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Do you enjoy reading new posts on Innov8Social? Well now you can continue your reading on SocialEarth! I am a new contributor on the site and will be posting there a few times per month.  You can check out my first post here.

   
What is SocialEarth?

   
SocialEarth is a network of bloggers worldwide writing about social entrepreneurship. And according to its stated objectives, it “seeks, promotes, and supports social entrepreneurs…who have the audacity to create mindful businesses where profitability is a necessary objective and solving a ‘social ill’ is an imperative.”
SocialEarth LogoAnd SocialEarth is establishing a presence. With over 13,000 Twitter followers and 14,000+ Facebook fans, the site distributes posts to its homepage and social network channels, as well as through RSS syndication.
It is also developing a readership base with hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per year, and growing.
The site is a novel attempt to inform the public about social entrepreneurship, connect social entrepreneurs, and spread the word about new and emerging trends in the field.

   
A Few Interesting Reads on SocialEarth



Innov8Social on SocialEarth
   
You can keep up with Innov8Social on SocialEarth here:
I look forward to writing posts on SocialEarth that ask questions, build on ideas presented in Innov8Social, and connect with existing efforts of SocialEarth contributors. It is a great forum and fantastic way to continue exploring social innovation.
This blog promises to explore social innovation. And at SOCAP 2011, there was a unique opportunity to do so by talking with individuals coming from diverse sectors of the field.

If you have been following recent posts and interviews on Innov8Social, you will have seen a few of these perspectives represented.  The interviews (or perhaps more aptly, interview-ettes) are 1-2 minute introductions that provide simple insight into the missions, goals, and structure of the various organizations represented. Enough to give a you a feel, with info on where to go to find out more.
Waiting for the punchline
And, just as no human is an island–social innovation does work in a vacuum. More often than not, you need the dialogue, the critical ‘buy-in’ from different sectors, to make an idea take off or continue.
So, in case you missed the individual posts, here they are compiled in one place. Four unique individuals representing four fascinating ventures. You can click the link associated with each video to read the full article where you will learn more about the organization and find related resources.
4 Perspectives at SOCAP 11, in Video

Impact Investing at SOCAP11: An Interview with Absolute Impact Partners



One World Youth Project’s Executive Director at SOCAP11


Namaste Solar’s Co-Founder Talks About Being a B Corp at SOCAP11




DayOne Response Waterbags Deliver Clean Water After a Crisis, SOCAP11

More on SOCAP11 from Innov8Social

You can follow our coverage of this year’s conference by clicking on the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social. You can also catch up on tweets from SOCAP11 (Sept 7-9 2011) @innov8social on Twitter and can search #SOCAP11 on Twitter for related tweets.

An Increasing Need for Clean Water, Demands Solutions

Sometimes a need can be so necessary and apparent, that a innovation is a welcome sight, rather than a big surprise. Access to clean water after a disaster is one such need that has affected global superpowers as well as countries deep in their development stages. Whether the need for clean water comes after natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes or from man-made scenarios such as war, explosion, or delayed government response—it is essential, and often unmet.

Meet DayOne Response

DayOne Response is a social venture aiming to answer the call for clean water. DayOne Response’s V.P. of Business Development, Amy Cagle, was on hand at the SOCAP11 Innovation Showcase on the second day of SOCAP11.Below she shows us the DayOne Waterbag that can sanitize any water and make it potable by utilizing the technology of PUR purifier packets (that purify using chlorination-flocculation technology) along with a specially-designed waterbag for easy water collection, filtration, and delivery.

Watch the Interview

How can a waterbag do that? 

DayOne Response demonstrates in this short training video taken in Haiti. Water filtered using DayOne Waterbags and PUR packets meet the World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water.

The DayOne Waterbags may be a scaleable solution, since they take up little space when empty, can turn almost any water into clean drinking water, and can be distributed quickly after a disaster, which can free up resources, and can give affected individuals quicker access to safe water.

B Corporations In Different Forms

SOCAP11 (Social Capital Markets 2011) brought together a confluence of people, ideas, and dialogues from around the social innovation sphere. It was especially interesting to hear about various corporate forms that social ventures had decided on.I had a chance to talk with Blake Jones towards the end of Day 2 of SOCAP11. We had both attended the same breakout session on benefit corporations earlier in the day.

His company, a b corporation, is also a cooperative.

