It's about social change, stupid


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In this talk, delivered to a group of Business School undergraduates, I outline what I see as a number of key issues in social business, and make the point that what matters more than most is a focus on achieving social change.

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  • Apologies for the odd font - it's not like that in the original! Hopefully it doesn't put you off!

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It's about social change, stupid

  1. 1. It’s about social change, stupid <ul><li>Manchester Metropolitan University Business School </li></ul>
  2. 2. What we’ll do today <ul><li>Outline why I’m enthusiastic about social business </li></ul><ul><li>Let you know what winds me up </li></ul><ul><li>Open it up to discussion </li></ul>
  3. 3. What do I do? <ul><li>Training - market research, marketing, social business planning </li></ul><ul><li>Consultancy - social enterprise </li></ul><ul><li>One to one support </li></ul><ul><li>Writing and blogging </li></ul>Photo from Ant Smallwood via
  4. 4. What have I done? <ul><li>University of Leeds - Spanish & French </li></ul><ul><li>Senda Juvenil </li></ul><ul><li>Trade for Change </li></ul><ul><li>Social Enterprise Leeds </li></ul><ul><li>WYSE School </li></ul><ul><li>Social Business Consulting </li></ul><ul><li>A journey from activist to entrepreneur </li></ul>
  5. 5. Trade for Change 1995-2004
  6. 6. Blogito ergo sum <ul><li>I blog </li></ul><ul><li>I write </li></ul><ul><li>I think </li></ul><ul><li>I challenge </li></ul>
  7. 7. Social entrepreneurs are not superheroes <ul><li>Guardian article </li></ul><ul><li>Irrational exuberance </li></ul><ul><li>Credibility crunch </li></ul>Credit - dougward via flickr
  8. 8. Ten reasons why I’m enthusiastic <ul><li>Customers come first </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing - building relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Learn from the best in the business </li></ul><ul><li>The double-bottom line </li></ul><ul><li>Problems need entrepreneurial responses </li></ul>
  9. 9. Ten reasons why I’m enthusiastic <ul><li>It’s attracting talented young people </li></ul><ul><li>A challenge to the voluntary sector </li></ul><ul><li>A challenge to the private sector </li></ul><ul><li>A challenge to the public sector </li></ul><ul><li>Some openness to learning from failure </li></ul>
  10. 10. Ten reasons why I’m not so enthusiastic <ul><li>Celebrity social businesses and entrepreneurs </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a bit too popular with politicians </li></ul><ul><li>Unrealistic expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Financial buck-passing </li></ul><ul><li>Social enterprise shock-therapy </li></ul>
  11. 11. Ten reasons why I’m not so enthusiastic <ul><li>Big is beautiful/corporate lite </li></ul><ul><li>Football clubs were not-for-profit too once </li></ul><ul><li>“ Oh yes, we now do social enterprise.” </li></ul><ul><li>Still not enough maturity about risk/failure </li></ul><ul><li>An assumption that business = smart </li></ul>
  12. 12. Popular issues on the blog <ul><li>What’s the point? (social change, stupid) </li></ul><ul><li>Does ownership matter? </li></ul><ul><li>Are we being irrationally exuberant? </li></ul><ul><li>Social enterprise - social business - or both? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it OK to make a profit? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Good to Great and The Social Sectors <ul><li>We must reject the idea - well intentioned, but dead wrong - that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become “more like a business”. Most businesses - like most of anything else in life - fall somewhere between mediocre and good. Few are great. The critical distinction is not between business and social, but between great and good. (Jim Collins) </li></ul>
  14. 14. On balance <ul><li>Social business and social entrepreneurs give me hope </li></ul><ul><li>There’s a lot of nonesense spoken - but a lot of good done. </li></ul><ul><li>For me, you can’t argue with the idea of doing good and doing well </li></ul><ul><li>But we need a more mature attitude towards it all </li></ul>
  15. 15. Opportunities for you <ul><li>Social enterprises need talented graduates as much as any other business </li></ul><ul><li>Social enterprise offers a different route into business - often for people who wouldn’t otherwise go into business </li></ul>
  16. 16. Liam Black, The Same Wavelength <ul><li>“ Getting and holding on to people who are happy to live with the pressures of balancing the commercial and social missions is really difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>I would say this is the biggest barrier to scaling up the social enterprise part of the economy in this country.” </li></ul>
  17. 17. Over to you…. <ul><li>Comments? </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>Photo from aymlis via
  18. 18. <ul><li>Blog about social enterprise </li></ul><ul><li>e-newsletter </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>0113 257 3942 </li></ul><ul><li>07905 800 710 </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Lots more resources on all aspects of social business planning </li></ul><ul><li>Links to other sites </li></ul>