Companies today must balance ethics with profitability.

Jaiye Elias, Senior Marketing Manager
18 February 2020

In today's society where we're worried about screen time affecting our mental health and enterprise is working to deliver shareholder value, there is a heavy weight to bear as businesses are increasingly conscious of their impact on the world, trying to navigate between short term shareholder demands and longer term sustainability.

The choices we make (both large and small) as business people are crucial for a far wider community than just our financial stakeholders. When Google, a company founded over twenty years ago with the motto, ‘Don't be evil’, finds itself third on a list of the ‘most evil tech companies’ (behind Amazon and Facebook), something has gone wrong. There is, of course, a broader discussion about how important it is to be ethical — what is and what isn’t a company's purpose in this regard. Is there anyone that would argue that fundamentally ethical business practice is purely to the degradation of growth; as providing returns to shareholders will come at some cost to employees, stakeholders, communities or the environment?

There’s a lot to consider. So, with this context, Somo has partnered with the dynamic company, One Question to examine the question, ‘How do we design products for people and profit?’.

On the evening of Tuesday 25th February, we’ll tackle this single question from a range of different and new perspectives. At this event, called Somo asks One Question, you’ll hear from a carefully curated panel of experts from the worlds of social entrepreneurship, biomedical engineering, charitable giving, surgical medicine, global fan engagement and more as they debate their response to this question.

Register here to attend this event.

In discussion with Somo Chief Strategy Officer, Ross Sleight and founder of One Question, Sarah Parsonage, we welcome Lisa Hogg, former director from TOMS, the buy-one-give-one footwear company, empowered with a purpose of sustainability and with the unique perspective of being a B Corp. True outer-brain thinker, Matt Hart, the revered brand innovator best known for pioneering modern brand and fan Innovation for the BBC, American Idol and Spotify. Ben Ryan of Glaze Prosthetics, self-taught design engineer who built a very personal purpose-driven business in the biomedical field that provides prosthetic limbs to children (including his own son) — winning numerous national and international awards for technological excellence and innovation. James Scroggs from men’s mental health charity, CALM (Campaigning Against Living Miserably), a rare breed marketer, innovator and charitable/commercial strategist, consultant and brand incubator. Milan Bates, cardiothoracic surgeon with a thirty-year tenure within the NHS, a lead expert in medical robotics and the use of surgical robots. Craig Hepburn of UEFA (the governing body of European Football), a change agent who builds world-class teams that transform, innovate and disrupt legacy marketing models. Katie Vanneck-Smith, co-founder of Tortoise Media, set up Tortoise’s slow-journalism newsroom in 2018 after more than twenty years at News Corp. as president of Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal. Tortoise Media now boasts over 25,000 members in 50 countries and is turning breaking news journalism on its head.

You won't hear these opinions anywhere else.

We’d love you to be a part of the conversation: how can we design products that help people, that solve problems, that make a difference? As consumers, is corporate purpose as big a driver in how we spend our money as we would like to believe? It sounds simple in theory but how might a chief financial officer interpret this? Are these viable businesses? How do we balance the need for profit, or does a great product that answers these needs naturally become profitable? Is profit financial or is profit a wider impact on society or the environment?

Add your voice to the debate. Join these experts, brought together to start an urgent conversation about ethics, by registering to attend.

This is not your normal panel event of a row of panelists on stage talking amongst themselves. This is a live debate sparked by these guest speakers, where the opinions and views of everyone else in the room are heard too. The format is very dynamic and guests are invited to get involved.

It's going to be an occasion to debate this big topic and hear a range of different viewpoints that you wouldn’t normally have heard before. Get involved on Tuesday 25th February at ARBORETUM, London.

This is an invite-only event for executive leaders and senior product owners working across a variety of industries – from banking to travel, retail to automotive and many more.

Tickets are available from Eventbrite.

We hope to see you there.