Meet Blake

Blake co-founded, Namaste Solar, a B corporation based in Colorado. (Reminder: B corporation is a voluntary certification, benefit corporation is a new corporate form for social innovation that has passed/is being introduced in various states. You can read more about the differences between B corporation and benefit corporation)

Here is a quick interview with Blake explaining what Namaste Solar does and why and how they decided to pursue the B corporation certification.

Watch the Interview

 

More About Namaste Solar

Namaste Solar is an employee-owned cooperative that installs solar systems in homes and businesses.

Namaste Solar is proud to be a B corporation and exists to benefit all of its stakeholders, including community and environment.

They may be looking for impact investors in the future.

Follow SOCAP11 Coverage

You can read posts about this year’s conference by clicking on the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social. Following up on tweets from from SOCAP11 is also possible by following @innov8social on Twitter and searching #SOCAP11 for all related tweets.

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.

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. 

The question of whether California will create a new corporate form to recognize socially responsible business will be answered soon. The bill (AB 361) has successfully made its way to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for final review and approval.
care2.com logoAnd now Care2.com–an online community of over 16.5 million members committed to social, environmental, and animal welfare— is giving you a quick and easy way to show your support for California’s benefit corporation bill.

Sign the Care2 Petition Below to Show Your Support for AB 361

Go to Care2 petition for CA benefit corporation: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/993/713/047/

Or use the widget below

window.Care2Widgets.add({rssPath:”http://www.thepetitionsite.com/xml/petitions/993/713/047/feed.swf”, adSize:”180×250″, publisherID:”1249″, borderColor: “#000000”, buttonColor: “#1aaca6″, grabbed:”0”});

Other Ways to Get Involved with California’s Benefit Corporation Bill

1. Send an email or letter of support to Governor Brown.  Read more on where to send  here

2. Keep up with the latest news on AB 361. Stay tuned to news from B Lab blog, or on any of the websites mentioned above, and right here on Innov8Social.

3.  Read the Official Fact sheet on AB 361.  Take a look at the official AB 361 fact sheet released by Assemblymember Huffman’s office. It contains information on the benefit corporation legislation, its background, requirements, as well as a partial list of supporters and opposition.

4. Get plugged in to the LinkedIn conversations on  AB 361. There have been a number of discussions started on LinkedIn regarding California’s benefit corporation legislation. Take a look here and here and share your thoughts. 

Social innovation may seem like the new hipster concept on the ‘do-good’ block, but in reality it has been evolving longer than we may realize. Ask Ashoka–an organization whose founder Bill Drayton literally coined the term “social entrepreneur” and which has been facilitating and supporting social innovation for over 30 years.npr logoNational Public Radio (NPR) has featured a number of stories and interviews over the past decade that trace the growth and evolution of social entrepreneurship, at a systemic level. Below are a few that help set the scene for understanding where social innovation has been and where it is going.EvolvingIn listening to interviews over the expanse of a decade there seems to be a kind of progression in the movement of social innovation. Starting from concept and practice by specific efforts in developing countries that harnessed the power of entrepreneurship in the context of social change, social innovation gained support through focused support and vibrant community (i.e. Ashoka’s Fellowship program). The concept seems to have grown to a level of recognition calling for academic study (i.e. new courses, centers for study) and governance (i.e. White House Office of Social Innovation) to investment (i.e. green venture capitalism).

The next logical step may be legislated change (such as benefit corporation) that would enable social entrepreneurs to recognize of multiple stakeholders beyond shareholders (i.e. the ‘triple bottom line‘ of people, planet, profits) and focus on creating material positive impact.

NPR Interviews on Social Innovation

1. Social Entrepreneurs – January 2004

Neal Conan talks to a panel of social entrepreneurs in this episode of Talk of the Nation. The panelists introduce social capitalism as a concept and how it differs–but complements–traditional business and non-profit work. The panelists talk about specific problems they each recognized and how they engineered social entrepreneurial solutions.

There is discussion and questions from callers including an interesting caller perspective (at 20:40) regarding the relationship between systemic change and social entrepreneurship, and a question by a caller wondering why Muhammed Yunus had not yet won a Nobel Prize. (He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize two years after the interview, in 2006)

The panel includes:

NPR’s Pam Fessler reports on the new initiative by President Obama’s administration established in 2009 in this piece for Morning Edition. The White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation (SICP) was created to identify non-profit solutions to broad issues such as homelessness and poverty and develop solutions that could be expanded.

