Comment changer le monde : Les entrepreneurs sociaux et le pouvoir des idées nouvelles

Oxford University Press, 2004

Denis Failly – « David Bornstein, may you talk to us about the birth of your book ? »

David Bornstein – « My interest in social entrepreneurs began with Mohammed Yunus of the Grameen Bank, who was the subject of my first book, “The Price of a Dream”. I realized that there was a whole world of amazing and innovative agents of social change out there, unreported and unknown. I was lucky to be introduced to Bill Drayton in 1996 – the social entrepreneur who founded the organization Ashoka, that identifies and channels support to social entrepreneurs globally – and thus “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas” was born. »

Denis Failly – « Which are the common points between social entrepreneurs ? »

Peter Drucker said, “Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done…by a monomaniac with a mission.” Social entrepreneurs have unceasing drive, energy and focus to implement their vision of wide systemic change in society, and will not rest until they have achieved it. They are innovative and willing to break out from established structures, adaptable in their environment, have an ability to bring people on board and a strong ethical fiber. Unlike business entrepreneurs, their success is measured not in money, but in social impact. »

Denis Failly – « Do you think that just an idea can change the world and which are the main conditions of achievement ? »

« The idea is a comparably small part of systemic social change, and the idea itself may be fluid and subject to many mutations as it is implemented. Achievement really begins with a single entrepreneurial author: one obsessive individual who sees a problem and envisions a new solution, who gathers resources and builds organizations to protect and market that vision, who provides the energy and sustained focus to overcome the inevitable resistance, and who – decade after decade – keeps improving, strengthening, and broadening that vision until what was once a marginal idea has become a new norm. »

Denis Failly – « Facing governments’ inability to change deeply the world don’t we go towards a progressive transfer of initiatives, competences, from politics to people, don’t you think a reverse sovereignty (people empowerment) is emerging ? »

Citizens are increasingly empowered by society-wide recognition that they can create and implement more effective, innovative programs for their communities than the government. This in turn, results in a movement towards empowerment of the individuals or groups they serve.

This recognition, however, needs to be broadened and acted-upon by all sectors of society in collaboration. The increasingly powerful private sector and multi-national corporations need to realign their vision and ethics with the communities they do business in, the government still has an important place in society and needs to continue to push towards finding and rewarding innovative, effective programs, and academia needs to actively participate and ensure that the next generation of leaders are educated with a bigger-picture perception of social change and responsibility, entrepreneurial spirit and cross-sector partnerships. Collaboration and understanding between leaders and people from the public, private, academic and citizen sectors needs to occur for true empowerment of the people to emerge.

Denis Failly – « Thank you David »