Friday, July 15, 2011

Real Change Requires Politics

Published NYT: July 15, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — Every now and then, a new career path seizes the imagination of the global elite. Today it is social enterprise, in which earnest, problem-solving elites devote themselves to social causes, using the ethos and methods of business.

In the 2000s, investment banking and consulting had a near-duopoly on the top I.Q.’s. We saw how that went. Now those I.Q.’s are gravitating to challenges like growing mushrooms in discarded coffee grounds, allowing strangers to lend each other money online and keeping babies warm with heatable wax.

The phenomenon is starkest in M.B.A. programs. The proportion of M.B.A.’s among the applicants to Teach for America, for example, tripled between 2007 and 2010, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. At Harvard Business School, the Social Enterprise Club has become one of the largest student organizations, with more than 400 members. B-schools are adding electives in education and sustainability to keep up with their students.

Social entrepreneurs import the business world’s obsession with results. They use spreadsheets and PowerPoint to attack poverty and disease. They follow the 80-20 rule, focusing on small interventions with large consequences. Leer completo desde NYT…