Sunday, 29 April 2007

Charles Handy

Charles Handy speaking at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. — photo Fruchterman

• I was certainly looking forward to hearing Charles Handy. I last heard him speaking on “The Future of Work” at an Economics conference at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland in 1983. His speech at that time talked about the rise of entrepreneurship and self-employment as a growing sector of the economy ... and it directly influenced me to return to New Zealand and start up the Skills of Enterprise business courses aimed at unemployed people.

Since the 1980s, Charles Handy has gone on to become a prolific author, broadcaster and speaker on the business circuit. And he has gained a well-deserved reputation as a social philosopher. He’s just published his latest book, called “The New Philanthropists”, which profiles 23 business people who are using their skills and resources to work for the common good and for social change.

• In his speech, Handy gave some of the stories from his book and explained why he thinks they are examples of an emerging new generation of practical philanthropy. Many of the people he has profiled are young ... still in their 40s. They became wealthy from their business interests at an early age, and now want to invest in a social vision. They are quite different from earlier generations of philanthropists who put their money into buildings, universities, hospitals or churches. They want to directly address the causes of social need. And they want to be hands-on in doing it themselves.

Handy has hopes that this group of new philanthropists represents the seedlings of a new type of capitalism ... where altruism and capitalism are not seen as wildly antagonistic to each other. Handy: “Wouldn’t it be nice if one day all businesses saw themselves as social enterprises?”

— YouTube video of Charles Handy’s speech at the 2007 Skoll World Forum (part 1 of 2) (part 2 of 2)
“The Serious Business of Philanthropy” by Charles Handy in The Financial Times September 19 2006
—Charles Handy Interview “The New Philanthropists” (Expertsonline)
The New Philanthropists by Charles Handy (book pub Heinemann 2006)

Charles Handy speaking at the 2007 Skoll World Forum: Part One

Charles Handy speaking at the 2007 Skoll World Forum: Part Two