Citing organizations such as Teach for America, Fessler notes that successful concepts such as these often face challenges in expanding and growing for lack for funds and infrastructure. And these are the types of projects that the new initiative hopes to support.

Fessler also reports on naysayers to the new office. Those such as blogger Allison Fine claim that true social innovation requires more risk—taking a chance on an idea that hasn’t been proven–rather than one that has experienced success in a small-scale setting.

3. Change You Can Invest In: Social Entrepreneurship – December 2010

NPR Education Correspondent Larry Abramson reports on the growth and evolution of the field of social entrepreneurship and takes a look at how social innovation has found its way to academia at universities such as the University of Maryland’s Center for Social Value Creation, which is part of the business school.

In this report for Morning Edition, he talks with social entrepreneurs such as David Wish of Little Kids Rock about the original social innovation institution—Ashoka—and it’s ability to support and connect social entrepreneurs. Abramson also talks to non-profit consultants such as Chuck Harris about the importance of making non-profits work more like corporations for efficiency and to ensure oversight.

Hear More From NPR

Interested in hearing more? Here are more NPR interviews on social innovation that caught our eye.

How do you get from idea to state law?

In following the journey of California’s AB 361 and the number of other bills across various states that would create (or have created) a new corporate form called a benefit corporation—learning the impetus for the legislation is often as interesting as

photo: votesmart.org

photo: votesmart.org

understanding the process.

And the story of California’s AB 361 is particularly interesting. You can watch California State Assemblymember for the 6th Assembly District Jared Huffman talk about the crowdsourcing origin of AB 361 and other key points of the bill below.

Assemblymember Huffman is the sponsor for AB 361, which was recently voted through the California State Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions and also successfully passed through the State Judiciary Committee.

Intrigued? I definitely was when I read a recent blog post from the Stanford Social Innovation Review titled “Monk, Architect, Diplomat” by Mark Albion.Don’t hold your breath for a punchlineAnd it turns out the post didn’t just have a witty title to pull readers in, well, unwittingly (on that note I will admit that I do give a hearty mental ‘bravo’ to witting, insightful, or just plain well-put titles). The article was a well-reasoned piece on how social entrepreneurs can successful scale-up as their organizations grow. Rather than lack of finances, Albion argues that the underlying reason social entrepreneurs have difficulty scaling to a larger version of themselves is due to challenges in leadership.Albion focuses his leadership advice into three simple statements:

1. Be a monk, not a father.

2. Be an architect, not a captain.

3. Be a diplomat, not a dictator.

Through these metaphors he describes the successful expanding social entrepreneur as one who is socially engaged in her work, and mindful of her impact on others. For the greater goal of the mission and vision, she is willing and capable of distributing leadership and building a strong team. And she’ll spot the forest from the trees by not hesitating to be collaborative and compassionate.

It’s a great read. And inspiring. Sometimes being in a hierarchical framework such as a corporation, non-profit, or social enterprise it may seem like you are on a ladder with the options being continuing up, falling back, or holding still. This article and metaphors of leadership, allow us to be makers of a delicate yet resilient web of work—far reaching, three dimensional, and progressing in more than one direction. I like it, and I like the possibility and scope of thinking of meaningful leadership in this way.

If I had to add a #4 to Albion’s list, it would be:

4. Be a sherpa, not a ranger.

While I have not been in a position to scale-up a social enterprise as Albion describes, I have been part of the active leadership of social organizations that have changed hands. And I have seen first-hand the importance of sherpa-ness. While sherpas (Wikipedia) supply the necessary support and guidance on a demanding trek, it is not their hike. They serve as support for those who have chosen to undertake a challenging journey.

In the same way, “alumni” or subsequent generations of an organization or cause don’t necessarily need to hide under a rock so as not to influence the path of successive leadership. But I think they can benefit from seeing themselves and their accumulated expertise as support. Perhaps the support that would have helped them when they were actively leading or the support to help traverse a particularly tricky pass. Most of all they should form the support that is asked for by the noveau leaders.

While rangers no doubt save lives, prevent forest fires, and maintain pristine surroundings—in a social entrepreneurship venture ‘naysaying’ by organization alums may create confusion and uncertainty that can handicap a growing organization.

Read on: