Along with a cadre of stellar design professionals, educators, communication gurus, and experts in social enterprise, Peter Durand of Alphachimp served as faculty and scribe for this amazing weeklong program.
Each year, PopTech selects 10-20 high potential change agents from around the world who are working on highly disruptive innovations in areas.
Meet all the Fellows in this video—and then learn more about each organization’s work in their individual PopTech presentations below.
Congratulations to our 2009 Social Innovation Fellows!
All video is released with Creative Commons Noncommercial-Attribution-ShareAlike license—and we hope you will embed and share these videos widely to help the Fellows continue their work.
Hosted by Carlos Gasca Yanez on the Social Edge, this on-line discussion addresses what is the oldest, most intractable problem facing any group of people trying to do anything: fragmentation and individual control of territory.
You see it in religion, politics, families, companies, offices, on the university campus, on teams. Shakespeare's whole career was based on describing the betrayal and dysfunctional loyalties of nations and kin.
From an excerpt of The Fiefdom Syndrome: The Turf Battles That Undermine Careers and Companies - And How to Overcome Them by Robert J. Herboldat:
In in European medieval times, under the system of feudalism, a fiefdom often consisted of inheritable lands or revenue-producing property granted by a liege lord, in return for a form of allegiance. However anything of value could be held in fief, such as an office, a right of exploitation (e.g., hunting, fishing) or any other type of revenue, rather than the land it comes from. source: Wikipedia
The problem begins when individuals, groups, or divisions--out of fear--seek to make themselves vital to their organizations and unconsciously or sometimes deliberately try to protect their turf or reshape their environment to gain as much control as possible over what goes on.
It is a natural human tendency, probably dating back to the origin of our species. But if this human tendency isn't managed properly, the damage caused by these "fiefdoms" can begin to undermine an organization. Left untouched, fiefdoms can toll the death knell of what should have been a strong and vital organization...
The SocialEdge conversation gets at the importance of understanding--and working with--the realities of fiefdoms and social change, particularly in overcoming this destructive behavior for social good.
New models for engaging individuals and communities through traditional and emerging media.
Via Ethan Zuckerman:
A new project by David Kobia and crew, encouraging Kenyans around the world to transcend their tribal identity and affirm their identity as Kenyans. An interesting response to the difficulties of keeping message boards sane during the crisis.Kobia also coordinated Ushahidi.com, a site that integrates GoogleMaps and SMS for citizens to report incidences of Riots, Deaths, Property Damage, Government Forces, Civilians, Looting, Rape, Peace.
It also has a running timeline of events, making it a powerful tool to trace the violence. Unfortunately, with some much violence involving so many impoverished people, this can't begin to give transparency to the chaos.
Although I am a Southern, American, white, suburban kid, I was born in Kenya and have carried hope and romance for this beautiful, passionate piece of the earth in my heart.
- Let the source be open. Have no secrets. Make the code and the process that produces it public.
- Release early, release often.
- Reward contribution with praise.
The implications for communities, networks, social enterprise and individuals is huge--access to one of the largest social networking platform in the world. It will be intriguing to see how Google's Open Social grows as a contender.
Google's insight was that you could create a standard API that many social sites could adopt, so that developers could build applications to work across platforms. This would presumably stimulate innovations and make them more broadly available – great for users and second tier social networking sites, less great for Facebook (though in my opinion, anything that boosts social networking is good for anyone in that business).Henry Blodget of Silicon Alley Insider sees the recent decision as another brilliant Facebook move but predicts that Facebook wants to resist going completely "open" and allowing members to export their information and relationships at will.
Facebook might lose its control over its core asset (the billions of relationships among its millions of members, a.k.a., the social graph). This move seems another smart step toward a hybrid strategy: Allow app makers (and Facebook) to extend social-graph functionality to the web, gather more app users, and recruit more members--but retain full control over the social graph itself.
On March 26, 1997--chosen because that day was the anniversary of Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan--Begum became the first participant in GrameenPhone's Village Phone Program. Now widely known, the plan offers small loans, or microcredit, that enable people in one of the world's most impoverished countries to buy cell phones and rent them, call by call, to neighbors who can't afford telephones of their own.
A decade later, instead of begging on the streets and sleeping with cattle as she once had done, Begum shares a two-room brick house with her husband, two sons, a daughter, a television set, and a refrigerator. Next door, she has built a barn, shops, and temporary housing that she rents to five poor families. Today, her banker estimates her net worth at $145,000, which may be more than everyone else in her village combined.
In Bangladesh today, the only one making real money on GrameenPhone's wireless service is … GrameenPhone.
Meet Sam Goldman, the ultimate social entrepreneur. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Benin who grew up in Mauritania, Pakistan, Peru, India and Rwanda, he studied biology and environmental studies in Canada and received his MBA from Stanford.
He just launched d.light, the social venture that received best honors at the recent Global Social Venture Competition held at the University of California at Berkeley. (see video of his story)
Sam wants to provide a source of light that is safe and cheap, a decision he made when his neighbor’s son in Benin was badly burned by a kerosene lamp.
Watch Sam as he explains his goals to Global X. And read “let there d.light,” his new blog, only on Social Edge.
In fact, the label "social entrepreneur" is the nom de guerre in the current war on poverty, disease, conflict and intolerance, with the long-time foot soldiers finally gaining popular acclaim.
Last year, the man who is oft cited as the prototype of the modern social entrepreneur was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize: Muhammad Yunus, founder and manager of Grameen Bank and its growing family of social venture businesses in Bangladesh.
Fast Company has dedicated entire issues to celebrating Social Capitalists who've used business savvy and social conscious to create successful ventures that reap an ROI tracked in the new gold standard of success: The Triple Bottom Line. Business school students are emailing their parents, declaring that they are going to take their $200,000 education and start a business selling eyeglasses to Haitians. Oh, and make a ton of money doing it.
With all this good press, an very self-reflective and worried conversation is taking place on-line at the Skoll Foundation's project site, The Social Edge. Social entrepreneurs are having a moment of doubt as to the depth of this perceived global change.
As the topic itself becomes more popular, more mainstream, more Hollywood, will this spotlight yield practical leaders who can effectively leverage the emergent power of social media to mobilize decentralized activity in combination with true political will to lead change in policies and regulations on a global scale?
Changing the World is Not Enough
Is social entrepreneurship ready for the real challenge?
by Social Edge
As a social entrepreneur, I worry. Changing the world through the work of one social entrepreneur at a time is not good enough. Improving life for even one person is worthy. It changes the world…one heartbeat at a time. And sooner or later, as life for enough people is changed for the positive we will reach a tipping point beyond which the entire world will change itself into a better place. I believe this will happen, given time.
But what if it doesn’t happen soon enough? What if we don’t have the time it will take? What if the world tips the other way first? Some days, for every tip toward a better world there is an opposite and greater tip toward a horrific world. What if those days overpower the good days?
A new wilderness is engulfing us. How we see this forest for its trees and who leads us through it could make the difference between life and death for civilization as we know it.