Strategy - A Plan of Action

A social entrepreneur’s strategy is their roadmap to bring their idea to fruition, in order to achieve their vision for a better society. It is the very practical enactment of the idea - and includes the steps that need to be taken, and the way those steps will add up to significant change. A strategy is often multi-faceted, comprising for example campaigning and lobbying politicians as well as outreach, research and more ‘hands-on’ activities such as workshops or productisation, and how they connect up for impact. The strategy should include the mechanics for systems change - how the concept can grow and affect society on a wider scale. 

Once a strategy is in place to bring the entrepreneur’s idea to life, it will dictate exactly the team that he or she needs to surround themselves with, such as campaigners, fundraisers and facilitators. And it is in this way that the creativity and impact of one man or woman can multiply rapidly and effectively, leading to systems change.

Ashoka Fellows Mark Swift, Karen Mattison and Michael Sani, who are featured in the video clips we are sharing across Ashoka’s Systems Change Fortnight, have all developed strategies with which to implement their ideas for change. The beauty of an effective strategy is that it is concise and easy to explain, but simultaneously rich and complex and enables everyone in a team to understand what they need to do to accomplish the vision. For example, Michael Sani of Bite the Ballot’s strategy is based around three core principles – education, community engagement and advocacy, and we can already see both how he could structure his team around these principles, and how they can each drive systems change as well as having immediate impact.