Fairphone – Changes The Way Products Are Made

Fairphone – Changes The Way Products Are Made

This project has more to do with triggering change, rather than trying to solve all the problems in the world at once.Bas van Abel

 

Fairphone

„35 year-old Bas van Abel collaborated with 10 others to put together the first “fair” smartphone. A smartphone that doesn’t use any resources from conflict-zones, or the workforce of Chinese laborers in horrible conditions, nor does it involve filling up the bank accounts of the greedy rich. Sound naive? Bas van Abel, who launched the project 2 years ago, certainly is not. He knows that he’s not going to save the world with his Fairphone: ‚This project has more to do with triggering change, rather than trying to solve all the problems in the world at once.’This Dutch guy wants to demonstrate what we can achieve when we give it a go.“[1]The goal was to create a “fair” smartphone for consumers that had the technology and a competitive price on par with established providers, but one that was not created with the use of conflicted resources and unfair labor conditions. The team managed to produce the first batch of 20,000 phones through crowd funding. Since December 2013, the phone is available for sale online, unseen and untested, at a cost of 325 Euro a pop, and sent out via mail, I bought one too.

 

Fairphone’s mission

Roos van de Weerd, Fairphone’s public engagement manager, explains: „Our project can only exert influence on other, larger companies such as Apple or Samsung if consumers show that they want transparency, fair deals and decent wages. We try to raise awareness. So far this has worked quite well.People are happy that there is finally a player in the industry making an effort to push these changes. Our goal is not to be a manufacturer who sells the highest quantity of objects, but to have an effect so that the “big” fish among us can learn and will be either inspired or compelled to follow us.“[2]

 

What is a Fairphone?

Conflict-free, quality material

A smartphone contains around 30 different types of metals. Two of these, tin and tantalum, come from regions that are considered conflict-free, and should therefore help hinder any money from ending up in the pockets of warlords. Fairphone also supports the “Conflict-Free Tin Initiative”, a developmental aid project for the Congo, in which other companies such as Blackberry, HP, Motorola and Nokia are involved. There is a similar project for Tantalum called “Solutions for Hope“, founded by Motorola and supported by Fairphone and a great number of other electronic manufacturers.

 

Bas_van_AbelFair production

Fairphone is interested in long-term relationships with manufacturers in China, because it requires perseverance and higher numbers to change the Chinese attitude. But even China knows that every development should be taken seriously, because the market for smartphones is so fast-paced. Who would have thought ten years ago that Samsung and Apple would dominate the market, and Nokia would be nearly dead and gone? Fairphone tries to spearhead a set of standards for a new collaborative direction with Chinese manufacturers. Fair production means fair working conditions, consideration of social and environmental aspects, and acquiring raw materials in a sustainable way.

 

 

Smarter design and an end to “disposable” phones

Roos van de Weerd also had this to say: „In order to ensure that people don’t just throw away their cell phones after two years, we will offer replacement parts online on our web shop, so that people can easily replace parts that no longer work.“ (Okur 2013) „In addition, not only will the glass screen be more robust, it will be much easier to replace as well. Instead of using the thinnest glass possible, in which the touch panel and screen are integrated as one, it was decided to make them separate pieces. Because of this, the phone will be 5 grams heavier, and 0.2 millimeters thicker as planned, but the risk of breakage is thus significantly reduced. In addition, according to the manufacturer, the Fairphone will still function even if the toughened and scratch-resistant Dragontrail glass breaks.“[3]

 

[1] Bernau, V. (2013): Fairphone statt iPhone: Wie gerechte Smartphones produziert werden sollen, in sueddeutsche.de from 2/27/2013, download on 8/25/2013 at http://www.sueddeutsche.de/digital/fairphone-statt-iphone-wie-gerechte-smartphones-produziert-werden-sollen-1.1610920
[2] Okur, M. (2013): Wie fair ist das Fairphone?, in Wirtschaftswoche Green from 6/18/2013, download on 8/25/2013 at http://green.wiwo.de/interview-wie-fair-ist-das-fairphone/
[3] Labs, L. (2013): Auch das Fairphone wird in China gebaut, in heiseonline from 5/13/2013, download on 8/10/2013 at http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Auch-das-Fairphone-wird-in-China-gebaut-1861908.html

