“He may look innocent, but Bill Drayton is a revolutionary” (Diezeit, No. 46, 10 November, 2005)
Lara: Who are social entrepreneurs and why is social entrepreneurship important?
Mr. Drayton: Social entrepreneurs are drivers of social change. They combine the pragmatic and results-oriented methods of a business entrepreneur with the goals of a social reformer. In an ever-changing world, social entrepreneurs or changemakers who can adopt, embrace, and effect social change are most likely to succeed and stay in the game. Any country that does not sharply increase the proportion of its young people
who are changemakers will lack the competitive edge. The architecture of humanity is changing radically in the direction of complete decentralization. Instead of relying on the government or private sector to create programs to improve society, each individual member of the “citizen sector” should take the initiative to address social problems—that is our only hope to wide-scale and rapid progress.
Lara: Can anyone be a changemaker? In other words, are social entrepreneurs born or made?
Mr. Drayton: Yes, anyone can be a changemaker as long as they give
Lara: What are the essential qualities of a changemaker?
Mr. Drayton: I would say empathy, teamwork, and leadership. It is important to inculcate these qualities early in young people. The proportion of changemakers cannot be significantly increased unless as young people they master these social skills. They need to have a “can do” attitude. They need to feel all-powerful and have the confidence to seek to change the world around them. Adults often exert control inside and outside of classrooms and in homes which promotes a “we can do it better” or “Oh, that’s impossible” culture, stifling initiative.
Lara: What is your advice to wannabe social entrepreneurs?
Mr. Drayton: Just do it! Identify a problem that really bothers you, use your social skills to spread the contagion to your friends, tap the multiplier effect – the more brains at work, the higher the chance of finding an innovative solution, then go test and implement the solution, all the while “entrepreneuring” together with your friends so any problems you face along the way can be overcome together without any one of you feeling overwhelmed. Yes, just do it!
grasp opportunities to effect change, the program aims to increase the chance of these young adults growing up to be changemakers in the future. Young people are a great untapped resource in social change—correctly leveraged, they have the power to “tip” society very quickly releasing unlimited energy and enthusiasm for social change. We would like to have every middle and high school become a place where there will be lots of examples of youth competence and confidence. Right now 2 or 3 percent of people control change. Imagine a world where everyone is really a changemaker!