How do you synthesize 3 full days of social innovation topics, events, interviews, meetings, and experiences at SOCAP11? One blog post at a time.And what better way to kick off the synthesis than with an essay of photos. Here are images taken over the course of the 3-day conference, that together, begin to tell the story of a conference featuring thought-provoking topics by social innovation thought-leaders. To learn about what we gleaned from the conference, you can follow posts with the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social.You can click on the photos for more information.

Innov8Social at SOCAP11: The Photo Essay

SOCAP11 light projection logo

Social innovation incubator & accelerator programs (SOCAP11)

Senda Athletics at SOCAP11

Filling the Gaps, SOCAP11

Keeping Meaning in the Market

Craig Newmark and Kevin Jones at SOCAP11

Art at SOCAP11

Nokero Solar Lights at SOCAP11

Market Dynamics of New Media Landscape

Van Jones at SOCAP11

Socap11 tweet up

Off the Grid at Fort Mason (SOCAP11)

One way of getting to SOCAP11 this year at the Fort Mason Center was via the Bus 30 stop in San Francisco. Veering right, then left, and hiking a mini super hill would lead you to this view of what would become your new home campus for the next few days:

SOCAP11 at Fort Mason Center

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.

Outside Insider

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.

SOCAP11 Tracks

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.

Tweet-casting

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:

SOCAP11 kicked off informally Tuesday with pre-registration at the Hub in San Francisco. The conference officially starts on Wednesday, September 7th at Fort Mason.

Welcome to SOCAP11

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…”

SOCAP11 Coverage

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.

If you have even skimmed the contents of this blog you likely know about AB 361, the California legislation that would create a new corporate form for social enterprise called a benefit corporation.

California map iconYou may not have heard of SB 201, however. It is a different bill that also proposes a new corporate form for social enterprise in California, called a flexible purpose corporation.
Note: it is great coincidence that there are 2 social enterprise bills heading to the Governor’s desk at the same time. Additionally, they are not mutually exclusive—i.e. both bills can be passed into law. In fact, arguably, the fact that there are 2 different social enterprise bills seem do twice as much to suggest that the time is ripe for legislation recognizing social enterprise in California.
Key Features of AB 361 (Benefit Corporations)
Read the full text of AB 361 here. Summaries of key features are numbered in bold, while text exactly or very closely mirroring the actual language of AB 361 is in italics.
1. Creates Benefit Corporations (benefit corps). This bill would authorize and regulate the formation and governance of a new form of corporate entity known as a benefit corporation. 
2. Existing corporations can become benefit corps with 2/3 shareholder vote. The bill would also permit an existing corporation to become a benefit corporation by amendment to its articles of
incorporation, as specified, adopted by at least a minimum status vote (2/3 of vote or greater if required by articles of incorporation) and would permit a corporation to become a benefit corporation through a merger, reorganization, or conversion, or domestic other business entity, as specified.
3. Benefit corps must create material positive impact on society and the environment, as determined by an independent 3rd-party standard.  The bill would provide that a benefit corporation may be formed for the purpose of creating general public benefit, defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment, taken as a whole, as assessed against a 3rd-party standard. 
       Third-party standard is a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the business developed by an entity that has no material financial relationship with the benefit corporation or any of its subsidiaries and  where: A) not more than 1/3 of members of the governing body of the entity are representatives of associations of businesses in a specific industry, businesses whose performance is assessed against the standard; and B) the entity is not materially financed by an association of business described in (A).     
       Additionally, the third-party standard must be developed by an entity  that accesses necessary and appropriate expertise to assess overall corporate social and environmental performance; and uses balanced multistakeholder approach, including a public comment period of at least 30 days to develop the standard. The following information on the 3rd party standard must be made publicly available: criteria considered when measuring the overall social and environmental performance.
4. Benefit corps may be formed to create a general public benefit and can also identify additional specific public benefit(s). The bill would also provide that a benefit corporation may identify one or
more specific public benefits as an additional purpose of the corporation. Examples of specific public benefit include: providing low-income/underserved individuals or communities with beneficial products/services, providing economic opportunity beyond creation of jobs, preserving the environment, improving human health, promoting arts, science, or advancement of knowledge, increasing capital to entities with a public benefit purpose, or another particular benefit to society or the environment.
5. Board members must consider multiple stakeholders (including shareholders, beneficiaries of the public benefit, the environment) when making business decisions. This bill would require directors to consider the impacts of any action or proposed action upon specified considerations, including, among others, the shareholders and employees, and of customers who are beneficiaries of the general or specific public benefit purposes, and the environment, and would allow directors to consider the impacts of those actions on, among other things, the resources, intent, and conduct of any person seeking to acquire control of the benefit corporation.
6. Certain reporting accounting and transparency formalities must be met. This bill would require the board of directors to prepare a specified statement relating to the public benefit purposes of the corporation.  The bill would require the benefit corporation to prepare an annual benefit report.
7. Duties of director/officer with regard to public benefit may only be enforced in a benefit enforcement proceeding. This bill would include provisions governing the fiduciary duty
and liability of an officer or director of a benefit corporation. The bill would provide that the duties of a director or officer, and the general, and any specific, public benefit purpose of a benefit corporation, may be enforced only in a benefit enforcement proceeding, as defined, that would be permitted to be commenced or maintained only as specified.
Additional Features:

8. Is part of a nation-wide effort to create benefit corporations in various states. As of writing this 6 states have passed benefit corporation legislation.
9. There is an option for a voluntary certification. B corporation is a voluntary certification which calls for many of the same features as a benefit corporation. A company can choose to be both/either a B corporation and a benefit corporation (if their state has passed legislation)
Key Features of SB 201 (Flexible Purpose Corporations)
Read the full text of SB 201 here. Summaries of key features are numbered in bold, while text exactly or very closely mirroring the actual language of AB 361 is in italics.
1. Creates Flexible Purpose Corporations (flexible purpose corps). This bill would enact the Corporate Flexibility Act of 2011 and would authorize and regulate the formation and operation of a new form of corporate entity known as a flexible purpose corporation.
2. Existing corps can become flexible purpose corps with 2/3 vote of shareholders. The bill would authorize existing corporations and other forms of business entities to merge into or convert into a  flexible purpose corporation upon completion of specified requirements, including approval of the transaction by a supermajority 2⁄3 vote of shareholders, or a greater vote if required in the articles, as specified.
3. Flexible purpose corps can convert to corp, non-profit, etc. The bill would also authorize a flexible purpose corporation to convert into a nonprofit corporation, a corporation, or a domestic other business entity, upon satisfaction of equivalent conditions.
4. Can provide dissenters’ rights of appraisal for shareholders. The bill would also provide dissenters’ rights of appraisal for shareholders voting against certain transactions, as specified.
5. Must list special purpose and complete corporate formalities. The bill would specify the required and permitted contents of articles of incorporation that a flexible purpose corporation would be required to  file with the Secretary of State, including the special purposes, in addition to any other lawful purpose, that the corporation shall engage in, which may include, but are not limited to, charitable and public purpose activities that could be carried out by a nonprofit public benefit corporation.
6. Requires managers/directors to specify objectives for assessing achievement of special purpose. Certain formalities related to accounting and transparency must be met. The bill would also require management and directors to specify objectives for measuring the impact of the flexible purpose corporation’s efforts relating to its special purpose, and to include an analysis of those efforts in annual reports, together with specified financial statements, to shareholders and would require specified information to be made publicly available, as specified.
Performance.gov is a new site managed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that assesses how agencies do according to criteria outlined by Executive Order or as identified by the agencies themselves.

StarTwenty-four agencies are listed in the assessment for sustainability.Social entrepreneurs can use the set-up and content of Performance.gov in devising transparency, accountability, and reporting measures.  You can read more about what performance.gov is and the set-up and choice of criteria for reviewing how “green” federal agencies are in the previous posts in this series on Performance.gov.How Do Federal Agencies Score on Sustainability?

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 Winners
The following Federal agencies led the pack, featuring green indicators for all criteria:

Strong Showing 
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

Dreamforce 2011 Keynote close up

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)

Keynote big pictureSurprisingly, 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.

 

As you may have read in a previous post, the Obama Administration recently unveiled its new website that provides a ‘score card’ on how government agency is faring according to criteria for redSustainability on Performance.gov: ucing waste and increasing efficiency.One of the areas of focus is sustainability, i.e. how agencies fare as to environmental factors related to emissions, energy use, oil consumption, and building efficiency. Below is a more-detailed look at the criteria.And stay tuned to find out how the agencies actually scored
  
The Federal Government’s Sustainability Report Card: The Criteria

President Obama signed Executive Order 13514 in October 2009. It proposed an integrated strategy for sustainability in the Federal Government–which is named the largest consumer of energy in America–including prioritizing reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions directly and indirectly caused by Federal agencies.  Specifically, it ordered Federal agencies to measure, record, publicly report, and reduce GHG pollution.

Calla lilyPresident Obama followed up with specific GHG reduction goals in 2010. These include reducing direct GHG by 28% by 2020 (Scope 1) and reducing indirect GHG by 13% by 2020 (Scope 2)—which is estimated to yield up to $11 billion in energy cost savings.Performance.gov aims to support these goals by displaying the status of 24 government agencies according to 7 specific criteria which include:

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.

What do you call 35,000-45,000 people learning, sharing, and socializing on topics related to cloud computing, online content strategy, apps, and tools in one place?

If you were in San Francisco this past week you may just call it Dreamforce 2011.
Dreamforce gathered together industry leaders, entrepreneurs, service-providers, non-profits, thought-leaders, and even a few entertainers this week for the 3-day annual computing spectacle hosted by Salesforce.
Here are a few images from Day 2 (Thursday, September 1st). To see a tweet-cast from Day 2, you can catch up on our feed on @innov8social on Twitter.
Photos: Innov8Social Goes to Dreamforce 2011
Dreamforce #df11

Dreamforce #df11

 

Dreamforce #df11

 

Df11.4

 

And after a little debate and seeing a short line, there was time to take a photo with the Dreamforce mascot SaaSy against a green screen thanks to the wildly-entertaining app Fotomio.

Innov8Social at Dreamforce

Attending Dreamforce 2011 in San Francisco laid bare a very apparent reality— “social” as commonly used in “social innovation” or “social media” connotes different meanings.

Defining Social

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.

mint leaves in glassesIn 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 new tool for measuring sustainability at the Federal government level. The new site was launched last week by the White House. As explained by Deputy Director for Management and Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients, Performance.gov provides a report card on Sustainability and 7 other key performance areas of the federal government.Understanding this tool can help social entrepreneurs determine how to assess their own organization’s sustainability and offer an example of transparency and accountability.

Sustainability graphic on Performance.gov
Performance.gov: The Purpose

The site aims to promote alignment with goals of cutting waste, through accountability and transparency. Much of the data is not new, but is consolidated for simplified review. Performance.gov, according to its About section, has the purpose of compiling data in a central location to promote actionable change:

“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.”

Additional Resources
  

Online Tool Grades Feds On Efficiency (InformationWeek)
Performance.gov (finally) launches (OhMyGov)

Stay Tuned
  
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.