: Cultiv8 SolutionsEmail: joel@cultiv8solutions.comWebsite: www.cultiv8solutions.comTwitter: @joelgrahamblake
  2. 2. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Opportunity for feedbackThis is a summary report, designed to encourage discussion and action.Please do feel feedback your thoughts and comments using the following details:Email: joel@cultiv8solutions.comTwitter: @joelgrahamblakeWebsite: Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 2 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  3. 3. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Introduction of CommissionIn May 2012, Dr Mashuq Ally, Assistant Director of Equalities & Human Resources,Birmingham City Council with the support of Sir Albert Bore, Leader of BirminghamCity Council commissioned Joel Graham-Blake, to write an independent report forthe city.The commission was to write a report about the challenges surrounding effectiveCorporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practice by the small to medium enterprisebusiness community of Birmingham and the impact that this has, on meeting localcommunity needs.The terms of reference for this report were set as the following. • To produce an independent research paper on the impact of CSR activity on the local community, by the SME community of Birmingham. • To provide impactful research data, that will aid Birmingham City Council in their aims of promoting positive CSR practices and sustainable impact, across the Birmingham region. • To offer the research data as a resource in order to help meet objectives within the Birmingham City Council Business Support Strategy.The report incorporates findings from: • Interviews with 10 SME business owners from across different business sectors of Birmingham. • Findings derived the Midlands CSR Summit 2012 – ‘CSR: Critical for Business or Business Critical?’ - this summit was attended by 85 delegates, consisting of the Heads of Corporate Social Responsibility and their Chief Executives, from across the private, public and voluntary sectors.The vision for the Midlands CSR Summit 2012 was created by Joel Graham-Blake andwas delivered in conjunction with a number of key business partners from across allsectors, at Aston Business School in April 2012. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 3 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  4. 4. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Table of contentsExecutive Summary 7-9Format of the Report 10SECTION ONE – INEQUALITIES OF EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES 11Question 1 - What would you describe as the most proactive waysin which SME’s can help to reduce economic inequalities in the city?1.1 Become Lean and Meaner1.2 Systemise not analyse1.3 “Inequalities, over here!” 121.4 Rise of IntrapreneurshipQuestion 2 - How can CSR help to reduce unemployment in the city? 132.1 Its not all about outputs2.2 Align strategy with needs2.3 Working together to ‘grease the chain’ 14 CASE STUDY 1 – Enterprise Diversity Alliance (EDA)Question 3 - What type of support do SME’s need, in order to make a 15significant input into enhancing social and economical mobility?3.1 Nurturing growth is key CASE STUDY 2 – Enterprise City High Growth Programme3.2 Peer to Peer Learning CASE STUDY 3 – The DEN3.3 Operate Local, Think Global 16SECTION TWO – THE POWER OF SOCIAL COHESION 17Question 4 – Why is there a lack of social cohesion in the city?4.1 Perception vs. Reality4.2 He, who shouts loudest, leads4.3 Diversity equals adversity? 184.4 Community responsibilitiesQuestion 5 – How can CSR reduce the lack of social cohesionin the region? 195.1 Collaboration is key5.2 K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple, Stupid! Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 4 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  5. 5. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 6 – What support do SME’s need, in order to make a significantinput in enhancing social cohesion? 206.1 A culture of fairness6.2 Policy vs. Practice6.3 Birds that flock together, fly together! 216.4 Impact of religionSECTION THREE – PARTICIPATION AND EMPOWERMENT 22Question 7 – Why is there a divide amongst the wealth of businesses owned, by differentgroupings of people?7.1 History speaks loudly7.2 Cultural dilution 237.3 Aspirational Conditioning 24Question 8 – How can CSR encourage more participation andempowerment amongst local communities? 258.1 Who are you trying to empower?8.2 Sustainable models of work8.3 Integrate opportunities8.4 Horizontal commonality 26 CASE STUDY 2 – Cleone Foods: Wade Lyn, Special Ambassador Award.Question 9 – How can the public and private sector work togetherto increase the level of business ownership by women? 279.1 Meet the ‘Three 4Cs’ of gender-led programmes9.2 Promote and Interact 289.3 The ‘Atlas Effect’ – Impact of Media 29SECTION FOUR – MEASURING THE IMPACT OF CSR PRACTICESQuestion 10 – What are the core elements that are needed,to build a robust framework which measures the impactof CSR practice? 3010.1 Elements for measuring the Impact on Local CommunitiesQuestion 11 – What would be the most effective way to promote CSRin the city? 3111.1 One size does not fit all Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 5 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  6. 6. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 12 – How do we change the perception that the phrase‘Return On Investment’ in regards to CSR, is an immoral phrase to use? 3212.1 Measurement leads to efficiency12.2 Need for increased dialogue13 Recommendations 3313.1 Recommendation 113.2 Recommendation 213.3 Recommendation 3 3413.4 Recommendation 413.5 Recommendation 513.6 Recommendation 6 3513.7 Recommendation 713.8 Recommendation 8 3613.9 Recommendation 914.0 Recommendation 10 3714.1 Recommendation 1114.2 Recommendation 12 3815 Thanks to Participants 39 Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 6 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  7. 7. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Executive SummaryREALITY CHECKWithin the diverse communities of Birmingham, we have people who yearn to becitizens of a truly inclusive and equal society. We have people living in environmentsthat are being eroded through a lack of cohesion, concern and care. We havechildren who live day by day, with no real hope or dreams, because their lifeexperiences have conditioned them to believe that it is easier not to have them.This is happening in our communities, not mine, not yours, but in OUR communities.There are many who may never experience the euphoric feeling of achievement ingaining employment, achieving qualifications or simply to be able to look atthemselves in the mirror and say ‘I am somebody’ with total conviction and pride.Unemployment is far too high yet we still have a culture of ‘go to school, get a job,and you are set for life.’ We need to wake up and realise that is just not true anymore. There needs to be a more fairer and horizontal representation of all theoptions available, with a clear understanding of the routes and potentialconsequences of each option but with the reassurance that you will be adequatelysupported no matter what you choose to do.POWER OF ENTREPRENEURSHIPAs a city, we already have a strong and credible history of creating new ideas,inventions and ways of working for the benefit of others, yet when it comes toourselves, there seems to be gaps that are widening with regards to jobopportunities and the type of enterprise support that helps the person behind thebusiness to grow, as well as their business idea.As a business community, it is easy to forget that whilst we work hard to keep ourown heads above water, to put food on our tables, or to put electric and gas in themeter, to achieve our next promotion, or to maintain our lifestyle, we also have asocial responsibility to help others and encourage your fellow man, to do the same.There is a significant advantage for Birmingham to provide opportunities whereyoung people can use their entrepreneurial skills and abilities, to help existingbusinesses to flourish and this too must be encouraged.We have the collective power, the resources and the tools to truly invest in thepeople, the lives and the communities that we serve, no matter the challenges weface in our own circumstances. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 7 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  8. 8. