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— some notes from Oxford / UK — March 2007 vivian Hutchinson Social Innovation Investment Group New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship
THE 2007 SKOLL WORLD FORUM ON SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP 27–29 MARCH 2007
THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS, 650 INNOVATORS, FROM OVER 40 COUNTRIES, WORKING TOGETHER TO TIP THE SYSTEM
SPECIAL FOCUS: SOCIAL INNOVATION The next Skoll World Forum will major on social innovation, asking how we overcome the social innovation gap, drive up downward accountability as we scale initiatives, and how social entrepreneurs can better align support for breakthrough models? This year, we also: Run applied workshops where changemakers can probe the ways new ideas work in practice and how they apply to their own ventures
Sustain a growing international debate about innovation in the supply of ﬁnance for social change
Advance academic enquiry into the issues that will ensure social entrepreneurship is a force for good for the long term
The Skoll World Forum has rapidly established itself as the leading event in the social entrepreneurship calendar where individuals in the social sector, business and government can take a passionate and critical approach to resolving the planet’s biggest challenges. The Forum sells out early. So book the dates. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if we don’t have your details. And watch this space for further news through the Autumn.
some notes from the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship Said Business School, Oxford University 2629 March 2007 vivian Hutchinson Executive Officer Social Innovation Investment Group New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship Summary • This was easily the best conference I have been to in a long while ... it was well run, it attracted a unique diversity of participants, the content had a great deal of depth to it, and there was robust debate that was engaging and extending. • There were 700 participants from 40 countries including a rich mix of social entrepreneurs, human rights activists, academics, business leaders, philanthropists and funders. Many of these people could be counted amongst the most remarkable change makers of our generation. The Forum provided an unique opportunity for the exchange of legitimacy, insight and creativity between the different communities of these participants. • The conference lived up to its reputation of being the main World Forum in the field of social entrepreneurship. As part of developing our projects with the Social Innovation Investment Group and the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, I have been researching and studying who are the key “movers and shakers” in the international scene of social entrepreneurship. Almost all of them were present at this gathering. • There was so much going on, with up to seven workshops happening at the same time as well as breakfast sessions and Master Classes at the lunchtime breaks. But it still hung together well, particularly around the main plenary sessions which were held in Oxford’s historic Sheldonian Theatre. • Highlights for me included: — sessions from Geoff Mulgan, Bill Drayton, Charles Handy, Muhammad Yunus and Larry Brilliant — the inevitable sharing of inspiring stories from the many social entrepreneurs, but particularly Gillian Caldwell and Peter Gabriel, Karen Tse and Taddy Blecher. — the widening of the sense of social entrepreneurship from elite “celebrity” stories towards recognising the social innovation and entrepreneurship that is also found in groups and movements. — a sense of the growing literacy about just what makes up the process of social innovation, understanding the life cycle of innovations and how to foster innovation more effectively in many different sectors. — the “open source” example of Ashoka Changemakers, which represents a innovative model for sharing emergent knowledge and practice. — the practical sessions aimed at Foundations and philanthropy about how to be more venturesome in giving financial support to new ideas and programmes. • I’ve come away with an immense amount to think about, as well as links, contacts and ideas to follow up on. I’ve also had the opportunity to renew some of the international contacts I made at the gathering of “outstanding social entrepreneurs” organised by the Schwab Foundation at Davos last year, and at the Innovation Funders meeting in San Francisco. • This report contains my personal diary notes from the Forum. It is a combination of a description of the sessions I went to, my thoughts at the time, and the links and research I have been doing on the people and their projects since the Forum took place.
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— I have created a “blog” website of this report which contains live internet links of all the contacts and references mentioned in this document. You can also view video of the conference directly from these webpages at http://vivianoxford07.blogspot.com — An online album of photographs which I took at this conference can be found at the Flickr photosharing website at http://www.flickr.com/photos/8063917@N06/ • There was an obvious pressure from the sheer numbers of people around the world who would have liked to have attended this Forum, and the Skoll Foundation had an interesting process in stagemanaging just who was going to be there. You could apply to go on a pre registration list, and the organisers obviously did some digging into backgrounds before inviting a core group of people to come. After this, the formal registration gates were only open for a very short time before it was announced that the Forum was full. • Beyond the 700 people attending at Oxford, there was a large “virtual” participation at this Forum, thanks to the live streaming of the plenary sessions and the blogger contributions of many people involved with the socialedge.org website. • One of my roles as Executive Officer of our Investment Group and the NZSEF is to help build our international links and relationships with other social entrepreneur networks and philanthropic foundations that are fostering social innovation. At our first NZSEF Fellowship retreat in February, there was some discussion about how our local work in New Zealand needs to be put more into an international context ... and that there was much that we could learn from in the good ideas and practical strategies for change that are emerging overseas. Participating in the Skoll World Forum is an excellent entry point into these opportunities to network and learn. • Beyond this learning and networking, the Skoll World Forum is providing a very timely focus of hope in a world faced with deepseated and complex problems. It is nearly impossible to feel cynicism and despair when surrounded by the stories and examples of literally hundreds of inspirational people who are just getting on and making a practical difference.
vivian Hutchinson Social Innovation Investment Group New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship www.nzsef.org.nz April 2007
Resources. — The website for the Oxford Said Business School Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship is at http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/skoll/ — The Forum website homepage at the Skoll Foundation is at http://www.skollfoundation.org/skollcentre/skoll_forum.asp — The Forum website homepage at Social Edge is at http://www.socialedge.org/features/skoll‐world‐forum/skoll‐world‐forum‐2007
— a PDF copy of this report (40 pages, 1.5MB) can be downloaded from www.nzsef.org.nz/dox/pdf/vivianoxford07.pdf
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Academic Network for Social Entrepreneurship meeting in Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre, Said Business School Monday 26th March 2007 • This was a pregathering meeting held on the day before the main conference started. I thought I would arrive at the Forum early and check it out. This Academic Network brings together universities that are fostering social enterprise in their various courses. It aims to develop social entrepreneurship as a vocation and as a field of intellectual endeavour, and to carry social entrepreneurship principles into other disciplines and sectors. The Network also acts as a professional clearinghouse of resources that will be useful to both academics and practitioners. There is now quite a large network of universities connected in this academic network, including all the major “brands”: Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, etc as well as Universities from Asia and Latin America. Ashoka is also one of the founding partners.
Gregory Dees speaking to the University Network meeting in the Nelson Mandela Theatre, Said Business School, Oxford University 26 March 2007 — photo Hutchinson
• Once the session opened, the speakers on this day got right into the controversies on how things are going to be defined, how to judge effective management of social enterprises, and how all this can be fitted into and assessed within a mainstream university system, and marketed toward students. It all felt like quite a healthy and contested space of inquiry. Curiously enough, many of the university representatives remarked that it is the interest of students in this whole area of social entrepreneurship which seems to be one of the main drivers of the establishment of the university courses. Many of the universities are racing to keep up with the interest and demand of students for these course options. This is further in evidence by the growth of independent university clubs and student voluntary organisations that are about supporting social enterprises and connecting with social services in their local area. This was all very encouraging to hear. • The explosion of academic interest is also obvious in the growth of the serious literature that is now available. The Skoll Centre’s leading Oxford scholar, Alex Nichols, reported that up until recently there were hardly any academic books available on the subject of social enterprise. But in 2006 alone, six academic volumes were published. And at this Forum, Oxford University Press held a book launching of Alex Nichol’s own tome — an edited collection of many of the contributions and papers presented to earlier Skoll Forums.
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• The most impressive speaker at this session was Gregory Dees, of Duke University, who is the man credited as being the leading academic in the discipline of social entrepreneurship. Dees presented a paper summarising his interviews with many social entrepreneurs, and his thoughts on how to strengthen the field of social entrepreneurship. (Refreshingly, he wasn’t into splitting academic hairs on how things were defined. “The academics and funders are more interested in this than practitioners...”) Dees remarked that the university network needs to recognise that they need a whole new model of how their knowledge is shared ... because so much of what is going on just doesn’t fit the academic paradigm. He pointed out that social entrepreneur practitioners were not reaching out to the academics in search of the knowledge that is being gathered within the university courses. Not too many of the academics at this meeting were recognising the growth of “peer learning communities” and Fellowships amongst social entrepreneurs as an innovative and entrepreneurial response to their own learning needs. Very few of the social entrepreneurs I spoke to at the Forum were interested in going on a structured academic course, or even felt that they wanted to get more “qualified”. At the same time, they are obviously learners who want to do their work better ... and are looking to one another to get to the edges of their learning. • The University Network has struck up a collaboration with the Social Science Research Network to provide a forum where all the recent papers, research and reports and course material on social entrepreneurship can be gathered in one place. I’ve taken a look at it ... and while you have to do a bit of digging to get to the relevant social entrepreneurship section, it does hold potential to be an important place for sharing and commenting on the research materials as they are generated. • Hardly anyone I had spoken to at the Forum had heard of the recentlypublished Canadian book “Getting To Maybe” which I was able to recommend as a great example of how academics have taken up the challenge of making their research, wisdom and insights more useful to practitioners. • During this day, there was quite a bit of emphasis on scoping, mapping and defining social entrepreneurship in terms of what they are promoting as a new academic field of endeavour. This is something I’m personally not too convinced about ... or rather, I think there is far too much talk about all this being “new”. My own view is that social entrepreneurship has always been with us in many different guises, although it is “new” to brand it in the way that it is framed within these conferences. I do agree, however, that we seem to be on the verge of a growing literacy as to the practice of social innovation. The academic research has a great deal to contribute in this regard ... but, for me, this is not so much about the creation and branding of a whole new academic field — it is more about noticing and developing the language to describe just what is making a difference. It is about developing this literacy on how fundamental sustainable social change is achieved.
