But surely SOCIAL entrepreneurs are empathetic?
While social entrepreneurs like Ashoka’s Bill Drayton or Oxford Business School’s Pamela Hartigan are quite right that you cannot be truly profitable if you are not wired for empathy, this does not mean that it’s not hard. It’s not just technology and social media that’s to blame. Based on my own experience, there is something that happens from that “road to Damascus moment” (essential to the foundational tales of many social entrepreneurs from Jacqueline Novogratz’s moment of finding a boy in Africa wearing her old blue sweater to John Woods discovering the need for libraries in the Himalayas) in which a stubborn, passionate person is confronted with the immediate and direct experience of an obstacle that they are determined to remove, come hell or high water.
But now as people strive to create the most social change and demonstrate the data of their impact, does something still get lost? One of our queen word smiths, Monika Smyczek, asked over a late-night “Launchathon” (our own version of hackathons where we dissected and championed one another’s businesses) the key question that anyone must ask as they try to retain empathy in the DNA of an organization: “How do you scale Gandhi?”