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#27: Dr Christina Tewes-Gradl on The Rational Case For Inclusive Business

My guest today is Dr Christina Tewes-Gradl, founder and managing director of Endeva, which works with partners from all sectors to identify and implement innovative market-based solutions to poverty.

With over 13 years of experience in research and advising on sustainability, strategy and development issues, including a stint as a strategy consultant at McKinsey, and a PhD in inclusive business models, Christina is a thought leader, writer and regular speaker on inclusive business and related policies and ecosystems and has contributed to more than 20 publications.

Christina is a Research Fellow at the CSR Initiative of the Harvard Kennedy School, a Strategic Advisor to the UNDP Inclusive Market Initiative and a former Kofi Annan Fellow on Global Governance.

I spoke face-to-face with Christina in Delhi, India.

We talk about how she was inspired into action by the 9/11 disaster in New York whilst living there, particularly in terms of how everyone pulled together. It was this that got her interested in multi-stakeholder partnership working to achieve incredible things together. We talk about her decision to set own business up, before she having a business idea, but knowing that she wanted to work at the interface of innovation and poverty alleviation. We talk about her incredible luck (and the role of serendipity more generally) on being awarded lead authorship of UNDP report on ‘inclusive business’ just as she was starting her business, spoon feeding her an ideal first client. We talk about what she gets stuck on (not much these days), and about her interest in managing her way out of direct responsibility for the business through a transition to holacracy. We talk about her skepticism of trust, preferring instead to rely on alignment of rational incentives.

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