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Laszlo Zsolnai

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Knut J. Ims and Laszlo Zsolnai

Chapter 10 by Knut J. Ims and Laszlo Zsolnai broadens the perspective on innovative organizations from Western countries to South America, Egypt, and India. In a critique of the so-called ‘devil’s doctrine’ and the ‘economic doctrine’, it presents and analyzes successful ‘social’ innovations that not only serve the interest of commercial markets but also advance social development: the Economy of Communion experiment, the SEKEM experiment and the Aravind Eye Care System experiment. All three innovations distinguish themselves by their particular inspiration, vision, means, and outcome and therefore challenge the worldwide recognized business model of the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ approach by C.K. Prahalad.

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Eleanor O’Higgins and Laszlo Zsolnai

One of the biggest problems of humankind today is the considerable ecological overshoot of its activities which transgresses planetary boundaries and results in serious and mostly irreversible ecological degradation. Based on the principle of responsibility developed by Hans Jonas, calling for actions that foster human life on our planet, the chapter discusses the roles and duties of business leadership in the age of the Anthropocene. We argue that the normative concept of Future Earth, namely, that human activities should serve the survival of life on Earth (including human, non-human, and future life) is central to a moral type of leadership orientation and focus. We maintain that a prime duty of responsible leadership today necessitates going beyond mainstream business practices by creating and implementing progressive business models. This chapter uses the cases of Unilever and Patagonia to illustrate how courageous business leaders with novel vision and moral imagination transform their business organizations to stabilize life conditions on Earth.