#swf and long walks on the beach?

April 9, 2012
Oxford, England

Why is E.Scharpf tweeting her online dating profile?  With a hash tag like #swf on my Twitter messages last week, I guess I was asking for that.  But actually, I was in England at the Skoll World Forum for social entrepreneurship.  Started by Jeff Skoll, former President of eBay, it's arguably the premier forum for cutting-edge entrepreneurship in the social sector.  What does that mean?  Who does that include?  Well, that's exactly what I was trying to figure out all three days.

Last year was my first time to Skoll, invited as a speaker on the panel about designing for social good including Fred Swaniker from the African LeadershipAcademy, Bill Drentall from Winterhouse Design and Teach for All, and Debra Dunn, Stanford Professor and former senior exec at Hewlett-Packard.  None of us were architects and seemingly none of us had much in common...except figuring out how to problem solve, in a sustainable way, with positive social change as a leading outcome. 

And that's just it...I think my take-away from last week is that social entrepreneurship can mean many things and engage many people.....like the head of a leading Venture Capital firm, investigator at National Geographic, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the CEO at IDEO.org, a fire eater, juggler, and yes, Annie Lennox. 


It's striking---that solving the greatest problems of our time will call for people of different talents and sectors to come together to work on solutions.  This is a start, and I'm hopeful that it's a beginning of a time when we don't question that it's on everyone's agenda.


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