The power of connections

The power of connections

Time and again I have come across stories and examples that show the importance of working with others, reaching out, collaborating, offering to put people in touch with each other – anything that helps to expand the links to get more happening and create that change we need, on the scale that we need it.Read more

New legal structures for social enterprises

New legal structures for social enterprises

Fitting the misfit or just an empty promise? Social enterprises are a misfit. Neither simply for-profit, nor non-profit, they don’t belong in the existing legal categories of the NGOs or financial hunters of today’s world. Stuck in the middle of wanting to achieve both, earn profits and make a positive social impact at the sameRead more

Making social change

Making social change

Making a difference to society is a noble aim, and leaders shouldn’t be put off by a few bumps along the way. If my experience in social innovation has taught me anything, it’s that making social change is not for the faint-hearted. Making a difference and achieving change requires stamina and resilience as well asRead more

Social impact beyond the investment exit period

Social impact beyond the investment exit period

Since the inception of the impact investing field the focus of practitioners and academics has primarily been on showing the rest of the world that so-called triple bottom line returns are in fact feasible and measurable in the long-term and that impact investments are in fact able to generate market-comparable financial returns. An ‘avalanche ofRead more

Public sector spin-outs: innovative or chips off the old block?

Public sector spin-outs: innovative or chips off the old block?

I am living proof that social entrepreneurship is not always terribly glamorous. Most of my days are spent in featureless buildings owned by councils or the NHS, helping the services based there to set up as new ventures, or ‘spin-out’; often owned and controlled by staff but often some kind of joint-venture between employees, theRead more

Social innovation and the crisis of national inequality

Social innovation and the crisis of national inequality

Can anything really be done about the fundamentals of social mobility and inequality? After reading ‘Poverty Tsar’ Alan Milburn’s recent ‘State of the Nation Report 2014’ (the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, 20 October) I am pessimistic. It documents in painful detail the attempts of the last 20 years to tackle child poverty inRead more

Fads, fashions and community-based organisation

Fads, fashions and community-based organisation

We have witnessed numerous big ideas on community, regeneration, and place come and go with mixed and frequently transitory impact. The notion of the Big Society is the latest in a long line of such initiatives. From the point of view of community enterprises and other third sector organisations, the Big Society – like manyRead more

This time is different? Think again.

This time is different? Think again.

Why history is still the greatest teacher when it comes to tackling social transformations. Apparently this time is different. Changes in technology or society are marshalled to explain why our generation faces uniquely testing times. Be it the digital economy, the weakening of the nation-state, or the redefinition of the family – all are apparentlyRead more

Inside the fish bowl

Inside the fish bowl

Neil Stott’s defence of Public Sector innovation is a provocation for those of us attempting to work on complex issues from within. Adaptability, risk taking and innovation are not the words that spring to mind when thinking about big bureaucracies. Rather than lamenting the qualities of bureaucracies that aren’t designed to be risk taking andRead more

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