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Learnings - The Wisdom Obtained

All social entrepreneurs (and indeed ‘regular’ entrepreneurs) are on a journey. They will have started their organisations with a vision, as we’ve discussed previously, and an idea with which they will solve a problem achieve that vision. From that idea comes a strategy. But here’s the thing – as the entrepreneur progresses, learns more and experiments with new methods and tactics, they will learn a huge amount and some of that will inevitably affect how they should best execute their work in order to achieve their ultimate vision. The most effective social entrepreneurs are prepared to change their strategies – radically if necessary – based on what they’ve learned.

In the video clips we will be posting later today, each of the three Ashoka Fellows participating in our Systems Change Fortnight discuss how what they have learned has set them down a certain path, often one that is very different to the original one. Karen Mattison and her organisation, Timewise, used to focus their conversation on the benefits of flexible work for women but, in 2012, she and her co-founder realised that the best way they could help these women was to ensure that businesses understood the business benefits of a flexible workforce. Mark Swift and Michael Sani both realised that it wasn’t their organisations alone that would be able to solve the respective problems they were addressing – it was by creating a movement that they would achieve that. So Mark has focused on creating a vision and values that transcends organisational values in order to fight inequality, while Michael shifted his strategy to tackle the root causes of low voter registration amongst the young, rather than on workshop delivery.

All three Fellows – and indeed all systems-changing social entrepreneurs – have successfully changed course for even greater systems change based on what they have learned on their journeys.