Strategies that change the world: Grameen Bank

Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries. Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea. From modest beginnings three decades ago, Yunus has, first and foremost through Grameen Bank, developed micro-credit into an ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty. Grameen Bank has been a source of ideas and models for the many institutions in the field of micro-credit that have sprung up around the world.

Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.

Micro-credit has proved to be an important liberating force in societies where women in particular have to struggle against repressive social and economic conditions. Economic growth and political democracy can not achieve their full potential unless the female half of humanity participates on an equal footing with the male.

Yunus’s long-term vision is to eliminate poverty in the world. That vision can not be realised by means of micro-credit alone. But Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that, in the continuing efforts to achieve it, micro-credit must play a major part.”

I’m interested in people who have strategies to change the world? Often these people go unnoticed for many years. I’d like to notice them. Who do you know who is changing the world?

Source: press release for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

Read more about the Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus.

Swimming with the sharks

Swimming with sharksStrategy is about gaining a unique position.


Often strategy is mistakenly focused on the next steps that are needed such as “open new markets”, “expand into China” or “build a strong brand”. These are objectives and are only part of the strategy rather than the strategy itself.

A simple test for your strategy is, does my strategy describe how I/we become unique or maintain our unique position?

Examples of great descriptions of strategies for businesses are, ‘the only Hong Kong wine merchants of Chilean wine*’ or ‘the largest art auctioneers in the Czech Republic’.

Examples of great descriptions of personal strategy are, ‘the most prolific adventure sports writer’ or ‘the first African in space’.

The way to check your strategy is to ask if you are the only one in the world who has your strategy. If not, then what’s the point? You’re swimming with the sharks and climbing into water where there is probably already a feeding frenzy. You may as well go and work for the other guy who has your strategy already.

Marty Neumeier best describes having a unique strategy in his book Zag (when everyone else is zigging you need to zag).  W.Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne take a more academic approach in Blue Ocean Strategy. You’ll find a short video summary of the book on the Incredible Strategies page.

* When your strategy gets copied this position will move to ‘The first Hong Kong wine merchants…’

Photo: Source Mike Berceanu Photographs Sharks