Resources. — the website for the University Network is at http://www.universitynetwork.org — Gregory Dees leads the Centre for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/centers/case/ — The Social Science Research Network archive of papers is at http://www.ssrn.com/update/erpn/erpn_social‐entrepreneurship.html. — “Social Entrepreneurship: New Models of Sustainable Social Change” edited by Dr Alex Nicholls. (book pub 2006 by Oxford University Press) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0199283877/nzsef‐20 — “Getting to Maybe: How The World Is Changed” by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton (book pub Random House Canada 2006) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0679314431/nzsef‐20
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Changemakers Ashoka Network Meeting meeting in Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre, Said Business School Tuesday 27th March 2007 • The next morning there was another pre conference session from Bill Drayton and the Ashoka Network. Bill Drayton is considered the “elder statesman” of the social entrepreneurship field, and is credited with popularising the term itself. He has a remarkable track record of 30 years of supporting social entrepreneurs through the Ashoka Network, as well as establishing and leading many innovative projects himself. • Most of you will know that, in New Zealand, The Jobs Research Trust (of which I am a trustee) has launched a new initiative which is also called Changemakers. There are many groups around the world calling themselves changemakers ... so it is probably just as well that there is plenty of opportunities for change to go around! Our New Zealand group is based around a 510510 strategy to foster more active citizenship in our communities. (For more information see http://www.changemakers.org.nz) This Jobs Research Trust project was partly inspired by Bill Drayton’s speech at last year’s Skoll World Forum. At that time, Drayton remarked that until recently, Ashoka has been stating its mission chiefly in terms of “building a more entrepreneurial and competitive not forprofit sector”. But more recently, he has come to reassess this goal: “ The most important contribution any of us can make now is not to solve any particular problem, no matter how urgent energy or environmental or financial regulation is. What we must do now is increase the proportion of humans who know that they can cause change. And who, like smart white blood cells coursing through society, will stop with pleasure whenever they see that something is stuck or that an opportunity is ripe to be seized. Multiplying society's capacity to adapt and change intelligently and constructively and building the necessary underlying collaborative architecture, is the world's most critical opportunity now. Pattern‐changing social entrepreneurs are the most critical single factor in catalysing and engineering this transformation ...” — from “Everyone a Changemaker”, by Bill Drayton (2006) • In his opening speech at this Ashoka Changemakers session, Bill Drayton reiterated many of the key points of his “everyone a changemaker” worldview. He believes that the next big step in the field of social entrepreneurship is tackling the question of how we do entrepreneurship together. He sees this as complementary to the fostering of an elite leadership model that so many of the Fellowships (like his own Ashoka) are focussing on. The Ashoka team then went on to outline their latest initiative in “opensourcing” innovations in various fields of social change. Their Changemakers approach is a strategy of sharing ideas for innovation as they are happening, and in a way that entrepreneurs can easily adapt them to their own local conditions. Changemakers sets up thematic “collaborative competitions” between local groups from all around the world which are asked to present their ideas and projects for change on complex social areas. These ideas and projects for change are all placed on an open website at www.changemakers.net. A panel of key decisionmakers and investors (from the leading philanthropic foundations) then assesses the applications, and picks the 1012 finalists which they then bring together to collaborate on an overall plan for the whole social area.
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An interesting tool being used in this collaborative process is the use of a “Changemakers Mosaic” of the innovative solutions generated by each competition. The Mosaic serves as an intellectual framework which maps at a glance the most powerful emerging principles of innovation against the underlying factors that drive a problem. It helps social innovators see how their work fits into a larger picture and demonstrates that the collective impact of their solutions is greater than the sum of the individual projects. It also gives you a great overview of the challenges in a particular field ... as well as a sense of how systemic change can really take place. At this workshop, the finalists in two recent competitions on “Health for All” and “Entrepreneuring Peace” gave summaries of their various projects, and then talked about how the collaborative process was helping them accelerate innovation and improve impact.
The Said Business School at Oxford — photo Hutchinson
• There is much we can learn from this approach which applies to the process of fostering innovation in New Zealand. The Ashoka Changemakers model spells out many processes which could be used by the various grantmakers and foundations in fostering a common and systemic approach in specific social sectors. It’s certainly got me thinking: What if there was a source of philanthropic funding in New Zealand aimed at fostering innovations, and all the project applications were opensourced on a website in this way ... and the finalists challenged to work together on a common approach. That would be something completely different from the current approach to grantmaking. And it would be a way to blast through the whole concept of “patch protection” — and to focus on how we might improve each other’s work for the common good.
Resources — “Everyone a Changemaker”, by Bill Drayton (2006) published in Innovations (MIT Press) Winter 2006 ‐ download from http://www.ashoka.org/files/ChangemakerInnovations.pdf — “Health for All” Mosaic at http://proxied.changemakers.net/journal/300603/mosaic.cfm — “Innovating Peace” Mosaic at http://proxied.changemakers.net/journal/peace/mosaic.cfm
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The Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford — photo Hutchinson
Skoll World Forum Opening Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford Tuesday 27th March 2007 • All this already ... and now the Forum starts officially. The opening of the 2007 Skoll World Forum was held in the heart of Oxford, — the historic Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Wren in 1662 in the style of ancient Rome. This is the building used by the Oxford Colleges for their graduation ceremonies. The Forum was launched with music from Pakistani musician Salman Ahmad, who is a UN Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/Aids, and the founder of South Asia’s most popular rock band Junoon. Junoon is made up of Lahore natives Ahmad and Ali Azmat, who are Muslims who follow the Sufi teachings of Islam, and New Yorker Brian O'Connell, who is a Christian. Dubbed the “U2 of Pakistan” by the New York Times, the rock band bridges East and West, Islam and Christianity.
Resources. — Streaming video of the “Skoll World Forum Opening Plenary” featuring music by Salman Ahmad, and remarks from Stephan Chambers, Jeff Skoll, John Hood, Geoff Mulgan, Rushanara Ali, Charles Handy, David Galenson, Muhammad Yunus and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al‐Abdullah of Jordan can be found at http://streaming.oii.ox.ac.uk:554/ramgen/archive/sbs/skoll_2007/270307_opening.rm — YouTube videos of Salman Ahmad’s performances at the 2007 Skoll World Forum can be found at (part 1 of 3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nShfbxTC3s (part 2 of 3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KePun3h5E7k (part 3 of 3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6rlr83oQgM — YouTube video of Junoon Documentary (hosted by Susan Sarandon) can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhIkCH4sScM
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• After opening remarks by Jeff Skoll and John Hood (the New Zealander who is also the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford) the keynote speeches started. Geoff Mulgan spoke on the main theme of this year’s conference: Social Innovation — what it is, why it is important, what are the barriers and how can it be accelerated. Mulgan is one of the people who started the Demos Think Tank which has been a major intellectual influence on the Blair government. Mulgan went on to become head of Strategy and Policy in the Prime Minister’s office, but more recently has left government to head up a revitalised Young Foundation. (This Foundation is inspired by the work of the most successful British social entrepreneur in the 20th century, Michael Young). A major focus of Mulgan’s current work is research and promotion of the process of social innovation. He has produced several reports on this for the Young Foundation, and the latest version (now published by the Skoll Centre in Oxford) is one of the best summaries of this field that I have read so far. • In this report, Mulgan points out that economists now estimate that 50%80% of economic growth comes from innovation and new knowledge. While there are no reliable figures, innovation appears to play an equally decisive role in social progress. Social innovation also plays a decisive role in economic growth, and there are signs it will do so even more in the future. Mulgan says that the key growth sectors of the 21st century economy look set to be health, education and care ... accounting for around 2030% of GDP. But surprisingly little is known about social innovation compared to the vast amount of research into innovation in business and science. After an extensive survey undertaken by the Young Foundation, Mulgan says he found no systemic overviews of the field, no major datasets or longterm analyses, and few signs of interest from the big foundations or academic research funding bodies. He argues that this lack of knowledge impedes the many institutions interested in this field, including the innovators themselves, philanthropists, foundations and government. • Mulgan’s speech was a call for a more concerted approach to social innovation. He talked about “Social Silicon Valleys” to describe the future places and institutions that will mobilise resources and energies to tackle social problems in ways that are comparable to the investments in technology made in the original IT Silicon Valley in California. “ Although social innovation happens all around us, many promising ideas are stillborn, blocked by vested interests or otherwise marginalised. The competitive pressures that drive innovation in commercial markets are blunted or absent in the social field and the absence of institutions and funds devoted to social innovation means that too often it is a matter of luck what comes to fruition or displace less effective alternatives. As a result, many social problems remain more acute than they need to be ...” — Geoff Mulgan • I thought Mulgan’s presentation was an excellent start to the Forum. It was also encouraging to hear the contributions of many earlier British social entrepreneurs (Robert Owen, The Rochdale Pioneers, Michael Young) being namechecked, and also an emphasis being put on the importance of historical British social movements (such as the co operative movement) in fostering social innovations. The example of how various movements worked together to create a climate for the abolition of slavery in the 1800s was mentioned several times — the Skoll Forum was taking place during observances to mark the 200th anniversary of the passing of legislation outlawing slavery in the British Empire.
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Resources. — “Social Innovation: What It Is, Why It Matters and How It can be Accelerated”, by Geoff Mulgan with Simon Tucker, Rushanara Ali and Ben Sanders (Oxford Said Business School 2007) http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/skoll/research/Short+papers/Social+Innovation.htm — “The Process of Social Innovation”, by Geoff Mulgan, published in Innovations Spring 2006 (MIT Press) http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/itgg/1/2 — “Extreme Makeover”, by Geoff Mulgan, The Guardian 26 April 2006 http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,,1760923,00.html — Good and Bad Power: The Ideals and Betrayals of Government by Geoff Mulgan (book pub Allen Lane 2006) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0713998822/nzsef‐20
Charles Handy speaking at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. — photo Fruchterman
• I was certainly looking forward to hearing Charles Handy. I last heard him speaking on “The Future of Work” at an Economics conference at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland in 1983. His speech at that time talked about the rise of entrepreneurship and self employment as a growing sector of the economy ... and it directly influenced me to return to New Zealand and start up the Skills of Enterprise business courses aimed at unemployed people. Since the 1980s, Charles Handy has gone on to become a prolific author, broadcaster and speaker on the business circuit. And he has gained a welldeserved reputation as a social philosopher. He’s just published his latest book, called “The New Philanthropists”, which profiles 23 business people who are using their skills and resources to work for the common good and for social change. • In his speech, Handy gave some of the stories from his book and explained why he thinks they are examples of an emerging new generation of practical philanthropy. Many of the people he has profiled are young ... still in their 40s. They became wealthy from their business interests at an early age, and now want to invest in a social vision. They are quite different from earlier generations of philanthropists who put their money into buildings, universities, hospitals or churches. They want to directly address the causes of social need. And they want to be handson in doing it themselves. Handy has hopes that this group of new philanthropists represents the seedlings of a new type of capitalism ... where altruism and capitalism are not seen as wildly antagonistic to each other. Handy: “Wouldn’t it be nice if one day all businesses saw themselves as social enterprises?”
