The past ten days I had the opportunity to attend a seminar in France, as we were invited to share the learning and position of Uthango Social Investments in South Africa with academics and practioners in the emerging field of Social Entrepreneurship. Hosted by the Paris Chamber of Commerce's ADVANCIA and INSEAD Business School and facilitated by Beautiful Soul, this was an extraordinary event.
The question - also prominent all over the web and in development-focused conferences - that returned time and again to participants was a simple but critically important one: How do I define what I do in development? And the deeper question, maybe: What matters most to create meaning and impact?
Later, I intend to write in detail about some insights, but for now I am pleased to say that the time away from home in South Africa allowed us to reflect on three very different but related points of departure. (And the essential responsibility of each professional and individual to define his/her position as it will influence approach)... For me, therefore: Social Investors should invest and should be interested in a specific model of return on such investment, but remain distant from implementation. Social Entrepreneurs are interested in running an enterprise first and foremost, and have a social misson (but is not purely philanthropic nor purely commercial). They are also - certainly - not all NGOs nor all businesses! Development Workers are employed to implement social change strategies and refer to those people that pour heart, body and soul into their cause without (often) any reciprocal benefit.
Well, these are some initial thoughts.... Soon, I would like to post some more via my blog: Meerkat in the (meta)Verse - and I hope to see you there :) Follow my entries by subscribing or Following the Blog. And let me know what you think.