It seems that now I can deeply understand what is “Impact Investment” and how it really works.
To anybody who forgot or wasn’t acquainted with the term, I’ll remind in short. The marvellous tale is that at first would-be mighty philanthropists are spending a great amounts of money to resolve some touchy society problems, just for free, without even hope to make any revenue. And at second, when these investments change the game — i.e. do ”impact”, there are coming another, commercial investments. They construct new businesses on the new markets which emerged during the process of resolving the problems of humanity, and make their profit. And everybody is constantly and consistently happy: philanthropists are proud of making the world a better place, startup founders and commercial investors are happy with growing enterprises on the newly emerging markets, and the people are enjoying both the environmental improvements and the new consumption opportunities.
Such a fairy tale about the pinky unicorns, holy shit.
The true in this story is that a society is usually driven mostly by fears rather than by hopes. And fears itself are the great and most capital-intensive market. It seems obvious and a bit trivial, but in the perspective of Impact Investment framework looks rather curious.
For every human being it’s a personal choice — which fear to prefer most of all. You personally are more afraid of global warming, ISIS or nuclear war? Or zombie apocalypse? It’s a great, extremely wide and diverse and flexible market — market of fears.
So, it’s also obviously a very competitive market. If all the people start to worry about the robot uprising, who will care about the threat of totalitarian regimes? If the society will focus on the ecology problems, who will warn us about the stock market collapses? And what about the global terrorism or the income gap and inequality?
We, as Russia, are also well positioned on this market — as an awful Putin’s regime, which constantly tries to ruin the democracy and undermine the freedoms throughout the world. Sales had been rather moderate until the series of successful promo actions in last years. Now we can not worry at all: we have championed the constantly growing market demand and stable niche.
The question is: how to make extra money on it?
The Impact Investment approach teaches us, that it’s two different and separate processes: one is where you spend without any intention to return, and another is where you earn your revenues. Now the fact is that we just spend, but almost not gain. Profits are not ours: whoever enjoys it, from American arms manufacturers to Estonian and Georgian civil activists, from digital security industry giants to Kurdish guerrillas in Syria, we are not in share. That’s unfair.
So, the true goal of the future “national projects” (or venture strategies) of any kind is that one: how to convert our recent marketing achievements to the relevant sales? How to keep our positions on the global market of fears and to be in share in any enterprises which are directed to fight with them.
I am absolutely certain that the properly organized and equipped fighting with Terrible Putin’s Russia must and will be the one of our great hi-tech industries with big amounts of added value. No matter, will it be named “shared value” or “blended value” — we should be in share.