Monthly Archives: May 2012

Social Entrepreneurship Articles of the Week

The BIG IDEA: Global Spread of Affordable Housing


Links to a free downloadable ebook.

Diverse innovators share insights on critical barriers: from securing land rights to new home equity loan products, from inventing the technology to produce low-cost, eco-friendly building materials to how to transform corporate culture to succeed in emerging markets, from matching solutions to specific market needs to rethinking the relationship of collaboration to ultimate competitive advantage in the housing market.

The BIG IDEA: GLOBAL SPREAD OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING is a unique resource for social and business entrepreneurs, policymakers, corporations, researchers, management consultants and citizens. Each post is the link to years of work and lessons that are now yours to keep, share and explore further with the authors and each other.

All the sinners saints? why bono’s (red) can’t redeem western consumers


Product (RED) is a flawed market-based poverty solution that distracts from the need for genuine innovation in corporate business models, argue Brand Aid authors Lisa Richey and Stefano Ponte.

The power of purpose


Corporate citizenship is not just good business, it is a good business strategy. Especially in the global context, being a good corporate citizen can lead a business to prosperity and at the same time help build better societies, protect human rights, and facilitate economic development.

Looking back in time to move luxury fashion forward


When I tell people Rebecca Street is a sustainable and ethical luxury fashion label, I’m met with the same confused and sceptical look I might get if I’d said: “We sell organic fair-trade coffee in Styrofoam cups,” or “We sell Hummers made from 100% post-consumer steel and aluminium.”


Customer Dissatisfaction for a Cause


Frustration, anger and grumbling stomachs were just a few of the symptoms of this recent cause marketing campaign. According to trend spotter, the companies partnered with the Food Bank Foundation and intentionally made customers wait to give them a little taste of what it’s like to be hungry. When the pizzas finally arrived, each came with a note stating, “When you’re hungry, you understand hunger.” For their trouble, customers got their pizzas free of charge, and they could also donate to the Food Bank Foundation to help fight serious cases of hunger. The campaign has already raised enough money to collect 50 tons of food and provided customers a reality check on what it feels like to be hungry.

 Benefit Corporations – Who are they?


In 2010, the first benefit corporation legislation passed in the United States, giving companies the option to pursue social missions alongside profits under this law. Though skepticism still exists for companies attempting to provide public service, there is no doubt that social ventures are working collectively to create more than economic value. But who are they? According to professor Craig R. Everett at the Graziadio School of Business and Management, there are close to 100 benefit corporations that span across seven states.

Attracting Funds to Your Social Enterprise


Gone are the days when a thank you letter or annual report would suffice for communicating with your supporters. Today’s donors want to know exactly whose lives they are impacting, and they want transparency of how their dollars are being used. Whether you are seeking impact investors or philanthropic donations, the key is to demonstrate the ROI your organization provides to the investor as a combination of financial and social returns. See Part 1 of this series to understand how potential investors and donors are evaluating your company against other charitable investments.


McDonald’s UK New Stakeholder Engagement Website Shows Signs of Progress


Following the failures of McDonald’s #McStories, #shamrocking and #MeetTheFarmer twitter campaigns, which have brought a storm of protest against the company, McDonald’s UK decided to try another approach. Instead of using an open social media platform in campaigns that seems to be more about advertising, it decided to build a new platform that will actually be more about engagement. The result is What Makes McDonald’s?, where stakeholders are invited to find the facts, share their views and ask McDonald’s a question or two.

 Do we need a new form of philanthropic enterprise designed to work across the continuum from grants to impact investing?


The last few years have given us both B Corporations and L3Cs – hybrid forms that provides entrepreneurs with a corporate structure committed to both profitability and social good. Is it time for a similar innovation in the way we structure the capital for social good?

Will the next ten years see the creation of hybrid foundations – a capital investing form structured specifically to allow greater flexibility in how funds are used for social good?

Top Venture Capital Articles of the Week


Venture capitalist, Fred Wilson gives some famous examples of companies that started by bootstrapping.