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Resources. — YouTube video of Charles’s Handy’s speech at the 2007 Skoll World Forum can be found at (part 1 of 2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCtVrOEPJYU (part 2 of 2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wvoLJY827Q — “The New Philanthropists” by Charles Handy (book pub Heinemann 2006) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0434013455/nzsef‐20 — “The Serious Business of Philanthropy” by Charles Handy in The Financial Times September 19 2006 (Reader) http://www.ft.com/cms/s/d90131f8‐4803‐11db‐a42e‐ 0000779e2340.html —Charles Handy Interview on “The New Philanthropists” (Expertsonline) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlvFTTRld0M
2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus — photo Fruchterman
• Muhammad Yunus has long been a hero of the social entrepreneur community for his work in creating the Grameen Bank, and transforming the microcredit movement. Now that he has been awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for this work, Yunus has been virtually canonised by the social entrepreneur movement. Not that he is going to rest up on the conference circuit as a “living saint” — Yunus has now put his hat into the political ring in Bangladesh ... a move which was often commented on in the different workshops at the Forum (with several participants expressing fears that the most prominent hero of the social entrepreneur movement would be tainted by the political involvement). “Many of the problems in the world remain unresolved because we continue to interpret capitalism too narrowly. In this narrow interpretation we create a one‐ dimensional human being to play the role of entrepreneur. We insulate him from other dimensions of life, such as, religious, emotional, political dimensions. He is dedicated to one mission in his business life ‐‐‐‐ to maximize profit. He is supported by masses of one‐dimensional human beings who back him up with their investment money to achieve the same mission... I think things are going wrong not because of "market failure". It is much deeper than that. Let us be brave and admit that it is because of "conceptualisation failure". More specifically, it is the failure to capture the essence of a human being in our theory.” — Dr. Muhammad Yunus • In his presentation, Yunus described how he had been able to attract private capital to fund a variety of socially driven businesses in Bangladesh. GrameenPhone, a forprofit telecom outfit, is 51% owned by Norway's Telenor (TELN ). It works with the notforprofit Grameen Telecom to provide bulk airtime for village phones which are built from simple handsets and solar chargers. Funded by loans to individual women, these systems function
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as pay phones in many rural areas. Nowadays the idea of a “village phone lady” is catching on in other parts of Asia and Africa, with the local entrepreneur providing other associated services using lowcost, hightech systems. Another enterprise, Grameen Shakti, sells around 1,500 home solarpanel systems per month throughout rural Bangladesh and is growing 15% a year without subsidies. Yunus is also developing a partnership between Grameen and the French company Danone to make a nutritious and inexpensive baby formula. Next on his list are lowcost eye care and rural hospitals with videoconferencing between villagers and doctors in Dhaka.
Resources. — YouTube video of Professor Muhammad Yunus speech to the 2007 Skoll World Forum can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3T6VWQZb1s — “Banker to the Poor: Micro‐Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty” by Muhammad Yunus (book pub 1999 PublicAffairs) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/1586481983/nzsef‐20 — “The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank” by David Bornstein (pub Oxford University Press 2005) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0195187490/nzsef‐20 — ABC News story on Professor Muhammad Yunus receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (2006) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ030y37uMQ — “Social Business Entrepreneurs Are the Solution” by Dr. Muhammad Yunus published by Grameen Bank http://muhammadyunus.org/content/view/56/83/lang,en/ — Previews of Muhammad Yunus DVD created by Ashoka's Global Academy for Social http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoqkEKTtIGg
Jeff Skoll speaking to the 2007 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship — photo Fruchterman
• Jeff Skoll himself is a stunning example of Charles Handy’s observation that we are seeing a new breed of young philanthropist who wants to be proactively involved in social change activities. He is not only the founder the Skoll Foundation, but also the cofounder of eBay (the source of his wealth) and also the Los Angelesbased media company Participant Productions. It’s his latest successful venture with Participant Productions that tells you something of his own driving passion to be a social entrepreneur, and why he is backing major conferences such as this Oxford Forum. Jeff Skoll passionately believes that the world needs to hear many more stories about people who are making a difference. He had himself been influenced by great films that had highlighted social injustice, or told stories of people who had dedicated their lives to righting wrongs ( films such as Ghandi, Schindler’s List, Erin Brockovich). His company Participant Productions started with producing a series of short documentaries on Social Entrepreneurs (The New Heroes, hosted by Robert Redford), and more recently has
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produced a series of mainstream awardwinning feature films including Syriana, North Country, Good Night and Good Luck, Fast Food Nation and the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth. • Speaking at this Forum Opening, Jeff Skoll said his main drive is to work to make social entrepreneurs much more wellknown in mainstream society, and to see that this particular variety of leadership and creativity is better valued. He paid tribute to 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, and the fact that his gaining this prize has lifted the profile of social entrepreneurship everywhere. “ Social entrepreneurs have two kinds of power. The first is the power to make change happen. And the second is the power to show what is possible and to inspire. Today, wherever you find a social challenge at its worst, you will find a social entrepreneur. They are everywhere where social problems call for innovation, inspiration and an inability to take failure as an option. In the process, social entrepreneurs are replacing cynicism with hope, optimism, energy and love ...” — Jeff Skoll • Skoll also told the story of the spectacular success over the last year of the work of one of this year’s nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize — former US Vice President Al Gore. The film An Inconvenient Truth has been a great example of what can happen when an inspiring story reaches a critical mass of people. The documentary has very quickly contributed to changing the debate about climate change around the world. It has won two Academy Awards, and become mandatory viewing in schools in England, Scotland and throughout Scandinavia. Six legislative Bills relating to climate change are now before the US House of Congress ... and on July 7th this year, there will be a series of concerts on seven continents, called Live Earth, which will bring the climate crisis message to a much more widespread audience.
Resources. — YouTube video of Jeff Skoll’s speech at Exeter College to welcome Skoll Award recipients can be found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMn3Ws6bD1A — YouTube video of Jeff Skoll’s Opening Speech at the 2007 Skoll World Forum can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK876EzwhK8 — YouTube video of Jeff Skoll’s speech at the 2007 Skoll Awards can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy01Lr1AtzM — YouTube video of Jeff Skoll video: Imagine the Headlines of the Future... can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugpq‐F7i0mI — Jeff Skoll is featured in a chapter in Charles Handy’s book “The New Philanthropists” http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0434013455/nzsef‐20 — “Moving Pictures” — profile of Jeff Skoll by Anya Kamenetz, in Fast Company Issue 108 September 2006 http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/108/open_moving‐ pictures.html — Participant Productions can be found at http://participate.net — “The New Heroes” PBS Documentary Series hosted by Robert Redford tells 12 dramatic stories of social entrepreneurs who bring innovative, empowering solutions to intractable social problems around the world. http://www.thenewheroes.org.
• Al Gore was the keynote speaker at last year’s Skoll World Forum in Oxford, but he wasn’t speaking about climate change. He was speaking a different focus of his own social entrepreneurship — the challenge of fundamentally changing the world of venture capital investment. At last year’s Forum, Gore pointed out that while we are seeing evidence of leading public companies adopting sustainable business practices, there is still a long way to go to make sustainability fully integrated into the way the world does business. The main problem is the shortterm investment focus which still pervades the corporate community, and which hinders longterm value creation. His example: 30 years ago in the
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US, the average stock holding period was 7 years ... now the average mutual fund turns over its entire portfolio in less than 11 months. “Society is facing serious global challenges such as HIV/Aids, global warming and water scarcity. There is nothing new about this—what is new is the scale of these challenges. Sustainable development will be the primary driver of industrial and economic change over the next 50 years. More business leaders now agree that you can’t run a great business without responding to these forces. Business has to be part of the solution here: managers need to integrate sustainability values within their businesses.” — Al Gore and David Blood Gore has set up a new company, Generation Investments, with David Blood (the former CEO of asset management at Goldman Sachs). The company aims to combine conventional equity market analysis with much longerterm judgments about sustainability. This venture has the potential to take the sustainability vision — which includes economic growth, earth stewardship and social accountability — right into the heart of mainstream investment practices. Generation Investments is doing this by investing in companies which embrace longerterm opportunities, foster transparency, innovation, and eco efficiency.
Resources. — Al Gore and David Blood’s presentation to the 2006 Skoll World Forum is available on Google Video at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=‐1641773930133903355 — The Generation Investment Management Company Website is at http://www.generationim.com/ — “For People and Planet” by Al Gore and David Blood Wall Street Journal 4 April 2006 available at http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0404‐23.htm — An Inconvenient Truth / Al Gore Climate Crisis website is at http://www.climatecrisis.net — The Live Earth concerts (7 July 2007) website is at http://www.liveearth.org/
• It was somewhat surprising that the final speaker of the Opening evening was Queen Rania AlAbdullah of Jordan. She expressed deep alarm at the way in which the Muslim world and the West are looking at each other with suspicion, fear, and prejudice ... and spoke about the need for reconciliation and collaboration between the West and Islam. Drawing on the development of corporate social responsibility in recent history, the Queen called on corporations to take an active role in bridging this divide, a concept she is describing as “corporate multicultural responsibility”. "Our post‐global society is poverty‐stricken — with a new kind of poverty. Today, we live in a world plagued by a poverty of multicultural knowledge, a poverty of multicultural tolerance, a poverty of multicultural respect. We have all come to recognise that social inequality is wrong; we must also appreciate that social intolerance is wrong. Both hold us back. We all have a role to play in promoting multicultural responsibility in our homes, schools, neighbourhoods, universities, places of worship and places of work ...” — Queen Rania
Resources. — YouTube video Her Majesty Queen Rania Al‐Abdullah of Jordan’s speech to the 2007 Skoll World Forum can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E07Mtg6OV58 — “Jordan's Queen Rania calls on companies to bridge East‐West divide through Corporate Multicultural Responsibility” speech notes on Queen Rania official website at http://www.queenrania.jo/content/modulePopup.aspx?secID=&itemID=1425&ModuleID=pr ess&ModuleOrigID=news
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Peter Gabriel at the 2007 Skoll World Forum Oxford University — photo Fruchterman
Launch of the WITNESS Hub Nelson Mandela Theatre, Said Business School Wednesday 28th March 2007 • This was another preconference session in which Peter Gabriel and Gillian Caldwell launched their new YouTubestyle internet hub for the WITNESS project. WITNESS is a project which distributes video cameras and other tools of communication to help people record evidence of human rights abuses. In 1988, Peter Gabriel was part of Amnesty International’s Human Rights Now! Tour. He was struck by the stories he heard from survivors of human rights abuses and the lack of attention these stories received. Gabriel had brought along one of the first camcorders and realized the potential of video as a tool against the abuse ... the perpetrators were often brought to justice when photographic or video evidence of abuses existed. The independent nonprofit organization WITNESS was set up in 1992, not long after video of Rodney King being assaulted by four Los Angeles police officers catalysed interest in the use of video to bring attention to human rights issues. WITNESS is based in Brooklyn, New York, and it’s Executive Director, Gillian Caldwell, has been active in several of the main social entrepreneur networks. WITNESS works with diverse groups around the world, carefully selecting partners based on the strength of their human rights work, the clarity of their mission, and the ability of video to enhance their campaigns. Currently, its partner groups are active in the fight for the rights of indigenous people, for an end to systemic gender violence and the use of children as soldiers, and for environmental protection where human communities are at stake. • “The Hub” is envisaged as a YouTubestyle forum where people can upload human rights related footage video from handheld devices or laptops, to create communities of support for action on the abuses that they witness. The Hub will be fully operational in June this year.
