Issue 52 | From Social Entrepreneurship to Everyone a Changemaker – 40 Years of Social Innovation

Posted by Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal on December 18, 2018

The Social Innovations Journal is driven by the belief that the potential for good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated. We must ask the question whether this belief holds true and is it enough? Ashoka, the world’s oldest and most significant leader in the field of social entrepreneurship, asked a similar question and in doing so designed a study in 1998 to measure Ashoka Fellows’ impact and began to track independent replication, policy change, and persistence as approximate measures of systems change.

20 years later, the articles in this edition titled: “From Social Entrepreneurship to Everyone a Changemaker — 40 Years of Social Innovation,” point to what’s next curated by Ashoka, plumb the data gathered in a more recent extensive study comprised of survey and interviews conducted by Ashoka over the past year and validated by LUISS University in Rome. The results paint a rich portrait of how and what it takes for social entrepreneurs, identified by Ashoka as changemakers, to thrive and succeed in rapidly changing contexts.

Diana Wells, Ashoka President, in the introductory and framing article, states that what matters most in determining a changemaker’s impact is not the size of one’s budget nor the number of those directly served. Rather measures of impact include: independent replication, public policy change, market change, and shifting mindsets, and can be measured, as seen in Ashoka’s image below, through direct service, scaled direct service, systems change, and/or framework change metrics. In other words, the most effective social entrepreneurs are those whose models help everyone be problem solvers. Ashoka defines itself through systems change and widespread framework change.

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