I spent the last two days on a training course, this time as a delegate. For the introductions we had to interview another person and write key attributes on separate stickie notes. As I look on how the other person interpreted what I said, I saw something unexpected, surprising and pleasant reflected back at me…a gradual and gentle shift awakening to a new version of me infused with excitement. Take a look at the photo below.
I spent a mind blowing week at business school on block 1 of the Social Entrepreneurship Programme. I learnt new things, and got new insights into things that I already knew.
Let me start off by saying that it’s a lot of work. On day 4 I wrote the following in my journal, transcribed as it was written so excuse less than perfect grammar:
“I asked myself countless times during the course of this week what I am doing (here). And as I ask myself that a bubble of excitement starts bubbling up and I know then that I’m in the right place! 🙂 “
Definitions of social entrepreneurship are in flux owing to the newness of the formal discipline and the application of complexity theory to solving social problems, especially in the South African context where social entrepreneurs operate in a constrained environment. I’m reminded of Marissa Meyer’s reference to creativity loving constraints.
It’s rained cats and dogs for over a week. Che began to get cabin fever and so did the cats who’ve decided to adopt us. It didn’t affect me like it normally does because I was occupied with business school and preparing for each day. The clouds thinned and the sun managed to peek out from above them, enough for us to see a bit of blue. At best it’s watery sunlight. On the up up side the dams around Gauteng are almost full. This is good news in these conditions of drought. Sadly other parts of South Africa have not been as lucky. The network of dams serving Cape Town are at about 36% full.
…was non-existent…working out that is, because… business school…. Che and I will go later. It will be good to get this body moving again.
I fly to Cape Town on Wednesday for agile42’s quarterly coach camp. I love Cape Town. Enough said.
PS…I value your loyalty
I am trying to keep my head above water balancing blogging with study, work, family and gym. I work best when I am under pressure (who doesn’t?). Bear with me as a semblance of routine becomes the new normal for me. The same goes for visiting your blogs. I haven’t visited many of late. You are still on my mind and I will be coming by. To those that are still coming by Wide Eyed In Wonder, I thank you.
I’m sitting in an Airbnb preparing for day 1 of Block 1 of the Social Entrepreneurship programme. There is a WHOLE lot of reading to do before each module. It starts tomorrow with site visits. My group is going to visit Jonathan Liebmann, The Maverick of Maboneng, as Kerryn Krige and Gus Silber describe him in their book The Disruptors (click on the link to download a chapter from the book).
Social entrepreneurs identify challenges in society and devise innovative solutions for the greater good whilst turning a profit at the same time.
It is not up to government only to uplift South African society. It is up to every South African to make a difference, and social entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity in our country. With the NDP requirement for creating 5 million jobs by 2020 it is clear that traditional ways of thinking and doing things are no longer enough.
We live in an ever-changing world, characterised by complexity, increased usage of technology, and feedback loops that travel at mach-speed.
Even though these are challenges, they are also levers that clever social entrepreneurs can use to make positive change in South Africa.
Case-studies cite Nobel Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank, the bank for the poor as the most famous social entrepreneur. I have not met him but I have met a few social entrepreneurs who are making a difference in South Africa.
Like Thato Kgatlhanye from Rethaka whom I met in 2014 when she did the opening keynote at a conference and kept everyone enthralled for close to an hour on how she came up with idea of making Repurpose School Bags, and how she executed on her vision.
She found an innovative solution to a uniquely South African (and African) problem. The bag is made from fabric made out of plastic, and it contains a solar cell which charges as the children walk to school and back home again. At night they take the charged solar cell and insert it into a solar jar, providing light for them to be able to study.
Even though the South African government has done a good job of electrifying large part of the country since 1994, there are still many communities that do not have the benefit of electricity. Using candles or oil lamps can be a fire-hazard. In addition to providing light, she has found a safe solution for school children to benefit from. The solar cell does not have any USD ports to ensure that it is used for its intended purpose – study.
I will keep you posted on what I get up to.
Agile Coach and Social Entrepreneur, chief wide eyed in wanderer, wonderer and bottlewasher…Inspecting and Adapting is my mantra