Innov8Social at SOCAP11: The Photo Essay
SOCAP11: Money + Meaning = ?
September 6-9th 2011 marked the 4th annual Social Capital Markets Conference (SOCAP). SOCAP connects social innovators including investors, social entrepreneurs, foundations, non-profit institutions, designers, ‘social’ media, and thought leaders.
As the best attended SOCAP to date—with well over 1500 attendees—this year’s conference focused on impact investing and featured a number of sessions that explored the financial angle of investing in social ventures. It also took a look at the big why—why it matters to invest in projects that have meaning or create some material positive impact. And it delved in to the big how’s—how to design for social innovation, how to build audience, and how to secure seed funding and investment.
SOCAP11 was an insider’s conference—with plenty of financial-speak, legalese, design lingo, and social innovation buzzwords to tire out your Twitter fingertips.
And SOCAP11 was a place for newbies too, providing a guided path into the world of social impact investing through a broad variety of session tracks, ‘open space’ time for impromptu sessions, and plenary group sessions to bring everyone together and to help distill the deluge of useful information.
In fact, there was a balanced buffet of tracks an attendee could choose from to explore their interest in the field, and even partake in a few “Wild Card” sessions that didn’t squarely fall into a track but were topics of interest. And you could mix, match, sample, and float in and out of tracks based on your preferences.
Doing Well By Doing Good
A huge focus of the conference was exploring the meaning behind social innovation. And time and again individuals from various niches mentioned this phrase…”doing well by doing good.” It seems to be the call that social entrepreneurs, designers, socially-inspired professionals and impact investors alike are determined to answer.
After tweeting live from Dreamforce and appreciating the experience as a way to share and learn from various perspectives, I joined a number of other regulars tweeting live from #SOCAP11. It was a great way to connect in real-time. There was even a “tweet-up” to meet the fellow tweeters live.
Parse, Share, Repeat
I met a number of interesting innovation start-ups, learned even more about the benefit corporation movement, and was introduced to a plethora of new keywords. I look forward to parsing out the ripe picks and sharing them with Innov8Social readers. So, don’t change that dial—I will be sharing my experience through photos, video, informative posts, buzzword drilldowns, and reflections on Innov8Social in the upcoming days. To stay connected, just click the SOCAP11 tag to see all Innov8Social coverage of the event.
Catch Up on SOCAP11
There are a number of ways to get your fill on the conference and individual sessions. Here are a few:
This excerpt from SOCAP Convener Kevin D. Jones in the conference guide explains a little background behind SOCAP:
“SOCAP’s mission is to help create social and economic power for the poor. And we help catalyze a for-profit market to make that happen. Our initial goal in creating SOCAP was to show that the market between giving and investing was real, that it was big and that it was growing…”
Follow our live tweets of SOCAP11 @innov8social on Twitter. You can also search #SOCAP11 on Twitter for related tweets. After the conference, read posts by clicking on the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social.
The ratings are relayed with green, yellow, and red dots indicating strong compliance (green), intermediate compliance (yellow), non-compliance (red) with target goals.
So, the million dollar question, how did the agencies score for 2010?
The following Federal agencies led the pack, featuring green indicators for all criteria:
The following agencies had a strong featuring green indicators for 6 out of 7 criteria.
Bottom of the Class
The following agencies rounded the bottom of the group featuring a majority of non-green indicators (i.e. 4 yellow or red indicators)
Dreamforce 2011–the conference that brought together upwards of 35,000 developers, professionals, entrepreneurs, non-profit representatives, executives, and industry leaders–enabled each niche to gain something useful from event.
Attending Day 2 of the event with the focus of identifying tools and trends useful to social entrepreneurs and social innovators, a few key themes came to mind.
Listening In to Marc Benioff and Eric Schmidt
One of the most compelling sessions of Day 2 was the afternoon keynote session which featured an interview between Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Google Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt. (see here for the video)
Surprisingly, though the conversation was being viewed by a live audience of thousands and was also being broadcast online, it had a kind of personal and intimate feel to it. Like overhearing a conversation between 2 long-time colleagues–who know each other well enough to make a few jokes at the other’s expense, but who also respected the other enough to ask probing questions leading to insightful response.
Schmidt was articulate and honest. Benioff was a generous host and a thoughtful interviewer.
So, what can social innovators learn from Dreamforce, Benioff, and Schmidt?
Top 5 Things Social Innovators Learn From Dreamforce 2011
1. Mobile. Throughout various sessions, there was emphasis on the astounding growth of mobile usage. More people are adopting mobile devices and tablets as main ways they access the internet. Social entrepreneurs looking to build new products, services, and websites would be wise to build their strategy around mobile device usage and content. This includes building apps on multiple platforms and/or making a mobile version of a site.
