Teach Us All (2017) – Will U.S. Businesses Learn?

I like to think of myself as a socio-economic entrepreneur, supporting for-profit businesses that have a “Giving Back” mentality, often referred to as “Social Enterprises”. While many Social Enterprises engage with non-profit organizations and they may support the same social causes, their methods can be as different as their typical approaches to funding their social impact initiatives.

For the most part I do not get heavily involved in non-profit business development any more. Why social enterprises rather than non-profits? A personal perspective I have to admit. I see too many being created as “hobby” businesses, quite often by individuals who have a personal connection to a cause but not the personal resources (or they do not want to exhaust their resources) to get involved. In some cases, individuals or organizations use non-profits to scam those who would like to support a believed good cause. Some are just looking to create a job for themselves. In other cases, people with hearts of gold wind up spending dollars that could very well be better spent and have greater impact elsewhere.

As with most rules, there are exceptions and I do get heavily involved in education projects, specifically the creation, development and support of charter schools in underserved communities throughout the U.S., many of which, by law, can only operate as non-profits. Of course, there is the personal satisfaction in “serving” and how wonderful that I am involved in such a noble and just cause – but I think we are missing a key point and thereby a real opportunity to add significantly to the American economy while “doing good”!

I recently watched the documentary “Teach Us All”, (http://www.teachusallfilm.org/), talking about how little we have progressed in providing equality in education. Sure, making America and the world a better place for all is something to aspire to but let me take off my “social” hat for a moment and don my simple “business” hat and make a few bullet points:

·  In an ever-evolving world economy, the typical American student achievement would rank 38th out of the top 71 developed or developing countries according to the Pew Research Center (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science/).

·  Our global leadership in education plateaued around 1990 which is when the gap between white and minority student achievement stopped narrowing. Coincidence? (https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-02-16/the-costs-of-inequality-education-is-the-key-to-it-all).

·  The general consensus of leading business strategists and economists indicate our systems and methods of education are not getting us ready to create the jobs or ready the workforce of the future. A great article in the NY Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/upshot/how-to-prepare-for-an-automated-future.html?mcubz=0) provides some expert insights.

·  Incarceration versus education? Only a small sample of evidence and facts from the U.S. Department of Education (https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/report-increases-spending-corrections-far-outpace-education).

·  State and local spending on prisons and jails has increased at triple the rate of funding for public education for preschool through grade P-12 education in the last three decades.

·  The United States has only 5 percent of the world’s population yet more than 20 percent of the world’s incarcerated population.

·  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, two-thirds of state prison inmates have not completed high school.

·  One study also shows young black men between the ages of 20 and 24 who do not have a high school diploma or an equivalent credential have a greater chance of being incarcerated than employed.

·  Researchers have estimated that a 10 percent increase in high school graduation rates results in a 9 percent decline in criminal arrest rates.

I could go on but think you get the message. The question that needs to be answered is what are we going to do about it? By “we” I mean the business leaders and concerned citizens. What should we expect the government to do? Not much unless we push so hard that they succumb to the pressure. Ok, but where do we start? I want to get people to understand that this is not going to be changed overnight and we cannot do everything today. At the risk of sounding like I am prepared to “write off” those underserved people of today I would like to first try to stop perpetuating an unsustainable situation by focusing in on 3rd grade education in underserved communities and here’s why:

·  A student who can’t read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer. “Third grade is a kind of pivot point,” said Donald J. Hernandez, the study’s author and a sociology professor at Hunter College, at the City University of New York. “We teach reading for the first three grades and then after that children are not so much learning to read but using their reading skills to learn other topics. In that sense if you haven’t succeeded by 3rd grade it’s more difficult to [remediate] than it would have been if you started before then.” (http://gradelevelreading.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Double-Jeopardy-Report-030812-for-web1.pdf)

There is no one expert who knows it all or any one answer to any of these problems but I strongly suggest you read the article from the Pew Research Center The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training found at http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/03/the-future-of-jobs-and-jobs-training

Is getting involved the right thing for you to do? I hope so! If you want to explore opportunities to have an impact please visit us at ImpactNavigators.com, send me an email at William.Brown@impactnavigators.com or follow us in Twitter @IN2Outcomes

Take a knee? Take a Stand!

