Whenever I meet a new client, the first question I ask is “what are you most passionate about?” I find the answers very revealing. Most people who are social changemakers know instantly where their passion, their energies and their focus are directed. Not surprisingly, it starts with a small incremental change they have identified where they can solve a difficult social problem with a strategic and replicable solution, creating an action plan that ultimately manifests itself into a large systemic change.
Bill Drayton, Founder & CEO of Ashoka would say “they have given themselves permission to be a “Changemaker.” Bill Drayton should know, as the father of social entrepreneurship, for over 25 years, over 2000 Ashoka Fellows and in over 60 countries, he has fostered a network of global citizens creating transformational systemic change to address major social issues in their communities and around the world. http://www.ashoka.org/
Recently, I was asked what interests me about social entrepreneurship. I had to quote from one of my favorite sources for “Intelligent Optimists” and positive news, Ode Magazine http://www.odemagazine.com/ in their interview with Bill Drayton. “Social entrepreneurs are the role models, the mass disrupters and the mass recruiters of local changemakers.”
I like this idea that we all get to be changemakers. So much so that when I was asked to teach “Theory of Change” at Ashoka’s Changemaker Campus Initiative Retreat this year, I jumped at the opportunity to surround myself with the power and intensity of university students and their faculty advisors dedicated to bringing the fundamentals of social entrepreneurship across all curriculum to their campuses. Four campuses have participated in the Campus Initiative, Cornell, John Hopkins, University of Maryland and George Mason and, most recently, for its second year, five new campuses have joined their ranks. They are Babson College, the University of Colorado at Boulder, College of the Atlantic, The New School, and Tulane University.
Ashoka believes that young people are the earliest adopters of creating change and have developed the infrastructure for collaboration with Ashoka Youth Venture. The latest “Stories of Change-vol 2-Youth Making a Difference” a global community of changemakers is inspirational as well as informative. http://www.genv.net/ and for more information on open sourcing social change go to http://www.changemakers.com/
If you want to be a Changemaker, surround yourself with Changemakers!