This post by Lynn DePippo of Pythia Capital is part of a series in which IEN members and network partners share their thinking about intentional endowment investing to address racial injustice and other diversity, equity, and inclusion themes. Follow along to read insights into DEI and the "S" factor in ESG.
Lynn DePippo, Founder and CEO Pythia Capital
There is a growing awareness of how unequal our society is. Our existing economic, business and financial systems work much better for the few than for the many. This is glaringly obvious now with this pandemic. It does not mean the free markets are wrong. It does mean that working with the one goal to dominate and control every industry in order to earn huge returns for a narrow segment of society does not work. That is what the predominant business and financial structures encourage now. These types of financial and business paradigms are by definition unbalanced systems. Then no one is really free. It leads to all sorts of problems such as raping and pillaging the environment, exaggerating inequities, to creating poverty and dependencies. We have to be careful here as even with the best intentions to be socially responsible, if you are participating in a business and financial framework that defines “scalable solution” as a monopoly or world dominating company, then you are part of the problem, not the solution. It is possible for investors to make generous returns and still help to co-create thriving businesses, but it does require rethinking how they do things.
When taking a systems-based and more holistic approach to revitalize our communities, how do we leverage diversity in a new, more sustainable economic model to make sure we get it right this time? One thing is very clear is that we need to build new frameworks where diversity is built into the framework from the ground up. This is the only way we can have innovative, efficient, resilient and sustainable systems.
Diversity is not a checklist. It is fundamental and essential part of building the most creative products and more regenerative solutions to society’s most complex problems. Following nature’s lead, we realize there is no sustainable and balanced system without diversity. It is also means taking an honest look at how we do things now and what needs to change. We have an unprecedented opportunity now to step forward and be bold in this post pandemic world in order to build thriving communities that we work for all of us.
When considering the issue of diversity, it is a very broad concept. It means putting people in the room together that would normally not speak to each other. It is the elite, non diverse, top down silos we are breaking down now along with the help of advanced computer science, new scientific and technical tools, as well as truly interdisciplinary teams. With a broader concept of diversity, we bring together the right brain together with the left in a collective sense with our new teams. We dream, visualize, plan and build with the help of these newly invigorated and diverse teams. Interdisciplinary does not mean just a bunch of scientists and AI experts sitting in a room making all the most important decisions for society. Leaders with wisdom know already that building a balanced solution to complex problems requires leading with our hearts that then guide and lead our minds.
There are other important benefits to this humanistic, heart-based approach as well. People would ideally love to spend their days in jobs that also bring vitality and meaning to their lives. Rather than just focusing only on jobs for survival, rebuilding a business system with this human-centered, systems-based approach solves multiple problems at once. Then we can sensibly apply things like automation as long as we are true to the needs and values of sovereign human beings. It is only our misperceptions that self centered greed is the only way capitalism can thrive. A society full of people that are empowered with individual sovereignty naturally want to lend a hand to those in need and want a healthy and vibrant environment. The types of businesses that empowered people create are full of rich money making opportunities. There is only broad empowerment possible in a society that values diversity.
The following organization is an example of the types of groups that are popping up all over the world to bring together diverse people to help rebuild society with more sustainable and healthy systems. This is a fun example of a group that brings together the scientific with the mystical.