From the Editor
The discourse around social entrepreneurship continues at a pace: more international conferences, research interest, journals and university courses are some of the identifiers.
Alongside the continuing emergence of innovative start-up social enterprises and businesses is the reality that the field has matured sufficiently to begin to measure impact: some established social ventures have scaled up and succeeded and some have failed.
Hence I have included the recently published case study of Better Place a bold and exciting start-up (the second largest in history), which aims to transform the existing mature automotive industry and drive massive social change by reducing, if not eliminating, our reliance on the internal combustion engine and petroleum.
Too Good to Fail, by contrast, is the first in-depth look at the failure of the iconic American 37 year old social enterprise, ShoreBank. The lessons extracted thus far make for compelling reading, especially the role of “toxic politics” in its demise.
CSI’s ongoing interest and involvement in public policy has us following the UK’s Big Society experiment with great interest. The Building a Stronger Civil Society document sets out the first steps the UK government will take. There is also a reference to the important role the government sees mutuals playing in this “smaller state” future.
Complementary to this is the paper presented to the International Social Innovation Research Conference I attended in September in London, Legislating for Social Value? The analysis of the debate on a Conservative MP’s Private Member’s Bill seeking to enshrine social value and the australia casino place of social enterprises provides fascinating evidence of the contradictory discourse between the public policy face of the Big Society initiatives and the ideological beliefs expressed by the Conservative speakers. The very recent amendments to the bill reflect this and call into question the commitment of a large number of Conservatives to the Big Society vision.
Social entrepreneurship in its more mature phase has also attracted its share of myths. The Illusions of Entrepreneurship is reviewed with this in mind.
You can get involved in discussing social entrepreneurship by reading and commenting on these related blogs and bringing an Australian perspective to a global discussion:
secure.csi.edu.au/site/Home/Blog.aspx (see A Bill to enshrine social value: A Big Society agenda? Sep 23, 2011)
Guest Editor, Knowledge Connect