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Insights / January 14, 2014

Making Business Worthwhile: Betterness

By Software for Good

The Triple Bottom Line for business: People, Planet, Profit. Meaning that to be a good business, we must reinvest in our community (people), reduce our ecological impact and be environmentally responsible (planet), and recognize that honest work is the foundation for sustaining a company (profit).

The Triple Bottom Line is a great first step in moving away from the traditional measure of success (the bottom line), and Software for Good has been operating under it for many years. Cash profit due to shareholders is often the primary measure of business success, and we think it’s a pretty poor measure.

But what if we step back and take an even broader view than the Triple Bottom Line? What if we – as a business – look at the Common Wealth of our world and measured happiness, fulfillment, well-being, and prosperity?

This is exactly what Umair Haque does in his book, “Betterness: Economics for Humans.” Haque questions the entire concept of business as we know it, suggesting that it is an antiquated relic of industrial-age thinking.

“So here’s our anomaly: that industrial-age wealth hasn’t neatly powered lives lived meaningfully well; that near-term profit, gross product, and hyperconsumption haven’t produced a fuller real human prosperity; that the frenzied pursuit of opulence hasn’t been sufficient for the attainment of a good life—of eudaimonia.”

Haque goes on to discuss how profit-driven businesses have failed to create the good life for most people and that evolving our businesses into “Betternesses” is the next step in bringing about prosperity for the Common Wealth. He defines Betterness:

“Here, then, is what betterness is—and isn’t. Betterness isn’t merely social enterprise, impact investing, or socially responsible business. It’s far from charity, altruism, or philanthropy. It’s not about sustainability reports, corporate governance audits, or statements of ethics. Nor is it a panacea to banish the ghosts of the past, a utopian cure-all for the ills of the present, or a magic bullet with which to effortlessly vanquish the monstrous challenges of the future. […]

Betterness says: “Through the act of exchange, I’ll ignite your human potential. You will be and become better—fitter, smarter, closer, wiser, tougher, humbler, truer, wealthier in terms that add up to a life meaningfully well lived.”

This is what Software for Good is about. With no tongue-in-cheek meant, our staff comes to work each day to make the world a better place and to help people live happier, more prosperous, and more fulfilled lives.

Our tools are digital, our work is with mobile and web applications, and our mission is to create change by helping great clients to succeed. Even if we don’t work directly with you, we know that what we do here helps us to build and improve great organizations. It’s what drives our work here, and it’s what inspires us every day to strive for something better. We can’t do it on our own, though, so we’re asking you to join us – either with projects, ideas, or maybe just old-fashioned hard work. How can we help you to make the world better?