Today I’m attending Purpose Day in Rotterdam. It is a Dutch initiative to “accelerate the transformation towards a more sustainable future”. A nice opportunity to take a brief look at how we at Kunlabora try to add purpose to our business.
That’s the question I launched here at Kunlabora some time ago. Lots of answers. Surprising, often original and often identical.
Let me share some findings:
Sometimes it’s the little things. Making someone laugh. Making yourself comfortable with a book in the front yard and next thing you know, you’re chatting with a passer-by.
Sustainability is a recurring topic. Growing own vegetables, driving just 1 or even no car, eating less meat, drinking water from the tap instead of bottled water, shopping with reusable bags.
A lot about animals too: stopping for a duck with her offspring crossing the bike path, volunteering in an animal shelter, adopting a cute cat, feeding hedgehogs, squirrels and birds in your garden during winter - and giving the cat a collar with a little bell so that the hedgehogs, squirrels and birds do not become food while eating 😉
Making the world a better place can be achieved nearby. Saying hello to your neighbour, combining your own shopping with that of the (elderly) neighbour.
It’s also about connecting. Bringing people together in a passion or challenge can set things in motion. Installing a neighbourhood book stall or compost pile, organizing a neighbours’ party or ‘play street’.
And often it’s about helping other people. Teaching, mowing the grass, helping the (old) neighbour park his car, training young soccer or volleyball players.
A lot is given, but often not in terms of money. Attention, a good book, blood, time, home-grown plants, compliments. A Brussels’ district is full of hollyhocks because over the past years seeds of faded specimens have been consistently collected and scattered: what a way to make the world a more beautiful place 😍
I don’t know what this list does to you, but merely making this list made me happy and sharing it with you makes me happy again 😄 There’s even scientific proof: helping people does something with your brains; making people happy makes you happier too! Moreover, people are increasingly looking for purpose: to give meaning to what you do, to your existence. Meaning gives energy and lets people flourish.
And what a nice purpose does making the world a better place offer!
At Kunlabora we believe that this does not only apply on a personal level, but that companies can and should play an important role here too. Companies can also make the world a better place, with small things, and by giving what they can offer. There are a lot of parallels between the personal and professional level.
At Kunlabora, this translates into:
Help people or organizations and give what you can offer: software solutions, our working practices, our network.
We developed Mezuri, an application that captures and visualizes the impact of family coaches working with vulnerable families.
We designed and built the Repair App with Maakbaar Leuven and KU Leuven.
We introduced some student teams to our project management practices to help them tackle a complex group project.
We established some beautiful connections between our network and the social organizations that we get to know and in turn become part of our network.
Companies can connect people and organizations. This summer we introduced Group INTRO to Cronos, both in our network but at that time not connected yet, in a case on Social Impact Bonds, an innovative investment experiment from the Flemish Government. Kunlabora helps making leaps, and it gives great satisfaction to see new relationships growing! This is how beautiful stories arise, sometimes of coincidences falling into place.
We love to make the world close to Kunlabora a better place. We typically focus on the Leuven area. Things can be managed nearby and smoothly; results become tangible very quickly. Nevertheless we sometimes also expand our focus: we developed Mezuri together with ’t Lampeke, but we get more and more questions from all over Flanders.
Sometimes it’s the little things. We share a blog with some humour in order to steal a smile from our readers. We happily participate in WeGoSTEM, where we take ‘a free ride’ and introduce teenagers into IT with a ready-made training package. Earlier this year we participated in the child poverty hackathon of the King Baudouin Foundation.
We are trying to work towards sustainability: many Kunlaborants come to the office by bike or train. We try to limit waste. We turned this year’s car-free day into an internal car-free week to increase awareness of sustainable mobility as a company. Jos Vandikkelen from Velo came over and shared the story of Velo and the social economy with a lot of passion.
And finally, animals… there are some advocates of an office cat, but these plans are not yet concrete 😻
It’s not always the easiest way, but at Kunlabora we continue to pursue combining business and social impact to make the world a better place in a sustainable way. At our September Kunlaboratorium we dug deeper in this sustainability dimension.
We would like to finish this blog with a throwback to the hollyhocks in that Brussels’ district: they flourish because someone decided to make the world a better place. With this blog and other examples on our website we hope to inspire you. Think about how you can take a small step towards a better world. Because everyone can do that. You as a person, and you as an organization or company.
Good luck and have fun!
We are organising two workshops for De Warmste Week: go check it out!