Photo Fairphone
Photo Bas van Abel from Fairphone

 

weekly excerpt from the book THE NEXT WAVE IN BUSINESS
wishing you a circular week
cheers, Stefan Götz+

 

1,500 years of leadership – Dr. Notker Wolf (Benedictine Abbot Primate)

1,500 years of leadership – Dr. Notker Wolf (Benedictine Abbot Primate)

My job as a leader is actually to be an eternal listener, to myself, and to othersNotker Wolf

 

Some time ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Abbot Primate Notker Wolf in Rome. He is the highest-ranking of 25,000 Benedictine monks and nuns worldwide. I was especially curious and inspired by the question of how it can be possible to run a global organization the size of Porsche, maintain it for over 1,500 years, and still have growth on a global scale?
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Competition and Cooperation – Huberbuam Brothers (Extreme climbers)

Competition and Cooperation – Huberbuam Brothers (Extreme climbers)

 

In life it’s not about being better than others, but to be your personal best, to find your own limits.Dean Potter

 

Stefan Götz: „Dean Potter said in the film – and I think it matches quite well: „”In life it’s not about being better than others, but to be your personal best, to find your own limits.” Is that the essence of what it means to be a team? You are in competitionwith one another anyhow, you’re brothers, and innately competitive, but that competition is beneficial because each of you seeks out his own personal best.“
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Götz Werner – Chairman dm Drugstore- Success the Human Way

Götz Werner – Chairman dm Drugstore- Success the Human Way

 

Entrepreneursneed to see the forest for the trees. If a company’s sole raison d’être is making society better, it must have an interest in how society develops. Götz Werner

 

Company facts

The first dm drugstore chain was founded in 1973 by Götz W. Werner in Karlsruhe, Germany. dm has approximately 2,700 shops and employs 44,000 people. In the fiscal year of 2011/2012, the company achieved sales of around 6.9 billion Euros. Of this sum, 5.1 billion originated in Germany.

About Goetz W. Werner

Götz Werner’s dm business concept and his idea for an unconditional basic income have received a lot of attention from various media outlets. “Götz Werner is pop. When he speaks – the hall is packed full– whether in Hamburg, Stuttgart or Berlin”, wrote the TAZ on the 27th of November 2006. “Oh, how wonderful it would be when the government had someone like Götz Werner, the man from the dm shops in their ranks, who has become successful by thinking and acting in an extraordinary way.” As written in the German newspaper Tagesspiegel on the 24th of June 2006.

Götz Werner’s anthroposophical foundation

Götz Werner’s vision is rooted in an anthroposophical ideology ofalignment and fulfillmentin thesocial system. The term Anthroposophy means „human wisdom“ and was founded by Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). „For Steiner, Anthroposophy stood for creating a consciousness of humanity (…),a guide toself-knowledgeandknowledge of the natureof man.“[1]

 

Goetz_WernerGötz Werner’s integral entrepreneurial compass

Purpose, vision & mission

In an interview with Martin Wittig, former CEO of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Götz Werner sheds light on his vision and mission in business:

„Entrepreneurs
need to see the forest for the trees.If a company’s sole raison d’être is making society better, it must have an interest in how society develops. Social involvement is one of the most important roles of an entrepreneur, particularly when you get older. All entrepreneurs should aim to create scope for people within the business to become active outside of it. The better you know people, the better you can respond to their needs. If you can gain a better understanding of what drives people, you can be a better manager, know your customers and suppliers better, and predict the future more effectively. I don’t believe in extrinsic motivation; management must create a situation in which employees are intrinsically motivated – I’d even go so far as to say that bonus systems penalize workers. Employees need an income so they can live, and they need their work so they can grow.“[1]

Götz Werner describes the core principles of dm’s corporate culture and the underlying integral entrepreneurial compass in his book “Einkommen für alle” (Werner 2009):

Identity & strategy

  • We see our company as a modern community of people, with as little hierarchical structure as possible.
  • Not only do we want to encourage the competence of our staff, but also allow for the personal development of character. At dm, it is a goal to create a space that nurtures personal fulfillment.
  • The dm-spirit – Our products and store environment can easily be copied by competitors, but what makes us stand out is our inner stance, the place we operate from.

