• Raising capital through impact investing

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    Social Business has attended two of SocialFinance.ca’s major conferences, the Social Finance Forum. In 2011, when I attended, the theme was significantly centered around impact investing. One piece of literature that was given out in conjunction with the conference was called “A New Tool for Scaling Impact: How Social Impact Bonds Can Mobilize Private Capital to Advance Social Good,” created by Social Finance, Inc. The summary stated:

     Today nonprofits have a new source of capital to scale evidence-based interventions: Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). Aligning the interests of nonprofit service providers, private investors, and governments, SIBs raise private investment capital to fund prevention and early intervention programs that reduce the need for expensive crisis responses and safety-net services. The government repays investors only if the interventions improve social outcomes, such as reducing homelessness or the number of repeat offenders in the criminal justice system. If improved outcomes are not achieved, the government is not required to repay the investors, thereby transferring the risk of funding prevention services to the private sector and ensuring accountability for taxpayer money.

     While SIBs are not a panacea, they might provide a unique way to make effective interventions available to far more people in need than the number that can be reached through traditional state contracts and philanthropy. The best candidates for SIB funding are nonprofits with strong track records of improving outcomes for a well-defined target population. These outcomes translate into government savings that can be achieved within a relatively short time frame and are large enough to cover the program’s cost and a reasonable return to investors.

     Social impact bonds (SIBs) are also known as “pay-for-success” bonds and contain characteristics similar to equity and debt, despite the name bond. The problem to be solved, if you will, is that charities and registered non-profits don’t receive the necessary long-term funding in order to be able to increase and innovate their services. In the Winter 2013 issue, Sasha Dichter, Robert Katz, Harvey Koh and Ashish Karamchandani wrote a piece for the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) on impact investing called “Closing the Pioneer Gap.” Here, the problem is the following: “More money than ever is flowing into impact investing, yet many entrepreneurs creating companies that serve the poor still find it difficult to raise capital, particularly at the early stages of their company’s growth.” Money from philanthropy and prizes can only get most social entrepreneurs so far, maybe through the seed stage of business development but the long-term and ongoing part is left by the wayside. “A broad definition of impact investing is in many ways appropriate because nearly all of this capital has the potential to create positive impacts on society,” Dichter, Katz, Koh and Karamchandani wrote. “But a broad definition also masks the fact that most funds—even those that talk about fighting poverty—bypass the more difficult, longer-term, and less financially lucrative investments that directly benefit the poor, and instead gravitate toward the easier, quicker, and more financially lucrative opportunities that target broader segments of society.” According to the article, only a few impact investing funds actually invest in “high risks and low- to mid-single digit annual returns,” which is essentially what defines these types of markets. Amidst it all, however, there seems to be a notion that as long as we recognize that there’s a long way to go, then we can develop impact investing, and thus, the strength of social businesses, through focusing on talent, infrastructure and solid business models. Dichter, Katz, Koh and Karamchandani close with a touch of optimism:

    Impact investing has come far as a sector. Just a decade ago, the notion that philanthropy could be used for investment was unheard of. The idea that direct grants to a for-profit company could be a mainstream strategy to fight poverty would have seemed absurd. The idea that pursuing social impact could be incorporated in an investing strategy—whether in public or private markets—was seen as a fringe notion. So much has become mainstream, so much more is possible, but only if we realize that we are just at the beginning.

  • 2013, Say hello to geniuses?

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    It’s 2013 and everything “new” will surely be popping up all around us. And maybe if not in IRL as they say, but then at least online and in lists on lists on lists. And so, say hello to geniuses (or whatever). In a popular (in clicks) CNN piece called “Unleash the world’s entrepreneurial geniuses,” Beverly Schwartz, vice president of global marketing for Ashoka and author of Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World discussed nurturing the world’s “up to 7 billion geniuses in this world.” Whoa. Wait – really? She considers:

     How can we nurture the world’s many talented people so they most effectively contribute to the world’s economic health? Start by figuring out what they need to flourish and how to overcome the barriers that stand in their way.

    I’m not talking about Silicon Valley software geniuses or corporate business tycoons. I’m talking about the geniuses who are all around us — maybe even the one staring at you in the mirror: Individuals who have solid ideas for developing or marketing products or services that benefit consumers.