Resources. — YouTube video of Peter Gabriel’s speech to the 2007 Skoll World Forum can be found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB6ODAJ865E
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— WITNESS website is at www.witness.org — Pilot project of The Hub is at http://globalvoicesonline.org/‐/human‐rights‐video/ — Peter Gabriel speaking on human rights and citizen journalism (TED Talks February 2006) available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLuv7lsvWco
Jim Fruchterman introducing the Social Entrepreneurship in Human Rights Master Class at the 2007 Skoll World Forum — photo Hutchinson
Innovators in Action: Social Entrepreneurs in Human Rights Master Class Said Business School Wednesday 28th March 2007 • After attending the launch of The Hub, I went to the Social Entrepreneurs in Human Rights Master Class being held at the Said Business School. It was being facilitated by Jim Fruchterman of Benetech, and attended by Peter Gabriel and Gillian Caldwell of WITNESS, Jeroo Billimoria of the Child Savings international project Aflatoun, Nina Smith of Rugmark USA, and Karen Tse of International Bridges to Justice. There weren’t very many people at this Master Class ... a great many other options were going on at the same time. It gave me cause to reflect on the relative popularity of human rightsbased initiatives at this Forum ... Gillian Caldwell put it succinctly when she remarked that “...the human rights framework is an underrated resource in the advocacy for social entrepreneurship.” • Jim Fruchterman’s work is legendary in the leveraging of technical advances from Silicon Valley to practically help people in the disability and human rights sectors. He was named as a MacArthur Fellow in 2006. (This Fellowship —popularly known as the ‘genius’ award — is a $500,000, nostringsattached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more). • Jeroo Billimoria is really a “serial entrepreneur” who is most wellknown for her work in creating the Childline network supporting street children throughout India. She is now heading up Aflatoun, a new international initiative teaching children their rights and responsibilities, and in particular fostering child savings schemes and teaching how to manage money. (Jeroo has contacted me since the Forum and is trying to make contact with a social entrepreneur who would be interested in establishing a branch of Aflatoun in New Zealand).
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• Also present at the workshop was Wilford Welch, a former American diplomat, who is the author of a forthcoming book “The Tactics of Hope: Your Guide to Becoming a Social Entrepreneur”.
Resources. — short interview with Jim Fruchterman on his MacArthur Fellowship (2006) is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK_ppEe‐McE — Jim Fruchterman ‐ Eye To Eye: An Online Library For The Blind (CBS News) is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti0HJFgdIPk — The Aflatoun website is at http://www.aflatoun.org/index.php
• During the Human Rights Master Class, I was part of a smaller workshop group with Karen Tse. Getting to know a bit more of her story was for me one of the highlights of the Forum at Oxford. Tse leads the citizens group International Bridges to Justice, which represents a powerful example and strategy for systemic social change. The group is working to build fairer and more effective criminal justice systems around the world ... starting in China, Vietnam and Cambodia, and now expanding its activities to Africa and Latin America. • International Bridges to Justice was founded in 2000 as a collaboration between lawyers, academics, and business leaders. It promotes the rule of law, good governance and equitable legal rights for all citizens by ensuring the effective implementation of existing criminal defence, justice and human rights legislation. Operating from the premise that just and reliable legal systems translate into secure and stable societies, the group works to strengthen the practical skills of public defence lawyers, improving legal aid and public defender infrastructure and increasing the awareness of basic legal rights and processes among ordinary citizens. Example. China remains one of the world's most obstinate abusers of basic human rights. It didn't outlaw police torture and threats until 1996, when it also dictated for the first time that defendants have the right to a lawyer and are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. In mainland China dissidents are routinely arrested and held incommunicado ... and the Chinese judiciary is still locking up lawyers when they press too hard in defending the accused. International Bridges to Justice has brought public defender training to Chinese lawyers, and has put them in touch with an international support network of other lawyers, which can help provide mentoring on specific cases. The group has also been organizing promotional campaigns aimed at ordinary citizens; and running awareness campaigns with prosecutors, judges and police. Just four years ago, police stations in China featured banners stating: “Confess: Better Treatment — Resist: Harsher Treatment!” Today, you are more likely to see International Bridges to Justice posters announcing: “If You Are Arrested, Know Your Rights!”
Resources. — International Bridges to Justice brochure at http://ibj.org/IBJbrochure.pdf — “The Power of Persuasion: Karen Tse Legal Rights Activist” By Elizabeth Weiss Green in US News 30 July 2006 http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/060730/7tse.htm — “The Dreamer” by Robyn Meredith in Forbes Magazine 18 April 2005 http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2005/0418/148_print.html
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Funding Ideas, Backing People Nelson Mandela Theatre, Said Business School Wednesday 28th March 2007 • The major Forum workshop sessions happened throughout the Said Business School over the following two days. The workshops were panel sessions made up of short speeches from leaders in the field, followed with comments and questions from the audience. You can imagine, with seven major sessions happening at the same time, we were spoilt for choice. I chose three sessions to focus on: Funding Ideas and Backing People, Bringing Projects to Scale, and the Future of Philanthropy. • This first panel explored funding strategies from multiple perspectives including innovation from within foundations, private sector investment for public good, and non profit venture investing. Panelists included JB Schram, founder of the College Summit, Ion Yadigaroglu of Capricorn Investment, Edward Skloot of the Surdna Foundation, and Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acument Fund. The session was facilitated by David Bornstein, the author of the book on social entrepreneurs “How to Change the World” (which we have given to all our Fellowship members in New Zealand). • It was Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund who most captured my attention at this workshop. Her description of the strategy of investment behind the Acumen Fund is well worth looking into further. Acumen is a nonprofit global venture fund that seeks to demonstrate that small amounts of philanthropic capital, combined “with large doses of business acumen” can build thriving enterprises that serve the poor. The Acumen Fund currently manages $20 million in investments in South Asia and Eastern/Southern Africa, all focussed on delivering affordable healthcare, water and housing to the poor. Acumen also runs a Fellowship programme which is focussed on “building the next generation of business leaders with an understanding of global issues and poverty”. • I introduced myself to David Bornstein after the workshop, as he may be visiting New Zealand sometime in the next year. I offered to arrange some meetings between him and the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship if he has the time during his visit.
Resources. — Streaming video of this session "Funding Ideas, Backing People" featuring David Bornstein, JB Schramm, Ion Yadigaroglu, Edward Skloot and Jacqueline Novogratz can be found at http://streaming.oii.ox.ac.uk:554/ramgen/archive/sbs/skoll_2007/280307_option_1_am.rm — Acumen Fund overview brochure can be downloaded from http://www.acumenfund.org/News/Publications/documents/AcumenFund‐ Overview_email.pdf — “Designing Change: How venture philanthropy fund Acumen uses design thinking to help solve real‐world problems” by Jessi Hempel in Business Week 12 March 2007 http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_11/b4025405.htm — “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas” by David Bornstein (book pub 2004 by Oxford University Press) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0195138058/nzsef‐20 — David Bornstein speaking to the Duke University Fuqua School of Business (2006) http://stream.fuqua.duke.edu/Content/Groups/CASE/2006/bornstein/bornstein‐ 20060126_300K.mov
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The New Zealanders at the Skoll World Forum — from left, vivian Hutchinson, Suzanne Grant (of Waikato University Social Enterprise Studies) and Michelle St James (a former NZ’er now working with philanthropy in Bermuda) — photo Hutchinson
• The Skoll Centre in Oxford has produced a paper on Social Investment by Jed Emmerson, Tim Freundlich and Jim Fruchterman. It is a good basis to explore the whole area of social investment, and I think will be a useful paper to give us a framework for future discussions at the Social Innovation Investment Group. The paper argues that the social entrepreneur movement has a critical need to address the funding gaps in risktaking capital for social enterprises. The new enterprises need investment if they are to grow and prove their innovations, and this needs to be investment that shares the risks of the enterprise. But a dearth of such capital is hampering the sector’s development ... and the authors of this paper are arguing that new instruments and stakeholder relationships need to arise if we are going to meet this challenge: “ Put simply, between the traditional approach to financing non‐profit ventures through grants, fundraising and limited use of debt, and the traditional approach to financing for‐profit ventures through market‐rate private equity and debt, there is a funding gap into which an increasing number of social enterprises are falling ... Innovation in the allocation of capital for social change is needed if existing vehicles are falling short of accomplishing our objectives.” — Emmerson, Freudlich and Fruchterman
Resources. — “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Addressing the Critical Gaps in Risk‐Taking Capital for Social Enterprise” by Jed Emmerson, Tim Freundlich and Jim Fruchterman, published 2006 by the Skoll Centre, Oxford University can be downloaded from http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/skoll/research/Short+papers/Nothing+Ventured+Nothing+Gaine d.htm — Social Edge website discussion on this paper can be found at http://www.socialedge.org/discussions/funding/nothing‐ventured‐nothing‐gained — “Foundations: Essential and Missing in Action” interview with Jed Emmerson by Alliance Extra March 2006 download from www.nzsef.org.nz/?sid=27
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The Problems and Perils of Scaling Said Business School Wednesday 28th March 2007 • By the time I got to the “Problems and Perils of Scaling” workshop I was suffering from information overload, or possibly even “hope fatigue”. This session was full to overflowing, and it was obvious that “scaling up” to achieve systemic impact was one of the main interests of the Oxford Forum. The workshop focussed on the personal stories and examples of how specific enterprises went from a local project ... to national and international success.
Workshop on the Problems and Perils of Scaling, with Asok Khosla, Mel Young and Mechai Viravaidya — photo Hutchinson
• The panel group included Ashok Khosla, one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable development, and a former director of the United Nations Environment Programme. He is the founder of Development Alternatives, a Delhibased NGO which promotes commercially viable and environmentally friendly technologies that support livelihoods. He has spent decades developing and promoting innovations ranging from village power plants using agricultural waste as fuel to mini factories that recycle paper and local enterprises that make lowcost roofing tiles. Mel Young was the cofounder of The Big Issue weekly magazine sold by homeless people throughout Britain, and helped set up the International Network of Street Papers which helps 100,000 homeless or longterm unemployed people every year. More recently, Mel set up the Homeless World Cup annual soccer tournament (this year’s competition in Copenhagen will see teams from 48 countries). The competition isn’t just about soccer. It acts as a focus to encourage people to make fundamental changes in their lives. A survey in 2005 showed that 77% of the players in the Homeless World Cup have significantly improved their lives through employment, housing, education and/or drug/alcohol treatment programs. A dozen players went on to become semi professional or professional footballers or coaches. “ Football is a great leveller, it connects people and is a universal sport for everyone. The Homeless World Cup is able to change the scenery, challenge stereotyping and people who have been spat at the week before are cheered by thousands and treated as soccer heroes during the tournament. The feeling of belonging, challenge of working in a team, regaining a health‐ oriented attitude towards life, self‐esteem and last but not least the experience of fun is a powerful combination to change a person's life.” — Mel Young
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Mechai Viravaidya, the third panelist, is the founder of the one of Thailand’s most successful development organisations which has done pioneering work in family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention. Mechai is popularly known as “Dr Condom” in Thailand for his public role of promoting family planning (condoms are apparently often referred to as “mechais” in Thai slang). This social entrepreneur had many entertaining stories to share at the workshop ... including holding condom blowing contests for school children, encouraging taxi cab drivers to hand out condoms to their customers, and setting up a restaurant chain called “Cabbages and Condoms” where condoms rather than mints are served after the meal. This family planning campaign has been one of the most successful family planning programmes in the modern era. The annual population growth in Thailand has dropped from over 3% to 0.6%, and the average number of children per family has fallen from seven to under two.
