Here at Mary Olson Brand Intelligence, we are privileged to work with remarkable companies that strive to reduce suffering, improve life, and make the world stronger and better, every day. Sometimes, our work addresses crises that impact the general population. For one company, we just completed and launched a video about containing the Zika virus—and we’re thrilled to tell you about it.
The video suggests a new operational solution for the Zika virus. It raises global public awareness—and lowers the sense of overwhelming mystery surrounding this outbreak. Real case studies exist for controlling the two responsible mosquito species (pictured below)—but few people know about them. We wanted to spread the word to health officials, the media, and the concerned public.
Let me back up. 60 years ago, 2/3 of the world’s population lived in rural areas. By 2050, 2/3 will be living in cities. That’s a dramatic shift involving billions of people—and the rapid growth of these urban environments create fertile breeding grounds for mosquitoes. While Zika is just the latest in a long line of devastating mosquito-borne illnesses, today’s dense cities make it even easier for the virus to spread.
But the world has seen illness like this before. It’s experienced Dengue fever—and overcome it by direct application to the carries where they breed. These culprits are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus and are the very same mosquitoes that carry Zika. They can be conquered, too.
The video conveys a sense of drama—weaving a relatable storyline into this most serious issue. It provides a solid foundation for understanding the mosquitoes, the illness they carry, and the techniques that worked so well in Asia and Africa. Our clients know their subject matter well—and we gave it the best story arc we could.
If you are concerned about the global spread of the Zika virus and want to help dramatically limit the transmission, please forward this link to your elected representative or public health official:
Multilingual, multi-cultural builder of international brands, Jorge Gotuzzo has digitally transformed Pace International—and offers his insights to avert the food crises in 2050.
A thought leader and innovator, our colleague, Jorge Gotuzzo embraces technology in an industry that’s been slow to digitize: produce. He’s traveled extensively, lived in multiple countries, and managed diverse food-related brands around the globe, always focused on sustainability and shared responsibility. Since 2014, he has been applying his skills as Global Marketing Director at Pace International, the world’s leader in post-harvest produce solutions, in order to do his part to help prevent a global food shortage.
Pace International is a subsidiary of Valent BioSciences Corporation (of Sumitomo Chemical Company) and the leading provider of postharvest solutions for produce, Pace International works to improve the quality of fruits and vegetables through innovative solutions and services.
I recently connected with Jorge to discuss food production in today’s world, and how we can avoid world hunger in 2050.
You’ve said that the world is in danger of running out of food, and I believe you, since you understand today’s food production systems better than anyone I know. I wanted to dive into root causes.
For example, we Americans have been conditioned to select fruits and vegetables that appear cosmetically perfect. How might that impact us in the decades to come?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), when you measure all produce from harvest to consumer usage, more than 45% of all fruits and vegetables go unused. That is almost half our global production!
7 billion people are alive today. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 9 billion. The question isn’t just how we produce more food to feed the growing population, but how we reduce overall waste. The looming crisis requires both food production innovations and changes in consumer behavior.
We must do much better. Imagine if the discarded product can get distributed to food programs in poor communities, rather than going straight to landfill? Imagine replacing processed snacks at schools with healthy and nutritious food, made from fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown out. Just these things alone would be game changing.
Earthquake devastation in Haiti. Alltech 2010
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It was devastated by a 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 160,000 and displaced 1.6 million people.
At the time, you were with Alltech—and living in Port-au-Prince. For a decade, you managed marketing initiatives in dairy, beef, and aquaculture on behalf of this global biotech company working to boost the health of plants and animals using nature and science.
After the earthquake, you led the Sustainable Haiti Project, and Alltech adopted a small school. What can you tell us about your experience there? How did the widespread devastation affect your views on humanity, corporate philanthropy, and the need for sustainability?
Gotuzzo, speaking of his mission in founding the Sustainable Haiti Project.
While at Alltech, I was able to spend three months working with Haitian children and helped develop a sustainable coffee project. After the earthquake, Alltech adopted a small school to resume education—in spite of the widespread devastation. All of these experiences were life altering for me.
At that time, the company was the title sponsor of the World Equestrian Games (WEG2010) and our dream was to put together a children’s choir and to bring it to the U.S. for the opening ceremony performance. We wanted to show Haiti to the world through these beautiful little voices—and raise awareness about the recovery efforts.
