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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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SOCAP11 (Social Capital Markets Conference 2011) featured a number of social businesses and non-profits. Representing the
non-profit organization, One World Youth Project (OWYP), was the organization’s Executive Director, Jess Rimington.We had a chance to catch up with Jess, who was in town from the OWYP’s headquarters in Washington D.C.Below is a quick interview, where she explains what OWYP is, its current locations, and how and why the organization decided to incorporate as a non-profit.
One World Youth Project (OWYP) is an initiative to raise global awareness by offering a 3-semester leadership program for university students who prepare and lead global competence curriculum to secondary school students.
It is structured as a non-profit. Executive Director Jess Rimington calls it a “social profit” because the organization could have been incorporated as a for-profit entity since universities pay for the training course.
It has recently expanded to multiple locations worldwide.
Additional SOCAP11 Coverage
You can read posts about this year’s conference by checking out the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social. You can also catch up on tweets from SOCAP11 @innov8social on Twitter and can search #SOCAP11 on Twitter for related tweets.
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SOCAP11 (Social Capital Markets Conference 2011) may have ended last Friday, but its concepts and topics are coming to life as they are retweeted, blogged about, and discussed in articles, message boards, and through various social and professional networks.
One topic that I was eager to learn about through attending SOCAP11 was impact investing. As a concept it is a source of intrigue and fascination, but in practice I wanted to chat with investors dedicated to impact investing to learn about this niche, its need, and what criteria impact investors base their investments upon. And, I was equally curious about how impact investing works abroad.
So it was serendipitous to run into the Director of a new impact investing firm based in Singapore, called Absolute Impact Partners. In the video below, Lynna Chandra explains the concept behind their entry into the impact investment field, what they hope to achieve, and she outlines the criteria they use before making an impact investment or assisting a local social entrepreneur with mentorship resources.
Watch the Interview
Absolute Impact Partners was started alleviate poverty through a multi-level approach, with a focus on addressing the lack of access to global markets faced by many local social entrepreneurs.
Lynna spoke about connecting local manufacturers to international markets, through creating distribution streams for products so that entrepreneurs have multiple distributors for their products.
She mentioned that her firm looks to identify businesses or projects seeking impact investment are socially aware, environmentally conscious, generate profit, and create change in the community.
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Though Innov8Social is entirely dedicated to exploring social innovation, after reading a few posts you still may find yourself asking, “so, what exactly is social innovation again?”
And you wouldn’t be alone—in the social media-wired world you say the word “social” and many people immediately begin thinking the trifecta: Facebook, Twitter, and everything else (Google+, LinkedIn, etc.)
While online networking capabilities can play a major role in enabling social innovation—the “social” in social innovation is more related to public good or public benefit.
Stanford Professor Rob Reich Explains Social Innovation
If you have about a half hour, the clip below can answer many of your questions, provide a framework to understand social innovation, and introduce you to roses and thorns of the field.
The address is by Director of Program on Ethics in Society at Stanford University, Rob Reich made to 2011 Stanford graduates at Stanford Class Day Lecture on June 11, 2011.
Watch below and read further below for an overview of some of the topics raised.
Key Points from Professor Reich’s Talk:
The new social economy seeks to produce social benefits
Buzzwords: social entrepreneurship, social innovation, impact investing, venture philanthropy, social enterprise
Traditional balance of 3-sector society: government sector, business sector, social/philanthropic sector
Today, the boundaries between the sectors are blurring
Now, social innovators seek to deliver social benefits within each sector and across sectors
Perils of new social economy: 21st century warfare is asymmetrical warfare (nation state vs. non-state actor….i.e. war on terror), unchecked innovation in financial sector contributed to 2008 financial meltdown, 21st century innovation is happening in 20th century framework of policy
Concerns: there is inherent tension between for-profit pursuit and social mission, current legislation and structure for non-profits has not been updated since 1969, some forms of social impact are difficult or impossible to measure
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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
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.
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California Benefit Corporation Law, From a Legal Lens
How can new entrepreneurs, founders, social enterprises be ready for benefit corporation legislation? Why might new businesses opt to incorporate as a benefit corporation? What makes benefit corporation compelling—from a legal standpoint?
Meet Donald Simon, Attorney and Co-Author of AB 361
These are a few of the questions we asked Donald Simon, Attorney and Partner at Wendel Rosen Black & Dean and Co-Chair of the Legal Working Group. Simon is an environmental activist-turned attorney who has remained steadfast in his passion for conservation causes —having founded two 2 environmental non-profit organizations. He has been a lead attorney in drafting and advocating for AB 361.
We caught up with him after the California State Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on California’s benefit corporation legislation, AB 361.
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I have attended two workshops hosted by the Founder Institute–a kind of accelerated startup MBA program for promising entrepreneurs–both hosted by the Institute’s Founder Adeo Ressi. From the talks I walked away feeling the passion, energy, and vision that Ressi and his team have for new entrepreneurs and budding startups.
I had a chance to catch up with Adeo after his talk on Startup Legal Q&A for Silicon Valley. Watch the quick video below to hear him outline the concept of the Founder Institute, his vision for its reach, and what inspired him to launch this initiative.
In the realm of social innovation I can’t help but think that innovation comes first—without innovation or entrepreneurial spirit there may be little with which to balance social or environmental values.
You can find out much more about the Founder Institute, the CEO mentors, the schedule of course offerings, and the application process on the Founder Institute website.
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What do you call it when you have to find middle ground between your internal compass or set of values and demands of a workplace, academic environment, or an entrepreneurial venture—how about a “compromise trap”? The term describes a pretty familiar scenario for many at some point in their careers–and it is the title of Elizabeth Doty’s new book.
Meet Elizabeth Doty
With credentials from Berkeley and an MBA from Harvard, Doty approaches this issue with over 3 decades of experience with large organizations including serving as a management consultant to companies such as Intuit and Hewlitt-Packard.
Elizabeth led a lively discussion during an event organized by Net Impact San Fransisco on May 24, 2011. I caught up with her afterwards to see if she could explain the concept of a “compromise trap” and what she learned through research & writing her book.So here it is—a peek into The Compromise Trap in author Elizabeth Doty’s own words….
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