Please repost, tweet and promote this in any way you can!

Now that we have awareness from the “take a knee” issue let’s convert the talk to something that can have a more significant meaning and may become much more impactful! Please check out the documentary “Teach Us All” and the social justice movement (http://www.teachusallfilm.org/).  While driven by the civil rights activities of the 1950’s it speaks to the education of the multitude of underserved people throughout the United States.  I am so fortunate to be a part of a team working to have an impact in a Utah community with a significant population of Navajo and Ute children who to this day are not receiving the benefits of living in America.  None of us can do it all but if we #TakeAStand we can make a difference in underserved communities, giving people a chance to reach their true potential.  Sure, the social impact of such engagement is enormous but I am a Socio-Economic Entrepreneur and can easily see how this can deliver a huge economic benefit to all of us.  Please, get involved, #TakeAStand and support us in our IN2Outcomes initiatives to make America and the world a better place.  View the trailer at http://www.teachusallfilm.org/theatrical-trailer

8 Approved Regional Investment Centers Now On Board

Impact Navigators is now working with 8 Education Fund of America Regional Investment Centers approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.  We are working with foreign investors to support the development of public charter schools in the US, bringing in needed investments and creating new jobs!

We support these investments by providing the resources needed to make a charter school dream a REALITY, delivering excellence in education with a sustainable financial model.

Why You Will Want To Pay More Income Tax To Fund Education!

Wait, …. What, …. I will WANT to pay more in taxes?

That is what you are going to hear in the next several months, signing petitions to launch an initiative to rise the Utah income tax rate from 5% to maybe 5.75% or more to support a poorly funded education system.

The initiative will not come from educators, it will not come from politicians, it will not come from students or even parents – it will come from some of the most powerful, influential and successful business leaders in the State of Utah. It will come from a sector of our population that understands that education is not the end but the means to social and economic development. It will come from those who realize that, if Utah does not do something, something significant, our vision of NATIONAL and GLOBAL leadership might be nothing more than a fairy tale.

While I applaud the effort, we must be aware that there is so much more to achievement of the desired outcome than “just” putting more (?) money into the current “system”.  First of all, we must hold our legislators accountable to apply incremental funds into the education “system”. Let’s be real here, just because we vote to raise taxes to fund education, that does not mean that the added revenues will be INCREMENTAL funding.

Sound incredible? Well there are many instances where, with the best of intentions, things went awry. We can look at our neighbors in Idaho who voted for a State Lottery to fund education only to have their elected officials redirect some of the overall funding to projects other than education. If our neighbors knew what their legislators were going to do with the new money they might not have voted to create the lottery.

The time to get onboard the initiative to assure education-targeted funds actually go to education is NOW.  We are so much more aware of the power of social media and how it can influence, favorably or unfavorably, actions, opinions and outcomes.  If this resonates with you and you want to be an agent of change, Tweet about this @In2Outcomes, Post to Facebook and stay engaged as this  #In2Outcomes and #Funds4Education movement gets some traction.

I love my work but there is truly so much more for me to do!

Working to develop, launch and manage medical technologies, products and companies all over the world has brought me unmeasurable satisfaction. The learning experiences and personal relationships built in the United States, Europe and Asia have been nothing other than a true blessing. Now I am living a dream in working to impact social and economic challenges with a specific focus on education.

When all of the dust settles in Washington and @BetsyDeVos is no longer in the headlines, the passion and performance of our educators, in traditional and charter schools throughout the country will endure – if WE, The People engage and contribute.

To be very transparent here, I am a STRONG advocate for charter schools, not as the panacea for an ailing education system but to complement and supplement “district” schools. Adding performance, quality and other metrics is of course a prerequisite for all schools so, as I look at it, charter schools are not to be considered better, just different and serving unmet needs in our communities.