     They could be immigrants who travel the globe searching for better opportunities for themselves and their families, entrepreneurs-to-be who could be breathing life into communities ripe for revitalization, or social entrepreneurs who find innovative solutions to social challenges and change the world for the better. Optimism is a virtue or maybe it’s an embellishment of a mix of hard work, luck and perhaps the most optimistic part of it all: privilege. The optimism that Schwartz was advocating, however, was more about supporting entrepreneurship that simply wide-eyed optimism. “Entrepreneurship is a powerful engine that can propel the global agenda forward,” she writes. “It is a major tool for reducing poverty, improving social conditions and confronting environmental challenges. It empowers people and generates solutions that help communities overcome old problems with new ways of thinking. It is an important driver of economic development, job creation and expanding opportunities for women and youth.” A genius and an entrepreneur (even a social entrepreneur!) is hardly the same thing, but  a headline with “genius” will probably garner more clicks on CNN than “entrepreneur.” Why is that though? There’s something about “genius” that precludes hard work and is simply something that just happens and the recipient of the so-called genius-ness in the mainstream is most typically that one person and not the many that the social entrepreneur is said, usually, to serve.

  • “Doing” digital technology

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    “Digital technology” is something like a buzzword in social entrepreneurship communities. It’s a step up from “social media” (as a buzzword, not in reality) but it still carries some of the same resonances. Ok, but what exactly can digital technology really do for you? For your social business? For the world?

     Courtney E. Martin, author of Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists and Project Rebirth: Survival and the Strength of the Human Spirit from 9/11 Survivors, wrote a piece at the beginning of December for the Stanford Social Innovation Review called “Transforming Democracy Through Digital Technology: Five lessons from groundbreaking women,” which was essentially a delineation of what she learned from moderating a TEDxWomen conference panel called “Power of Technology to Transform Democracy.” Whether or not democracy can be “saved”  — and by technology no less — was the bigger question here. Martin broke it down into five easily digestible lessons from the panel: 1) “It’s not just you. No one’s got it quite right yet;” 2) “Don’t build it. They won’t come;” 3) “You are not the target user;” 4) “Data is where it’s at;” and last but certainly not least, 5) “Optimism is the technology we need most.” The point is that everyone is struggling and trying to negotiate digital technology with larger questions of democracy, civic action and citizenship. Martin’s last point, about promoting optimism, was echoed by the founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani. But the Girls Who Code ‘About’ page isn’t filled with optimism, really at all. Take a look at some of the stats:

    Today, just 3.6% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women, and less than 10% of venture capital-backed companies have female founders. Yet females use the internet 17% more than their male counterparts and represent the fastest growing demographic online and on mobile, creating more than two-thirds of content on social networking sites. Technology companies with more women on their management teams have a 34% higher return on investment, and companies with women on technical teams increases teams’ problem-solving ability and creativity. 

    The numbers speak for themselves. By 2018, there will be 1.4 million computer science-related job openings, yet U.S. universities are expected to produce enough computer science graduates to fill just 29% of these jobs. And while 57% of bachelor’s degrees are obtained by women, less than 14% of computer science degrees are awarded to women.

    And yet. “Forget the bells and whistles—a lot of these entrepreneurs voiced that the most difficult hurdle they face is getting people to believe in the political and democratic process again,” Martin wrote. “All the websites and apps in the world can’t substitute for the fundamental power of people believing that a) this nation is still ‘perfectible’ and b) they are part of the solution.” And so, maybe the reality of it all is that technology isn’t the place for answers but a place to create more questions about how to innovate, which means, how to fail and push forward in light of whatever it is you want to do with social entrepreneurship.

  • The art of unlearning

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    At the end of November, Business Fights Poverty wrote a post called “Unlearning to innovate: 7 steps entrepreneurs need to know when getting into inclusive business.” I’m not one for New Year resolutions, at least not anymore, but there certainly is something about a new year that brings change, well, at least a desire for change. And, despite my greatest fears, I’m always one for change. However small and also however overwhelming. Dr. Fernando Casado Cañeque, Director, Centre of Partnerships for Development outlined seven steps for unlearning when it comes to social business: “First step: The world is limited. There is only one earth; Second step: Population growth is the biggest challenge in our history; Third step: Profit is not revenue minus costs; Fourth Step: Organizations are obsolete; Fifth Step: The challenge is not to have ideas, but to implement them; Sixth Step: Talent evolves and migrates; Step Seven: Opportunities have moved.” Why is it important to unlearn? Can’t we jsut learn? Or relearn? Cañeque got into why unlearning is an important part of social innovation as a whole:

    It is typically in crisis situations when the absence of political leadership becomes most evident. In such situations, it is also when social innovation becomes most needed.