2. Social. Understanding and using social networks, social platforms, and social media is becoming less optional and more of a necessity in connecting individuals and social investors to causes, and to each other. With a plethora of apps to help engage your audience, it is important for social innovators and social entrepreneurs to consider their goals when it comes to building engagement and wisely use existing social platforms to extend their reach.
3. Local. In the keynote as well as in sessions such as the Google Apps super session, there was an emphasis on the future of local. News, events, deals are most valid to users when they are in the same locale. In building ways for your social venture to effectively connect with your intended audience, consider how to customize the user experience to make it relevant to their location.
4. Real-time. Mobile, social, local formed a buzzword trifecta at Dreamforce. And Marc Benioff was quick to remind the audience of another in his keynote talk with Eric Schmidt. He mentioned that real-time is also an emerging trend in effectively connecting with audiences. Just as information is more relevant when it applies to your location, it is also more relevant when it applies to you, now. As social entrepreneurs consider how to connect their cause with those who can contribute time, resources, social engagement support, it is important to think about how to connect content in real-time.
5. Work with Good People. When Benioff asked Schmidt about what attracted him to start at Google when it was a young company, Schmidt turned to the audience and said, “life is short and you should spend time working with people you enjoy’. Social business is unique because of its emphasis on building a revenue model as well as serving the community and environment—part of making it work is having an awesome team of bright, committed folks, who like and bring out the best in each other.
To catch up on our tweets from the event, follow @innov8social on Twitter. You can also search #df11 for other tweets related to Dreamforce 2011.
The Federal Government’s Sustainability Report Card: The Criteria
1. Inventory for Scope 1 & 2, greenhouse gas (GHG) Reductions. Scope 1 refers to direct GHG emissions from sources owned/controlled by the Federal agency. Scope 2 refers to direct GHG emissions resulting from generation of electricity, heat, or steam purchased by the Federal agency.
2. Inventory for Scope 3, GHG Reductions. Scope 3 refers to greenhouse gas emissions from sources not owned or directly controlled by a Federal agency, but that are related to agency activities (i.e. vendor supply chains, delivery services, and employee travel and commuting)
3. Reduction in Energy Intensity. Energy intensity refers to energy consumption per square foot of building space, including industrial or laboratory facilities.
4. Renewable Energy Use. This refers to energy produced by solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), geothermal, municipal solid waste, or new hydroelectric generation.
5. Reduction in Potable Water Intensity. This refers to potable water consumption per square foot of building space.
6. Reduction in Fleet Petroleum. This refers to goals outlined to use low greenhouse gas emitting vehicles (including alternative fuel vehicles) and reduce/optimize the number of vehicles in an agency fleet.
7. Use Sustainable Green Buildings. This refers to goals outlined ensuing that all new construction and major renovation/repair/alteration of Federal buildings complies with published guidelines regarding sustainability.
For social innovators and social entrepreneurs “social” in this context relates to a cause or public benefit, as outlined in this definition:
social – “of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society.” <social institutions> (Merriam-Webster definition)
For cloud computing afficianados, “social” refers to dynamic digital, linked online content, as articulated in this definition:
social – “tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others.” (Merriam-Webster definition)
So, Which Is It?
It’s both, of course. The two definitions of social share a major similarity—they both involve connecting. In the social innovation context, is connecting with communities, the environment, the downtrodden, animal welfare, civil rights, societal ills, education, underrepresented populations, and other causes or communities.
In the computing context, “social” refers to connecting online, through social networks, social media, and online platforms and networks that enable online exchanges easily and in real-time. It is the ability to voice a concern or praise not on an individual basis or in a vacuum, but in a crowded room, in which you are shoulder-to-shoulder with companies, manufacturers, media, various other constituencies, and other users of the product or service.
While we may try to correct those who confuse the two popular definitions of social—in reality, it may be time to somehow reconcile the connotations and allow enable the definitions to be connected.
Social relates to cause. And in today’s society, championing a cause will effectively call for an effective social content strategy.
So the next time someone asks you, “do you mean social, or social?”
Just say yes.
“Performance.gov is a central website that provides a window on the Administration’s efforts to deliver a more effective, smarter, and leaner government. The site gives the public, government agencies, Members of Congress, the media, and others a view of the progress underway in cutting waste, streamlining government, and improving performance.”
This post is the first in a three-part series exploring how performance.gov seeks to assess federal agency sustainability. You can read the second installment that relates to what criteria has been used to make the assessment here. And you can find the third installment, that looks at how the federal agencies scored here.
#theimpactpodcast #158 - How to Apply a Social Impact Ecosystem Mindset.
Available on @itunes, @soundcloud, @stitcherpodcasts, and @spotify.⠀
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