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THE PROVERS OF SOCIAL _

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THE PROVERBS OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
PAUL C. LIGHTNEW YORK UNIVERSITYROBERT F. WAGNER SCHOOL OF PUBLIC SERVICE
PROVERBS
COMPELLING GUIDANCE BASED ON CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, LONG-STANDING PRACTICE, INTUITIVE CONCLUSIONSNOT NECESSARILY TRUE—MAY HAVE BEEN THE WAY OF DOING THINGS, IDEAS DISCERNED FROM BIASED OBSERVATION, IDEOLOGICAL IMAGES OF THE “GOOD” IDEA.OFTEN DELIVERED IN STORIES OF SUCCESS AGAINST THE ODDS
THE PROVERBS ARE IN THE DEFINTION
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS A (1)COURAGEOUS(2)ENDEAVORTO (3)CREATE, (4)SCALE, AND (5)EXECUTEA (6)NEW(7)COMBINATIONOF (8)IDEASFOR (9)SOLVINGAN (10)INTRACTABLE(11)SOCIAL PROBLEM(12)PERMANENTLY
1. A COURAGEOUS
PROVERB: COURAGE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCE FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIPALSO PERSEVERANCE, GRIT, FORTITUDE, TENACITYPROVERB: BUSINESS AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ARE ALIKE IN MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTSMAJOR DIFFERENCE IS MOTIVATION: FINANCIAL VERSUS SOCIAL PROFITSOCIAL EQUILIBRIUM BEHAVES LIKE ECONOMIC EQUILLIBRIUM
2. ENDEAVOR
PROVERB: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS THE PRODUCT OF INDIVIDUALSTHEREARE VERY FEWSUCH INDIVIDUALSMOST SHARE SIMILAR TRAITS, HABITS, EXPERIENCES, AND HEURISTICSTHE MOTIVATION TO ENGAGE IS ENDURING AND IDENTIFIABLE EARLY IN LIFEPROVERB:EXISTING ORGANIZATIONS ARE INCAPABLE OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP“Social entrepreneurs are remarkable. These strong and often lonely human beings require and deserve our understanding, long-term loyalty, and respect. Existing institutions are not able to make such judgments or operate on this timescale.”
3. TO CREATE,
PROVERB: CREATING A NEW COMBINATION OF IDEAS INVOLVES A STAGE-GATE PROCESS OF SOME KIND—COMPLETION OF TASKSPROVERB: CREATING A NEW COMBINATION OF IDEAS OFTEN INVOLVES “ELEVATOR MOMENTS,” “LEMON DROPS,” “ACCIDENTS,” “A GARAGE”PROVERB: PRIMARY TASK IS “identifying a stable but inherently unjust equilibrium that causes the exclusion, marginalization, or suffering of a segment of humanity that lacks the financial means or political clout to achieve any transformative benefit on itsown.”
4. SCALE,
PROVERB: SCALING IS NOT LIKE “opening a 13thdepartment store in a chain.”“MANAGEMENT” IS OFTEN BELITTLED—”So very few of theFortune 500companies from several decades ago still make the list or even exist, precisely because managers took over.”PROVERB: SCALING IS GENERALLY NONPARTISANLITTLE DISCUSSION OF POLITICS, POLICY ENTREPRENEURS, GOVERNMENT FUNDING (SECRET)
5. AND EXECUTE
PROVERB: EXECUTION INVOLVES BUSINESS-LIKE BEHAVIORGENERAL APPROACH ASSUMES THAT BUSINESS AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ARE ALIKE IN ALL IMPORTANT ASPECTSCONCERN WITH REVENUE ESPECIALLY IMPORTANTPROVERB: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS A FULL-TIME TASKNO PARTIALLY ENTREPRENEURIAL ORGANIZATIONSEITHER ENTRERPENERUIAL OR NOT (NO GRADATIONS)
6. A NEW
PROVERB: NEW IS SUPRISING, YET ATTRACTIVE TO ADOPTERSFAMILIARITY IS NOT SEEN AS AN ASSETPROVERB: NEW COMBINATIONS ARE LONG IN DEVELOPMENT“Iget very, very suspicious when I see someone who had an idea two years ago. It just doesn't ring true. Because with the typical entrepreneur you can see the roots of the interest when they're very young. There's a real coherence to people's lives.”
