The Power of Unreasonable People
Well i'm phone michael directors content for harvard business digital and i'm here today with john l king ten the founder and chief entrepreneur of sustain ability a strategy consulting firm. And the author of the harvard business school press book at the power up unreasonable people john thanks for joining us today today casual. John our mission for the day is to help our audience understand to some of the core characteristics of highly effective social entrepreneur. Before we get to the details would you give us a ninety second elevator pitch for your books be done do you have to try and get a ninety seconds is almost impossible but ah trash well poop founded the well they come out for them to. Something like thirty five years ago. In his for it talks about the ways in which this new category of entrepreneur i'm just trying to address some of the really big social environmental problems uh in the world poverty right through to trying to change. I think what's interesting to remember at least to me is that when we tried to get that well they're coming for them. Uh i can see arrows and so on community to engage these people about six seven years ago we had a big event in new york i'm thirteen no one tend up for it that's changed now and if you go to. Uh the devil some it so i just come back from china not from the weather kinda like for them. Some it and and donnie on c. search on drugs huh on all the finals and i that that that that people that uh mainstream business in public policy really want to hear from on the reason is that these people on thinking if not just about solutions. But solutions that can be replicated that can be scaled and have a real challenge to the dressing somebody's very big challenges we collect anything. So back to our mission core mission for today which is to look at some of those essential traits that highlight particularly effective social entrepreneurs and you list quite a number in your book and we're gonna get to some but not all of them today. Some of the strike me as er counter into it for instance social entrepreneurs are on recent. You mean by that what the the original ideas that came from the playwright uh george done it show basically said you know the reasonable amount adapt himself to the world as he finds it um young reasonable place and tries to transform it uh to make it different and i think people. Entrepreneurs ah if if they have one single shed characteristic it is that they simply don't take the world is that correct is as i get they are trying to. But there is that game changes that that not since you're trying to tweak this system at the edges they're trying to change that the system so they all wildly ambitious uh some uh it it's not much them up and go crazy it's very spots of that. Lives and careers by founded by friends i buy colleagues. To some degree uh that's true but muhammad units who just got the nobel peace prize for his way yeah as a special once described these people uh to power hoskin like i will send myself as seventy percent crazy one that neatly sums it up. Ok so perhaps this is a a similar trade in that case. Affected social entrepreneurs are propelled by motion. No that's not what your typical venture capitalist wants to hear they want to sound business case so how do we rectified i wonder about that because i think venture capitalist respond to people was real passion real dry really wanting to. Develop a business proposition our technology whatever they they don't most people emotionally address on that do you think go back to the wright brothers on the send you the kitty hawk i mean these what. That these are technical people but they they they but they were part by emotion as well the difference here. Is it the emotion isn't around making monday all trying the you'll better than you'll compacted or whatever the emotion here is about. Trying sure that that dress the the the issues of the world would say full busy and people. Living and and and and conditions of a a fairly substantial. Uh properties i think most don't get those are emotional this just happened to be engaged a different set of challenges is there somebody top of mine who exemplified sys characteristics you. Well i mention mohammed and it's going to take another ah longer in my tie who got the uh nobel peace prize two years previous in two thousand four. When she originally and um east africa tote a at college that you want to to palm trees across much of the uh growing does it though uh in that region of the world. Uh they they said they thought she was again thing um reasonable in fact when she went to the supplier of trees and says that she wanted uh so many millions tracy said yes sine what if you want and then when she came back and she needed that number three. He didn't happen he thought she was uh since you're making it up sees she's not found something like fifty million. Uh trees and um i'm i'm i'm so it goes so i think i think these people um. Have the capacity to do things to others think uh it just it is impossible and yet you say social entrepreneurs seek profit in on profitable pursuit. How does that work in the well defined profit that's that that's what we're struggling with tickets for these people it isn't simply a financial profit that much them wouldn't be. In this uh game if that was a little bit rustic isn't much these people that addressing areas of quite substantial market site yeah. But what they're looking at is a for profit uh which one could define as or or explain as blended values so you're you're looking at the financial side absolutely but you're also looking at the social and some cases environmental values it's great it's the same. Time so many of these people uh really very interesting the times that the way in which they're not trying to measure that uh social environmental. In fact it's i've been fascinates just in recent years you soft company stopping to to. Yeah and you're the water around. They sort of special capitalist society describe them i think big business and i think public policy makers have a great deal to learn from some of these entrepreneurs because i know many going off the phone society that many of these others. Mainstream people talk about it but they're crazy with you know how to open to deliver it but to to measure real progress an end to look out however good time you put a value real that you on that. I was understand blended value a little bit more maybe an example of uh a good example. What do you think about um i'm again it's just like ah an example it has been in people's minds recently he sets out the ah grinning. Thank and that's it i mean you could say if you were looking for profitability so that that that's been a a very interesting. Uh example of that and you've got the big banks like city to the dialing into that same market now that they can see it uh is the tension it real. But if you were looking at the improvements in livelihoods it's the predominant women and that families uh the children particular. Who've taken some of those micro loans and develops the. This is on. It's not simply a question of money it says that if if if the question self confidence and self uh it's question is um you connections it's that thing able to make it it's a question of not having to waste all the time to go to market to sell something that people don't want that ah using. Telephones and a song they can actually the time and and a box with mock it once i just have to walk two or three eight days to market. That's what having down so how do you measure all of that and the num lock down very good at doing that but every bit of time i think they will become much better. What you think of people who give their life to social causes being humble was wanting to be subservient to some greater good and if you talk about social entrepreneurs as being i believe i'm quoting you insanely ambition. How does that work um what some of them uh really quite difficult ah let's let's put it that way i mean because they said they aren't patient they want to drive change uh they really want techno for non so. But the difference is that the not simply doing this i just there and self bad to find out mission that doing it because i tried to help sincerely trying to help me. People and uh so wide uh uh well so um. I i think if if uh i'm i'm in unison or my god my tie had said er fifteen twenty years ago this is what we found two people said you're crazy i mean the sympathy it it is on doable um what they've shown as it's not in the doable. But that once you get it um passing stuff to bills and i think what what what's really exponents to see the way in which some of these entrepreneurs. A developing initiatives that are starting to feed into each other to reinforce each other and so if you if you take the individual entrepreneur it it's because they come i do want that attach themselves to do would you look at the high performance teams you look at some of the people now so. Uh people like uh bill gates p i've made yeah just go some of these sort of extra i'll see people enough hiding in behind us to pull something that's what you something's not think well maybe it that the not quite as ambitious as they once i did made maybe we should all be that ambitious. On that note john open can thank you very much special. Hope you enjoyed this week's program more deals from she's with our website w. w. w. harvard business dot org. Thanks for listening
Copyright 2010 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.