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The Good Side of Bad

There are some who believe that a company that makes a dangerous and addictive product cannot be responsible. We believe that responsibility is defined not only by the products a company makes, but also by the actions it takes. – Philip Morris USA

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Written by DeletedUser

Let’s admit it. Our ideal heroes focus around the great, the mighty, the perfect and flawless. At times we go for the underdog – but still, the underdog who will evolve into greatness overtime. Our normal tendency is to judge the best and great from the list of good, nice and angelic ones only, and we are quick to judge the “not the usual norm” as bad. But, can we stop for a while and listen to what the other side offers?

I am not a smoker, no pro-smoking, but the website of Philip Morris captured my attention. Their whole approach to corporate responsibility is commendable. They are fully aware of their products negative effects, but still they pursue efforts to sustain and help the farmers, suppliers, community, stakeholders, and customers (up to helping customers quit). In the economy, they also provide their share in taxes to help the government raise revenues. These are noble acts from a different “Robinhood.”  You may check their website for more details. (http://www.philipmorrisusa.com/en/cms/Responsibility/Our_Approach_to_Responsibility/default.aspx?src=top_nav)

Again, I am not saying we patronize smoking or other things perceived or actually bad, what I am only saying is that, we will be able to appreciate more the positives if we also understand the negatives. If everything is beautiful and nice, one day we may no longer understand the meaning of beautiful and nice as it becomes a common thing – and negligible. So, to identify and celebrate businesses that innovate for world benefit, why not look on the two sides of the coin before making decision?

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Photo of Ashley Jablow

Really interesting provocation Cherry, thanks for raising these questions. I know Philip Morris isn't my favorite company, but I like how you've put it: two sides of every coin. I'll be curious to hear what the community thinks.

It also reminds me of something that David Cooperrider from the Fowler Center (our challenge sponsor) said in our recent Q&A interview with him ( http://bit.ly/SKqHSH ): that no organization is perfect, but that we're looking for 'near-perfect innovations' that make our world better. To probe on the Philip Morris example – they may not be a perfect organization, but perhaps they are working toward being innovative in particular ways that we can learn from and be inspired by?