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Umair Haque

“TOP5LEARNING has reviewed dozens of global and regional thought leaders to help understand changes in key knowledge domains. Our database is updated continuously based on feedback from clients as well as our research into key publications, conferences and trends. One such thought leader is listed below.”
The economic booms of the past 50 years have generated great wealth for some and moved many out of poverty, but they have also created pollution, environmental loss and social unrest. A number of leading thinkers have called into question the basic capitalist model. Although globalization has created unprecedented economic growth – the basic framework of better, faster and cheaper is not viewed as sustainable for most countries and perhaps not for planet earth.
Umair Haque is a best selling author and Director of Havas Media lab. The Lab was created to create collaborative experiments with investors, companies and entrepreneurs to develop new ways of reaching customers through digital channels. The Lab is part of Havas Media Group, which includes several companies aligned to brand development, marketing, network management, content creation and social media. The concept is to rethink a company brand around ways to create real and lasting value with social good.
Umair is also founder of Bubblegeneration, a consulting firm specializing in strategic innovation. He studies “the impact that new technologies, management innovations, and shifting consumer preferences” have on society. Umair has argued for a new economic reality. He says the 19th century was characterized by functional economies, the 20th century by an aspirational economy and the 21st century will be characterized by the “meaningful” economy. The goal of business is to “help people in their quest for significance.” He calls this economy “Eudaimonia” which is a Greek term for “a meaningful life.” Umair is a noted pubic speaker and famous for his quotes about how we can “re-imagine” better ways to do business.
  • “The future of strategy isn’t about perfect — it’s about better. “Umair Haque - December 15, 2009
  • “Here’s 21st century strategy, summarized in four words: minimize evil, maximize good.” Umair Haque - December 15, 2009
  • “Strategy is about building an institution that can compete. Competitiveness isn’t merely short-term profitability. It is about all the things that underlie lasting, healthy prosperity. It means having not just a “vision statement” but a passion. Not just a mission but a point. It’s about doing something that matters.” October 6, 2004
Umair’s basic argument for change was captured in his 2011 book, The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. In it he suggests that we have to change the model of business thinking characterized by “short-term growth, competition at all costs, adversarial strategy, and pushing costs onto future generations.” It’s no surprise that the introduction is written by Gary Hamel, who has long argued for a change in management behavior.
Umair believes that in order to create a new type of business model, we must fundamentally change our beliefs about business. For example:
  • The purpose of business is not just to make money, but to improve the human condition in efficient ways.
  • Business leaders and boards must abandon the idea of short-term value creation and focus both performance and measurements on long-term value creation.
  • Customers care as much about how a product was produced and its impact on society as they do its quality and cost.
  • Human resources are not just assets, but human beings!
In his latest book “Betterness: Economics for Humans” he continues the argument about economic change by suggesting that we need to rethink the idea of “Human Exchange.” That involves changing our idea of economics so it is less focused on narrow definitions of value (e.g., stock appreciation, rise in GDP) and more about – are we better off as a society? Will the world be a better place in the future?
Although the reader may feel that some of Umair’s ideas are difficult to connect to everyday work life, he is a thought leader worth watching. His ideas and others related to social impact, sustainability and the “meaningful economy” will have a direct impact on business models, regulations and innovation for decades to come.


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