A business and its staff might have an ambition to take over the world and most would think that it was a fair ambition. For a country or political party to adopt a similar ambition, it is a very different story.
What should companies and the people that work in them do when faced with political changes that don’t align with their values?
The short answer for most of history has probably been - too little too late.
Image credit: Hong Kong
Using profit to solve health issues does not work in a pandemic, perhaps at all.
This is a really complex issue. How should we fund the research for more effective drugs to treat conditions that may affect millions, knowing that many will not work and then determine how to price those that do work to cover the costs not just of the drug that did work, but the research for those that did not.
The cost to produce the drug has components that include the search for the potential candidates, the development of the tests on animals and then humans and the ongoing monitoring to determine its effect.
The mechanism to do this has been to have for profit companies get patents for their discoveries and then get a period between 5, 12 and sometimes over 20 years to be able to exclusively supply the drug and set its price.
There is no question that the system can be better. The question is how and despite many attempts by those that have practical alternatives, it does not appear enough has changed to make medicine more accessible.
Could the Covid-19 pandemic provide the public support to overcome the financial resistance that those that benefit from the status quo?
Image credit - Pexels
A powerful tool that everyone can access that has the ability to change the world or make it worse. Business Unusual looks at how social media has created significant movements but also spread conspiracies.
Image credit: Pexels
To quote one of the richest men in the world about inheritance, Warren Buffet thinks passing on a fortune is not the right way to go.
His advice is “You should leave your children enough so they can do anything, but not enough so they can do nothing.”
In South Africa the challenge to addressing inequality is not a lack of willingness to address the issue, but rather an inability to overcome the gap if the status quo is not challenged.
Image credit: 123rf.com
By 2050 there might be more plastic than fish in the sea
Humanity’s progress is marked by chance findings and lucky discoveries and this one might be one of the best.
In the 1950s the discovery of plastics seemed to be the solution to all our packaging and storage needs. Glass was great but heavy, expensive and fragile. Plastic was a wonder product that helped make a certain soft drink one of the most recognised brands on the planet and ensure that almost every human hand has held that plastic bottle at some point in their lives. That one brand alone revealed that they produce three million tonnes of plastic packaging a year in 2017. That would be equivalent to 200 000 bottles produced per minute or over 100 billion per year.
Some bottles do get recycled, some is reused for clothing but a big proportion is simply thrown away with a portion of that ending up in the sea.
Image credit: Wikipedia
In 2004, 54% of South Africans had no bank account, that thankfully changed significantly with the introduction of the national payment system which used a bank card which was loaded with the grant and could be used to make payments or used to withdraw cash when needed at pay points like supermarkets.
That saw the percentage unbanked fall to 33% in 2012 and could be used by 75% of the recipients.
One of six women chosen earlier this year may be the first to walk on the moon.
America is planning to return to the Moon, it did not intend to stop after the original seven but global conditions made it hard for the US to continue to pay for the missions that in one respect were meant to beat the Russians to the Moon because they beat the Americans into space.
It has been over 50 years since anyone was willing to commit their Presidency and party to funding another attempt even as private companies began looking to do so themselves.
Image credit: NASA
Guest: Cliff de Wit/ CTO and Co-founder at Dexterity DigitalLISTEN TO PODCAST
Is understanding the numbers in a pandemic a puzzle or a mystery?
Knowing if something should be treated like a puzzle or a mystery was the subject of a previous edition of Business Unusual and used the example of the US CIA in working with the intelligence they collect.
In a puzzle scenario, you need all the pieces of information to make a picture and typically some are missing. Finding the missing info allows you to solve the problem.
A mystery, however, has all the information you need, in fact, it has more than all the information you need, it includes information that may be wrong or distracting.
We tend to see most problems as puzzles when they are more often mysteries.
Can Uber and Airbnb survive being disrupted themselves?
Two companies that defined the creation of the sharing/trust/gig economy are Uber and Airbnb. Both were founded during the peak of innovation for this century in 2008/9.
Both grew out of real frustration to try rent something, for Uber founders it was a limousine, for Airbnb it was was a place to stay during a popular conference.
Technology made it easier to determine spare capacity for a product or service which could be rented out short term to both create supplemental income for the owner and an easier and less expensive option for those seeking to use the product or service.
They are often described as being the largest transport company with no vehicles and the largest hospitality chain without any rooms.
In the decade since their founding, they have grown rapidly, attracted fierce competition and weathered a string of scandals.
Image credit: Uber & Airbnb