Discovering Purpose Around the World

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Jacqui Hocking co-founded Gone Adventurin, a certified B Corporation that helps companies use the power of business to solve the world’s problems. Now, as the Executive Director of the Singapore Eco Film Festival, she tells us why companies should be in line with the UN Global Goals and how they can embrace technology and social innovation.

By Lee Ying Ying

“Discovering gratitude is one of the most important lessons we will learn in life.”

Jacqui’s ambition was to travel the world like Sir David Attenborough did. She kept to her ambition and has ventured around the globe as an adventurer and filmmaker while living up to her purpose in life: to inspire world leaders and make positive impacts.

Even after sailing on a UN Expedition to acquire global solutions for climate change, handling carbon offset projects in the Amazon Rainforest and Iguanas on the Galapagos Islands, Jacqui’s drive to help companies integrate the UN Global Goals into their businesses is far from depleted.

“Too many people think it is impossible to solve world problems. After travelling around the globe, I knew we already had the solutions. We just need to find a way to scale up these ideas,” she says.

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development are to achieve three things by 2030: end poverty, combat climate change, fight injustice and inequality. After her recent departure from Gone Adventurin, Jacqui continued to initiate the Singapore Eco Film Festival in a bid to bring environmental organisations together for a worthy cause.

Jacqui: It means helping others while loving yourself and what you do. I always knew I wanted to do something meaningful with my life, help others realise the opportunities they have to make a difference. I’ve always pushed people outside their comfort zones.

Growing up, I always felt incredibly lucky to be born in a wealthy country, thanks to my grandfather. In my opinion, discovering gratitude is one of the most important lessons we will learn in life.

J: I just knew it was important to help corporate professionals discover a greater purpose than simply making profits. Businesses are made up of people like you and me. I think the problem is that people think of companies as machines when they are not.

The UN Global Goals are not just about business. They are about governments, the private sectors, and people like us. It is the responsibility of every employee to make a difference. All of us need to work together to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that prosperity exists for all. We can start by checking out the UN’s list of actions to take.

J: We need to embrace learning as a constant state of being and rethink the way we educate our society.

I don’t think we should start or end school, and I definitely don’t believe in retirement. I wish I could see more age diversity, like having older people in the workforce.

We could design new models of education that are integrated into our lifestyles. It is already happening. Cafes are turning into libraries, and offices are accessible via virtual reality streams. We just need to allocate more time for learning throughout our lives.

This way, we will be constantly aware of our own evolution. We can then create jobs that the world needs, not just for the sake of following past generations.

“Businesses are made up of people like you and me. I think the problem is that people think of companies as machines when they are not.

J: Everyone is frightened of things we don’t understand. Like race, religion, culture and technology. These differences will often be scary, until we travel and realise that all humans are fundamentally similar.

To truly embrace something different from what we know, we need to experience it. We must immerse ourselves in technology. Companies that pretend to innovate will ultimately fail. Use technology. Embrace it. True leaders are the ones who aren’t afraid to learn.

J: From personal experience, women are naturally more inclined towards social innovation than men are, but we need both women and men to work towards sustainable development around the world.

The best way is to step outside of our comfort zones and learn more about the challenges we are trying to solve.  

For instance, how can a wealthy person from Nairobi understand the constraints of a struggling family in Kakamega? We really need to keep an open mind and look at existing solutions before starting anything.

My dream is to get more people to collaborate on solutions we already have. A representative from World Vision’s P3 Incubation Hub told me about combinatorial innovation. I truly believe this is key.

So let’s forget the silos created within businesses and society. Let’s not build our own networks to solve problems affecting everyone sharing this planet. Let’s create and use open-source resources like www.EWEC-Asia.com, a database for women. These connections formed with those around you can actually cultivate the best solutions.

Images by Jacqui Hocking

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