can you become a social entrepreneur?
••Samstag•, den 30. •April• 2011 um 00:00 Uhr•

thanks to the author david for allowing us to post this excerpt from his book:

Social Entrepreneurship 3.0 (today) looks beyond individual founders and institutions to the change-making potential of all  people and their interactions. It recognizes that social entrepreneurship is contagious.

Every Person who starts a social change organization emboldens others to pursue their  ideas and solutions, whether by building institutions or by strenghtening existing solutions through their investing, philanthrophy, managing, advocacy, research, teaching, policy making, computer programming, purchasing, writing, and so forth.

Social entrepreneurs initiate and lead change processes that are self-correcting, growth-oriented, and impact-focused. They create new configurations of people and coordinate their efforts to attack problems more successfully than before. It´s a complex role that involves a great deal of listening, recruiting, and persuading. It takes a curious combination of sensitivity and bullheadedness, humility and audacity, and restlessness and patience to lead a change process in the face of indifference, habit, fear, resource constraints, vested interest, and institutional defenses. The job can be boiled down to one essential function: the social entrepreneur helps others to envision a new possibility, appreciate its meaning, and recognize how it can be broken down into doable steps that build momentum for a change.

Psychologists note that entrepreneurs score high on the quality "inner locus of control". They locate power within, rather than outside, themselves. If they don´t have the skills to solve a problem, they believe they can acquire them by experimenting, by observing experts, or by getting help from others. When things go wrong, they want to know primarily what happened - and what needs to be fixed, not whom to blame. They don´t take failure as an indication of personal inadequacy but as an indication of a gap in their understanding, something that can be redeemed with more effort.

This points to a central insight of social entrepreneurship: institutions on the receiving end of pressure are frequently at a loss about how to respond to demands for change. For example, environmental activists often assume that corporate executives know how to modify their business practices and remain profitable. But in the face of new environmental and global economic pressures, many business leaders are bewildered and defensive. To get them to break with the past, it´s not enough to condemn them or boycott their companies. We must show them how to build the future. We must advise oder compete with them.

Jeffrey Hollender, the founder of Seventh Generation, a $100 million manufacturer that pioneered green household cleaning products,  served as an unpaid advisor to Wal-Mart to help the massive retailer shift to environmentally sustainable products. In doing so, Hollender encouraged the world´s biggest corporation to compete with his own firm. Many businesspeople would consider this unwise. But Hollender knows that Wal-Mart has far more power to safeguard the environment than Seventh Generation does. At the highest level, success for a social entrepreneur is not about building the biggest or best organization in the field. It is about changing the field.

Innovation and change demand the recombination of knowledge - new recipes, not just more cooking. In a society oriented around specialization, where knowledge is fragmented, entrepreneurs play critical integrating roles. Intrepreneurship is a fusion process. Steve Jobs didn´t develop the processors, graphic interface, or early spreadsheet applications that made home computing easy, affordable, and useful. But he was the one who brought all the pieces together. Social entrepreneurs are creative combiners, carving out spaces in society to foster whole solutions. If they ´specialize´ in anything, it is bringing people together who wouldn´t coalesce naturally.

People who see beyond existing frameworks have three qualities that stand out. The first is a passionate interest in simple, even seemingly childish, questions, such as: Why can´t we extend loans to villagers? Or: Why won´t the students pay attention in class?

the second? and the third? find out in the book and become a social entrepreneur yourself.

•Zuletzt aktualisiert am ••Samstag•, den 30. •April• 2011 um 17:16 Uhr••