The age of digital technology has dramatically changed our lives through a single phenomenon of commerce – the internet. The secret to a thriving business economy and a sustainable world is to recognise the time for fundamental change and to be part of that change.

Among those at the forefront of this new approach are Béla Hatvany, the visionary and entrepreneur, founding father of and Jonathan McKay, Chairman of JustGiving, the fund-raising website. They make a stand for alternative approaches to reshape business and create sustainable growth that can work for everyone.

Béla Hatvany on serving the whole

Béla: ‘I now choose to do my little bit in enabling a world that works for everyone and encourage everyone to do their little bit to the same end.’ He adds: ‘We live in an illusion of our own making which we call a democracy which abuses others and insulates us from the effects of our abuse…. Rushing for short term profitability is a disease that is fundamentally the root cause of much of the destruction that is going on in the world today. Our culture is: competitive, combative, dominating, patriarchal… it is a culture that enables dominance and not collaboration. We have to change or cease to exist.’

A graduate of the Harvard Business School, Béla’s best kept secrets are his invention of various devices that have changed the world. His company developed the first touch screen with Henry Ng in the Eighties – now ubiquitously used in smart phones and tablets. He was the first to invent how to put data on CDs and DVDs. He is therefore well qualified to identify the challenges for businesses and how to reshape industry and society.

There are hundreds of organisations that are working for the common good…. My emphasis has been on serving all in a balanced way, as a first step. And each organisation must take time to do that. It needs time to find the implacable 

JustGiving transforms charitable giving

When JustGiving launched its charitable fundraising platform in 2001, to make ‘donating quicker, more efficient and easier’, it achieved something much smarter and more far-reaching than harnessing and branding a world-class, market leading technology for ‘good causes’, according to Jonathan McKay, Managing Director of JustGiving.

Jonathan: ‘JustGiving is a unique company that doesn’t obsess about sales targets – because of Béla’s thought, leadership and inspiration, he created a company true to his vision – giving us the space to think about what’s important.’

Jonathan highlighted how JustGiving transformed the collection and payment of the Gift Aid process which was a major breakthrough helping charities and good causes take advantage of the Government basic rate tax-back scheme. It had redesigned the inefficiencies of old style sponsorship by automating the process of giving and collecting money with a ‘simple click of a button’.

There are a massive number of causes out there and our challenge is to enable users to experience the “gift of giving” – people will give when asked – the magic is to make giving relevant so that raising money for charity is simple, social and rewarding.

The Vision – how to enable a world that works for everyone

Béla promoted a listening, serving the whole and grass-roots approach to enabling a world that works for everyone. He advocated moving away from macro to micro to a network of local communities and for individuals to take responsibility for life choices.

‘I now have learned that I need to be the change that I want to see in the world. So the leadership is knowing myself to be the cause, in my own life… and then being like a lighthouse standing in a stormy sea and enabling harmonised communities to come into being.’ Bela emphasised the key elements of this approach:

  • serving all the constituents in a balanced way;
  • being a listening and enquiry-driven organisation;
  • creating a team of implacable advocates;
  • managing by enquiry and not by authority;
  • ensuring excellent user experience;
  • being what we want to see in the world.


Photographs: Talia Smith

This is an edited version of a previously published article on Initiatives for Change.