In a valiant effort to make homework seem interesting, let me share. My uni subject Design & Buinsess Strategy is a group based initiative related to the development of a business plan and whatever other paraphernalia comes with that – our constraint: the business must be based around Social Entrepreneurship. This is infact an incredibly interesting topic and only dry in the sense that it is 10:30pm and I would rather be lazying around watching a West Wing. We drew the standard blanks last week of an initial group meeting where no two people knew each other nor had very many good ideas OR our ideas were too complex for the comparatively short 12 week assignment.
I spent a little of my long weekend pondering what gap we could fill in society (or at least pretty up), what need we could meet. I was supposed to go away and dig up three ideas about combating obesity – frankly I am really not interested in health issues. Obese kids are often the product of their parents and frankly this culture is full of lazy people (*cough who watch West Wing at 10:30 at night) and you can’t force activity… unless at gunpoint. Parents get far too offended if you challenge their actions or parenting and bang you have a sizzler (think sizzler down the drain rather than mmm sausage) of a business idea. *Note that less lazy people would and will come up with wonderfully creative solutions to help combat obesity, all I’ve hit so far is an arson attack on McDonalds but the project gets huge and illegal and not very viable very quickly.
So I have an idea, it is quite simple, quite feasible and not at all about obesity but rather poverty – something I care a bit more about (At least in theory). I wont share just yet – incase anyone comes along and smoozles my idea before I float it. (Possesive aren’t I?) – or perhaps it’ll be overshaddowed by something else far more brilliant, in which case you won’t have lost out.
But Social Entrepreneurship. Interesting.
My friend Susannah is currently over in Costa Rica with a group of fellow Engineering students. When I look at projects like theirs – which is around building orphanages (I think) and the other less standard remarkable innovative things that are going on in the larger sphere of the design world it gives me hope.
There is something in design thinking in this sense that offers something quite new to the world. It’s not necessarily about creating something out of nothing but of working with what is existing and extending it’s power for positive social change. Reminds me of a bit of the whole ‘a lie based on truth is more believable’ saying, but naturally far less negative. It just works.
To read a little more about Social Entrepreneurs, I suggest you go check out this.