The two worlds are still there. Business thinks business and social is social. Simply said.
But what about the huge trend, this trendy movement becoming big and bigger which is called “Social entrepreneurship”? Yes, that’s interesting to both organization types. People like it. Just the idea to fulfill society’s needs and to combine it with a sustainable business model is great. A few people become social entrepreneurs by themselves and leave their jobs. I mean they identify a need in society, develop an idea on how to change and a business model to make it sustainable.
And the others? The people working in private firms and huge industries, NGOs , governmental institutions? What about the huge change inside these organizations?
Many employees, managers, social workers are enthusiastic about the concept and often interested to learn more, to talk about it and maybe to try out ‘a little bit’ – without taking any real risk for the existing organization or themselves , of course…
But here the problem starts. What does social entrepreneurship mean? A new wave of volunteering and doing good? Is it an additional way of how to earn some money and to be happy?
But if it is more in terms of how to make it happen on a large scale, how to bring social and business world really together to develop a new way of thinking and future biz models that makes a better world – so what?
Change? Yes, but with limited risks…
Both worlds, the social as well as the business sector have long traditions and established processes in educating people: with clearly shaped formats on how to act, to behave, how to talk, to do their work, whom to include in which parts, well, yes also to interact with the other world, also the social entrepreneurial world, but just in well defined areas. Minimizing any possible risks and avoiding ‘too much change’….
The disaster of communication-based misunderstanding
Additionally, different languages are spoken. It’s not about English, French or Chinese and German. It’s about business and social language.
It’s maybe just a specific wording, pronounced without any negative connotation, but often sufficient to enforce the border among the worlds.
Business people talk about success? They want to know how to measure the impact? Well, probably they talk about profit only, always money, money, money, maximizing the profit growth…
Social workers talk about success? The good example of how things developed over the last two years? Ten, twenty or also fifty people are engaged? Wow. Great stuff for a social startup. That’s really impressive, but what about scaling it up at a large scale, what about about KPIs and how to make it happen once donations and fundings will stop? Often they cannot show numbers neither, no convincing growth, sales and marketing strategy… Good people, without doubt. But the world is not based on doing good only. So, what kind of success is that if not based deeply on a ‘right’ business model? There are many bills to pay…
…and the two worlds continue doing their work separately…
People from different worlds like each other or not. That’s not the point. They even welcome each other. But just in certain areas – as mentioned above. Often there are fantastic projects already on how collaboration works, examples of co-creation. But project-based and for a certain period, of course. That’s what has happened always. On both sites.
The huge challenge is to find a way to bring both worlds really closer together, to do not just some well defined projects together, but to trust each other and to develop together long- term initiatives. It’s about developing a completely new world. That’s what should be the big vision.
What do you think?