The art of cultivating difference – TED Talk
There are measurable factors for a company’s success that management science has not yet recognized. Perhaps due to a lack of technology, investment, insight or imagination, or there are intangible success factors that defy measurement. We will see this through a TEDTalk hosted by Jean-Baptiste Danet, Co-President of the Embassy.
The TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences are a series of conferences organized internationally by the North American non-profit foundation The Sapling foundation. Its goal is to disseminate “ideas worth spreading”. The concept is simple: the speaker is given 12 minutes, which according to studies is the maximum human capacity to keep his or her attention, to present the idea. Often avant-garde, the speakers open up debates on ways of thinking, ways of approaching work and ways of looking at society in a different way.
In 2015, on the occasion of the release of the book “Business is Beautiful”, the Co-President of the Embassy Jean-Baptiste Danet explained how business is a major turning point for society.
The reasoning developed leads to the identification of five concepts that defy conventional ideas: integrity, curiosity, elegance, know-how and prosperity.
Each of them reflects its interpretation of what makes a “Beautiful Business”: not just numbers, but something slightly different, another way of looking at success in today’s world.
Any self-respecting “beautiful business” has a well-defined goal. A clear and unwavering conviction that translates into firm principles on how best to succeed. This is where the soul of the company in question lies. It is what gives a business openness and honesty, qualities that should be indispensable. Business is defined as much by its sacrifices as by its actions.
In order to create authenticity and define the standards of a business, it is essential to adhere to well-established principles. But standard does not mean standardization. The ideals around which a business is built must not stifle innovation and progress. On the contrary, they should serve as a springboard for creativity. If necessity is the mother of invention, curiosity is the father.
Elegance in business is not just a matter of aesthetics. It is also a solution to many problems, a proof of empathy with your audience. It allows companies to defy time and extend their influence for decades to come.
Technology offers many opportunities for optimization and savings to companies. The range of possibilities is constantly evolving. However, the number of things people want is not as volatile, because we humans do not evolve as quickly as technology does. We like to see the human handprint in the products and services we buy, a tangible proof of care that then drives us to take an interest in a business.
We all know that a business that doesn’t “pay off” is not viable. Profit is essential in the short term for survival and in the long term for innovation and growth. Profit allows for bold decisions. But the decisions we make as businessmen and women have consequences that go beyond profit and loss. They affect the businesses around them. They affect the environment. They influence us culturally, exposing us to languages, images, products and services that structure the way we think, feel and behave. It would seem absurd that none of these considerations are part of our definition of a successful business.
While the assessment of short-term profit is necessary, it is not sufficient. As John Maynard Keynes said, “in the long run, we will all be dead”. But since we still have a long time to live, let us accept that corporations ensure the sustainability of our quality of life and that it is therefore in everyone’s interest to ensure the sustainability of corporations. Sacrificing long-term prosperity for short-term profits makes no sense. But this does not mean that long-term value creation is not compatible with some immediate profit. Profit is also a consequence of influence, and influence is created by engaging with people, communities, cultures and even today the environment. This is a tangible motto that brings meaning to the success of a business. This is what is more commonly known as “goodwill”.
And you, what did you do this morning to make your brand more influential?