Resources. — “Ashok Khosla: Mini enterprise leads to macro change” on the Infochangeindia website at http://www.infochangeindia.org/changemakers16.jsp — Homeless World Cup website is at http://www.homelessworldcup.org/ — Mechai Viravaidya profiled in Time magazine’s “Sixty Years of Asian Heroes” at http://www.time.com/time/asia/2006/heroes/in_viravaidya.html
Moving Capital Nelson Mandela Theatre, Said Business School Wednesday 28th March 2007 • This session was happening at the same time as the “Scaling” workshop, but I got to see it streamed over the internet at a later time (thanks to the free broadband services in the local hotel). This workshop focussed on how social ventures can access different sources of external capital to increase their impact. • The main speaker here was John Elkington who is a prominent British “thought leader” in the area of sustainability. His think tank, called SustainAbility is currently working on a threeyear project with the Skoll Foundation to increase partnerships between social entrepreneurs and major corporations. The workshop marked the release of a major report by SustainAbility which surveyed over a hundred leading social entrepreneurs on how they are working with the corporate sector, and how they raise money for their new ventures. “ A growing array of apparently insoluble socio‐economic, environmental and governance challenges presses in on decision‐makers — including climate change, the risk of global pandemics, the growing threat to natural resources like water and fisheries, and the ever‐ present issues of poverty and hunger. At a time when such challenges seem to narrow our horizons, social entrepreneurs are creating a wealth of new opportunities. But to enjoy these opportunities over the longer term, we must ensure real opportunity for a very much greater proportion of the global population...” — John Elkington The report concludes that for real system change to take place, we must focus on government and public policy. Governments need to do more to shape public sector targets, with tax incentives and pricing signals that ensure that markets can drive change — so that the new social enterprises can reach their full potential. • The SustainAbility report gave some sobering figures on the comparative size of the social enterprise sector. Its rough estimate is that less than $200 million is going into social enterprises worldwide, and most of this is coming from the Foundations sector. This can be compared to the over $2 billion being invested into “clean technology” businesses
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worldwide, or the over $200 billion that is spent in philanthropy in the US alone. Elkington told the workshop that even though social entrepreneurship is growing quickly, it is still a very small field financially. His warning: “Are we growing a huge number of ventures that may not be able to sustain themselves into the next stage of their evolution?”
Resources. — Streaming video of this session “Moving Capital” featuring Jan Piercy, John Elkington, Penny Newman, Tim Reith, Arthur Wood, and Michele Giddens can be found at http://streaming.oii.ox.ac.uk:554/ramgen/archive/sbs/skoll_2007/280307_option_4_pm.rm — “Growing Opportunity — Entrepreneurial Solutions to Insoluble problems” by SustainAbility and the Skoll Foundation (2007) download from http://www.sustainability.com/growing‐opportunity — “Rising to the challenge?” by John Elkington in The Guardian 28 March 2007 http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,2044046,00.html — The SustainAbility / Skoll project website is at http://www.sustainability.com/insight/skoll.asp
• Several other Sustainability/Skoll Reports are available for download from their website. These include a business primer on “scalable solutions”, a report profiling the “barefoot billionaires” who are backing social entrepreneurs, and a quick global overview of leading social entrepreneurs.
Resources. http://www.sustainability.com/downloads_public/skoll_reports/Business_Primer.pdf http://www.sustainability.com/downloads_public/skoll_reports/Barefoot_Billionaires.pdf http://www.sustainability.com/downloads_public/skoll_reports/Hot_Spots_of_Social_Enterprise.pdf
The Future of Philanthropy Nelson Mandela Theatre, Said Business School Thursday 29th March 2007 • This workshop session focused on just how far “creative” philanthropy can go to support social innovation. Two of the panellists (Helmut Anheier and Lester Salamon) are the leading academics in a field that looks at the voluntary sector and civil society from the lens of social science. The other panellist, Mark Kramer, is the Managing Director of FSG Social Impact Advisors. • Helmut Anheier, Director of the UCLA Centre for Civil Society, set out his arguments for a new approach to philanthropic engagement, which he calls Creative Philanthropy. He’s written a book of the same name, which argues that endowed foundations have a unique capability to spot innovative solutions to problems, to jumpstart and help sustain the innovative process, and to help disseminate and implement the results of innovation. He believes that Foundations will become more relevant as they learn to act themselves as social entrepreneurs, as institutionbuilders, as risk absorbers and as mediators in different social fields. “Foundations are neither poor imitations of government nor the chosen tools for quick fixes. They are something far more important: foundations are the potential powerhouses of creative thinking and working that society needs. We do not have a shortage or scarcity of resources in modern society. What we have is a weakness in creating innovation, and in seeing innovation through a process that leads to sustainable solutions. This is the area of creative philanthropy where foundations are needed most...” — Helmut Anheier • Anheier remarked that one of the main characteristics of Creative Philanthropy is a change in the relationship between foundation programmes and grantees. There is not an emphasis on performance criteria and performance indicators and other elements of control. There isn’t the requirement for grantees to fill in long forms or to write long narratives on their work. There is much more of an emphasis on an ongoing dialogue and
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exchange between the foundation and grantee. This emphasis is on learning and evaluating their shared contribution to the common good. During the Forum, I discovered that this approach to grantmaking was very much the style of the Skoll Foundations own relationship with its own grantees. Some of the people I spoke to, who had received money from the Skoll Foundation, remarked on the difference: The Foundation people came to them, they interviewed, checked facts, and filled out all the paperwork, and when their reports were written, the Foundation sent them to the grantee and asked: Did we get that right? The end result was that the people felt they could focus a lot more on the job at hand ... and their meetings with Skoll as a funder were seen as an opportunity to discuss and explore what was being learned, rather than as some sort of accountability ritual. • Mark Kramer of FSG Social Impact Advisers argued that we are on the cusp of a generational change in which succeeding generations will not see a separation between nonprofit and forprofit sectors. He remarked that this division seems very hard for us to let go of. He also went on to suggest that we will not be looking to philanthropy or government as the primary means of solving social problems. “ We have a phenomenal non‐profit sector in America. It has a turnover of about $1 trillion and about 7% of the workforce. It has grown at a phenomenal rate over the past 50 years. But in every problem you would care to look at — whether it is environmental, educational, or in social welfare — the situation is the same or is getting worse. The problems are becoming inescapable and the ways we have been addressing them are not working. Social entrepreneurship is an interim step that has emerged as we are trying to grapple with how to find more effective ways of addressing our social problems...” — Mark Kramer Mark Kramer has recently written a paper (coauthored with Michael Porter from the Harvard Business School) in which he argues that the social value proposition of a business will be the key competitive advantage in the near future. Businesses need to consider social issues not just because they want to be good neighbours or citizens, and not just in response to the activists, but “... because it will be the only way that they will succeed”. Kramer argues that activists in the nonprofit sector underestimate the contribution that the corporate world can make to systemic social change. He pointed to “The Equator Principles” where nine global banks have got together to set social, safety and environmental standards for major construction projects like dams and pipelines around the world. It took a year for them to negotiate the standards, but as soon as they were put in place, 75% of all major project financing in the world was under those standards. It has now become impossible to build something without meeting those standards.
Resources. — Video stream of this session “The Future of Philanthropy” featuring Helmut Anheimer, Mark Kramer, Lester Salamon and Alex Nicholls can be found at http://streaming.oii.ox.ac.uk:554/ramgen/archive/sbs/skoll_2007/290307_option_4_am.rm — “Creative Philanthropy” by Helmut Anheier and Diana Leat (book pub 2006 Routledge) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0415370914/nzsef‐20 — “From Charity to Creativity ‐ philanthropic foundations in the 21st century” by Helmut Anheier and Diana Leat 2002 report for the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/pressAndInformationOffice/publications/books/2002/From_Char ity_toCreativity.htm — “Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility” by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer in the Harvard Business Review (December 2006) at http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/email/pdfs/Porter_Dec_2006.pdf — The Equator Principles website is at http://www.equator‐principles.com/
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Miscellaneous Networking • I met up briefly with Pamela Hartigan (Managing Director of the Genevabased Schwab Foundation) when I arrived. Pamela has been to New Zealand and met with the Tindall Foundation, and was a key influence in etsablishing both the Social Innovation Investment Group and the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship. Last year, I was invited to join her meeting of social entrepreneurs that was held in conjunction with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. And many of the people that are members of the Schwab Social Entrepreneur Fellowship were also present at this Oxford World Forum. • Pamela is soon to publish a book on social entrepreneurship, coauthored with John Elkington, which will be called “The Power of Unreasonable People: How Entrepreneurs create markets to change the world”. • Just before the conference started, Pamela sent me her latest paper which has just been published in Innovations, the quarterly journal from MIT Press. The paper is coauthored by Klaus Schwab, the Swiss academic and entrepreneur who started the World Economic Forum in Davos thirty years ago, and it is a coherent and useful argument for how government and businesses need to open up more space for social innovation. “Our fascination with these pragmatic visionaries and their organizations lies much less in the goods and services they provide than in the catalytic role they play in triggering innovations in the social sector. Like the business innovators who come up with major innovations for the marketplace, social innovators are the mad scientists as it were — working away in their organizations that act like social innovation laboratories. They test and perfect different approaches, and when they come up with the most effective and efficient ones with the greatest impact, it should be government and the corporate sectors’ respective roles to celebrate the innovation, take it up, learn from it, and help scale it so that all can benefit...” — Klaus Schwab and Pamela Hartigan
Resources. — "Social Innovators with a Business Case: Facing 21st Century Challenges One Market at a Time" by Klaus Schwab and Pamela Hartigan http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1162/itgg.2006.1.4.7 — The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship website is at http://www.schwabfound.org/
• Another paper released around the time of the Forum was from Sally Osberg, the CEO of the Skoll Foundation. It is a further attempt at getting a clear definition of social entrepreneurship established. It centers in on defining “entrepreneurship” itself, and how this is expressed in both the business and social fields. The diversity of the examples given in the paper might surprise you ... but it is just this diversity that is reflected amongst the participants of this Oxford Forum. Osberg, and her coauthor Roger Martin, put an emphasis on innovations that lead to “systemic social change” when discussing the key differences between social entrepreneurs, social activists, and social service providers. (In this, they have come to much the same conclusion as our own discussions in New Zealand.) • One of the drivers behind writing this paper is the concern (expressed several times at the Skoll Forum) that the promise of social entrepreneurship is not being fulfilled because too many “nonentrepreneurial” efforts are included in the definition. Martin and Osberg are pushing for a much sharper definition of social entrepreneurship, in an effort to determine the extent to which an activity is and is not “in the tent”.