We are @In2Outcomes and believe that change in our current education system is absolutely necessary for America. Working today on charter schools in Utah I like to refer to the current Utah State Stature 53A-1a-503 which states:

The purposes of the state’s charter schools as a whole are to:

(1)   continue to improve student learning;

(2)   encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods;

(3)   create new professional opportunities for educators that will allow them to actively participate in designing and implementing the learning program at the school;

(4)   increase choice of learning opportunities for students;

(5)   establish new models of public schools and a new form of accountability for schools that emphasizes the measurement of learning outcomes and the creation of innovative measurement tools;

(6)   provide opportunities for greater parental involvement in management decisions at the school level; and

(7)   expand public school choice in areas where schools have been identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 6301 et seq. Amended by Chapter 319, 2008 General Session

Some of the work we are doing in areas of “Flip Education”, “Remote-based Learning”, “Project-based Learning”, “STEAM”, “EnterEducation” (I’m not sure that I like to use the word “gamification” in education so we look at Entertainment as a method of delivery) and even “Virtual Reality” speak to innovation in education. In our approach, we believe if far more effective and efficient to engage with charter schools before we approach the broader (and much more bureaucratic) district school systems. This is not the only way to make a difference but it is the way we have chosen to make a positive impact in education. What are you doing in your community to make a difference?

We are so much more aware of the power of social media and how it can influence, favorably or unfavorably, actions, opinions and outcomes. If this resonates with you and you want to be an agent of change, Tweet about this @In2Outcomes, Post to Facebook and stay engaged as this #In2Outcomes  movement gets some traction.

Teach more than just fishing to the underserved and reap the rewards!

Whether taken from an old Chinese proverb or something that evolved from an adage credited to Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie, we have all heard the phrase “…give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”. I would like to take it a few steps farther and talk about a socio-economic business model you might want to consider in your next entrepreneurial venture or maybe even a new structure for your current business.

While there are so many non-profit organizations feeding those who would otherwise not survive, my passion is more to help develop what is often referred to as “Social Enterprises” which I like to define as “…revenue generation organizations that have a give-back mentality”. They may be structured as Benefit Corporations or as Low-profit Limited Liability Companies (L3C’s) but operate similarly as businesses that allocate a portion of their profits to a specific or general social benefit and not exclusively for the benefit of their shareholders. Under these structures for-profit organizations can make a conscious and public decision to invest a portion of their profits into impact-driven initiatives which themselves might be non- or for-profit companies. In “giving back” we can also support initiatives that directly support our company values and convert generic giving into something so much more meaningful, beneficial and rewarding – personally and financially.

Building on the theories of Maslow and others we can fulfill immediate needs of survival, provide assistance for subsistance and engage in a process of sustainability with measurable and significant results and benefits. For those of us who are so tired of a culture of exclusively maximizing profits for financial investors, the results of such behaviors in driving jobs and opportunities overseas and overall displeasure in social and economic opportunity for ALL Americans are issues we must and can address. This is not just some simple dream or fantasy, it is something we can do today and achieve social and economic benefit right away!! We the business community have a vested stake in all aspects of our communities.

Yes, there will always be those who will need a fish to survive but the hope is for this to be the exception, not the rule – and only to meet the immediate need. Yes, the next step would be to teach that person to fish but we can do even more. Let’s teach another to make the fishing poles, another to make ice, others to drive trucks to sell the fish in another market – and let’s not forget those who can teach us not to overfish or destroy the ecosystem! So, maybe too simply stated, we like to develop the rod making, ice making, trucking, …. businesses that will be the backbone for the communities and help those who have been given the fish, get on a path of self-sustainability.

Just a social perspective? Not at all, it’s (good) business (for good).

There are many companies who have learned how important these topics are to their Customers and the marketplace. With appropriate performance in these areas and a good marketing approach these investments can become a very effective marketing campaign and increase the top line. I’m not talking about selling social engagement just to drive up profits but there is nothing wrong with driving social and economic growth and being very transparent about the business side of things. can’t we drive revenue AND do good at the same time?

A Benefit Corporation or L3C structure might not be right for you or your business or by your suppliers or other partners either but I would hope you would think about it.

