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Having worked all my life on big concepts (eg ones ad agencies were spending billion dollars on) and their global brand reality (see millennium triple special issue journal of marketing management ) I can say that Muhammad Yunus came up with the biggest concepts I have heard of. #Poortech is one below  So here’s  Yunus Big 10 – not in any particular order. I would love to know if you have news on what happened to them

............................................................................................................................................................................................................May I begin by saying that I feel very privileged to have met or accompanied Dr Yunus about 30 times between 2007 and 2013; and the interpretations (any errors) in this report are mine alone

When I first met Yunus late 2007, he was completing a relaunch of his signature body of knowhow as social business. He had decided that microcredit was both too narrow (financial) in attracting young followers he wished to target worldwide and that microcredit was going to be unstoppably greenwashed by big or bad banking. Within a month of meeting him he was answering this 9 year old's question at his book launch in New York - to be so prescient in jan 2008 about subprime was truly Yunus as his most globally urgent, and you might have hoped socially actionable.   


When i first visited Mirpur in 2007, Yunus was still accompanied by the 2 students (Mrs Begum and Mr Barua) and one fellow professor (Latifee)

 who had founded and directed Grameen from its start as a project taking students out of the calssroom to real villages where a million people (mainly girls had just died of famine in Bangladesh of 1984).  These were the peoples who had demonstrated two of the first leapfroging advances in the world due to Industrial Revolution 3 : the coming universal access of text mobile phones- what happens when a society that had never had access to wired telecoms nor electricity grids leaps ahead to pioneer most life critical advances )  

Nonetheless every interviewee I met repeated 2 very human things before clarifying the extraordinary range of markets Yunus was now aiming to publlcise the future purpose of capitalism around.

1 always ask whether this systemic solution is reaching to the very poorest- anything you do in development will always look most successful if you focus one or more rungs up from the very poorest (the very poorest are hardest to reach unless you live with them, when helping them market their transactions are the smallest and collecting their inputs will logistically cost the most in far away rural ares- remember these are people  historically: off electricity grids, with no phones, no running water or sewearge, most likely reachable by a mud track and rickshaw. Note to self- wow leapfroging models offer economic miracles of a suddenness the world has never seen before - (and of bloth a cfreative destruction and human value that cant be assesed by macroeconomic metrics ley alone be developed exponentially unless you had experienced living in the prior-poverty trapped space (eg of having no electricity)

2  Grameen never hires top people from outside- everyone including us (well except 2 professors) were hired as graduating students or below  

click pic to download first issue free mailed to 3000 leaders chosen by dr yunus.


click pic below to download special issue celebrating 15 years of microcreditsummit sampled to 2500 delegates of world summit spain 2011


 The chances of top-down organisations from USA reaching the ultra poorest are therefore below zero unless they trust to partnering a bottom up network- and they would be wise to demand that network is the most collaborative  (trying to cause competition between bottom-up networks will again riosk hurting the ultra poorest most)

Now you can see why  top down organisation like usaid is at extreme disadvantage in reaching ultra-poorest especially as its used to semi-permanently subcontracting thousands of peope from a handful of dc-headquartered organisations in projects time-chained by adminstration 4-year cycles.  It would require usaid to want to build one long-term bottom-up partnership not series of tenders. Moreover US academics get their funding from top down foundations- they have no incentive to research or (even search) let alone teach how revolutionary bottom-up grassroots networking with the poorest can be.

Now although i first came to DC in mid 1990s, top-down advocacy organisations are not a model i would expect to apply my family's  3 billion new jobs genre of Entrepreneurial Revolution (begun 1972 @ The Economist) .


online library of norman macrae--

However meetings with Yunus inspired me to doublecheck academic curricula of microcredit in over 30 top schools around usa- none remotely modelled how Bangladesh empowered the world's poorest mothers and girls to build 100+ person nation out of next to nothing when this country finaly gained independence from what had been its West Pakistan Ruler after the partitioning of the Indian Continent. (For transparency: I should note my maternal grandfather Sir Kenneth Kemp was UK's chief justice mediator with Mahatma Gandhi for 25 years and his last job was writing up India's Independence. Neither Gandhi nor Grandad had favored partitioning but by the end of world war 2 a bankrupt (if morally heroic) Britain did not feel in any position to negotiate with the Aga Khan who was adamant that 2 Muslim Pakistans (West and East) should be separated from India.

As a Diaspora Scot, one of the curious dynamics that seems to serve my worldwide compatriots well is not making any hurried cultural assumptions about any locality we are privileged to interact with. Trying to observe from scracch, and whenever I have been involved in a social inovation project i have always asked to be shown the poorest groups  intended to be served. So I am a believer that we will not achieve any of the sustainabiluty goals unless Preferential Option Poor mapmaking is transparent wherever one country claims to want to do good in developing another country. I am also not happy with the very tenets of international aid organsiations that dont include youthful staff as vital to our entrepreneurial revolution era; I am even less impressed by lack of any local spaces to rehearse youthful development expertise. It is not as if Washington DC doesnt have any Ultra development challenges in regions half an hours drive from the white house or the world bank or the usaid or the Organisation of American States.

Being pretty ignorant of the western political history of aid, I wasnt aware that the models that I first visied in Bangaldesh were the outcome of dialogues across latin america of teh late 1960s. Apparently while rich northern neighbors were racing to the moon, south americans (many without elctricity grids) clarified the Ultra Poor Model - known as POP - Preferential Option Poor. This side of catching up with world development history came about for me when Jim Kim was suddenly appointed head of the world bank. In his younger days he had tried to end the world bank's top down isolatiuon while spending 25 years practising POP models - Parters in Health. I find these 4 Jim Kim clarifications hugely valuable- 1 2 3 4 would love your feedback #BAtech WashDC text 2403168157

All may not be lost for the millennails generation. In China the memory of over 40 milion people dying of famine in the 1960s is still one lived with by elders such as those of Trump's age. I am pretty sure that when CHina budgets for an ultra poor program- at home or away - that is what is relentlessly worked on. Greenwashing such a process would be regarded as an abuse of National character. In any event Youth shoiuld use G20 opportunities such as G20 Argentina 2018 and G20 India 2019 to track POORtech and sustainabilityTECH. Bon Courage to all -next giog April 6.7 Florida 

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