Three months later, in time for start of the games, I found myself in Lexington, Kentucky with 26 children, two teachers, and one Catholic nun. That experience changed my life forever and helped me understand how lucky we are and how grateful we should be every day we’re alive.
That’s beautiful, and very inspiring.
Data allows us to listen, engage, communicate, and act faster—and with greater accuracy. But the food industry’s been slow to adopt it—and embrace the digital advances available today.
You recently led a holistic online rebranding effort—and introduced an innovative digital product catalog that stands out as a “first” among all Sumitomo Chemical companies. How did you help Pace International break the mold of slow adoption?
Culturally, Pace International is all about innovation and technology. We are always looking for new ways of supporting our customers, their consumers, and the industry overall.
But there was a disconnect between our digital efforts and the day-to-day business. The digital experience we offered the customer was falling behind—and causing the company as a whole to miss out on our best opportunity to engage. To stay current, we had to step up our game and create a digital face-lift. We committed to this—and elevated the entire brand experience.
I enjoy operating in an ever-increasing complex digital realm. I look forward to putting my energies toward innovations that sustain the world and meet people’s needs. It’s a win for me, a win for my company, and a win for society. I hope.
Feel free to connect with Mary Olson or Jorge Gotuzzo for further information.
Harish Pant is a business visionary with a fascinating—and unusual—spiritual outlook. A thought leader, columnist, and public speaker, his worldview makes him a global treasure. Millions agree: Harish is among the Top 1% most followed connections in LinkedIn.
Among his other accolades: aerospace, automotive and steel executive; poet; founding member of Make-in-India National Committee (MINCO); distinguished alumna and fellow of Institution of Engineers (FIE); member of the Advisory Committee AIMA Bangalore; council member of the Indian Institution of Industrial Engineers (IIIE); member of the Aeronautical Society of India and SAE; member of the LASSIB Society; recipient of Immai Operational Excellence Award and the Mother Teresa Excellence Award and Award for Industrial Development; corporate member of the Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies, UK Trade and Investment and Executive Board of Indian Society for Advancement of Materials.
I recently asked Harish about transcending today’s world of digitally driven accelerated growth models versus creating steady, sustainable business value. His insights were transformative.
MARY OLSON: Harish, your poetry is illuminating. It is unusual that a business executive produces such vibrant clarity of thought to transcend business-speak into something universal and unforgettable.
HARISH PANT: We are human beings, personal beings, social beings and professional beings.
Without human values, all the riches of the world come to naught! As humans, we are endowed with a unique consciousness, which can flow to merge with super-consciousness, or make us aware of our intellectual, emotional, and physical beings.
The personal realm is “Me,” the microcosmic world where we play. It encompasses the immediate vicinity of your life envelope time and space.
The social milieu is “We” and Us”. It’s broader: say, your extended family. Imagine expanding that to your country, and even to all of Planet Earth.
Finally, there’s your professional world, where skills, capabilities and work give you an opportunity to create value for yourself and others. In exchange, this world provides an opportunity to engage others to create value for you!
At times, we float with curiosity and creativity and in another, we cling to our existential being—especially when life becomes challenging. In our most vibrant being, our soul, we experience life’s true amplitude!
“Soul” manifests through the eyes and ears of consciousness. A resonance creates a sound, leading to words and thoughts, which in turn may find expression in the form of a poem. That’s the natural way a poet can shine through.
At every level of human existence, we find people who rise in their evolutionary journeys and also have the grit and tenacity to transform themselves and others. We have potential to transcend, or levitate from one level to another. Notes of all four beings—the human, personal, social and professional—can produce a blissful life’s lyrics, once imbued in self awareness, without tradeoffs whatsoever!
Curiosity and learning pursuits have ushered me to many molding processes, helped gain wisdom in enlightening events and also connected me to wonderful people around the world. Life lessons and challenges have led me to be “Poetic” at times and an Astute professional in others.
NOAA Colorized Satellite Map of India
MARY OLSON: You are India’s thought leader inasmuch as you write about reinventing India’s supply chain, the cloud, and GST for a changing world. What is the state of business in India today, and how do you envision the future of business there?
HARISH PANT: India has barely 2.4% of land area but hosts 17.84% of the world’s population, securing third place in the world’s economy (based on PPP) and seventh place (based on nominal GDP). Multi-faceted in every way imaginable, and rooted in ancient cultures, our diversity and unique demographic makes for a bizarre concoction of humanity.