     However, as a concept, for innovation to be really social, it should challenge current thinking models and recognize that present decision-making parameters have not been adequate for solving global challenges. That is why it is now so necessary to start unlearning as a reflective method for critical inquiry, so we can fully analyze the limits of management promoting transition towards more inclusive and sustainable development.

     We need to unlearn in order to innovate. This proposal presents seven steps that will help the unlearning process towards social innovation, enabling entrepreneurs to generate new business models in times of crisis that are more inclusive and sustainable.

    When it comes to those dreaded “New Year’s resolutions,” they’re almost always individual. And of course, guided by the market, marketing and consumerism. I will go to the gym. I will be kinder. I will eat more local foods. The necessary “we” is almost always lost. But the “we” is what makes things complicated and heavy. A “we” is somewhat dependent on other people, on their actions and non-actions. Unlearning, when it comes to social business, has a communal aspect that requires for a creation and re-creation. There are countless — and I mean, countless — steps that could be added to Cañeque’s list. Some, perhaps, more necessary than others. At the same time, however, what is essential is a mind that is open to throwing certain ways of doing things out in the garbage.

  • Productivity and social entrepreneurs

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    As I’m on “vacation” in the Caribbean, I’m thinking about productivity. Maybe that’s a good sign, or maybe, it’s not. It’s here where I get my best work done—sometimes my fastest and sometimes not. I read about a dozen books, I write creatively (something I hardly ever have time to do) and I also get a little work in for my thesis and my job. Rest is needed in order to reboot and continue or recharge productivity. Some would say it’s a sin to “work” on my vacation but it gives me a bit of balance. Since I don’t work 9 to 5 anymore, I don’t have much of a schedule. But that doesn’t mean I have a lot of free time. In fact, it means I have to be a lot smarter about my scheduling and what I do with my time. I only have about eight hours of class time a week (usually a seminar), an hour or two of office hours with a professor, too many hours in the library to readily admit here. Then, I usually set in an amount of projects I want to complete in terms of work. And then there are errands, exercise, friends and family. Sometimes I try not to think about all of things I have to do, and sometimes, it’s exactly thinking (and writing) all the things that I have to do that makes me that much more motivated to tackle each and every thing on the list. My former editor, Marissa Brassfield, started the wonderful site Ridiculously Efficient that vows “helping solopreneurs pursue their passions and still have the time to live well.” There, I can go and lose myself (in un-productivity). But mostly, I get my advice from a tweet or from the efficient daily newsletter. Many of the tips she gives are apt for the entrepreneur or freelancer who creates his or her own schedule. Here are a recent few stress-free tips that she’s shared with her readers:

  • Social business and mentorship

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    The social entrepreneurship community — especially online — is intensely tight-knit. On Twitter, Facebook and email, there are copious amounts of exclamation points and thank yous, however genuine.  Pascal Finette recently wrote a piece called “Get Yourself a Mentor… Maybe Two” for the Unreasonable Institute. In it, he writes:

    Intuitively we all know that having a good support network of smart people around us will make us stronger, help us make the right decisions, allow us to see things from a different perspective, and pull us through those inevitable dark moments of being an entrepreneur. Leaders often don’t tend to talk about their respective mentors – but you can almost guarantee that any well-known (and less well-known) successful leader has a roster of other people they trust and rely on. When they do talk about their mentors, it’s often with a voice filled with admiration, passion, and love.

    A good mentor will become your mirror. The person you can be vulnerable with, who holds you up, cheers you on, tells you off when you do something stupid, and generally makes you a better person. And often they are friends for life.

    Interestingly a lot of young leaders don’t have a mentor. It is not due to lack of mentors, or a mentor’s unwillingness to work with people who haven’t cut their teeth in the world of business and entrepreneurship yet. It is because young entrepreneurs don’t ask. Often they think they either know the answer (they generally don’t), don’t want to be perceived as weak and vunerable (a misconception of leadership), or don’t have the guts to ask. Don’t be that kind of leader. You owe it to your idea, your employees, your customers.

