On the 27th of April, we had the honour of having Mette Kristine Oustrup, founder of Qi Global, to be present at Singapore Management University as our guest speaker.
Kristine started her life in Denmark. While she was young, she had always preferred to read magazines instead of doing homework. And since she was not good at following rules, she embarked on a journey to follow her passion.
Kristine introduced herself as an “egg”, white outside and yellow inside; despite her fair skin colour, her heart belongs to Asia. Which is why she is now settled in Singapore. She mentioned that in a crisis, a person would not behave in, or think, the usual way. Instead, it would spur out-of-the-box thinking. That leads to the founding of Qi Global – Human Progress in Harmony with Nature.
Kristine believes that by putting people with different backgrounds together at a round table, we can create a better society, to make the world a better place through the diverse concoction of brilliant ideas.
We were introduced to the Qi ecosystem, which explains how Qi Global plays a part in integrating great new ideas by individual innovators, together with business industry leaders, that have the ability to make huge impact, to form “Impact Projects” that can benefit the world.
Kristine shared with us some examples of sustainable businesses which are commendable.
We were told the story of how wooden radios found their way to Germany as exclusive art pieces made by Singgih Kartono. A man not driven by money, Singgih had chose to stay back in his humble village in Java to provide jobs for his fellow villagers to revive life in the village again.
A soon to be unveiled “Rainforest Cuisine” menu, that is to be invented by one of the top chefs, Kristine hopes to set a new trend to target the upscale market in raising funds to benefit wildlife and rainforest conservation initiatives.
An interesting fundraiser project to wear the same dress for 365 days was demonstrated by Sheena Matheiken; on how fashion as a medium can promote sustainability and social responsibility to consumers. Through the viral marketing spread by the online community, it wasn’t long before orders for the dress, that can be worn today and yet re-invented to look different tomorrow, started streaming in. Being inclusive is the new age marketing, exclusivity is out.
An Escama bag was showcased to the class. The bag made out of 500 ring pulls from recycled aluminum cans by a women’s cooperative in Brazil may be the next “in” thing. Society is already questioning status – the rich are seeking for meaning rather than money these days. Plans are already on the way for one of the major fashion industry leaders to offer eco-friendly products while engaging fair trade.
Something we never realised; for every truckload of product made, 32 truckloads of waste are produced. Singh Intrachooto saw that this phenomenon wasn’t going to make the earth a better place. From an architect to a producer of eco-friendly furniture, he has certainly created more value, using cradle-to-cradle designs that reduce dumping grounds and turn waste into money.
I had always questioned how social enterprises make profits. Some of my doubts were answered when Kristine illustrated the sustainable businesses happening around the world.
The talk had truly opened our minds. And I hope she would still be one of the guest speakers for the next upcoming batch of BSM students in time to come as well.