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At the Forum, Bill Drayton remarked that this will always be a troublesome exercise ... “ because social entrepreneurs are the sort of people who are always breaking down barriers anyway ... and they will not accept any boundaries put on defining who they are”.
Resource. — “Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition” by Roger L. Martin & Sally Osberg in Stanford Social Innovation Review (Spring 2007) http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/social_entrepreneurship_the_case_for_definition/
• I missed the workshop session featuring Charles Leadbeater (... there was just too much going on at the same time), but I got to read his column in the Observer newspaper, which was published during the time of the Forum, and also his later article in the Social Enterprise magazine. Leadbeater was one of the earliest influences on my own awareness of this field. Ten years ago, he wrote a small booklet called The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur which was published by the British Think Tank Demos. This booklet helped to popularise the term and brought social entrepreneurship into the mainstream of public policy debate. Leadbeater’s booklet also had a significant influence on the “Third Way” movement within the leadership of Labour Parties around the world. In New Zealand, in the early part of this decade, these ideas were an influence on Social Development Minister Steve Maharey’s interest in establishing a local Social Entrepreneurship Scheme (through the illfated Community Employment Group). • These days, Leadbeater is a “Visiting Fellow” at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University. So ... What has he learned about social entrepreneurship after its first decade of significant growth? Well, he believes that the movement has got quite a lot right, but also quite a lot wrong. For a start, he challenges the current “hero” focus as a way that social entrepreneurship is being promoted: “Social entrepreneurship needs to become a mass activity, not just the domain of inspirational mavericks ... Entrepreneurship usually comes from teams, not heroic individuals. Social entrepreneurs thrive on interdependence, learning and borrowing resources from the public and private sectors.” Leadbeater believes that the biggest challenge facing the social sector is how to scale up its impact — and the social entrepreneur movement needs to embrace this challenge: “Too many social entrepreneurs are still running inspiring but small schemes. Too few can show how their inspirational new approaches have spread. Part of the reason is a lack of both capital and management skills to expand larger organisations from smaller roots. Opposition from entrenched bureaucracies and professionals is another factor. But social entrepreneurs may have their biggest impact by being disruptive innovators, opening up markets that bigger organisations cannot see...” — Charles Leadbeater
Resources. — “Mainstreaming the Mavericks”, by Charles Leadbeater, The Observer 25 March 2007 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,,2041924,00.html — “Whatever Happened to the Heroes?” by Charles Leadbeater in Social Enterprise magazine Issue 57 (April 2007) http://www.socialenterprisemag.co.uk/sem/features/detail/index.asp?id=198 — Charles Leadbeater on Innovation (TED Talk July 2005 in Oxford UK) http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/63 — “The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur” by Charles Leadbeater (pamphlet pub 1997 by Demos Thinktank) can be downloaded from http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/socialentrepreneur
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— Social Entrepreneurs — Special issue of The Jobs Letter (No.147, 27 June 2001) by vivian Hutchinson can be downloaded from http://www.jobsletter.org.nz/jbl14700.htm
• Another participant at the Forum was Sir Ronald Cohen. He was one of the media “stars” of businessled social entrepreneurship, and was profiled in the business sections of several British newspapers during the time of the Oxford conference. Cohen is described as having a major influence on the current government, and is considered a trusted member of Chancellor (and leaderinwaiting) Gordon Brown's most trusted inner circle. The Times calls Cohen “the grandfather of venture capital in Europe”. He set up Apax Partners in 1972 and grew the firm into one of the world’s biggest and most successful buyout groups, making him a billionaire in the process. He retired from Apax on his 60th birthday in 2005 and immediately started to work on projects that would enable him to give some of his and the industry’s wealth back to the community. Much of this work is centred around Bridges Community Ventures, which describes itself as “a private equity firm with a social mission”. Its strategy is to invest only in the poorest 25 per cent of the country. (The firm has made 13 investments, sold three companies and seen five go under). Cohen told The Observer how his worldview had changed since Gordon Brown asked him to chair first the Social Investment Taskforce and, more recently, the Commission for Unclaimed Assets. “I came to understand that you could really change people's lives if you could manage to connect the private sector way of doing things and the access to the capital markets with the social challenges that communities are facing everywhere ... “ I am convinced there is a wave of social entrepreneurship forming now that feels the same as the wave of business entrepreneurship I felt when I started in 1972 ... We have in our hands the ability to turn social investment into an asset class, in the same way we have turned private equity into a mainstream asset class.” — Sir Ronald Cohen • Cohen is also heading up a new initiative which will be Britain’s first “social bank”. It aims to do this by investing about £250 million of the estimated £400 million in dormant bank and building society accounts. Although the primary aim is to return the money to its owners, the bank will use any outstanding money to fund voluntary organisations and social enterprises “... to tackle social and financial exclusion”.
Resources. — Bridges Community Ventures website is at http://www.bridgesventures.com/ — “Bridging the Great Divide" by Nick Mathiason on The Observer 18 March 2007 http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329749132‐102271,00.html — “Billionaire sets up ‘mission’ to help nation’s poorest” by Siobhan Kennedy in The Times 31 March 2007 http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/ar ticle1593826.ece
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Skoll Foundation Awards Ceremony Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford Wednesday 28th March 2007 • Back at the Sheldonian, we had an evening dedicated to celebrating the stories of many of the leading social entrepreneurs gathered at this Forum. The evening started with music from the Pakistani musician Salman Ahmad, followed by speeches from Jeff Skoll, Muhammad Yunus and Peter Gabriel. The 2007 Skoll Awards were then presented to ten recipients who will each receive $1 million, over the next three years, to target social issues in need of urgent attention and to bring their projects “to scale”. What struck me during the Awards ceremony was the relative youth of so many of these recipients — many were in their 30s and 40s. Their stories and projects so far are already extremely successful, and there is obviously such great potential still ahead for all of them. — Vicky Colbert of the Foundation Escuela Nueva, which started in Columbia fostering education for underserved children through a more flexible approach and stronger school‐community ties. This has grown into an international movement reaching 5 million pupils in various Latin American countries, Uganda, and the Philippines. — Craig and Mark Kielburger of Free The Children. They started this group in their early teens as a classroom fundraiser and grew it to become an international organization with 1000 chapters in schools across the US and Canada fighting poverty, exploitation and powerlessness among children around the world. — Sebastien Marot of Friends International, an initiative to take Cambodian kids off the streets and help them reintegrate society.
Sebastion Marot (centre) of Friends International receives his 2007 Skoll Award, with Sally Osberg, Peter Gabriel, Muhammad Yunus and Jeff Skoll — photo Fruchterman
— Susan Burns and Mathis Wackernagel of the Global Footprint Network, developers of the Ecological Footprint, a tool that tracks the extent to which human demand on nature exceeds what the planet can regenerate. This measure, applied by countries, hundreds of cities and organizations across the world, has become a leading sustainability indicator. — Joe Madiath of Gram Vikas, an organization helping develop the state of Orissa, one of the poorest regions in India. — William Strickland of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, which introduces young people in poor urban environments to arts and career education.
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— Roshaneh Zafar of the Kashf Foundation focusing on microfinance for women in Pakistan. Started in 1996, the Foundation made 228,000 loans in 2006, has 135,000 clients and a recovery rate of 99.9 percent. — Rupert Howes of the Marine Stewardship Council, focusing on reversing the decline in global fishing stocks through a marine certification and an eco‐labeling program. — Dan Viederman of Verité, which works on improving working conditions around the world. — Dorothy Stoneman of YouthBuild USA, an alternative school where dropout youths re‐enrol, complete high school, and at the same time work to build affordable housing for the homeless. • The evening finished with two songs from Monica Yunus (daughter of Muhammad) who is a promising young soprano based at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Forum participants then went on to a celebration and reception hosted in a marque at Trinity College.
Resources. — Streaming video of the “Skoll Foundation Awards Ceremony” featuring Jeff Skoll and Sally Osberg with Peter Gabriel, Muhammad Yunus, Salman Ahmad and Monica Yunus can be found at http://streaming.oii.ox.ac.uk:554/ramgen/archive/sbs/skoll_2007/280307_awards.rm — YouTube video of the ten recipients of the 2007 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=‐KKByRF6GA0 — short profiles of the 10 grantees can be read at http://www.skollfoundation.org:80/grantees/2007.asp
Monica Yunus singing at the 2007 Skoll Foundation Awards Ceremony — photo Fruchterman
• Some Quotes from the Skoll Forum: “Every truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self‐evident.” — Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher “There is no change without individuals, and nothing sustained without institutions.” — Jean Monnet, the architect of the European Union “Live like you will die tomorrow, but learn like you expect to live forever.” — Mahatma Ghandi “ It’s amazing what you can achieve if you don’t care who gets the credit.” — Harry Truman, US President
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Closing Sessions of Skoll World Forum Nelson Mandela Theatre, Said Business School Thursday 29th March 2007 • Larry Brilliant was the final keynote speaker giving his reflections as a pioneer in social innovation. His presentation was challenging and inspiring, and something of a jolt back to “big picture” thinking after hearing so many inspiring local stories. If you watch just one of the pieces of video from this Forum ... make it this one. Brilliant has long been a folk hero from the same loose network of American counter cultural activists and entrepreneurs that include the likes of Ram Dass, Wavy Gravy, Stewart Brand, Howard Rheingold and Paul Hawken. He is a doctor and a former professor of epidemiology who set up the Seva Foundation which has performed 2 million free sightrestoring eye operations in India and Nepal. He helped run the WHO smallpox eradication program in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh and was part of the Global Commission which certified that smallpox had been eradicated in the world. As a technology leader, Brilliant was a founder of the world’s first online community, The WELL, and has been CEO of two public hitech corporations (SoftNet Systems Inc. and Network Technologies), and most recently he founded the WiFi company, Cometa. Larry Brilliant was 2006 recipient of the TED Prize, which grants him “one wish to change the world” (... he is setting up a global warning system to track the spread of infectious diseases). And just last year, he was appointed Executive Director of Google.org, the new philanthropic arm of the Google company. So all eyes are on just what he is going to do next .... • Brilliant started his speech with a short clip from a 1958 movie by Frank Capra, "The Unchained Goddess". The film contained a description of the causes of global warming, complete with images of melting Arctic icecaps and maps of rising sea levels inundating the southern regions of the US ... eerily similar to Al Gore’s more recent film “An Inconvenient Truth”. Brilliant: “So in 1958 we knew about global warming — should we feel good or bad that 50 years of foreknowledge accomplished so little?” He then went on to list some of the Megatrends facing the current generation of social entrepreneurs: — increasing global warming ... which has its gravest effects on the poorest and most vulnerable members of humanity — increasing population levels ... expected to level out at over 9 billion people — increasing urbanization ... we went past the tipping point this year with 50 percent of the world population now living in cities — increasing desertification, loss of farming land etc — increasing animal consumption — increasing growth of technology, which is also having a downside in the growth of bio‐weapons — increasing globalization, which has big winners and bigger losers. • Brilliant pointed out that today, the world is more diverse and more unfair than it has ever been in human history. One percent of world population owns 40% of all goods and services (he quoted Bill Clinton, who recently remarked: ”This situation is unprecedented, unequal, unfair and unstable”). And the situation will get increasingly instable as global TV,
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the internet and new media continue to expose the inequalities in life experiences and people’s expectations. Brilliant drew out the “case for pessimism” in many areas ... water and other resource wars, sectarian conflicts, refugee crises, an increasing number and scale of weather related disasters, and newly emergent disease patterns. Climate change will put all the social entrepreneurship successes of things like microcredit into perspective. With the graphics provided by Google Earth, he “navigated” a map of Asia to show how deforestation and global warming will combine to raise seas levels and displace 100 million people in Bangladesh alone. • But Brilliant also felt there is plenty of cause for optimism. He shared his personal story of wandering the Asian hippy trail in the 1960s before his guru sent him off to help lead the fight to eradicate Smallpox on earth. Smallpox has been the worst disease in human history — it killed half a billion people in the 20th century alone, which is more than all the wars in history. Ending Smallpox involved an immense collaboration between the World Health Organisation, governments, public and private health officials, and teams of volunteers. In India, Brilliant supervised thousands of workers who tracked down cases of smallpox, and kept visiting every household to ensure that the virus was quarantined. He suggests that the fact that we have conquered Smallpox “should make our species proud”, and it should also give us hope when we take on similar huge systemic challenges as global warming, or the many other megatrends that he had listed. • As the new director of Google.org, Brilliant will be helping spend $1.1 billion of the assets of the worldleading company on addressing the sort of megatrends that he has described. Google.org is essentially a network that includes both a charitable foundation with a $90 million endowment, and also other forms of social investing (not unlike those being promoted by venture capitalists like Sir Ronald Cohen). When they announced the establishment of the Google.org Foundation in 2005, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin promised shareholders they will make a social impact that will eventually “eclipse Google itself” by tackling the world's problems. Brilliant: “ In 10 years, I'd like people to say Google changed the world less for its search engine than for the way in which it changed philanthropy to make the world a better place.”