The economy pouring out of this hotpot puts everything to the test: if you can carry it out here, you can take it anywhere! A critical geopolitical position and vast coastline offer a unique payout for every world economic player, making us a phenomenal trade center for the world.
The world of “Nothingness” and the world of “Everything” coexist in India and these two world forces make any linear move both revolving and rotational. The value proposition in India has to either pass through the grail of “Nothingness” (Value for Money) or “Everything” (Aspirational). With advent of right technology and it’s maturation, evolution explodes when these worlds meet (Aspiration x Value for Money), and growth becomes exponential.
Further complicating the landscape are socio-economic factors like corruption, money laundering, and economic disparity etc., to name a few which will dissipate with a holistic growth framework of services consisting of product and services, ecosystem services, and social services.
The world’s economy reveals its “stretched-borrowed” capital and abusive timelines. We experience over-consumption and related macroeconomic problems; and including sustainability, global warming, terrorism and the nuisance of power games and military might. All are looking towards India to partner for business growth.
DY Photography 2015
In the above context, the country’s position is notably unmatched. Some unusual contrasts promote it as a desirable multi-national partner. To name a few:
It wants to lead the world—but not by might. For example, it remains devoid of territorial or military ambitions.
It aspires to be an economic superpower, but does not have a political or societal mandate for an unchecked, single-minded pursuit, like, say, China.
It has deep-rooted religious and social moorings, stemming from ancient wisdoms. It also has the bandwidth to absorb its many religions and cultures into “One India.”
It aspires for Everything material, but finds peace in the immaterial.
Now, with this positioning, India is at an inflection point on the world stage. Although the global economy struggles, India’s growth potential remains consistently immense.
Digitization, IT, and telecommunication will unleash more innovation, entrepreneurship, and expansion in India in the coming years. E-commerce, GST rollout, and infrastructure development will also help eliminate meddling, for disruptive changes in supply chain management.
India does not have any choice but to leapfrog from “Nowhere” to the center of the world stage, where new games and new rules will be written by new world players.
Falling oil prices, an impetus on solar energy, innovative mobility solutions, better infrastructure and connected smart cities and villages would certainly help in dramatically reducing the import bill and help India with much-needed funds and time to reorient itself on a development path. New economic structure sprouting out of startup, skill development and similar government initiatives bode well for the growth of the nation.
While the strategic investment in defense and aerospace would mark India in the top three, Make-in-India’s drive would have India competing with China. Alternative medicine, life wellness through yoga, social enterprises and education would provide low-cost life support while other growth areas like agriculture and associated industries would provide sustenance.
India is having its moment ripe for world engagement, but with approaches that will create a new world order.
MARY OLSON: You write about business excellence, curiosity, creativity and commitment in an ever-changing volatile world.
With rare exception, every traditional business has been digitally disrupted by what most of us now call the digital economy.
Douglas Rushkoff writes that business disruption is not the “fault” of digital technology. It is the fault of a digitally charged business model that stresses efficiency and corporate growth at the expense of the human beings they should be serving. Somehow, growth has become an end in itself, with human beings its impediments.
If you could change the rules of business today and mobilize everybody you know, how would you implore your colleagues to create ongoing value for owners, employees, and customers? Or, rather than living and dying by business growth rates, how can business value be made truly sustainable?
HARISH PANT: Every human evolution necessitates even greater value and commitment. Now, even a small act has far-reaching implications. We see the travesty of:
Relentless greed that cannot be checked by high taxation and mandated Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives.
The possession of discretionary funds creates many personal, social and health problems.
The principle of “might is right” does not bring peace, or solve world’s problems.
That it’s “not my problem” is a problem! We live in an integrated world.
The ever-expanding gap between scarcity and abundance, resulting from advancing technology, has created an uncertain, volatile, chaotic and ambiguous world. We want to truncate the world, abstracting value to make money—and keep feeding relentless human desires.
As the world (and humanity) matures, we are creating and expanding many economic, social, technological and personal platforms that connect the whole world. It’s time we integrate ourselves: not through a single currency of money—but a green currency of ecosystem services and a currency of social services. Donations and philanthropy cannot solve the world’s problems! Attitudes have to change. Also, government and business need to stop working with contrary and disjointed sets of objectives.
