Generating Systemic Wealth — Part 15: Generating Wealth for Communities

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Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

Communities invest in their unique identity, culture, and landscape. This investment draws from the talent and resources of its people and natural systems. Community members seek to be a part of a great place, where they can belong, participate fully, and feel like they matter — in governance, culture creation and economic ventures.

Communities expect a return in the form of increasing opportunities for members to live up to their own potential, in a way that is consistent with and contributes to what makes a place good to live in. Communities charter their institutions — governmental, business, educational, and civic — to collaborate in designing structures, systems and processes that will promote the health and wealth of all. They hope for visionary leaders who can reconcile conflicting forces and ensure a vital, viable, and enduring society. They aspire to elevate the principles by which society lives and governs itself.

The wealth generating capacity of communities is grown through partnering with place. This requires developing systems thinking capabilities throughout the community and applying them to evolving the potential of place. (This is a powerful role that a Responsible Corporation can play in a community.) When economic development has its roots in the native soil of place, and economic activity serves to enrich that native soil, then communities have the basis for an enduring and meaningful life.


True wealth generation is a systemic effect, and it requires engagement and development of a whole system. Investors cannot gain the durable value they seek from an industry that caves in on itself every other decade. Enduring companies need strong and vibrant relationships with their community of stakeholders. Communities could play a role in building that relationship by developing their own social responsibility report for business effects. At the same time, communities cannot achieve economic and cultural uniqueness without seeing themselves as special cases of natural systems — their identity and vocation are bound together inextricably with those of the earth.

Human communities and activities have become such a powerful influence on the planet that Earth cannot sustain her evolutionary work without our intelligent cooperation. Earth counts on co-creators to engage in way that are reciprocal, making people and planet healthier in the process.

Without being called on by customers, the co-creators have no meaningful role to carry out. A recession hits the pocket book, but it hits the spirit harder. Creating measurable wealth requires someone with a need, hope, dream, or aspiration that can only be fulfilled with the help of others. An ability to add value to those life events is what sets business into motion. How well it adds to these events are the measure of how well it is a true wealth-generator.

About Carol Sanford

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Carol Sanford is a regenerative business educator, the award winning author of The Regenerative Business: Redesign Work, Cultivate Human Potential, Achieve Extraordinary Outcomes, and executive in residence and senior fellow in social innovation at Babson College. She has worked with fortune 500 executives and rock star entrepreneurs for 40 years, helping them to innovate and grow their businesses by growing their people. Learn more about Carol and her work at her website.

Sr Fellow Social Innovation, Babson | Best Selling/Multi-Award Winning Author | Regenerative Paradigm Educator

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