Resources. — Streaming video of this session “Reflections from a Pioneer in Social Innovation” featuring Larry Brilliant can be found at http://streaming.oii.ox.ac.uk:554/ramgen/archive/sbs/skoll_2007/290307_closing_1.rm — YouTube video of Larry Brilliant’s speech to the 2007 Skoll World Forum can be found at (part 1 of 3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBuIHX11yj4 (part 2 of 3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0rsfIE274Q (part 3 of 3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6mZndZSmAw — “Google's Brilliant Philanthropist” by Jessi Hempelin in Business Week 22 February 2006 http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2006/tc20060222_088020.htm — “Dr Brilliant Vs. the Devil of Ambition” by Andrew French in Fast Company Issue 39 September 2000 http://www.fastcompany.com/online/39/brilliant.html — “The Health of Humanity” by Larry Brilliant (2006 Sanford S. Elberg Lecturer in International Studies ‐ UC Berkeley http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/Elberg/Brilliant/ — Larry Brilliant talking to the TED Forum January 2007 on the successful WHO campaign to eradicate Smallpox, and then unveiling his TED Prize wish ‐ to build a global system that detects each new disease or disaster as it emerges or occurs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNhiHf84P9c
• The 2007 Skoll World Forum was completed by wrapup speeches by Bill Drayton, and Ed Millibrand, the British Cabinet Minister. Bill Drayton reinforced what he felt was the changing focus of the social entrepreneur movement: “We used to have a small elite, now we need to get everyone involved in changemaking, and figure out ways to think and work together in a way that builds on our individual entrepreneurial spirit...”
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Drayton pointed out that governments and the universities are “the last remaining pre modern institutions” to embrace the entrepreneurship challenge. The social entrepreneurs at this Forum would be an essential part of helping them make this transition.
Ed Milibrand and Bill Drayton addressing the final session of the Skoll Oxford World Forum — photo Hutchinson
• Ed Milibrant heads up Office for the Third Sector which has responsibility for government policy affecting social enterprise. He recognises the challenge that social enterprises bring to both the private and public sectors: “ They are at the vanguard of change in both. To the private sector, the challenge is to put ethical values at the heart of their business and be a responsible member of the community. To the public sector, the challenge is to deliver public services in a different way, using the skills and expertise of users and frontline workers...” — Ed Milibrand, UK Minister of the Third Sector Milibrand says that a major focus of his government’s policy is to simply recognise and spread the word that social enterprises do exist. His research showed that only about a quarter of British people know what they are, even though it was estimated that there are over 55,000 businesses in Britain that fit the government’s definition of a social enterprise. In November 2006, the British government launched a major 75page “Social Enterprise Action Plan” that aims to “open the door to thousands more such enterprises” by: — fostering a culture of social enterprise, embedding the change that is already underway, especially through inspiring the next generation to start thinking about the social impact of business — improving business advice, information and support available to social enterprises — tackling the barriers to access to finance that restrict the growth of social enterprises — enabling social enterprises to work effectively with government to develop policy in the areas of expertise • After some closing comments from John Elkington, and from some of the Skoll Award winning social entrepreneurs ... the 2007 Skoll World Forum was over!
Resources. — Streaming video of the session “Supporting More Social Innovation” featuring John Elkington, Bill Drayton and Ed Milliband can be found at http://streaming.oii.ox.ac.uk:554/ramgen/archive/sbs/skoll_2007/290307_closing_2.rm — Office for the Third Sector “Social Enterprise Action Plan” (2006) can be downloaded from http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector/social_enterprise/action_plan/ — Streaming video of the session “Social Innovation: Where do we go from here” featuring Roger Martin, Roshaneh Zafar, Martin Fisher, Taddy Blecher, and Mindy Lubber can be found at http://streaming.oii.ox.ac.uk:554/ramgen/archive/sbs/skoll_2007/290307_closing_3.rm
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London Meetings • For the four days after the Oxford Forum I stayed in London to followup on connections made at the conference and to explore some other projects further. Gaia Foundation • Ed Posey and Liz Hosken are a couple of “active citizens” and philanthropists based in Hampstead. We had last met during the New Economics conference held in Scotland in 1984. At that time, they were just establishing The Business Network, which was one of the first organisations promoting social and environmental responsibility in business. Since then, Ed and Liz have established the Gaia Foundation, and their Hampstead home — now known as Gaia House — has become a seeding point and informal meeting place for many of the leading UKbased activists from environment and development organisations. The Foundation has taken a leading role in supporting indigenous activists including Professor Wangari Maathai (the Nobel Peace Laureate from Kenya), Vandana Shiva from India, Tewolde Gebre Egzhiabher from Ethiopia, Martín von Hildebrand from Colombia, José Lutzenberger from Brazil and Chico Mendes (the indigenous leader who was assassinated in Brazil). • The couple invited me to attend a small public talk in Hampstead by Martín von Hildebrand, the leader of many development projects with indigenous people in the Columbian Amazon. Hildebrand led the campaign to include significant indigenous rights within Colombia’s 1991 political Constitution. The Columbian Constitution explicitly recognises the cultural diversity of the Colombian nation and the rights of indigenous peoples to participate in the design and management of their own development, health and education programmes. It also recognizes the right of indigenous communities to collectively administer their own territories. Over the last 17 years, these communities have developed innovative processes of self governance directed by shamans and driven by indigenous thought. Hildebrand’s COAMA programme focuses on reviving their diverse and ecologically centred collective governance systems, using elements from the western industrial world that do not compromise their autonomy. Thanks largely to these efforts, the indigenous communities in the Colombian Amazon are now selfmanaging a territory larger than the size of the United Kingdom. The obvious improvements in Columbia through this indigenous selfdevelopment have become the envy of many other South American countries ... and has also inspired similar groups in Africa to follow the COAMA methods. In 1999, Hildebrand and COAMA received the Right Livelihood Award (sometimes called the alternative Nobel Prize) for this ground breaking work. • Meeting Martín von Hildebrand and hearing his presentation has given me quite a bit to reflect on when comparing his story to the New Zealand experience of Maori sovereignty and economic development. It is interesting for me to realise that so much of my own thinking on indigenous issues has been conditioned by our local debates on the Waitangi Treaty and the emphasis on “partnership” relationships between our majority culture and tangata whenua. This is in contrast to the Columbian Amazon story which has involved promoting grassroots community efforts to protect critical ecosystems, such as forests, watersheds and river basins, whilst working to empower local communities to take control and develop their own resources and livelihoods.
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• The Gaia Foundation has been promoting the concept of “Earth Jurisprudence” based on the visionary work of the philosopher Thomas Berry. Their view is that our legal systems, and the corresponding human jurisprudences upon which they are based, continually promote the interest of the human community while affording no real protection to other species, or to the planet itself. The Gaia Foundation asks us to imagine another legal system where the planet and all of its species have rights – and they have those rights by virtue of their existence as component members of a single Earth community. “ The dominant legal philosophies and laws both reflect and perpetuate the prevailing worldview that the Earth is merely a collection of 'resources' or objects which human beings are entitled to exploit for their exclusive benefit. A new Earth Law ‐ or Earth jurisprudence ‐ is essential if global human society is to achieve the radical shift in beliefs and attitudes that will be necessary to save the planet from ecological disaster.” — The Gaia Foundation
Resources. — The website for The Gaia Foundation is at http://www.gaiafoundation.org/ — profile of Coama for the Right Livelihood Awards can be found at http://www.rightlivelihood.org/recip/coama.htm — The Gaia Foundation’s Earth Jurisprudence website can be found at http://www.earthjurisprudence.org/
London School for Social Entrepreneurs • I had an appointment with Alastair Wilson, the Chief Executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, which is based in Bethnal Green in the East End of London. I was interested in finding out more about how this school operates ... and from the brochures I picked up at the Skoll Forum, I could see that their approach to learning and enterprise facilitation was very similar to the style of the “Skills of Enterprise” business courses I had set up for unemployed people in New Zealand in the 1980s.
Alastair Wilson, Chief Executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, at Bethnal Green, in the East End of London — photo Hutchinson
The Skills of Enterprise business courses were different from mainstream Polytech business courses because of their action learning approach. We didn’t just teach people how to set up a business ... we taught them how to set up their business. Our courses were half work and half study — and there were no certificates or accreditations involved other than having a viable business running at the end of the course, or the participant taking the decision not to go into business because of what they had learned.
