Every time I attend something, I'm given a nametag. As those who have visited my apartment over the years can attest, many of these nametags still live in my residence. I've had many titles on many tags, depending on where I was. But at the program, jointly sponsored by JESNA's Lippman-Kanfer Institute and
the UJC, and held at the
Here I'm not a liveblogger either, because there is apparently no working wifi at the Kraft Center (or at least not for us)—good for concentration, bad for liveblogging..Previous iterations of my nametag have listed blogs and publications galore. But having stepped down from my editorship at PresenTense and my singles column at the Jewish Week, this tag contains my most succinct description to date: “writer.” Maybe a little too short, especially for a writer who runs long: I add my twittername (two of them actually: EstherK and ROICommunity), in case anyone is interested in taking tech to the next level.
Conference coordinator Jon Woocher (who has the best title ever--Chief Ideas Officer) explains that we’re here to enhance the impact of Jewish social entrepreneurship and how to use the power of conversation as a lever for change. Then, he introduced Paul C. Light, a professor at NYU’s Wagner School, who spoke about what “social entrepreneurship really means,” and helped to identify some “myths” about social entrepreneurship that turned out to be true.
Social entrepreneurship isn’t the same thing as innovation, he said, noting that although doing something new and innovative might be embedded in social entrepreneurship, the term itself really refers to trying to solve an intractable problem through pattern-breaking change. “Innovation is not about finding a solution; social entrepreneurs are known for their hubris and audacity of their ideas.”
Light noted that social entrepreneurs think differently from other high achievers; their persistent optimism keeps them going, even if you tell them they’re going to fail. “They’re just not going to stop.”
Among Light’s other observations:
- Opportunities for real change come once in a while.
- The most successful ideas come from groups who support each other—collaborative entrepreneurs are more successful.
- The myth of opportunity is that it happens and we react; but we can create opportunity.
- You can’t be good enough. You have to be excellent.
- Start by dreaming big. Be audacious, even irritatingly so.
What else makes an entrpreneur, or a leader? Stay tuned for more on this subject.