Cheryl L. Dorsey, the president of Echoing Green, notes in her forward to Ron Schultz’s latest book Creating Good Work that it arrives at a critical time in the relatively short history of the social entrepreneurial movement.
As Jeff Trexler points out in his perceptive chapter—despite the solid successes of many social entrepreneurs in “creating good work”—that the field is at something of a turning point.
Critics like New York Times columnist David Brooks are becoming more vocal, claiming social entrepreneurs are naïve about harsh political realities, even as large corporations threaten to co-opt the movement in the public mind by asserting that they already practice effective corporate social responsibility.
Social entrepreneurs are committed to a goal that neither our government nor big business has been willing to take on—the building of an enlightened society. It’s the job of these special people who want to leave the world a better place for those who have yet to be born. The book provides practical, hard-won advice for how prospective and even in-the-trenches social entrepreneurs can do just that. The book is broken down into sections that focus on theory, application and best practices—laying out where we’ve come from, what we believe in, and what we need to know to go forward.
Dorsey calls particular attention to Gregory Dees, professor of the practice of social entrepreneurship and co-founder of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University, who frames our role this way: “Social entrepreneurs serve as society’s ‘learning laboratory,’ developing, testing and refining new approaches to problems in ways that government agencies, with all their budgetary, bureaucratic, legislative, jurisdictional and political constraints, cannot do.”
The book begins with solid grounding from Craig Dunn, associate dean of business at the College of Business and Economics at Western Washington University in Bellingham, as he introduces a rather extraordinary definition and description of what social entrepreneurship is all about.
In a chapter called “Deliberate Disruptive Design,” Dunn lays out the historical context as only a practitioner and academician can. This chapter sets the thematic tone of what drives a social entrepreneur, how the work gets done, and why it’s not just more of the same. From this base of understanding unfolds an amazing continuum of personal paths, collaborative accomplishments, social understanding and pertinent lessons.
Some of the books highlights include New York’s Hot Bread Kitchen, founded by Jessamyn Rodriguez, whose mostly low-income immigrant women bake premium-priced bread inspired by their countries of origin, while learning the skills they need to integrate into the workforce and, ultimately, to achieve management track positions in the food industry.
The book also attends to “Legal Issues for Social Entrepreneurs,” by Allen Bromberger, undoubtedly the leading legal voice in the social business world, who provides a detailed account of what every social entrepreneur had better be aware of, unless they want to spend a great deal of time and money in the judicial system.
This is a book you’ll not want to miss!!!