Each economic act has to create wealth in all three of these currencies, and one cannot be earned at the expense of the other. For example, if there is a massive job redundancy due to digitization, then the organization should be required to provide for social impacts, and prove its business sustainable. The point isn’t to create a socialistic society. Instead, human evolution demands a wholesome approach than the singular pursuit of greed. To be able to refrain from creating hell on earth is not enough, we need to structure it anew for generating a holistic wealth positively impacting economy, society and our ecosystem.
We must dramatically change the rule of the game, adopting a circle of human values that can provide endless opportunity to contribute and make the world better. For example, we can invite main stakeholders to be share holders in an enterprise through a new equity structure framework and a minimum debt is financed through green commitment towards ecosystem services and social good.
Welcome to the new world order where the wealth of all three currencies would rule… not money alone!
The next technological challenge is to create an algorithm that relates money, green, and social good, or alternatively take a few best ancient religious books and follows a common wisdom. Or, it can be to be simply human!
What’s your choice?! Let’s pause to understand consequences of our choices and actions not only rationally but relationally as well.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu texts such as the Maha Upanishad, which means “The world is one family”.
The World is One Family
One is a relative, the other stranger,
say the small minded.
The entire world is a family,
live the magnanimous.
lift up your mind, enjoy
the fruit of Brahmanic freedom.
—This verse of Maha Upanishad is engraved in the entrance hall of the Parliament of India. 6.71-75
“Our creations must take people to that wordless world which is the real essence on which the small physical world floats!”
Feel free to connect with Mary Olson or Harish Pant for further information.
My new interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, well-being and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game-changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.
Profile: Ellen Maidman-Tanner is the executive vice president of member relations, focusing on issues of quality and service excellence for PinnacleCare’s members. Ms. Maidman-Tanner inspires efforts designed to support the company’s mission – to exceed member’s expectations and do everything possible to ensure their optimal health and promote good healthcare experiences.
Prior to joining PinnacleCare in 2004, she served for several decades as a marketing and strategic planning executive within a variety of industries, including consumer goods and the legal profession. When she moved to the Washington, DC area from Toronto in 1990, she undertook work in the non-profit arena, including work for: the Canadian Embassy; a homeless shelter; Financial Executives International, a professional association; and, just before coming to PinnacleCare, Ms. Maidman-Tanner helped found the national Organization for Autism Research (OAR), which funds applied research studies.
Ellen embodies a sense of personal integrity and radiates energy, vitality and will. Clarity is one of her most powerful attributes. She has a fabulous sense of humor. She’s a great listener and conversationalist and has a genuinely caring humanity. She is a thinker, writer and artist. She has evolved a model for building trust and deeply valued relationships in the health advocacy industry.
Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your experience?
Ellen Maidman-Tanner: Over time, I have come to appreciate the value of common sense, compassion and remaining true to objectives. There is a huge place in business for speaking from the heart. No matter what we are trying to accomplish, we are typically working with other humans, and it is a respect for the common experiences and feelings we all share that can help us achieve our goals in a more efficient and harmonious manner. That is something I strive for on a daily basis.
Mary Olson: How do you see the way the world is emerging?
Ellen Maidman-Tanner: Obviously, our amazing and recent interconnectivity is changing the way we view ourselves. Are there really more wars, super storms and epidemics than there were before, or are we simply more aware of them? I am concerned by the rise of fundamentalist tribalism, the degradation of our planet, and the seeming loss of the moral compass previously the result of the better side of our religious practices. My hope for us as a species lies primarily in reason, education and the tremendous discoveries delivered every day by science.
Mary Olson: Ellen, what do you think about as you look forward?
Ellen Maidman-Tanner: The adoption of new discoveries toward the betterment of people. This is something we all do each day at PinnacleCare, by helping people access great medical care. It is something blossoming all around us. At a very rudimentary level, you see the plastic bottle light bulb invention, while at the upper end you see nanotechnology being adapted for disease interventions, and the creation of solar roadways. Overall, I am an optimist, a ‘possibilist’.
Mary Olson: What else would you like others to know about you?
Ellen Maidman-Tanner: Intuition, spirituality and creativity are important to me. We are all stewards of our lives. We all share the same biology. I find the challenge of the transitory nature of our existence fascinating. As Matthiessen said, “The gap between what I know and what I am.”