    Interestingly, however, I have interviewed a few social entrepreneurs who haven’t been so optimistic about the value of mentorship. Sometimes it seems like more of a rite of passage than an actual source of knowledge and progress and social entrepreneurship. But for many, a mentorship is a valuable process for both or all parties involved. What is more, a traditional or more formal mentorship program is not always the most valuable. After interviewing dozens of social entrepreneurs at all stages of their career, many of them attest to being involved in less formal mentorship activities. For instance, maybe they seek out a friend for advice here and there. Many people also have found advice  through social media and people they’ve only met online. That can prove valuable since it’s sometimes a new relationship and thus, you and your social business gets the advantage of a fresh set of eyes. Have you had any fulfilling mentorship experiences? Or perhaps any horror stories?

  • Race, women and subjectivity: who is at the center of your practice?

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    Sara Suleri’s article “Woman Skin Deep: Feminism and the Postcolonial Condition” explores how marginal groups seek liberation in an arena of competing discourses. Suleri reimagines feminine and racial subjectivities and, at the same time, move away from the limiting binarisms of academia. Suleri dangerously questions the ways in which minority voices rely on race as an advantage in academia. How can women negotiate their personal identities and subjecthood? Who is allowed to speak about, and more importantly, for others? I found this piece to be helpful when it comes to either non-profits or social businesses that aim to support low-income women. As I’ve written elsewhere, intentions aren’t a good measure of outcomes (or anything else for that matter). Suleri seeks to upset the binaries by challenging the unspecificity of the term “postcolonial feminism.” She objects to the privileges given to voices of the “postcolonial Woman” and more generally, “racially encoded feminism.” Suleri goes as far to say that postcolonialism, in its feminist context, is “an almost obsolete signifier for the historicity of race.” Suleri refers to “the coloring of feminist discourse” to point to how understandings of postcoloniality, womanhood and race are blurred. In the way that Suleri suggests that feminist theory, language and discourse are not necessarily appropriate to apply to the racial subject, Senegalese film director Ousmane Sembène uses Africana womanism to specify the lived experiences of African women, namely, Faat Kiné, who negotiates masculine and Western ideologies in order to develop her own self-consciousness. The heroine in Faat Kiné undergoes a transformation in which she is not compelled to hold on to traditional African culture, but also does not need to replicate Western models of femininity and liberation in order to develop her own plural identity. In the same vein, Suleri disputes how feminist minority academics create divisive politics by regularly referring back to whiteness as the cradle of conceptual thought. It is important to know who is doing the work of social business, and more importantly, for what purpose. How do women of color fit into the predominately white world of social entrepreneurship? Suleri boldly claims that “feminist intellectuals like [bell] hooks misuse their status as minority voices by enacting strategies of belligerence that at this time are more divisive than informative.” By referring to “this time,” Suleri suggests that we are now over the issues that pit “us” versus “them” and that we must come together for a unified agenda. Moreover, Suleri speaks of a “political untouchability” that is granted to the Third World Woman grouping. Race allows for what Suleri calls a “claim to authenticity.” Certainly, racialized voices should not be posited as the “first narrative of what ethnically constructed woman is deemed to want,” as Suleri argues against. However, no one should claim to be the dominant speaker on behalf of others. Does Sembène’s Faat Kiné make him less “authentic” or credible because of his position as a male? While Suleri attempts to dismantle the way in which racial and postcolonial oppression is superficially celebrated, Sembène commemorates both Faat Kiné’s complex struggle and the everyday heroism of African women. Suleri argues that feminist academics like Trinh Minh-Ha and hooks use concepts framed within “North American academic terms.” But when literature about black and Third World Women is framed in those exact Western terms, how do you push against that? How can you deny the position and privilege? At the same time, we must not obsess over the racialized (or masculinized body in Sembène’s case) as the point of discourse, history and subjectivity. In many ways, the way in which Faat Kiné negotiates her identity between competing discourses, while not relying on whiteness or masculinity, is what Suleri is looking for in minority academics. Thus, the exploration of “what it means to articulate an ‘identity’ for a woman […] of color’” must be further explored. Both Suleri and Sembène’s critical analyses and disruptions of dichotomies are important in reimagining identities and subjectivities. With so many competing modes of thought, what is essential is that Third World Women seek progress on their own terms.

