GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: When Dreams Defy Reality by Beverly Schwartz author of, “Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World.”
Ever wonder why some people can turn what if and what is into what can be?
Enter the world of social entrepreneurs, social change and “Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World.”
Somewhere in the middle of analyzing the interviews I had gathered as part of my book research, it became clear to me that social entrepreneurs are a special breed of instigators – instigators of capacity - who liberate untapped potential and help people find their way into new possibilities.
At a minimum they all possess four inherent qualities:
- Purpose, allows inspiration to replace fear with action.
- Passion, kindles and nourishes a “follow ones heart” courage.
- Patterns, become models and guides for others to follow.
- Participation, by others who believe, follow, and join.
When dreams defy reality, and those four qualities are combined, social entrepreneurs are born. Their strength of purpose, their passion, their innovative ideas and their sense of community inclusion set off self-perpetuating waves of motion that convey transformation, both vertically and horizontally, across geographic borders and beyond cultural boundaries.
From Margins to Mainstream
All social entrepreneurs start out as critics. As they refuse to accept things the way they are, they manage to break out of current paradigms, to defy convention, think counterintuitively, and reframe old thinking. They use their evolved sense of consciousness and unambiguous sense of empathy to see autism as a “positive distraction” instead of a handicap or view people who are blind or deaf as differently abled rather than disabled. They decipher economic structures and turn them into new means of access to housing, commercial opportunities and financial security. They see well-trodden paths leading to violence and aggression and create space for a different reality to take their place.
There are many seeds in an apple – but how many apples are in those seeds?
In order to scale and sustain the social change they vision – they build institutions around ideas and create virtuous cycles of social benefit that begin when people, businesses and corporations in the community become agents of change themselves and then influence others to do the same. Beyond the 18 social entrepreneurs from around the world profiled in the book, these unseen and next-generation changemakers are in many ways the champions of the movement and share the spotlight of the book. Along with entrepreneurial leadership, these are the people, the organizations and the donors who co-create value and form the new infrastructure that leads to the establishment of the innovation. By multiplying the power of individuals, they become the synergistic manifestation of “rippling,” making it possible for hundreds and thousands of people from every continent to comprehend, for the first time, that the word "tomorrow” can actual mean a better day to come. The concept of creating a world where everyone and every organization could step out of their own status quo and into the role of a societal changemaker is the core concept of the book.
From Breakdowns to Breakthroughs.
The five sections of this book represent five ripples in the pond of poverty, inequity and inadequate access to opportunity. Each of the sections includes reflections from thought leaders, Esther Dyson on restructuring industry norms; Peter Senge on changing market dynamics; William Jefferson Clinton on using market forces to create social value; Geeta Rao Gupta on advancing full citizenship; and Arianna Huffington on cultivating empathy.
As I say at the end of the prologue, as you breathe in this book, make your breath the bridge between your inner self and the external world. Breathe in this book and breathe out the changemaker in your soul.”
Beverly Schwartz the author of “Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World,” is vice president of Global Marketing at Ashoka, the world’s largest association of leading social entrepreneurs. Schwartz is an “entrepreneurial” behavioral scientist and has made her career in the field of social marketing. She has devoted her career to working on some of the world’s most challenging societal issues including smoking and drug prevention, gender equity, educational and environmental reform, and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.