AddThis.com robot tech.support@clearspring.com - Array ( )
Login

LIVE from the 2014 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship

Building off the advance series collection of articles written by delegates and speakers of this year's Skoll World Forum, this section will feature live blogs and pieces from the event in Oxford. We will be covering a wide variety of sessions, panels and discussions on-site. View the live-stream on the homepage, and watch here for real-time articles all week!

--

Each year at the Skoll World Forum, nearly 1,000 of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurs, key thought leaders and strategic partners gather at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School to exchange ideas, solutions and information.

Learn more about the 2014 Skoll World Forum, sign up to our newsletter to be notified of the live stream, view the 2014 delegate roster and discover what themes and ideas we'll be covering this year at the event. Also, read about the seven recipients of this year's Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

 
 
 

Recap: The ambitious power of AND

Lucy Bartlett

Social Media and Community Consultant, Independent

 
 
 
 
 

Introducing the Impact Genome Project

Jason Saul

Founder and CEO, Mission Measurement

Nolan Gasser

Architect of Music Genome Project, Chief Musicologist Emeritus, Pandora

 
 
 
 

Cracking the Code on Social Impact

Lucy Bartlett

Social Media and Community Consultant, Independent

 
 
 
 
 
 

Is developing the gift economy the key to transformative scale?

Is developing the gift economy the key to transformative scale?

Rajeeb Dey

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Enternships.com

April 10, 2014 | 1244 views

 

“A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? A billion dollars”

Now for those of us familiar with The Social Network film you would have recognised the quote from the character who plays Sean Parker referring to the potential scale and opportunity in the early days of Facebook.

This was also the topic of discussion in Jeffrey Bradach’s (Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Bridgespan Group) session on “Transformative Scale: Pathways to growing what works.” For social entrepreneurs it’s less about monetary value; instead success metrics usually revolve around positive social impact. Rather than a billion dollars, can we improve the lives of a billion people through our work?

Jeff’s session focused on two main approaches to achieving scale: ‘organisational pathways’ which build on and expand on what individual organizations can do (an inside-out approach) as well as ‘field-building pathways’ which starts with the ultimate goal in mind and pushes the field and all related stakeholders towards that shared target.

One thing which struck me as an organisational pathway was ‘recruiting and training other organisations’ – basically giving your IP and sharing your practice with other people or organizations who can effectively replicate what you do in their own markets.

It reminded me that this concept of sharing, openness and collaboration is one of the best features of the social enterprise ecosystem (although not unique to the sector.) In the digital world we have the open-source movement however there are relatively few ‘poster-children’ in this arena. It is usually the same few examples being referenced time and again – Wikipedia; Linux and Apache.

Pondering this matter I decided to join the OxfordJam Fringe festival where I met Paul Hodgkin (Founder of Patient Opinion.) He was running a session entitled “Imitation: Highest Form of Flattery or Daylight Robbery?” and afterwards shared with me his story of how over 9 years many have tried to imitate  his work (and failed) yet what he has done now is ‘gift’ his code to a social entrepreneur in Australia to launch a local version of Patient Opinion there.

Was this some form of enlightened self-interest? I was keen to understand more. When questioning Paul on his motives for doing so he said it came down to finding someone he liked and trusted to use his product in a new country. Ultimately it was an act of faith.

What resonated in what he explained was the concept that a “gift will travel and at some stage come back.” The time frame for this ‘return’ isn’t always clear but it’s a powerful belief which underpins a number of the fundamental behaviours we are trying to inculcate such as giving blood. If we donate blood today and were ever in an unfortunate situation of being in hospital and needing a blood transfusion – the gift would be returned.  If we stopped believing in the power of gifting this vital system would breakdown.

This left me wondering whether in order to achieve transformative scale more work needs to be done in finessing models around the gift economy? Encouraging sharing rather than just focusing on market economy models? Would love to hear your thoughts.

 
  • http://www.bridgespan.org Jeff Bradach

    Rajeeb,

    Thanks for coming yesterday. Interesting linkage between IP sharing and gift economies. If we could figure out how to costlessly spread ideas — whether through norms of reciprocity or simple “give aways” — we could obviously drive to widespread solutions more rapidly and cheaply. But therein lies a puzzle. Why don’t people pick up and copy each other’s work more regularly — there are many social entrepreneurs who run “visitors” programs, provide tools for what they do, and are eager to have others take and do it? Is the problem an absence of demand? Why don’t more communities scan the world for a best practice or proven program and then copy it? (An interesting version of this notion can be found in http://www.greenlightfund.org.) Is it that the kind of IP we are sharing doesn’t actually serve to transmit the kernel of impact that is critical? Even when people want to give it away, why aren’t there more takers?

    A recent blog about Match Education sketches some of challenges — and opportunities — of IP sharing. http://www.bridgespan.org/Blogs/Transformative-Scale-Pathways-to-Greater-Impact/March-2014/Match-Educations-Quest-for-Impact.aspx.
    This may be one of the most important nuts to crack if we are to achieve truly transformative scale on many problems.
    Thanks for prompting discussion. Look forward to further conversation.
    Jeff

  • Nik Kafka

    Interesting to note that there are few prizes out there I’m aware of for replicating others ideas. In the social sphere glory and funds often chase new and theoretically replicable ideas, sparking innovation for sure, but doing little for ‘self replication’.

 
 

Let’s keep this going …

Why not join our growing community of social innovators? You’ll get exclusive content and opportunities delivered straight to your inbox and all the latest details from the Skoll World Forum.

We value your privacy and you can unsubscribe anytime.