  • Learning from worker co-operatives

    0218-04By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    The Take, a documentary created by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein and the  Mondragon Cooperative, show examples of alternative business models located in the less-industrialized world. Let’s look at food co-ops, for instance. In North America, urban food co-ops are typically only available to the middle- and upper- classes. At the food co-op to which my family belongs, which is also worker-owned, you have to put in a particular number of hours each month. You can work as a cashier, write for the newsletter, organize meetings, etc. If you decide not to work, you have to pay a monthly fee. So, you need the time or the money to be able to participate in this program which offers fresh, organic, vegan and vegetarian foods, grass-fed beef, and free-range eggs at lower prices than a normal grocery store. Because the kind of co-op that I’m familiar with isn’t, in reality, open to everyone, I was blown away, especially by the documentary. However, I wondered about what sort of inner problems the co-op faced. The Take presented things as very democratic, but with democracy, isn’t there bound to be some infighting? That just seems like the reality of any group or decentralized democracy (or centralized, for that matter). It would have been beneficial to see how those workers worked through that. “Managing Without Managers” by Richard Semler presented an alternative business model that reminded me of the worker-owned cooperatives from The Take, for example. However, in Semco’s case, the workers were given control rather than took it themselves. A lot of the co-operatives (especially those in Argentina) rose out of a sort of revolution on a small-scale. Part of what is keeping the workers together is that they have an opposed force that they all unite against. Semco presents a different route to a similar goal. I found it interesting that Semler gauged Semco’s success on what multinationals it could sell to, meaning that its products are reliable and competitive. However, doesn’t this continue the same cycle of low-wage labour? And perhaps one day Semco will be bought out in part due to the extent to which it participates in an unequal global exchange. Maybe it’s a catch-22 because to survive as a business, you need to build relationships, cooperate and to use Semler’s words build your “international reputation,” but at the same time, some of those relationships are based on strong power relations. In Semler’s guide to stress management, I found it interesting how one of the myths was that no one else can do it better. I went to a conference last year and one session was about community work. The work should be able to be sustainable without the founder. You have to teach others to do what you do in order to sustain your mission.

  • Three women-focused hubs

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    As previously discussed at length in a few blog posts this month, for instance, in posts called “For us, buy us: women, consumerism and social change” and “Women in social entrepreneurship,” the role of women in business can be an interesting one. Here, I decided to shed light on a few organizations that focus on young women, technology and business. Here are three gender-focused business incubators, networks and support groups mainly directed at young women: 1) Girls Who Code Ah, “Girls Who Code.” Even the name in itself sounds a bit cutting-edge, right? And maybe that’s a sad thing to say in itself. Much like the trend today in social entreprises, non-profits alike, Girls Who Code describes itself as a “movement.” But if we look beyond the trendy buzz language prominent in the giving world, it’s a simple idea that works to counter the fact that a minuscule percentage of women head fortunate 500 companies. “Girls Who Code is a new organization working to educate, inspire and equip 13- to 17-year-old girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in technology and engineering,” the website writes. 2) Young Female Entrepreneurs Young Female Entrepreneurs is similar to Girls Who Code but it’s for an older crowd, that is, twenty- and thirty-somethings. It’s also more comprehensive in that it’s like a social network for young women who are starting and have started businesses of their own. They offer support, Twitter chats, blog posts, podcasts and live streams. But they’re not only online; IRL meet-ups are also key to the collaborative feeling. Lately the organization has received a bunch of good press. “Everything that Young Female Entrepreneurs does online is utilizing technology that young women already use,” Director Jennifer Donogh told Fast Co Exist. “It’s not crazy to ask them to jump onto Twitter, they’re already there. We have a topic, the YFE Twitter handle moderates the questions, and people connect and say, ‘Hey, we have similar interests, similar goals, and our businesses are serving similar audiences, let’s do some sort of joint venture.’” 3) WESST Enterprise Center WESST occupies an interesting position because it’s been around for over twenty years (since 1988) and thus didn’t necessarily use the language of “social entrepreneurship” to define itself an its goals. Here’s how the non-profit organization describes some of its work:

    Over a period that spans two decades, WESST has assisted a diverse roster of clients at every stage of business. Historically, we have focused on transforming people’s lives and creating a pathway out of poverty by helping low-income women and minorities achieve financial self-sufficiency through sustained self-employment. WESST is distinguished in New Mexico as the only organization offering long-term, comprehensive training, technical assistance and loans specifically targeted to low-income women and minorities.

    According to CNN Money, entrepreneurship in New Mexico has flourished because of a lack of high paid jobs in the area. All three of these organizations—Girls Who Code, Young Women Entrepreneurs and Enterprise Center—are responding to a similar need even if they’re responding to it in creatively different ways.

  • Optimism and social entrepreneurship

    By Editor of SocialBusiness.org

    Earlier this month, Alison Craiglow Hokenberry, a contributing editor at Ashoka Changemakers, wrote an article for the Huffington Post’s Business Canada section called “How Your Small Business Can Grow Big Ideas“. In it, she writes:

    Readers with even a passing understanding of the term social entrepreneurship understand that it’s about big ideas in small packages that have the potential to effect enormous social change. Social entrepreneurship is about the regional and global impact that can be unleashed if start-up solutions to stubborn, often heartbreaking local problems are given the support to grow, scale-up, and spread around the world.

    Call it the power of small. If small is powerful, what’s the force and fuel that can turn it into something big? How can the local impact of a social solution become a world-changing enterprise?

    But is the insular community of social entrepreneurship too optimistic? Why are things like this written? For clicks? For inspiration? Much of this conversation revolves around scaling social businesses, which is a huge challenge for many small businesses, both inside and outside of the social entrepreneurship worlds. Ashoka’s recent competition called “The Power of Small” works on supporting “entrepreneurs strengthening local economies.” There’s such thing, I think, as too much positivity. At the same time, however, I think one of the biggest takeaways from Hokenberry’s article is the importance of seeking our mentors. She writes and draws from leaders including two of Ashoka’s The Power of Small judges, Joanna Harries, director of international expansion at Endeavor, and Rob Henning, co-founder of ESPartners:

    “Having access to advisors or people who can provide you with resources, people who can give you a key bit of advice at the right moment that’s going to be the difference between going down a path that would lead to failure and one that’s going to lead to success because they have been through it before — that’s critical,” Harries said.

    “Role models are very, very important,” Henning added. “The [entrepreneurs] that are really smart ask, ‘where are the role models in my economy and my peer group?’ They realize that they need help, and they go and talk to people and ask for advice.”

    Harries acknowledged that finding role models can be a challenge for time-strapped entrepreneurs. “Connecting the dots to mentors is sometimes difficult when you’re an entrepreneur so that you’re running a mile a minute and you don’t really have time to step back, or take a strategic view, or see the bigger picture.”

    Henning said that open competitions like The Power of Small also represent a significant opportunity to learn from others. “A big value of competitions such as these is that they allow entrepreneurs to see the progression of businesses to scaling up, and to learn from that.”

    Through my many interviews with social entrepreneur, I found that a majority of people thrive on the networks and community that they have worked to build. But recently, however, I talked to a women social entrepreneur who thought that sometimes these networks that are set up, that is, official organizations that foster mentor support don’t offer as much resources as they could. It all depends on the mentor-mentee relationship, of course. The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all panacea to finding success as a social entrepreneur. Maybe a billion small ideas can help create change, but at the same time, structural change is the key to sustainability. The New York Times Opinionator blog turned the spotlight on “The Rise of Social Entrepreneur” in a piece by David Bornstein. He closes with a the potential he sees in social entrepreneurship, an optimistic potential that is echoed by the community at large:

    We don’t know where the best ideas will come from any more than we know where the next Google will arise. The emergence of social entrepreneurship reflects this uncertainty — as well as a major new opportunity: the fact that the capacity and motivation needed to solve problems is now widely dispersed. The question is, how do we find, elicit, nurture and harness the talents of millions of potential change-makers for the greatest good? It’s not just a question for would-be social entrepreneurs. It’s relevant for policy makers, managers, educators, parents — and ourselves. Many of us have little idea of our own change-making potential. We may be in for a surprise.