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Social Entrepreneur

328 EpisodesProduced by Tony LoydWebsite

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.


012, Roger L. Martin, Rotman School | Changing the World One Model at a Time

Roger L. Martin has spent his career attacking models that don’t produce the desired results. I first became aware of Roger L. Martin’s work when I was the Global Head of Learning & Development for Diversey, Inc. My CEO at the time, a former Proctor & Gamble executive, taught me Roger’s cascading choices framework as a method for setting and maintaining strategy. He had first learned it from A.G. Lafley, the CEO of P&G. Later, Roger Martin partnered with A.G. Lafley to write Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works. It is one of the books that I have most often recommended to others.

With his deep expertise on strategic thinking, Roger has served on several boards, both for profit and non-profit. It was in his capacity as a board member for the Skoll Foundation that he began to think about the work of social entrepreneurs. Roger helped the Skoll Foundation to clearly define their audience and their mission. This led to the seminal article “Social Entrepreneurship: A Case for a Definition,” co-written with Sally Osberg, the CEO at Skoll. Eventually Sally and Roger expanded on these concepts and co-wrote Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works.

In this episode of the Social Entrepreneur podcast, we discuss:

  • How Roger came to be on the board of the Skoll Foundation.
  • The difference between being a Director on the board of a commercial businesses vs. nonprofit boards.
  • A definition of social entrepreneurship.
  • Examples of social entrepreneurs.
  • The difference between social entrepreneurs, social service providers and social advocates.
  • The motivation of impact investors.
  • Four stages of social entrepreneurship.
  • Understand the world while balancing three tensions.
    • Balance abhorrence and appreciation. The importance of balance between abhorring the status quo and appreciating why the status quo exists, and how it came to be.
    • Balance apprenticeship and expertise.
    • Balance experimentation and commitment.
  • Envisage a dramatically better future which is a changed equilibrium.
  • Build a model that makes the change happen.
  • Scale the model.
  • If I were going to predict the success of a social entrepreneur, I would ask them to explain why the current, unpleasant equilibrium exists.
  • Understand the economics.


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