THE PROVERBS OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP PAUL C. LIGHT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY ROBERT F. WAGNER SCHOOL OF PUBLIC SERVICE PROVERBS COMPELLING GUIDANCE BASED ON CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, LONG-STANDING PRACTICE, INTUITIVE CONCLUSIONS NOT NECESSARILY TRUEMAY 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) ENDEAVOR TO (3) CREATE, (4) SCALE, AND (5) EXECUTE A (6) NEW (7) COMBINATION OF (8) IDEAS FOR (9) SOLVING AN
(10) INTRACTABLE (11) SOCIAL PROBLEM (12) PERMANENTLY 1. A COURAGEOUS PROVERB: COURAGE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCE FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ALSO PERSEVERANCE, GRIT, FORTITUDE, TENACITY PROVERB: BUSINESS AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ARE ALIKE IN MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS MAJOR DIFFERENCE IS MOTIVATION: FINANCIAL VERSUS SOCIAL PROFIT
SOCIAL EQUILIBRIUM BEHAVES LIKE ECONOMIC EQUILLIBRIUM 2. ENDEAVOR PROVERB: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS THE PRODUCT OF INDIVIDUALS THERE ARE VERY FEW SUCH INDIVIDUALS MOST SHARE SIMILAR TRAITS, HABITS, EXPERIENCES, AND HEURISTICS THE MOTIVATION TO ENGAGE IS ENDURING AND IDENTIFIABLE EARLY IN LIFE PROVERB: 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 TASKS PROVERB: 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 its own. 4. SCALE, PROVERB: SCALING IS NOT LIKE opening a 13th department store in a chain. MANAGEMENT IS OFTEN BELITTLEDSo very
few of the Fortune 500 companies from several decades ago still make the list or even exist, precisely because managers took over. PROVERB: SCALING IS GENERALLY NONPARTISAN LITTLE DISCUSSION OF POLITICS, POLICY ENTREPRENEURS, GOVERNMENT FUNDING (SECRET) 5. AND EXECUTE PROVERB: EXECUTION INVOLVES BUSINESS-LIKE BEHAVIOR
GENERAL APPROACH ASSUMES THAT BUSINESS AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP ARE ALIKE IN ALL IMPORTANT ASPECTS CONCERN WITH REVENUE ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT PROVERB: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS A FULL-TIME TASK NO PARTIALLY ENTREPRENEURIAL ORGANIZATIONS EITHER ENTRERPENERUIAL OR NOT (NO GRADATIONS) 6. A NEW PROVERB: NEW IS SUPRISING, YET ATTRACTIVE
TO ADOPTERS FAMILIARITY IS NOT SEEN AS AN ASSET PROVERB: NEW COMBINATIONS ARE LONG IN DEVELOPMENT I get 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 SCIENCE RARELY INVOLVES EXPERIMENTATIONLITTLE ADVANCE TESTING, PROTOTYPING, CONTROLGROUP ASSESSMENT, ALL DUE TO FUNDING CONSTRAINTS PROVERB: 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 PROCESS
TECHNICAL, NOT ADMINISTRATIVE PROVERB: ADJUSTMENTS OF EXISTING PRODUCTS, PROCESS, ETC. IS NOT CONSIDERED SOCIAL ENTEPRENEURSHIP Social entrepreneurs 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 REPLACED
ERRADICATION IS ULTIMATE GOAL, PARTIAL PRGRESS IS NOT ENOUGH PROVERB: 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 ENVIRONMENT HEAVIEST 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 its own.
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 secures permanent
benefit for the targeted group and society at large. PROVERB: THE EXISTING EQUILLIBRIUM IS DEFEATED ASSESSING PROVERBS HOW MANY ARE CORRECT? PRINCIPLES, NOT PROVERBS HOW 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 DONT KNOW CANT HELP US NEED FOR DEEP INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL EXPLORING IF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS TO ADVANCE STILL A FAD DESPITE THIRTY YEARS SOCIAL EXPLORING MAY BE THE LEAST POPULAR
SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER ALWAYS IS VERY EXPENSIVE THE POLITICS OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AN OLD IDEA: COMPARE & CONTRAST SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WILL NOT BECOME A FIELD UNTIL IT BECOMES DISCIPLINED ABOUT UNDERSTANDING ITSELF CONTEMPORARY MEASURES ARE INSUFFICIENT HOWEVER, FUNDING FOR DEEPER RESEARCH IS ALMOST NON-EXISTANT
KNOW-IT-WHEN-WE-SEE-IT VIEW FROM THE TECH AND HEDGE FUNDERS RATHER-NOT-KNOW-IT FROM OTHER FUNDERS AND ACTORS NO-TIME-TO-MEASURE-IT FROM WITHIN ACADEME
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