Monday, July 26, 2010

Colorado's Super #Socent Summer

OK, you all know I am a big fan of Colorado. I love living here. But this week, I REALLY love living here.

Why? Because this place is going off. Since late May, the Unreasonable Institute has been down in Boulder, building social enterprises with the potential to impact 1 million people. An amazing group of people. On Saturday, they are doing their final pitches. Buy your tickets here.

And in early July, sixty plus innovative people from around the world came to CSU to be part of the fourth International Development Design Summit. They will be giving technology demos and updates on their projects this Wednesday in Lory Student Center Ballroom at 2 pm. Special guest evaluators include Marc Manera from Acumen Fund, Patrick Maloney from Lemelson Foundation, Phil Weilerstein from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, and the inimitable Paul Polak of D-Rev and Windhorse.

If you are into social entrepreneurship and you are anywhere near Colorado, I'd encourage you to attend at least one of these events. Can you say "epicenter"? Seriously, this is a great way to acquaint yourself with this movement and some amazing people in the middle of it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Porcupines. Troublemakers.

When Paul Polak goes to events, he often writes "Troublemaker" on his name badge.

But I think he is really a porcupine. Bursting bubbles of confusion wherever he turns. He calls it as he sees it, and doesn't sugar coat his advice. Check out his new blog. You may not always agree with him (I don't), but he will often change your point of view and get you to question a few more of your overly precious assumptions. While it doesn't always feel good to tangle with him, one does recover (although you may be tender for a few days).

Porcupines and troublemakers are a rare and important part of the social enterprise ecosystem (much more important than cheerleaders). We could use a few more, and should treasure the few we have.

If you haven't had the opportunity to meet Paul, read his book and subscribe to his blog. And maybe when you meet him, his badge will say "Porcupine."

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Start up

We launched v4.0 of IDDS yesterday. While the core offering features remain (Innovation through Diversity, Creative Capacity Building, Community Building and Innovating for Impact) we have added additional functionality- new faculty (Jill, Bryan, Andy), new participants and a stronger emphasis on dissemination.

Borrowing from Jim Collins, yesterday started with "First Who"... introductions of all the amazing people who have travelled thousands of miles to participate. Then "What"... quick descriptions of the projects and Amy discussing the history and philosophy of IDDS. From there, people started at Market Activity, where they needed to design, manufacture and market products for the IDDS community. There is even a form of local currency: "briquettes."

After lunch, Bryan Willson and Paul Polak presented case studies on approaches to disseminating products at scale, discussing Envirofit (cookstoves) and Windhorse (water), respectively.

The day finished with some fun, one-minute infomercials from the teams on their Market Activity products. From World Cup attire to room accessories, there was a lot of creativity on both the ideas and their promotion.

Designing by Making... Learning by Doing

Buying... "That will be 5 briquettes" (Amy as shopkeeper; Daniel from Global Cycle Solutions as buyer)

Paul Polak discussing some of his 100 million potential customers for clean water...