“With all the talk of massive amounts of cash sloshing around the web/mobile startup ecosystem (including things I’ve said recently), you would think that nobody bootstraps anymore. But that is not true at all.”

Get your Startup Offsite


“A startup’s offsite provides the leaders of a startup with the opportunity – and excused absence from one day’s operational details – to review where the company has been and point it in the right direction for the future given that context.”

Is Venture Capital Dead? Mark Suster Feels It’s Morning in Venture Capital (Great Article)


“I can’t help feel a bit of rear-view mirror analysis in all of “VC model is broken” bears in our industry. I have been close to the tech & startup sectors for more than 20 years and I can’t think of a period in which I felt more optimistic about the innovation and value creation I see in front of us.

These seven factors are leading to better and more sustainable opportunities in venture capital than have been present at any time in our investment histories.

We have lower costs to create companies – leading to more early stage innovation. We have a more normalized venture market with less capital and fewer firms. We have consumers who are online at higher speeds and for more of their days. People are connected all the time and when they’re mobile. Each of these pocket computers is payment ready & social linked.”

Hey Graduates: Forget Plastics – It’s All About Machine Learning


“For the first time, I began to think through the practical implications of what the advent of the information explosion (now commonly referred to as “Big Data”) really meant to both individuals and corporations.  How would this onslaught of information effect decision-making across a range of industries, what were the practical implications to businesses and executives, and what were the resulting investment opportunities?”

The Bar Has Gotten Higher 


“When I first entered the venture capital business 10 years ago after being an entrepereneur, my partners warned me that “my bar” for new investments would get higher over time.  In other words, the criteria to make a new investment – clearing “the bar” – would get more strict with time as I developed more experience and saw more things.  I found this to be very true, and the notion that investors get wiser and more selective over time has become common wisdom in the industry.

But there’s something very new going on in the last few years – something very striking.  Simply put, the collective bar of the investment community to fund young companies has recently gotten higher – much higher.”

Startups getting caught in No Man’s Land


“I am seeing many startups who were ably seed funded get caught in “No Man’s Land” between the seed round and a true Series A round led by a venture capitalist. “

How Even a 10-year-old Can Compete with Free — and Win


“The fundamentals of most businesses are the same as this: identify market pain, provide a superior solution, compete, modify strategy to adjust to the market, and repeat.”

I could build Instagram in a week


“How many times have you heard someone say “I could build [insert hot startup name here] in a week”? I hear it all the time. But, I have yet to see one of these delusional wizards actually do it. They are obviously too busy inventing the next big thing. They fail to realize that building a successful consumer web or mobile product takes more than great technology. A lot more.”




Top Creativity Articles of the Week

How To Encourage Learning By Making “Smart Mistakes”


Avoiding mistakes is impossible. But what if we accept that risk is inevitable and focus on making smart mistakes instead?

Innovation Requires Both Ideas And Action

To be innovative, we need to be good at both idea generation and idea execution.

Is Your Business Drowning Your Creativity?

Creativity + Productivity = Success

What Children Can Teach Us About Creativity

When your creativity is getting low and you need to re-kindle the fire, children may have the solution to ignite that creative spark.

What Doesn’t Motivate Creativity Can Kill It

Business bloggers at Harvard Business Review discuss a variety of business topics including managing people, innovation, leadership, and more.

Using Improv to Innovate

Use improvisational skills to enhance brainstorming sessions.

13 Ways Companies Kill Creativity

Creativity is the driving force behind many new products, services, and companies around the world, creating solutions to age-old problems and offering new ways to live our daily lives. Yet despite the indispensable nature of innovation, many businesses don’t exactly foster creativity in the workplace, sometimes even actively working against it. Whether they realize it or not, there are many ways that businesses kill creativity on a daily basis, which isn’t just bad for those creative minds but also the organization as a whole.

Creativity Under Pressure: TEDx XavierU

The dynamics of creating under pressure, and how to build practices that make creative pros more effective every day.