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AGENCY LEADERSHIP

Can SoDA Save the World?

Andreas Anderskou, Hello Monday

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On October 8th, the world's leading climate scientists (IPCC) published an important report. It concluded that we have 12 years to prevent a climate crisis. 12 years!

While SoDA and fellow industry peers may not be able to save the world, we have influential “arms” that reach far into the machinery of thousands of the biggest and most innovative organizations in the world. What they do and say affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. This means that we have a unique chance to leave our mark on this world for the better.

At Hello Monday, we built our own agency around specific F-values: Fun, Fortune, Fame, Forward. In retrospect, those were self-centered values, and the truth is that we felt a deeper sense of purpose when we added the last F: Footprint.

An important lesson we learned is that Fortune and Footprint are co-existing values. You don’t have to be a non-profit to do good. Bill and Melinda Gates are good examples of this. On the contrary, the more successful you are as an agency, the more you’re able to help. An additional benefit is that it’s a meaningful business driver.

Sometimes it’s the lawyer who can have a bigger impact than the activist literally chained to a tree, so long as he or she uses their skills for good. Likewise, fellow agencies have unique, creative and powerful skills, primed to make a huge impact.

When big companies ask for ideas and concepts, let’s make sure these ideas can make a positive change for as many people as possible.

When we are profitable, let’s reinvest some of it into projects that need but cannot afford our help.

When a client’s strategy has a negative impact in the world, let’s try to lead them back on a positive track.

When we look at our own portfolios, let’s do it through the lens of the UN Global Goals and see if our work is contributing to at least 1 of the 17 goals.

When sustainable clients approach us now, let’s remember that they will be “normal” clients—and therefore our bread and butter—in the future.

When we know that our employees are not excited about a potential project, let’s consider if it’s still worth taking on because it can finance a do-good project.

When we undertake creative experiments, let’s embark on some that make sense for the world too.

And then, when our kids ask us what we’re doing, we can say that we’re working towards making the world a better place.

Maybe it’s time to create a manifest for the digital industry?

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About the author: Andreas is one of the partners at Hello Monday. He’s interested in the impact of creativity and its ability to create a better world. He was born in small-town Denmark, went to a hippie school, and learned to dance the alphabet. Holds a Masters Degree in Anthropology and IT. Opened Hello Monday in New York in 2009.