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I could see that the School for Social Entrepreneurs was following a similar approach to education, which they were also calling “action learning”. • Each student on the SSE programme is chosen on the basis of their life experience, rather than their qualifications. They are each leading or establishing a new project or organisation, and have shown themselves to be “... driven, committed, persistent, engaged with the community they are aiming to serve, prone to action, and pragmatic”. The SSE programme is a year long, and the sessions at the School are held one day a week. It’s not a course of instruction ... but more of a learning community where the diverse students are encouraged to help one another with their objectives. The School’s “facilitators” are able to get alongside the students providing information and guidance on a “just in time” basis. • Gaining access to the networks of existing social entrepreneurs is obviously one of the main benefits cited by the students at this School. The SSE has a huge network of highprofile social entrepreneurs to call upon (from John Bird, founder of The Big Issue newspapers for homeless, to Tim Smit, the man behind The Eden Project). The students are able to interrogate these “expert witnesses” to find out exactly what they did, how they did it, what the results have been and what they have learned. The School has been operating for ten years and the 250 students so far have become part of a SSE Fellowship Network which plays an active part in the staff team, on the Trustee Board, as expert witnesses, and in helping develop new services. (The Chief Executive Alastair Wilson himself is a former graduate of the School). • The School for Social Entrepreneurs has recently been evaluated by the New Economics Foundation. Its October 2006 report finds that the SSE has a unique approach based on “the depth and duration of support, the high levels of personal support and the inspirational mixture of people and lasting support networks.” The report shows that organisations established by SSE Fellows are over oneandahalf times more likely to be in existence after eight years than conventional businesses. Each social enterprise established by the Fellows has created an average of five jobs (and a small proportion have created more than 20 jobs). The New Economics Foundation has calculated that for every £10,000 its takes to train a student at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the return to the community is £100,000. • The SSE has now started franchising its methods and approach — with similar Schools for Social Entrepreneurs now operating in Ireland, East and West Midlands, Scotland and Cornwall. And it looks as though they are starting to go international ... with discussions currently taking place for a similar School to be set up in Sydney, Australia.
Resources. — The website for the London School for Social Entrepreneurs is http://www.sse.org.uk/ — “Passion in Action” by Mira Katbamna in The Guardian 12 December 2006 http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/news/story/0,,1969691,00.html
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The Young Foundation • The School for Social Entrepreneurs was one of the last projects established in 1997 by Michael Young, later known as Lord Dartington, who is credited with being Britain’s most prolific and successful social entrepreneur of the 20th Century. At the end of World War II, at the early age of 29, Michael Young drafted the 1945 Labour Party manifesto “Let Us Face The Future”, which helped bring Atlee’s reforming Labour government to power. He worked closely with Aneurin Bevan in the Labour government of 1945 to 1951, where he became convinced that successful social innovation was far more likely to come from individuals and communities than from the public sector. Young set up his Institute of Community Studies at Bethnal Green in London’s East End. From this base, he gave birth to more than fifty organisations devoted to a huge diversity of social projects. These included establishing the Consumers' Association (1957) and their magazine Which?, the Economic and Social Research Council (1965), the Open University (1968), International Alert (1980), the University of the Third Age (1982) and Language Line (1990). Young was once described as a shaman who sowed “dragons teeth”, then moved on while great organisations sprung up in his stead. When interviewed by Charles Handy (in his 1999 book The New Alchemists) Young simply remarked: “I can’t stop thinking of what appear to be worthwhile ideas. They seem so obvious.” At the Skoll World Forum, one speaker remembered Michael Young as a social entrepreneur who always took “No” as a question, and who actively sought out objections to his ideas as a method of refining his plans and proposals.
Resources. — “Michael Young 1915‐2002: Social Entrepreneur” by vivian Hutchinson in The Jobs Letter No.161 (14 February 2002) at http://www.jobsletter.org.nz/jbl16110.htm — “Michael Young: Social Entrepreneur” by Asa Briggs (book pub 2001 by Palgrave Macmillan) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0333750233/nzsef‐20
School for Social Entrepreneurs, Bethnal Green, London — the base for Michael Young’s Institute of Community Studies, from which he developed his extraordinary range of social innovations — photo Hutchinson
vivian Hutchinson — some notes from the Skoll World Forum 2007 — Page 36 of 39
UnLtd: The Foundation Supporting Social Entrepreneurs • On my last day in London, I visited the headquarters of UnLtd: the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs. This Foundation was established in 2000 by a consortium of groups (including Ashoka / Changemakers and the School for Social Entrepreneurs) who successfully bid for and were awarded £100 million from the UK Millennium Awards Endowment (part of the National Lottery). UnLtd gives financial support to individuals who want to make a difference. They don’t fund organisations. The UnLtd awards are enabling emerging social entrepreneurs to tackle a wide variety of issues such as racism, the minimum wage, social exclusion, hungry schoolchildren and food poverty in inner cities. UnLtd offers two levels of award: The first level gives between £500 and £5,000 to individuals or informal groups of people who have an idea and want help getting it off the ground. The second level (of between £10,000 and £20,000) is for supporting key people or paying for the living expenses of the award winners to enable them to devote more time to their projects. UnLtd also runs a UKwide Fellowship of the people who have received their awards, and undertakes research into the impact of social entrepreneurship on society.
Resources. — The website for the UnLtd: The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs can be found at http://www.sse.org.uk — The Guardian UnLtd Social Entrepreneur Awards http://society.guardian.co.uk/unlimitedvision/0,,1776158,00.html — “Everyday Legends: The Ordinary People Changing Our World, the Stories of 20 Great UK Social Entrepreneurs” by Justine C. Law, James J. Baderman (book pub 2006 by WW Publishing) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Everyday‐Legends‐Ordinary‐Changing‐ Entrepreneurs/dp/0955013216/
• My interest in visiting UnLtd wasn’t so much about their funding programme — which was extraordinary enough — but to follow up on a conversation I had with Cliff Prior, UnLtd’s Chief Executive, when we were having dinner during the Skoll Forum. I had mentioned a project we were exploring with the New Zealand ChangeMakers 5105 10 group which is to establish a microphilanthropy trading website. The idea is to provide a website where the network of people involved with ChangeMakers can be connected with the funding requests from local groups and organisations. Such a website (modelled on the popular NZ trading site TradeMe) would be a useful addition to the tools for generosity in our country, and could be especially useful as a fundraiser for smaller grant and donation requirements for individuals and community organisations. Cliff Prior told me that UnLtd were pursuing much the same idea as a way of supporting the people and projects involved in their own network of social entrepreneurs. He put me in touch with their website developer, who was able to point me towards several existing examples of websites that were pursuing a similar strategy.
Some of these philanthropy marketplace websites include: — Just Giving at http://www.justgiving.com/ — Generous Giving http://www.generousgiving.org/index.asp — Fundable at http://www.fundable.org/ — Kiva at http://www.kiva.org/ — Global Giving at http://www.globalgiving.com/
vivian Hutchinson — some notes from the Skoll World Forum 2007 — Page 37 of 39
vivian Hutchinson in the Park at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, near Oxford April 2007
• Well, that’s my notes from the week at the Oxford and from my time in London. There was so much going on at this World Forum that I would imagine that there could be 700 completely different reports of what happened and 700 different maps of connections to inspiring people, ideas and projects. • As I was writing up my notes in a London hotel, I was struck by the contrast between the positivity generated by this global gathering ... and the much less hopeful headlines appearing in the daily British newspapers. During the time of this Forum, the OECD reported that aid from Western developed countries to tackle global poverty had fallen by 5% last year, which was the first time that the level of aid had dropped in a decade. This was because the world’s richest countries were basically reneging on their Gleneagles pledges to give an extra $50 billion in financial assistance by 2010. (Remember Bob Geldof and Bono’s Live8 concerts?) Also during the Forum, a report was released on Britain’s child poverty statistics. The latest government figures show that the number of children officially living in poverty in Britain has risen by 200,000 to 3.8 million children. These new figures mark the end of a sustained period of falling poverty since statistics were first collated in 1961. They also bring a bit of “reality” back to Blair and Brown’s ambitious social promise that they will abolish all child poverty in the UK by 2020. These reports are a notsogentle reminder of just how far we still have to go. Larry Brilliant’s inspiring journey in ending Smallpox may prove to be a walk in the park compared the social justice struggle of ending the widening gap between rich and poor. • Being my first Skoll Forum, I had no real way of comparing just how the social entrepreneur movement, at this series of annual gatherings, was evolving its own sense of balance between “hype” and “reality”. I was interested to read the following postForum comment on a Social Edge Blog by Dennis Whittle, the founder and Chairman of GlobalGiving: “ Around 2001 there was a Cambrian explosion of ideas [on social entrepreneurship], and conferences were all about who had the best idea — and too often about why other people's ideas were dumb or inferior. Over the next couple of years, several of the people with ideas actually launched real initiatives, with great hopes and fanfare and excitement and hoopla, and often hyperbole. The conferences during those years were dominated by the swaggering of those people launching these start‐ups.
vivian Hutchinson — some notes from the Skoll World Forum 2007 — Page 38 of 39
“ [But] many of us have been through the wringer. We are making great progress now, but the last few years have been full of setbacks and reversals and S‐turns. All of which have served to make us a lot more humble — and a lot more interested in reaching out to others to tell our stories and hear theirs in return. I think we all realize now that there is no silver bullet in this field — no “best idea.” Instead, we need — and are forming — a community of good ideas, and of good people. The way forward is through this community...” — Dennis Whittle • I think this is a community we should be keeping in touch with ... and we should endeavour to maintain a New Zealand presence at these World Forums at Oxford. In future years I would like to try and ensure that both a member of our Social Innovation Investment Group and a member of the Social Entrepreneur Fellowship are able to attend. There is certainly many advantages to being on the spot, making connections with a huge diverse network, being within the dialogue, and having the time to think things through — away from home projects and responsibilities. • But beyond this — bearing in mind all the carbonmiles involved in getting New Zealanders over to the other side of the world — perhaps we could also work with the Skoll Foundation or the Social Edge people to convene a satellite summit gathering at the same time in New Zealand. This would make it open to a wider range of New Zealand social entrepreneurs and philanthropists ... with the main plenary and keynote speakers from Oxford beamed into our satellite conference, accompanied by our own keynote speakers and our own workshop sessions. Imagine if there was a whole network of these satellite summits in various countries ... with the best of their local keynote contributions being shared around the network. This would also be another way to extend the reach and impact of the important ideas and practical role models for change that are found within this Forum.
vivian Hutchinson Executive Officer Social Innovation Investment Group New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship April 2007
Resources. — “Blow to Blair as western aid falls for first time in 10 years” by Larry Elliott in The Guardian 3 April 2007 http://politics.guardian.co.uk/development/story/0,,2048914,00.html — “Blow for Brown as poverty figures increase after years of decline” by Ashley Seager in The Guardian 28 March 2007 http://society.guardian.co.uk/socialexclusion/story/0,,2044236,00.html — “Pulling for the Underdog” Dennis Whittle Social Edge Blog 28 March 2007 http://www.socialedge.org/blogs/pulling‐for‐the‐underdog/archive/2007/03/28/boy‐we‐ have‐been‐through‐the‐wringer
vivian Hutchinson — some notes from the Skoll World Forum 2007 — Page 39 of 39
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