7. COMBINATION
PROVERB: COMBINATION IS A PRODUCT OF CREATIVE INQUIRY, MORE ART THAN SCIENCERARELY INVOLVES EXPERIMENTATION—LITTLE ADVANCE TESTING, PROTOTYPING, CONTROL-GROUP ASSESSMENT, ALL DUE TO FUNDING CONSTRAINTSPROVERB: COMBINATION IS AN INTERACTIVE PROCESS, BUT IS BEST VIEWED AS A BLACK BOX THAT IS UNIQUE TO EACH IDEA
8. OF IDEAS
PROVERB: IDEAS GENERALLY FOCUS ON PRODUCTS (PROGRAMS, INTERVENTIONS), NOT PROCESSTECHNICAL, NOT ADMINISTRATIVEPROVERB: ADJUSTMENTS OF EXISTING PRODUCTS, PROCESS, ETC. IS NOT CONSIDERED SOCIAL ENTEPRENEURSHIP“Socialentrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”
9. TO SOLVE
PROVERB: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP DOES NOT OCCUR UNTIL THE STATUS QUO IS FULLY REPLACEDERRADICATION IS ULTIMATE GOAL, PARTIAL PRGRESS IS NOT ENOUGHPROVERB:SCALING IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT BARRIER TO THE “IMMITATION” NEEDED FOR CREATION OF A “JUST” EQUILLIBRIUM
10. AN INTRACTABLE
PROVERB: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN INTRACTABLE SOCIAL PROBLEM (SHORT OF AN ASTEROID STRIKE)PROVERB: INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS ARE MORE LIKELY TO OCCUR IN CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, ECONOMIC, EDUCATION, AND HUMAN RIGHTS THAN HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTHEAVIEST U.S. FUNDING APPEARS TO BE IN EDUCATION
11. SOCIAL PROBLEM
PROVERB: THE KEY SOCIAL PROBLEM THAT MUST BE SOLVED IS “the exclusion, marginalization, or suffering of a segment of humanity that lacks the financial means or political clout to achieve any transformative benefit on itsown.”IMPLIED QUALIFIERS: “BY OTHERS, NOT SELF,” “BY INTENT, NOT ACCIDENT”
12. PERMANENTLY
PROVERB: THE SOLUTION MUST BE PERMANENT“The social entrepreneur should be understood as someone who targets an unfortunate but stable equilibrium that causes the neglect, marginalization, or suffering of a segment of humanity; who brings to bear on this situation his or her inspiration, direct action, creativity, courage, and fortitude; and who aims for and ultimately affects the establishment of a new stable equilibrium that securespermanentbenefit for the targeted group and society at large.”PROVERB: THE EXISTING EQUILLIBRIUM IS DEFEATED
ASSESSING PROVERBS
HOW MANY ARE CORRECT?PRINCIPLES, NOT PROVERBSHOW MANY ARE CONTEXT DRIVEN?MIGHT BE THAT DIFFERENT INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS REQUIRE DIFFERENT SOURCES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP, COMBINATIONS, IDEAS, ETC.MIGHT BE THAT DIFFERENT IDEAS REQUIRE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EXECUTION, TIME-LINES, TRAITS, ETC.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL EXPLORING
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW CAN’T HELP USNEED FOR DEEP INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL EXPLORING IF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS TO ADVANCESTILL A FAD DESPITE THIRTY YEARSSOCIAL EXPLORING MAY BE THE LEAST POPULARSPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER ALWAYS ISVERY EXPENSIVETHE POLITICS OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
AN OLD IDEA:COMPARE & CONTRAST
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WILL NOT BECOME A FIELD UNTIL IT BECOMES DISCIPLINED ABOUT UNDERSTANDING ITSELFCONTEMPORARY MEASURES ARE INSUFFICIENTHOWEVER, FUNDING FOR DEEPER RESEARCH IS ALMOST NON-EXISTANTKNOW-IT-WHEN-WE-SEE-IT VIEWFROM THE TECH AND HEDGE FUNDERSRATHER-NOT-KNOW-IT FROM OTHER FUNDERS AND ACTORSNO-TIME-TO-MEASURE-IT FROM WITHIN ACADEME

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THE PROVERS OF SOCIAL _