 

Values

  • For us at dm, the basis for cooperation is grounded in collegial trust. At the heart of dm culture lies an overall positive, optimistic view of humanity coupled with confidence.
  • A negative view of humanity only ushers in aspects that make it impossible to build a positive and effective corporate culture. Distrust, pessimism, control mania, greed, self-centeredness, and yes, egoism all muddle good business.
  • When I am disappointed, it does nobody any good to become negative about everything. It is futile to pile on the stress and try to control everything. Control is evasive, and people and situations move on.
  • Freiherr von Stein said: „Confidence refines a man, eternal guardianship inhibits his maturity.“

 

Beliefs

  • Every human carries with them the wish to grow and bear fruit.
  • In a holistically run company, ROI (Return of investment) and ROS (return of sales) can be an important factor for success, but in order to provide sustainability for all intents and purposes, sometimes it’s important to let go of the reins.
  • Management isn’t there to put on the pressure, instead, it’s all about engaging in positive development.
  • The role of the supervisor is no longer about giving detailed orders, but to think strategically, and to lay the ground for fundamental steps to be taken. Managers need to keep in mind that setting a strategic path will only be fruitful when they can help strengthen their employee’s awareness of the strategy and what it calls for. It isn’t just about managing people; it is about encouraging their awareness.

 Photo Götz Werner by re:publica

[1] Ramge, T. (2011): The Detail of Retail: One-one one with Wittig, in Think Act Journal, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants September, München, P. 4-8
[1] Wikipedia: „Anthroposophie“ https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthroposophie, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.de

 

weekly excerpt from the book THE NEXT WAVE IN BUSINESS
wishing you a successful week coming from human wisdom
truly yours, Stefan Götz+

 

 

 

The Essence of Change Leaders

The Essence of Change Leaders

 

Here is the good news: There are countless others just like you, worldwide, pondering just the same thing. There are so many who have come to this point now, that the time is ripe for change. The next era of consciousness is revealing a new window of potential, which carries a blueprint, filled with impulses, inspiration, and ideas from the future. An integral future will give birth to comprehensive solutions to the global problems we are faced with today.
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Choose the Path of Least Resistance

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This is the type of mental freedom and flexibility that we need for the 21st century. It is a total 360 from what we have experienced thus far. Before, we always held the belief that we had to do everything possible in order to make something happen. We don’t get anything when we don’t do anything, right? It’s such a fatal belief that we have to build power, and continuously feed it in order to keep us alive.
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What can Awareness Actually Look Like in Everyday Life

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Awareness in communication means listening and speaking without judgment. There are constantly thousands of impressions running through our heads in each and every moment, even as you are reading this sentence. Is this right or wrong? Is it helpful, or not? Intelligent or stupid stuff? It’s not so bad to be flooded by these impressions, as long as we keep in mind that they determine our perspective in situations, practices and challenges. For possible potential and solutions, it can be more or less helpful. This actually reminds me of a saying from the Dalai Lama: “ When you talk you are only repeating what you already know; But when you listen you may learn something new”.
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Certainly not by brainstorming, but by a state of inspiration that we are all familiar with which is akin to falling I love. Think back to a time when you fell in love. It’s doesn’t matter how old we are when it hits, we fly. It’s because to a great extent, we allow ourselves, somewhat unconsciously, to lose control about what happens, we just follow our feelings. The mind is rarely involved; it is a matter of the heart. It is a feeling of lightness, joy, light-heartedness, and flow in the moment.
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Falling in Love with Intuition, Inspiration and Innovation

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The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.Albert Einstein

 

What do you think is so integral to intuition and inspiration? Just keep in mind how vital it is to the yellow consciousness 7.0 and its potential, in order to work together on seemingly unsolvable conflicts, and arrive at new and integral solutions from a higher consciousness. The mind alone won’t get there, and a separation and classification between the mind, heart, and gut certainly won’t either.
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