‘Idealisation’ – A New Word with a BIG Meaning

Thank You WaterThere’s a new word to describe a wonderful movement that started here in Melbourne just five years ago which has been taking our country by storm. Idealisation – The Realisation of an Ideal through an Idea whose time has come. The cause that I speak of is Thankyou Water – until recently a little known social enterprise which is destined to have a global impact on the provision of safe water to those communities for whom safe drinking water, staple food and basic hygiene is a non-existent commodity. I know that the catch-phrase ‘Social Entrepreneurism’ has been bandied about to explain this new breed of thinking where ‘making a difference’ in the world goes well beyond just plain charity, but I believe that this new description of mine, “Idealisation,”  better describes the essence of what this amazing young team of social entrepreneurs is all about. Here’s a short history of their incredible journey so far…

Co-Founders Jarryd, Dan and Justine

Co-Founders Jarryd, Dan and Justine

To quote directly from their own material… “In 2008, Thankyou Water was started by a group of five university students, led by 19 year old Dan Flynn. He felt the urgency to help people in developing countries in South East Asia and Africa who don’t have access to safe water. What Dan discovered is that each year Australians spend $600 million on bottled water and yet, over 743 million people a year don’t have access to safe drinking water, resulting in the death of 2 million people (mainly children) and a day-to-day struggle to survive for those still alive. Thankyou Water exists to bring real change into the developing world…

Thankyou Water’s mission is to provide average Australians with a chance to help those in need, by a simple process of purchasing a bottle of Thankyou Water. For every bottle of Thankyou Water purchased, at least one months worth of safe water is provided to someone in need somewhere in the developing world.”

The way that Thankyou Water has its impact is not by means of charitable donations from you the public, but by competing as a social enterprise in the bottled water market to make as much profit as possible for the sole purpose of funding water projects in some of the worst affected areas of the world. The projects that 100% of Thankyou Water’s profits help to fund are all set up and managed by established NGO partners such as Oxfam; World Vision; Australian Red Cross and the like. These organisations have a proven track record in this area and Thankyou Water selects and audits them in the field on a project-by-project basis. In this way ‘TW’ can provide oversight for the allocation of their funds where they have the most direct impact, utilising the resources and expertise of those universally respected NGOs which have a long history of success in the field.

Thankyou Water's FoodThankyou Water have now extended that range to museli-based foodstuffs and a body-care range, and have specifically linked the two new product categories directly to emergency and long term food aid and hygiene education just as they did by linking bottled water sales to safe water projects. Already their efforts have changed the lives of 50,000 souls, but they are aiming for millions. I believe they’ll achieve that goal and by their example they will open the eyes of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs to what is now truly possible in our global village.

What makes Thankyou Water’s approach so unique is that they have developed an on-line method by which retail buyers of their water, food and body-care products will be able to track the positive impact their individual purchase is having via a specially created application called Track Your Impact’. This is achieved  via the unique product code allocated to each item which can be tracked right through to the specific project in a specific location in the world, with GPS coordinates and photographs provided – all within fingertip touch on their smart phone app. Now that’s what I call marrying ‘high touch’ relationships with ‘high tech’ innovation.

Water ProjectThe old model of supporting a far-flung community through charitable donations every month via the donor’s personal attachment to an individual child’s life story has just been upgraded to tracking on-line a single retail purchase to a specific impact on the ground in a specific corner of the developing world. Being a World Vision sponsor myself, I freely acknowledge that there is plenty of room for both forms of charitable and social entrepreneurial assistance in our society, but my profound belief is that Thankyou Water’s approach is heralding a new form of ‘idealisation’ that could well be the way of the future. What has brought this about is the vision of a handful of concerned and savvy Gen Y positive activists who intrinsically understand the value and the reach of Social Media combined with the technological ‘smarts’ of  today, and the courage and persistence to believe in their cause regardless of the insurmountable odds weighed against them in the start-up years.

I firmly believe that this masterful utilisation of Social Media combined with cutting edge web design and social media architecture has encapsulated the essence of today’s Gen Y approach to ‘changing the world’.

As a result of their ingenious Social Media campaign executed with military timing and a huge dose of irreverent and fun-filled ‘chutzpah,’ their world-changing bottled water and other staple items are now available for sale Australia-wide through 7-Eleven; Coles and Woolworths. It doesn’t get much bigger than that folks, and it’s all been achieved within five short years from the seed of an idea carried along on a wing and a prayer. Thankyou Water isn’t just an inspired vision any more, or even a sustainable social enterprise. It is developing into a full-blown movement with a just cause… and its followers are growing by the hour.

Here is their website -  www.thankyou.co . I urge you to check it out and spend more than just a few minutes trawling through their well crafted material and on-line creative genius. Once you have engaged with their site, I swear you will be hooked, and in the words of internet wunderkind Seth Godin, you’ll become another member of their ‘tribe.’

Needless to say, all of their YouTube Videos, of which there are many, are personable, informative and entertaining with high quality production values.

Here is just a brief taste of one of them. Do yourself a favour and click on it now… to follow their journey thus far.

This is the future today. As business owners and senior corporate executives, I want to ask you if Thankyou Water’s example has impacted on you as it did me? They once dreamed the impossible dream, but their dream is now a reality.

So what about your dreams?  What difference can you make in the world with all of the resources you have at your disposal?

They had none to begin with and still have very little to speak of today. But they are punching thousands of kilos above their weight.  I challenge you to do the same.  And if you feel you can’t, at least get on board and spread the word. I want my children and future grandchildren to inherit a world that I am proud to be associated with, and this is the type of example I want my children to be inspired by. What about you?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and your feedback on how you can help me spread the word. Drop me an email to brian@precisionprofiling.com.au if you would like to discuss further the amazing power of bringing this concept of “idealisation” to our workplaces, inspired by heart-centred leadership.

Until then… Let’s seek to understand more and judge less. Have a great week – Brian.

Precision Profiling – What Makes You Tick? Through ‘Motivational Fingerprinting’ we uncover what you do, how you do it and why you do it, and most importantly, the hidden patterns that lead to your success, and that of your team.

About Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the principal director of Precision Profiling®.

He is a renowned practitioner, writer and speaker on building total customer cultures; values driven leadership and world best practice strategy and implementation.

He has been a guest lecturer on world best practice for the executive management programme at Monash University’s business college (Mt Eliza campus); an adviser to and key note speaker for the Singapore Productivity Association and a consultant to many major Australian and overseas corporations and government departments.

Read more about Brian Clark Here

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