WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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business "there is no shortage of issues facing society" left: Two Aquasif water filters are prepped for a water quality test. right: A water quality test is done with "presence-absence" testing vials. Chemicals in the test vials turn the water black when bacteria is present and pale yellow when the water is free of bacteria. Cheryl Yaffee Kiser, who heads the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation and the Social Innovation Lab at Babson College, contends that the key to finding new ways of looking at societal problems is a mindset, "a way of acting our way into a new way of thinking. Toward this end, Babson employs The UnCommon Table™ " parency, and urgency. Businesses have begun to see that it is often in their interest to tackle social challenges that may affect their operations and market opportunities. As a result, today there are nonprofit organizations like Village Forward that take advantage of for-profit structures to create social value—in this case saving lives and generating jobs. There are for- profit companies that act as philanthropists, like TOMS, that for every pair of shoes purchased donates a pair of new shoes to a child in need. There are multinational companies like ExxonMobil that collaborate with other companies, governments, private individuals, charities, and non-governmental organizations to tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges, like the eradication of Malaria, a deadly disease that kills one million people a year and costs Africa alone as much as $40 billion annually in lost work days. There are strategic givers that collaborate with other funders and across sectors to broaden their impact, looking to build efficient and sustainable organizations and ecosystems rather than exclusively funding short-term projects. "Social entrepreneurship is becoming less about organizational form and more about impact," Moon suggests. "Its real purpose is finding new ways to effectively and efficiently address societal problems." 130 methodology, a process though which the community "cultivates rela- tionships and curates interactions between the usual and unusual sus- pects" to address a particular social dilemma. "New technologies, policies, and game-changing ideas come from these experiences because social innovation is really resource driven, rather than goal driven," Kiser observes. "Convening multiple audiences in a collabora- tive environment where they are able to draw on their abundance of strengths and unique experiences brings new perspectives to bear on a situation; it works every time." Social entrepreneurship is certainly in vogue, but does it have stay- ing power? Kiser and Moon believe so. "There is no shortage of issues facing society that require creative approaches to solve," Kiser replies. "Many of these issues directly impact businesses, especially in a highly interconnected world." Moreover, many of these challenges are too complex to be adequately addressed by any one entity or sector. Moon offers an interesting perspective, "While there is much buzz surrounding social entrepreneurship today, it has actually been around for a while." Indeed, the first dean of HBS stated that the school's pur- pose was to "educate leaders who would make a decent profit, decently. " If businesspersons created value for society, then they could keep value for themselves. Social enterprise and innovation is about reclaiming that social contract. WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013 PHO TOS COURTESY OF VILLAGE FORWAR D

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