If you would like to talk more, just drop me a line.

Why We Support Organizations Like Choice Humanitarian

We have seen the headlines and heard the stories:  “The death toll from last week’s massive earthquake in Nepal has surpassed 7,000, Nepal’s National Emergency Operation Centre said Saturday”.  Organizations like the American Red Cross are instrumental in helping to provide the people of Nepal survive in the critical times following the catastrophic event.  The people in Nepal certainly need immediate assistance but what happens after this tragedy is no longer front page news?  It will take years to “recover” and the weight will fall heavily on those who can least afford it.

Organizations such as Choice Humanitarian work tirelessly to not only support the immediate disaster relief efforts  but also then work to help with recovery and  long-term sustainability.     As stated on their website, they believe that “Lasting change comes not from outside or when implemented by others, but when it comes from within – within a person, within a community, within a culture.”

We encourage you to consider donating to an organization that will help these people help themselves in overcoming the challenges they will face tomorrow and beyond. Your donations are more than a gift, they are an investment in mankind!

CHOICE HumanitarianThe CHOICE Leadership Model is what makes CHOICE different. It empowers villagers to determine their own path to self-reliance. It focuses on building leadership, assessing and meeting needs, and developing economic opportunity.

Learn more about Choice Humanitarian at http://choicehumanitarian.org

Mission IN-Possible – Cyber Security and Medical Devices

IN UCSA Small 1Impact Navigators has joined forces with the Utah Cyber Security Alliance (UCSA) to help our clients in the Medical Device Industry address the threats, opportunities and compliance requirements that are present today and just beyond the horizon.UCSA Shield TM

Much of the focus to date has been on the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which is enforced by The Office for Civil Rights and is intended to protect the privacy of individually identifiable health information.  The HIPAA Security Rule sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information and addresses issues including breech notification.  Most businesses, professionals, compliance officers and consultant are well aware of HIPAA requirements and impact on the medical device industry.

Now, with the advances in technology and our dependence on information exchange and management, Cyber Security is emerging as a new threat to public and patient safety and the FDA is entering the arena with (currently) recommendations on “Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices”.  While the scope of the guidance provides “recommendations to consider” it also outlines information to include in FDA medical device premarket submissions. The guidance is applicable to premarket submissions for devices that contain software (including firmware) or programmable logic as well as software that is a medical device, specifically:

  • Premarket Notification (510(k)) including Traditional, Special, and Abbreviated
  • De novo submissions
  • Premarket Approval Applications (PMA)
  • Product Development Protocols (PDP)
  • Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) submissions

There is a full expectation that these “recommendations” will in full or in part become a part of the FDA compliance requirements and will also be applicable in expected ISO regulations.

Impact Navigators is working with the UCSA, our Medical Device clients, Subject Matter Experts and regulatory representatives to fully understand the requirements, inclusion in Design Controls as well as other key regulatory systems components of emerging cyber security requirements and expectations.  Enhancements of processes, procedures and protocols are the areas of immediate attention in addition to those under formal Design Control Procedures.

If you are in the Medical Device industry you need to be prepared for the inclusion of cyber security in your business and we would enjoy applying our knowledge and expertise to help.  For more information please contact us at Medical Devices@ImpactNavigators.com

 

We are proud to support the Westminster College 2015 “Lectures in Entrepreneurship” series

We will post events on our calendar!

Lectures in Entrepreneurship is coordinated by the Center of Entrepreneruship at Westminster College and has been an extremely successful series event over the past 5 years. The Center brings in a wide variety of prominent entrepreneurs to speak, tell their stories, and share their experiences and keys to success. All of the lectures are free to the public in the BIll and Vieve Gore School of Business (click for campus map). It is also offered as an optional course for credit for all Westminster student. Everyone is invited to share in this invaluable experience.

 

March – April 2015:  Every Wednesday, 6:00 pm & 8:20 pm, in the Gore Auditorium.

March 18, March 25, April 1, April 8, April 15, April 22, April 29

For more information follow this link:

https://www.westminstercollege.edu/center_for_entrepreneurship/?parent=8020&detail=9745