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012LEADERSHIPWe need to create a city where our leaders are those who ‘speak the language’ of allour citizens.I am not suggesting that those who have been chosen as community leaders are thewrong people for the job. That is a very subjective matter that would differ fromperson to person. I am merely pointing out that the processes of their selection mustbe transparent and open for continual discussion for the future, in relation to theirability to truly meet the needs of all the communities that they are chosen to serve.Leadership also has an impact on our youth. If they do not believe what they arebeing told or are dismayed by what they see, then how are we meant to empowerand inspire them for the future?We are not being innovative, in regards to the ways in which we must engage andempower our youth and thus run the risk of creating future generations of frustratedyouth.We must develop a more inclusive leadership structure that encourages our youngpeople to be heard more, dictated to less but focused on meeting their needs, whilstnot forgetting the current needs of our more established and elderly citizens.COHESIONLike many citizens of Birmingham, I am proud of the fact that I have never forgottenthe humble background that I have come from. My very business was founded onthis ethos, helping organisations transform their CSR strategies, into sustainable,commercial and social impacts that they can measure.But like many others born and bred in Birmingham, I am just one person, trying to dowhat I can with what I have. It can be so frustrating to see how a perceived lack ofcohesion or in some cases, an actual lack of cohesion can undermine what we are alltrying to achieve - a state where everyone regardless of difference, has a fairopportunity to maximise their potential.We have a long way to go before the utopian dream of complete communitycohesion is achieved, but we cannot allow that dream to disappear.I believe that we can achieve that dream together, through what I call SustainableCollaboration – an agreed ethos of sharing responsibility as one city, business andcommunity working hand in hand without the brand profiling or the box ticking, butbased upon a real and true understanding of each others needs; and a frank, honestbut continual discussion with actions taking place on promoting diversity.There is something about working together, to think globally and operate locally, toencourage peer to peer learning and diverse leadership, which must be explored. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 8 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  9. 9. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012True collaboration is the only way in which we can truly achieve the level of socialmobility that causes a cultural shift, in how we do things and that gives us the resultsthat we wish to achieve, as a city.Working in this manner, would gives us the opportunity to naturally embedcommunity needs into public policy and practice. Procurement processes would thenbecome more relevant to the needs of smaller organisations, the creation ofbureaucratic legislation would begin to reflect the real issues that are going on andpeople would feel more engaged through CSR activities.Furthermore, we would see a rise in more collaborative and sustainable models ofwork that can set a strong foundation for the future. This would inspire those whofeel that they can only ‘reach so far’ and change the way in which local communitiesoperate and develop.CITY RETURN ON INVESTMENTGood CSR is about measuring your Return On Investment (ROI)But a city wide approach to measuring our ROI should be based upon the quality ofour collective investment and the results that are achieved when we do so. We areall affected by CSR activity and the SME community is not different to anybody elsein that regard – however, this is not just about business.This is about how we as a city, plan for our future – the future of all our citizens, thefuture of all our public services, the future of our businesses and the impact thatthey can make to the local, regional, national and global economy.Historically, we have drawn many lines in the sand when we want to create changebut we often find ourselves debating the same old issues, in the same old places,often with the same people!We can not continue to do that anymore.Recent incidents in our city, current issues that we have and an uncertain future allmean that we have an opportunity to do things differently, do this more creatively ,do things better – we can only achieve that if we invest in this process together as acity with everyone’s own interests and needs at heart.No matter your status, your experience, your organisation or your mindset, I hopethis report gives you an honest and insightful understanding of how SME’s can createchange through CSR, but also how we as a collective can provide each other with apersonal feeling of empowerment and pride, the willingness to take effective actionand a genuine love for all. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 9 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  10. 10. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Format of the ReportThe following report is split into 4 key areas of consideration: • SECTION ONE – INEQUALITIES OF EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES • SECTION TWO – THE POWER OF SOCIAL COHESION • SECTION THREE – PARTICIPATION AND EMPOWERMENT • SECTION FOUR – MEASURING THE IMPACT OF CSR PRACTICESEach area contained 3 questions in relation to that section, resulting in a total of 12questions asked.To ensure consistency and fairness, the same 12 questions were asked to 10different SME business owners, through a series of one to one interviews.Additional information and input was sourced from feedback that was provided from85 delegates from the Midlands CSR Summit on Friday 20th April 2012. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 10 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  11. 11. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012SECTION ONE – INEQUALITY OF EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIESQuestion 1 – What would you describe as the most proactive ways in which SME’scan help to reduce economic inequalities in the city?1.1 Become lean and meanerSME’s have the power to reduce economic inequalities more quickly and moreefficiently, because many are not restricted by the levels of structure, the need toconsult layers of management and the bureaucracy that is so often apparent withinlarger organisations.The influence of technology and in particular social media, allows SME’s to respondmore quickly to the needs of local communities. The needs of the people areamplified using social media and more often than not, it is the key decision maker ofthe business who is in control of answering, responding and supporting that needonline.1.2 Systemise, not analyseIn the modern business world, SME’s who want to compete on a global scale can doso with relative ease. There are countless stories of people creating multi-million and,in some cases, multi-billion dollars business out of their bedroom – Facebook is aclassic example of how one idea can manifest itself into an industry all of its own!However, SMEs who wish to help reduce economic inequalities must understandthe need to build their business based upon the right systems. The needs of thecommunities that they wish to support and serve must be woven into the DNA ofthose systems, in order to maximise efficiency and impact.Efficiency with scarce resources is fundamental to survival for many small businessesand it is important that the systems within the business, allow the owner/s to workON the business, not IN it. The more costs are reduced in the business, the greaterthe opportunity to phase in the right level of support for local communities.No business will ever be in a position to help others, if it is not in a position to helpitself. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 11 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  12. 12. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20121.3 “Inequalities, over here!”SME’s are perfectly placed to raise the awareness of inequalities that they see, faceor experience. This is often due to the fact that they are closer to the ground andhave easier access to the people that are being affected.Raising the awareness of inequalities will allow the city to become more informed ofthe issues that are out there and the potential impacts that these issues can create.This will help to foster interventions that provide ample opportunities to discussthese issues and concerns of young people – the next generation will always feel thebrunt of decisions and actions that take place in the present, so the use ofinteractive debates, talks, and seminars will allow young people to own theirresponse to the challenges that they will face.The return is two fold. The more SME’s understand the views, experiences andfuture support needs of young people and local communities, the more opportunitythat they will have to align their business strategy and potential revenue streams inways that make a significant impact. The results and impacts of this work will help tofeed into the development of government infrastructures promoting betterpartnership working and an ease of procurement systems engagement.1.4 Rise of IntrapreneurshipIn the modern business climate, SME’s across all sectors need creativity andinnovation to survive. Economic inequalities in the city are often in need of ‘outsidethe box’ thinking and action to be solved. Young people have a natural tendency tounderstand both of these things.The more SME’s encourage young people to have an input into the development oftheir business, the more chance the business has on helping to reduce economicinequalities. However, many SME’s have a fear of young people in their business –“Will they have the skills that I need in my business?” is a key question that manySME’s find asking themselves.The answer can be found in the provision of placements that allow young people toshowcase their value, investing in the raw talent of many young people. It seems tobe normal practice for SME’s to create a project that ‘one of the kids’ can do andmany SME’s do offer voluntary positions that help to up-skill those from localcommunities.But imagine what would happen if these placements were actually tied into areas ofthe business, that can actually help to save business costs, not just offer a bit ofexperience? Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 12 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  13. 13. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 2 – How can CSR help to reduce unemployment in the city?2.1 Its not all about outputsA continual focus on outputs, figures and targets can create a detrimental impact onthe quality and service of employment opportunities available. This is clearlyevidenced with the demise of the Connexions Service, that for so many was a clear,simple and easy to find source of employment opportunities, tailored to the needs ofthe target market.The need for results and outputs to show a return on public fund investment, alsofeeds into the reduction of access to knowledge and information, as the focusbecomes on working harder not working smarter.By switching the focus from outputs, to the development of CSR activity thatintegrated involvement from those whom you wish to support, in the planningstages of the activity, you begin to develop and nurture a state of ownership,enhanced level of loyalty and an increased level of productivity overall.2.2 Align strategy with needsEffective CSR practices can enhance the development of staff within an organisation,as well as provide employment opportunities for the unemployed, access to capacitybuilding knowledge and resources that can be tailored to meet the needs of the localcommunity.If CSR activity is linked to staff CPD activity, then the staff member will becomemotivated to do more, regardless of the size of the business – the level ofenthusiasm generated and the motivation with help to breed more creative ways ofadding value to the local community.Furthermore, you build a staff culture of giving and personal leadership, which canbe seen in different ways i.e. an increase in the level of positive feedback oncustomer service provided, enhancing the profile of the company’s brand.Employment is a key driver to increase social mobility - the organisation would haveto choose a project that can provide specific employment opportunities, whethershort term or long term, but the ‘buy-in’ from staff is crucial to this process. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 13 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  14. 14. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20122.3 Working together to ‘grease the chain’The sharing of experience can help to reduce the level of bureaucracy in providingthe right opportunities to the right people at the right time, through joint workingpartnerships.Larger businesses have the knowledge, experience and understanding of systems tohelp capacity build smaller businesses. This means that smaller businesses can growto develop ways in which they can ‘do what they do best’ i.e. provide goods andservices as part of the larger organisations supply chain, connecting people fromlocal communities to employment opportunities using grass roots networks andaccess points, that larger organisations do not have.It all saves time, money and promotes collaboration and results. CASE STUDY 1 – Enterprise Diversity AllianceEDA (Enterprise and Diversity Alliance) is a unique collaboration pioneering newways of promoting the development and growth of diverse SME’s, throughimaginative and productive relationships with large firms and private and publicbusiness service and finance providers.Led by the CREME and the University of Lancaster, EDA provides leadership in twoareas which evidence suggests are key barriers to SMEs’ survival and growth and tomaximising their contribution to the country’s economic growth. Two workinggroups have been established to develop and deliver action plans, one around accessto finance and the other around access to markets.Both working groups will be underpinned by approaches that deepen theengagement of firms that have tended to be excluded from productive businessnetworks and opportunities.Richard Roberts, SME Market Analysis Director and Chief Economist, Barclays UKBanking and a founding Member of the EDA states: “We want to create forumswhich help develop better mutual understanding between SMEs, finance providersand larger firms, to break open the financial constraints on minority SME growth.”The EDA has already delivered a successful 8 year initiative between the 12/8 Groupof 6 independent small businesses and A. F. Blakemore & Son Ltd, a business with aglobal turnover of over £1 Billion pounds.This programme was able to develop the capacity of SMEs to guarantee a stablesupply to large firms of quality products and services, through Peer Mentoring and aseries of Workshops that brought together small businesses with larger financialproviders, global firms and direct access to business supply chains. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 14 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  15. 15. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 3 – What type of support do SME’s need, in order to make a significantinput into enhancing social and economical mobility?3.1 Nurturing growth is keyStimulating high growth aspiration is an important factor for SME’s to survive and tobe able to have a strong input into enhancing social and economic mobility.There are many initiatives in the city that help SME’s to achieve this. CASE STUDY 2 - Enterprise High Growth City programme.The programme provides free mentoring to selected businesses - includingbusinesses run by under-represented groups such as women, young people and BMEpeople. It gives Birmingham-based businesses which have been trading for sixmonths or more and have potential for long term growth, the opportunity to receivededicated coaching.An example of its impact was a company that supplied SME IT systems, on-sitecomputer repair and networking support, websites and web blogging. They joinedthe Enterprise City High Growth programme in September 2010. Since joining theprogramme MAD has moved from being home based into it’s own offices, increasedit’s turnover by over 10%, hired a full-time trainee and under the youngapprenticeship scheme helps someone who works one day a week to gain skills in anoffice environment.3.2 Peer to Peer LearningThere has been a growing need for the owners of SME’s, to learn from other smallbusiness owners via direct knowledge transfer. By focusing on developing the person/ people behind the business, many SME’s are experiencing a renewed motivationand focus on overcoming the issues that they face in their businesses. CASE STUDY 3 – The DENAn example of this type of support is The DEN (Diverse Entrepreneur Network). TheDEN is a members-only peer to peer learning club for small business owners. Theirmembers meet every month in groups of ten to share experiences, exchangepractical business solutions and to help each other sidestep mistakes made by others.An example of its impact was a company that provided flood protection doors andwindows for both residential and commercial clients. Within six months of joiningthe DEN, the company were able to identify a new funding source that resulted inthem winning a business grant of £130,000, moving to a larger facility in Watfordand changing the focus of their business to become a leading expert in the design offlood protection homes for people living in both flood-risk and disadvantagedcommunities. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 15 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  16. 16. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20123.3 Operate Local, Think Global!At the risk of being controversial, many SME’s do not think big enough!It was evident that there are a number of people who have created ‘lifestylebusinesses’ in the city. This has enabled them to remain at the heart of localcommunities and in many ways, become the social heartbeat of the communitiesthat they serve.Examples of such businesses include Hairdressers, Fast Food/ Convenience Foodshops, Barbers, Local supermarkets, Local plumbers etcLocal businesses have a huge part to play – I remember every Saturday being downthe barbershop whether my hair needed cutting or not! It was a place of socialisingwith your community, hearing the latest gossip, gaining information on eventshappening that weekend or generally sharing a nice, positive, community vibe!The issue is that the ability to provide social and economic mobility was not a realpriority – it may have happened inadvertently, but it was never the business masterplan! You would often find a high labour turnover in such businesses, as lifestylebusinesses are one or two people owned, and the issues of real life, often had adirect impact on the results of the business.For centuries, local businesses have helped local people, but the businessesthemselves have remained local.There are only a handful of businesses that have broken the mould and havedeveloped both a national and international reputation for helping others -incidentally, they tend to be product based businesses, rather than service-basedbuilt upon a systemised approach for high volume selling and growth - but theirvalues are often founded, and have stayed rooted in supporting local people.The advantage for both service and product based businesses, is that both are in thegreat position to use technology to increase efficiency and therefore increase theirchance for sustainability – however the deciding factor on how long they cancontinue to enhance social and economic mobility, through the way they conducttheir business, will be the time it will take to be adequately educated and proficientin the use of these technologies and, a willingness to be more innovative and flexiblein order to integrate them for the long term.The secret to success will be in the way that SME’s utilise technology in areas thathave a huge impact on the running of the business.They will need assistance in key areas including HR, Finance, Sales ManagementProcesses and Operations. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 16 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  17. 17. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012SECTION TWO – THE POWER OF SOCIAL COHESIONQuestion 4 – Why is there a lack of social cohesion in the city?4.1 Perception Vs RealityThere is an overwhelming perception that there is a lack of social cohesion in the city,often fuelled by the media and a lack of awareness of community activity betweensections of the community.This perception is also enhanced through a number of personalised factors, many ofwhich have an historical context that would need in depth exploration; others arebased on personal experiences which may not reflect the views of the majority.However, it is clear that some communities feel more at a disadvantage than others,and it seems they have felt so for a long time.4.2 He, who shouts loudest, leads.In some communities within the city, there has been a historical trend of the ‘leadersof the community’ being those who have the ability to promote themselves or bepromoted as such, above and beyond all others.This has been more prevalent within African-Caribbean and Asian communities,where the leaders have had a strong community following and the ability to say theright things, at the right times, but with no significant awareness of both political andcommercial structures that the role enables them to be a part of.This approach has also failed miserably when the person in ‘power’ or with influencedoes not truly understand the needs of all the community that they have beenchosen to serve and / or have focused on promoting and supporting the needs ofone section of the community. This then creates distrust, a lack of loyalty andreduces the chance of bringing people together to all work as one people, for thegood of the community.The more respected leaders have been those who: • were once or are still regarded as community people i.e. have a history of working in the community for the needs of the people in the community. • Have the ability to engage with people at all levels, from grass roots to board level in business and beyond. • Are naturally humble about their efforts. • Have others promoting them without little input from themselves as an individual.Interestingly enough, this also applies across genders and age. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 17 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  18. 18. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20124.3 Diversity equals adversity?The real ethos of diversity is about a celebration of difference, embracing others forwho they are, within a positive environment of inclusion.However, whilst Birmingham is revered as a truly diverse city, diversity itself cancause barriers and issues that help to undermine social cohesion. This is due to thefact that having communities with people of different ethnicities, backgrounds,cultures etc is great for inclusion, but there still needs to be a level of education onthose differences between those people, in order for diversity to be truly integrated.The idea of just putting everyone together and they will make it work, does not work- it is imperative that commonalities between people and communities are identifiedand promoted as a basis for the integration of diversity.4.4 Community responsibilitiesThe remedy for making the social cohesion process more effective cannot besomething that is parachuted in from outside the community. People are human andmust be treated as such, but the community itself, must choose to seek and gainownership of the social cohesion process and incorporate all areas of diversity.The work that needs to take place must be come from within local communities, butthere are a number of key factors that must be considered, in order for this tobecome sustainable.These factors include: • the community deciding upon what it is truly important to all • nurturing of the shared values of the city, in communities • the identification of cross cultural leaders, who can connect with all • an understanding of the political processes of local government • a commitment to bridge the inter-generational gap within communities • collaborative working to reduce impacts of funding, which cause divisions between communities • the development of social cohesion in the workplace • reducing the dependency culture of local communitiesIt is important to note that the size of the business will dictate the level of socialcohesion within the workplace – small businesses have limited resources and littletime to drive cohesion, large companies are often too systemised and processed tooperate on a personal and interactive level.Mid-sized businesses are a happy hybrid of the two where social units can thrive,because key hierarchy and systems are often controlled by those who have directcontact with frontline staff so their relationships, by their very nature, have to becohesive, socially aware and inclusive to work effectively. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 18 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  19. 19. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 5 – How can CSR reduce the lack of social cohesion in the region?5.1 Collaboration is the keyBusinesses that develop CSR activities have the opportunity to add sustainable valueto communities. However, the development of CSR activities must be built aroundthe specific needs of the community, that they seek to support.The issue is that businesses may not have the in-depth understanding that they needin order to create CSR activities that can have the level of impact that they desire.This is often because they have not involved their community stakeholders into thedesign of their CSR activities, therefore losing the connection that is so fundamentalto develop social cohesion.If businesses made a more concerted effort to bring in their stakeholders, at thedesign stage of their CSR activities, businesses would find that their impact becomestied into the capacity building and sustainable needs of local communities – this initself, would provide a more effective return on their investment and at the sametime, ensure that the communities that they are serving are having their socialcohesion needs meet through a genuine appreciation and understanding of what isreally important to them.5.2 K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple, Stupid!Many CSR activities can be quite complex, elaborate and help to promote theorganisation in a wonderful light. What they fail to do, is provide an interventionfocused on the root causes of particular issues.Painting a school wall is not effective CSR practice. Picking up rubbish in a park is noteffective CSR practice. Doing a 5k run to raise money is not effective CSR practice –they are nice things to do that offer some value, but they are not activities that havea long term impact.CSR activities for the future must be: • Simple. • Practical. • Grass roots based. • Replicable. • Founded on the ability to capacity build. • Built to enable a diverse workforce to become cohesive. • Easily measurable. • Benchmarked for progress. • Able to be promoted clearly and effectively to all stakeholders. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 19 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  20. 20. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 6 – What support do SME’s need, in order to make a significant input inenhancing social cohesion?6.1 A culture of fairnessThere is a need for Birmingham to have a truly fairness culture for SME’s, that allowsopen, fair competition and the ability to generate sustainable growth.This would not only have a positive impact on the local economy, but it would alsomotivate and empower many within local communities, to strive to add more valueto the lives of others.Many small businesses miss out on opportunities and access to information for ahost of reasons. But the result is that Birmingham is becoming a state where thedivide between business success and failure, is based upon where you live, the typeof business that you run and the networks that you are associated with.Factors that would help to develop a fairness culture include: • Fair access to information. • Transparency of funding application. • Reduction in the process/bureaucracy for contract tendering. • Emphasis on current key skills, not just experience.SME’s would benefit from feeling that they are part of a system that promotescollaboration, equal opportunity and support of their own key strengths as abusiness.6.2 Policy Vs PracticeMany SME’s view policy as a stranglehold on the growth of their business –regulatory constraints, benchmarking and bureaucracy of processes, all feed into thedesire of having less policy management and more opportunity to grow.However, policy development and management is crucial to helping SME’s developthe structures that they need to thrive and therefore make a more significant impacton social cohesion.It seems clear that community needs must be embedded into policy, at all levels ofthe business. The needs of the community must be the foundation of businessstrategy and business development planning; the community benefits from the rightform of product and service delivery, tailored to their needs wherever possible. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 20 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  21. 21. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20126.3 Birds that flock together fly together!SME’s should consider using a ‘Collective Lean’ approach that helps them to alignthemselves more with other businesses, who share the same ethos and passion fordeveloping communities.This is important because within the current economic climate, business survival isenhanced through the way in which innovative and more partnership basedapproaches of working are adopted by forward-thinking businesses.This approach will also help different businesses, from across communities and fromacross different sectors to build lost bridges and align common practice – this modelof working manifests itself in the local community, transcending difference andpromoting positive collaborative change.6.4 Impact of religionWe are all aware that faith is a powerful force that has a tremendous impact onmost local communities.Yet, faith is often seen and used as a tool for creating separation and divisions thaterode the work of those who seek to bring peace and harmony across communities –furthermore, it is generational with many modern day issues being thereincarnations of older issues.However, faith has the opportunity to increase social cohesion, because of the drawthat it creates through it’s power.Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, Gurdwaras and all other religious establishments,consist of communities of ordinary people, who are exposed to a myriad of issues,which both connect them to and hold them, to their community.These issues are often solved through the ‘healing’ factor of faith and the belief that‘all will be well’ once our time here on earth is complete. This is an important pointto consider because the psychological power of that fact can be responsible for thechoices that people make and the results that they achieve.Religious establishments more often than not, have the trust of the people. Theyhave access to the communities that SME’s wish to support. They are also the hub ofmany communities who often experience, first hand, the results of a lack of socialcohesion.It may useful for religious establishments to support and advise SME’s on sharingbest community practice and even act as a conduit in some circumstances to helpbridge that social cohesion gap. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 21 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  22. 22. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012SECTION THREE – PARTICIPATION AND EMPOWERMENTQuestion 7 – Why is there a divide amongst the wealth of businesses owned, bydifferent groupings of people?7.1 History speaks loudlyBefore I continue, I must state that this is a controversial and sensitive subject thatwill not be solved in this report.The way in which a specific culture has developed, is often derived by the values thathave been passed on through generations, centuries and the ages.What is never clear is whether or not the current values of today have been shaped,tainted, tweaked or adopted over time. It is often easier to act on what you perceive,whether good or bad, but within an inclusive environment that allows both positiveand negative dialogue to take place.Within local communities, the division of wealth is connected to how these valueswere allowed to grow or restricted through the ages, for example:Historically, many people from a predominately Asian and African background weremerchants and middlemen in business. They were able to connect goods andservices with buyers of those goods and services, building a strong reputation ofcreating value and thus increasing their wealth in that way.This wealth was often distributed back into the local community, ensuring thateveryone was able to benefit from the work that was undertaken and the businessthat was done.Somewhere along the line, this value of community wealth distribution became lost,within specific communities, particularly with African and Caribbean communities.We are all aware of the impact of slavery within African and Caribbean communitiesand it is an important subject and one that will continue to be debated.What is not debated enough is the way in which Social Conditioning that slaverycreated in the lives of people from African and Caribbean communities, stillmanifests itself to this day, especially within young people and business owners fromthose communities.This very ethos is apparent in all cultures too; both in good and in bad ways,however, further intelligent dialogue and debate must take place, between variouscommunities and cultures to create a true and empowered level of understanding. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 22 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  23. 23. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20127.2 Cultural dilutionIdentity is something that we all have and makes us who we are.Yet, we know live in a society where retaining one’s own identity is becoming harderand harder to achieve. Often, the definition of your identify is created and controlled Deleted: controby those who have the power to influence the majority.This increases the opportunity to generalise people from various communities andcan undermine the fact that embracing diversity, is a cross cultural agenda thataffects us all.For example:20 years ago, the word ‘Urban’ was not accepted as a term that encompassed allcultures, young people, style of language and the use of specific terminology.‘Urban’ was not accepted as a norm of the mainstream. ‘Urban’ was not thepowerhouse behind global industries and the basis of multi-billion dollartransactions. Kids in the playground did not say “Safe” or “Yes, my brother” or pumpfists, in a typical Kingston Jamaica style.But that all happens now, as if it has always been that way.To our modern day young people, it always has.Some young people would argue that ‘Urban’ is the epitome of Black Culture madecool, in the eyes of modern society. The style of dress, the acceptable use of slang,the popularity of more music with an edge, even to go as far as to wearing fake tan,could be argued as taking and re-using elements of black culture.It seems that the things that were once unacceptable are now ‘made cool’, becausepeople were fed up of what was being deemed as normal and the standard for all.‘Maybe cool’ simply means diluted to fit the current needs and desires of widersociety; not a true acceptance of a culture, more a ‘compromise’ for other cultures.I highlight the black culture in particular, because it seems to be the only culture thathas a high demographic of people belonging to it, yet has no real economic and, Iwould argue, no real social standing in the eyes of wider society.Other cultures that do tend to adopt a more insular approach of cohesion that both Deleted: do,grows and segregates their community from others.There are real important lessons to be learnt from all cultures but the use and somemay say, abuse of identity, is a hot potato that some will eventually have to hold. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 23 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  24. 24. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20127.3 Aspirational ConditioningAgain, this is a summary report and this subject, would need deeper analysis andexploration.At the risk of sounding like I am generalising, it seems that different people, fromdifferent communities tend to have varying aspirations of the types businesses andconsequent access to wealth that they can receive.Often, people prefer to see ‘someone else doing it’ before they try themselves andoften miss out on opportunities to realise their potential. Some prefer to createsmall, lifestyle businesses that give them a living or in some cases, creating their ownjob.Others build business that are structured and built to generate massive wealth,based on building systems and process that mean other people run the systems andthe money keeps on rolling in.So why is there this difference in what people feel that they can achieve?It would be wrong to make assumptions on this, but feedback from the researchidentified the following key factors: • Divorce of values within ethnic groups – the notion that not everyone from within an ethnic group share the same personal or even community values, which results in a breakdown of ‘unity in the community’ and fosters negative impacts and results • Assumption that everyone understands the world of business – the battle between earning money, doing good and just getting by is an eternal one. It can be argued that some people are conditioned to be workers, others to be bosses, and the rest just want to have a good time whilst getting by! • Family networks – some communities are built on the need to keep families together no matter what. This does happen in most communities, but in some, there is an acceptance of family breakdown and the resulting consequences. Both sides have strengths and weaknesses i.e. family ties can restrict progress or taking advantage of immediate opportunities. Single parent mothers are known for transferring their experience of tackling adversity, into nurturing the development, strength and independence of their child. • Limiting beliefs – what an individual says to themselves, repeatedly, often comes true to life. Young people, in particular, are open to the negative impacts of this. Many do not have right role models around, to challenge it. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 24 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  25. 25. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 8 – How can CSR encourage more participation and empowermentamongst local communities?8.1 Who are you trying to empower?It is important to be clear on who you are trying to empower and when – is it thecouncil decision makers seeking to keep in touch with local communities and doingso through structures, networks and the linchpins of the community?Is it the local communities themselves, trying to make them more politically aware ofthe way in which things work, so they are able to make more informed decisions?Or is it the wider business community, helping them to bridge the gap so therereturn on investment works both ways?CSR activity is often shaped by the perception of the leaders or key decision makers.Theory can only take you so far but there are also many forms of education that willhelp to create more positive perceptions, and therefore increase awareness andknowledge i.e. the interpretation of issues by young people, access to influentialnetworks through community ‘linchpins’ etc.There must also be a common purpose that creates ownership within the process,for all stakeholders matched with transparent filters – collective VISION, LEADERSHIPand PURPOSE is essential for empowering others.8.2 Sustainable models of workHistorically, CSR activities were built upon a ‘firework’ approach – you build up to it,start the activity, create a very positive impact then it fizzles out.Current CSR activities must be built with the long-term in mind; this includes theneeds of the business and all stakeholders involved or who will be impacted on bythe process, long after the activity is complete.8.3 Integrate opportunitiesEffective CSR practices can facilitate participation in local community development,by having tangible opportunities woven into the programmes, as opposed topossible outcomes once the activity is complete.These opportunities must also be monitored and measured as they will evidence realimpact as part of the specific activity and add long-term value, both as a researchpiece but as a practical benchmark for future CSR activity. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 25 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  26. 26. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20128.4 Horizontal commonalityPartnerships between all stakeholders must be mutual and equal – a ‘them’ and ‘us’approach creates tension, because there is always a leverage of power that tips thebalance in terms, of who controls what.By finding what you all share in common, using a more co-operative model, the CSRactivity will breed transparency, trust, integrity and accountability – all importantpieces of the CSR puzzle that must all work in harmony.This approach also offers fair recognition for work undertaken and impacts achievedthrough the activity. CASE STUDY 2 – Cleone Foods: Wade Lyn, Special Ambassador Award.Cleone Foods Limited, and their Managing Director Wade Lyn, achieved a doubletriumph at the BITC Community Awards, a prestigious event held at the BirminghamTown Hall on Wednesday 9th June 2010.The makers of the nationally recognised brand “Island Delight” Jamaican patties,were first awarded a re-accreditation for their 2009 Small Company of the Yearaward, which was chosen as a national example of excellence in corporateresponsibility for small businesses.Next, to their great surprise, Managing Director Wade Lyn was announced as theWest Midlands region’s Special Ambassador in a personal message from HRH Princeof Wales.He is the first ever small business owner to be selected for this award.Wade said “I was shocked but also greatly honoured to have been given this award.I will be giving my utmost in the next twelve months to make sure I can live up to theprivilege and responsibility I have been given today, when I am representing HRH thePrince of Wales across the West Midlands” Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 26 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  27. 27. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 9 – How can the public and private sector work together to increase thelevel of business ownership by women?9.1 Meet the ‘Three 4Cs’ of gender-led programmesThere is an argument that says that gender-led programmes leads to segregationand widens the divide between men and women. This is because the increased levelof support needed for women, should be focused more on inclusion and thereforeprovide access to the same cultural norms, service provision, and support, as men.The other side of the coin also states that both men and women have differentneeds in business up to a point – the societal responsibilities of family care,challenging stereotypes, lack of respect in the board room etc are just examples of alarger picture.However, what it abundantly clear, is that the level of support available must bebased upon services and practical support, which give female business owners fairopportunity to compete commercially.They must also have fair opportunity to develop the skills they need, to be involvedin public processes i.e. tendering, procurement and government strategiesdevelopment at all levels.To achieve this ideal, more emphasis may need to be placed upon creating a fair andequal business culture, to encourage the development of: • Confidence – being able to see and feel that there is the freedom to maximise one’s own potential. • Capabilities – providing fair access to inclusive-based training and programmes that develop business skills, commercial awareness and political awareness. • Competencies – wider promotion of effective benchmarking processes that can help to complete the tasks, needed for sustainable growth and success. • Capacity – opening up of the supply chain supported by mentoring and other forms of development programmes, which are focused on creating and building efficient business systems that help to build capacity and opportunities for growth.There are an increasing number of women who are looking to enterprise as both amain income stream or as a part-time commercial interest – attention should begiven to areas such as home based businesses and those centred around creativeactivity such arts and crafts and home based food produce. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 27 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  28. 28. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20129.2 Promote and InteractThere are many approaches that can be undertaken to help the private and publicsector, to become more collaborative and more effective on this issue – the privatesector needs to learn more about the needs of female business owners throughmore innovative CSR engagement.The public sector would benefit from thinking more commercially and creatingservices, so that their businesses can grow quicker, by developing procurement andcommissioning processes, policies and procedures that meet the needs of femalebusiness owners.The public and private sector can work together to provide more tangible insight intospecific gender, social and economical needs by: • creating more joint venture activity between the sectors • creating events and seminars that empower the business community as a whole.The more people are brought together in business, in a more inclusive and positiveenvironment based on common values, the greater the opportunity to increaseproductivity and make a more substantial impact on the local economy.These opportunities can be created more easily, quickly and more importantly,measured through the use of technology. We all have smart-phones, handheldtablets, could get access to a PC or be communicated to through some other form oftechnology based media.There is ample opportunity for the private and public sector to increase theirinvestment in these and other forms of technology, to make business support moreopen and inclusive for both genders and also allow communities to interact witheach other. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 28 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  29. 29. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 20129.3 The ‘Atlas Effect’ – Impact of MediaThere seems to be only a handful of female business role models, who are promotedregularly through the media.Examples that were provided included Deborah Meaden, Lara Morgan, OprahWinfrey, Sarah Beeny, Rachael Elnaugh, Mary Portas to name a few.What was interesting was that these and other female business owners are oftenportrayed as ‘carrying the torch for women’ or ‘fighting for feminism’ or in somecases, ‘sisters doing it for themselves!’I actually believe this is totally the wrong perception being promoted by the media,but at the same time, one has to wonder whether there is a level of burden placedupon the shoulders of these women, by other women?Leadership dictates a level of responsibility that you must uphold.Whether these women and others actually see themselves as societal leaders or justin business, is something that would need more discussion. But the fact remains thatthe spotlight of a nation, controlled by the desires, needs and fantasises of thegeneral public, puts them in the position.Therefore, they do become more scrutinised and challenged by both genders, notjust to succeed, but to succeed on different terms, in different ways on differentdays!The public and private sector have a responsibility to control this perception byensuring the stories of these women and the triumph over adversity is promoted toyoung women and girls, through schools, social media and all other availablechannels – the manner and perception of how these stories is are promoted is key.The line between a sob story that creates pity and sympathy versus a strong story oftruth, justice and empowerment for women is a very, very fine one – far too often,the media favours the former, whereas the next generation need the latter. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 29 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  30. 30. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012SECTION FOUR – MEASURING THE IMPACT OF CSR PRACTICESQuestion 10 – What are the core elements that are needed, to build a robustframework which measures the impact of CSR practice?Through both the research taken place and the evaluation of the Midlands CSRSummit 2012, it was clear that there was not a defined framework that trulymeasured the impact of CSR practice, which was tailored, to meeting localcommunity and social needs.However, there were a number of independent tools that have been created byorganisations that help them to deliver their work. It was also clear the SME marketwould find such a framework useful, but it needed to be something that wassupported at the highest level in both business and in the public sector, together.It was found that there are various elements that would need evidencing, within aCSR framework for SME’s, that have a core focus on Local Community Impact: Deleted: has10.1 Elements for measuring the Impact on Local CommunitiesThe elements suggested for inclusion included: • Knowledge of Community Networks. • Identified needs of the local communities. • Monitoring process of CSR activity including Benchmarking Milestones, Best Practice and Testimonial Feedback. • Communication process of monitoring results. • Financial return on investment – Private, Public and Voluntary spend. • Impact to Job Ratio. • Comparison of activity against competitors in the market. • Skills Assessment of the CSR Lead, within the organisation. • Mental Wellbeing of the SME business owner. • Strategic Integration of CSR Activity. • Measurement of Physical, Social and Sustainable Impact.These were suggestions that were made in the research undertaken for this report,but it is clear that the measurement of activity, the monitoring of impact and theway in which that impact is communicated, was crucial to any future frameworkscreated. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 30 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  31. 31. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 11 – What would be the most effective way to promote CSR in the city?11.1 One size does not fit allThe feedback received was the most effective way to promote CSR, would be heavilydependant upon the type of activity undertaken and the impact desired by thevarious stakeholders involved.A more ‘size fits all approach’ would not meet the needs of all concerned and that amore tailored approach based on a consultation of possible consequences andmeasured milestones of promotion and impact would be useful.A good starting point would be to raise the awareness of the activity, before theactivity commences. The results of the recent Birmingham Mayor campaign was astark reminder that assuming that people know what something is about and moreimportantly, the benefits or challenges that they would gain, is a grave mistake.Local communities, businesses and public sector alike are all in agreement, that thereal stories are what matter.The impact felt by your neighbour, a family member, a friend or someone you knowhas a greater impact on you than someone who you don’t know and that is what allcommunities crave for – to know that they feel connected, even if it is a problemthat they do not want to have for themselves.The sharing of real life practical stories of how CSR has changed lives, communitiesand the way in which people integrate for the better, should be the foundation forpromoting good CSR practice.Having a picture in the local paper with a big fat cheque is not good enough and isnot accepted by local communities as great awareness of CSR activity, anymore.The sharing of authentic and emotionally-charged impacts that help to solve theissues of the many is what is required – this would help raise the brand profile of thebusiness and empower the community, together. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 31 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  32. 32. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 2012Question 12 – How do we change the perception that the phrase ‘Return OnInvestment’ in regards to CSR, is an immoral phrase to use?The overwhelming response to this question was that: Business is Business – measuring the activity of investment in any area of a business is normal practice, including CSR.However, the debate on Return on Investment is one that must be explored in a littlemore detail because diverse opinion on this has a very sound base.12.1 Measurement leads to efficiencyIn the current economic climate, every penny does literally count. You only have tosee what is happening in the Eurozone crisis, to tick that one of your list.Every single business needs a strong form of corporate governance andaccountability in order to operate at its optimum best. This leads to greaterefficiency and greater productivity.The better a business operates, is the more it can find ways and more opportunitiesto help others – for example, creating CSR activities that help to both reduce wastein facilities and protect the local community is a clear win/win; the business savesmoney and the community has a more cleaner environment.12.2 Need for increased dialogueAs we move forward, there is a need for more dialogue on the perception of thereturn of investment from the views of different stakeholders.Effective CSR practice has the ability to offer very clear returns for all, but it must bearticulated in the right language and in tailored to the needs of the specific groupthat you are engaged with.Such examples include: • Commercial and Strategic returns for Board Level Directors. • Social Impact and returns for local communities. • Capacity building opportunities for voluntary sector organisations. • Public Services Strategy research for local authorities.It was also highlighted in the research that it would be useful to explore financialincentives for good CSR practice based on performance vs. impact and also separatetangible vs. intangible results, to drive inclusion from larger companies andorganisations – this could help to increase the level of collaborative workingbetween SME’s and larger firms. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 32 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  33. 33. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 201213 Recommendations:This section of the report highlights a number of recommendations that are basedupon the interactions with those involved in the making of this report.They are primarily focused on actions that may help to bridge the gap betweenbusinesses and local community, so that commercial CSR strategy from the privatesector and public services and support from the public sector, becomes more alignedwith community needs, in order to make a more significant and sustainable impact:Recommendation Overviews (in no particular order):13.1 Recommendation 1 • Create a cross sector consultative network of selected leaders, with the freedom to advise decision-makers on business, public service and local community activity that that affect the city.A cultural shift is needed to encourage more diverse leadership at the top – morediversity of thought, approach and execution of service, not just the general butequally important issues surrounding gender, race, age etc.The diversity of the city provides a foundation for innovative and global growth, butfuture interactions must be built upon a true understanding, integration and input atthe highest level possible.13.2 Recommendation 2 • Develop a CSR Kite mark that can be used across sector to measure the impact of CSR activity.Many organisations are doing great work with regards to CSR.Many organisations are being perceived to be doing great work with regards to CSR.There is no real way of distinguishing between the two unless you have access toinformation about their respective CSR activity and the impact felt by theirstakeholders.Different organisations use different methods to measure impact at present, which isgenerating the results that an organisation and their stakeholders may need, but auniform and recognised CSR Standard would enable all to have a benchmark ofwhich to measure progress and impact against competitors, sectors and for use aspart of their own business development strategies. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 33 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  34. 34. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 201213.3 Recommendation 3 • Develop an Entrepreneurial Exchange programme, which has tangible actions and outcomes attached.Many SME business owners would benefit from a more intimate and directunderstanding of the needs of other business owners.An entrepreneur exchange programme would allow business owners to trulyembrace and ‘walk in the shoes’ of all sections of the community, enabling eachother to genuinely understand the origins of the social, economical and culturalneeds that they face and identify the commonalities that they share.13.4 Recommendation 4 • Provide a programme that fosters creativity and innovation between the public and private sector specifically on ways in which communities can help themselves to overcome challenges and grow cohesively.The private and public sector need to listen more to each other and dictate less, onwhat they believe are the right type of CSR activities that communities would benefitfrom.Communities know what they need in order to overcome their challenges, but maynot have the access to the right networks or the resources that they need to helpthemselves.The private sector have the tools to help build this understanding and help tocapacity build within local communities and they themselves, would benefit fromallowing the community to tell them how to develop CSR activities that have agreater impact.13.5 Recommendation 5 • Create an online and visual resource that offers a friendly introduction into the importance of political awareness.The leaders of tomorrow must be nurtured today, by helping them understand thepolitical progress.Political education is an integral part of support for young people and it must bemade readily available in various and flexible forms to all young people, regardless ofbackground, culture, community environment or level of understanding. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 34 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  35. 35. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 201213.6 Recommendation 6 Deleted: ¶ • Prepare the case for an Intrapreneur Programme for Young People i.e. a three month project where a young person is recruited, for the sole purpose of finding a solution to a direct business issue within an organisation.The rise of unemployment in the city is creating a pool of young people who cannotfind work and therefore failing to engage their skills, talent and abilities into the localeconomyThe more that this continues, the more likely that we will see an increase in the levelof negative impact on the city i.e. rise in anti-social behaviour, more demand onpublic services etc.Private sector organisations can provide the answer.Rather than just provide work experience opportunities or placements that give ataste of employment, business should begin to look at how they can use the rawentrepreneurial skills of young people, to help grow their businesses.A great example of this in practice – an article on the Unipreneur Challenge Recommendation 7 • Pilot the use of a cross sector peer to peer development model for businesses.People learn best from other people, especially those are experiencing or who havealready gone through the issues that you are going through.Peer to Peer learning provides a safe, confidential and trusting environment to focuson developing the confidence and skills needed to achieve success. This approachwould add tremendous value to organisations across sectors that share similar issues,but have very different methods and approaches of solving them.The sharing of best practice is crucial to growth, as it can serve to reduce the timeand money spent on rectifying activity that had a negative result or impact.This is an important factor to consider, when looking at how CSR can help both localcommunities and local businesses to thrive. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 35 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  36. 36. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 201213.8 Recommendation 8 • Create a regular regional event for all business associations and their members, to attend and network with each othersIn the modern day business climate, businesses must be created to operate in aglobal market – technology has reduced the level of barriers for business and hascreated an open customer attraction model that transcends countries and markets.Many small businesses link themselves to business associations for support andguidance. But, these business associations can be a hindrance if they do notadequately prepare their members for operating with a global mindset – this canhappen inadvertently, because the business association has been created to serveneeds in a particular way.All business associations need to dissolve their immediate disposition to segregatethemselves from others whether it is by ethnic origin, size of business, sector or anyother factor of difference and overcome their fear of some other organisation‘taking their members’.Achieving this would create greater collaboration and opportunities for growth forall, across all sectors and communities, encouraging more cohesion and enhancingour understanding of diversity in practice.13.9 Recommendation 9 • Create more social-media based ways of gaining transparent, honest and direct regional opinion on issues that affect the community.All too often, the leader of a community is not one that is readily accepted by thepeople that they are meant to serve. In fact, the leader is often the person who ‘fitsthe mould’ or has made themselves heard the loudest through artful negotiation,networking and being ‘at the right place, at the right time’.Young people in Birmingham, in particular, look to lead themselves because they arenot tied to the conditioning of the past and have grown up in a more naturallydiverse and digital age, so they have a more creative and innovative approach to liferather than one dogged in historical rhetoric and favour.Future leaders across all sectors need to understand this more than ever, the recentriots should have taught us that lesson.The leaders of the future will be selected by the people, if the people are given fullopportunity to let their views be heard, accepted and acted upon. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 36 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  37. 37. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 201214.0 Recommendation 10 • Agree on, develop and communicate a Public and Private Sector Joint Working Charter, that sets out the values and work that will take place between the sectors, in support of local communities issues – include times of review and methods of monitoring and feedback.Communities are easily confused by what the public sector and what the privatesector both say that they can do to help them. Furthermore, this confusion creates afeeling of distrust, anger, disappointment and frustration that manifests itself in anumber of ways.A clear approach on how the public and private sector are working together on thespecific issues that affect local communities would spark interest and start thedialogue needed to build more trusting relationships and understanding.It would also offer the public transparency that is so often missing from suchconversations and which undermines the basis principle of supportivecommunication.14.1 Recommendation 11 • Consult with leading female entrepreneurs and senior female executives on the development of a framework, for developing female owned businesses, that begins with working with young girls within local communities and local schools.Women have a crucial part to play in both the development of communities and thedevelopment of business but the provision of support for women is so often underscrutiny because of its lack of impact.More specifically, practical support of women in business is often seen as a ‘secondrate’ initiative that is not robust or sustainable.There is great opportunity and merit in inspiring the next generation of femaleentrepreneurs and female business leaders, as the female population often have tocarry the burden and responsibility of creating positive change for themselves.However, they also create strong results and are increasing become more successfulwhen given the fair and equal opportunity to do so – this must be encouraged andnot ignored for the benefit of all.That being said, it is just as important for women not to adopt a victim mentalitywhere possible – this simply dilutes their strength and reduces their own drive andcommitment. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 37 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  38. 38. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 201214.2 Recommendation 12 • Promotion of an Online CSR portal, where all these resources are held and where others can add their own information.There is nothing more powerful than an emotional story, based upon facts or truthsthat we can all relate too.The level of CSR activity in Birmingham is generating these types of stories every day,yet the citizens of Birmingham are the last to hear of them.This becomes a counterproductive practice, because both business and people alikeare always looking to learn from the best practice and impacts created by others tohelp inform their own work and ideas and thus they need to see, hear and feel whatis going on around them.A free deposit of all these CSR activities by SME’s and the impacts of these activitiesvia case studies, videos and articles would provide a powerful resource that shows usall and others, on a global scale, just what Birmingham is achieving. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 38 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012
  39. 39. Grass Roots to Ivory Tower – Independent CSR Report th Report produced 10 June 201215.0 Thanks to ParticipantsAt the request of some of the participants involved in the research of this report, Ihave refrained from mentioning the names of all people involved in the research ortheir individual organisation.However, this report is not based on the individual ways in which those involved goabout their business. It is about the issues that were presented and the feedbackthat was provided and detailed in this report.What I can say is that the research came from across the private, public andvoluntary sector and I wish to thank the total of 95 people who were involved in thefindings and interviews, a sincere thank you for your time, honesty and input intothis report.I hope I was able to capture a true reflection of all your thoughts and experiences. Author: Joel Graham-Blake, Founder 39 Email: © Cultiv8 Solutions 2012