Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Part 4/4: A Social Business Plan for Serving the #socent Community - Transition support for late stage & serial social entrepreneurs

Earlier this year, I shared an idea for serving the #socent community on these blog pages. To my delight, an exciting group of allies, most of whom I have had the honor of working with in the past, formed and settled into a core group of 5 initial "builders" who are committed to working together to see the concept move forward. Our common objective is to support late stage social entrepreneurs, primarily through identifying opportunities to deploy their unique changemaking skills on cross-silo consultancy assignments for the Corporate sector, NGOs and multilateral institutions.

Amazingly, four of the 5 wonder-women in our initial group were able to meet up at the Ashoka Changemaker's Campus in Paris in late June.  It was awesome!

The #socent skills collective that Bonnie Koenig, Cheryl Cooper, Christelle van Ham, Jean Russell and I have been imagining together since February was on the program in the Alliances for Change track on the last day of the Changemaker's Campus event, which gave us an invaluable opportunity to get some early stage feedback on the concept from a live group of social entrepreneurs and consultants active in the social change space. Facilitator Alycia Lee from the HUB Amsterdam's "Collaboracy" initiative led us through a group dialogue and working group session with 17 participants entitled "Leveraging Professional Changemaker Values."

Gratitude abounds - not only for the session group's ability to "see" the utility and do-ability of what we were proposing, but especially for their willingness to help us start thinking through some of the aspects that merit the most careful thought.

My 3 main takeaways:

- The need for a professional support "bridge" to help social entrepreneurs transition between projects resonated very strongly with the social entrepreneurs in the room. Specifically, we learned that guidance from "others who have been there" would be welcome in transitioning out of the leading role in the structures they have created, and on toward developing the confidence to reinvest of themselves in building new initiatives that capitalize on what they have learned. The potential financial opportunity involved in consulting was important but not obviously the most important motivation for participating.

- There will be important work to do in helping social entrepreneurs to recognize and self-assess the concrete skills they have acquired during the course of careers which can be transferable to other professional contexts.

- On the flip-side of defining what social entrepreneurs have to offer, we will also have some interesting work to do on framing the deployment of their unique expertise into a (collaborative?) methodology based practice that can consistently offer unique and high quality value to the clients we consult for.

By the end of the session in Paris we had acquired some lengthy lists of names in 2 separate groupings. Not only did many of the changemakers in the room sign up to be informed when we start developing our database of deployable expertise, but a good number of participants also expressed an interest in exploring ways to work with us in helping to build it.

And voila - new minds gather, new hearts open, and a big idea moves forward toward co-created action. We will be exploring next steps with the expanded group of builders in the coming weeks.

If you have been following the development of this concept and would also like to explore becoming further involved, please let us know using the form the follows. As always, comments, questions and additional feedback most welcome in the comments section below.


No comments:

Post a Comment