We need to tackle root causes to problems rather than treating symptoms.
How many times have you heard someone say something in the lines of: “I have this amazing idea. It’s to a problem that I don’t understand, in an environment I have never been, with a solution that I don’t have the expertise to build.” That’s a prime example on how to not tackle a root cause.
Currently, it feels like social entrepreneurship has taken the worst from two worlds. It has taken the egocentric values from business sector, where it’s more important to win another prestigious award than creating lasting impact, mixed with the organizational inefficiency in the charity sector.
We need the opposite. We need the drive and values of the charity sector mixed with the efficiency, and the ability to innovate from the private sector.
Poverty, climate change, and obesity are not problems, they are outcomes; the real problems are unequal wealth distribution, the burning of fossil fuels, and McDonalds. First we need to remove the troublemakers, and then we can start fixing the mess that they have created.
#Socent is super sexy, because it has the power of fueling organizations that operate in sustainable ways, and at the same time defueling organizations that are operating in harmful ways.
I have made an illustration to demonstrate my point below. Harmful organizations create our problems while governments and charities try to fix it. To put it in a metaphor: person A is digging a hole with a spade whereas person B is trying to fill the hole with their hands.
The power of #socent is illustrated in the second half of the picture: we need to reduce the amount of harmful organizations, so that we generate fewer problems.
#socent is just as simple as the story of Robin Hood, we need to take money from bad organizations and give them to good organizations.
To do that, social enterprises need to start creating sustainable services and products that people are willing to pay for.
“But, but, but how do I come up with a good idea to my social enterprise?”
Firstly, you do not just come up with an idea. You understand an environment by living and breathing in it, define a problem by talking to the people who are affected by it, and then build the solution with them, by using design principles, drive, and hard work. Ideation is not magic, it’s freaking science.