Tag Archives: blog

GPM Calculator

In June, I blogged about Fuqua professors Rick Larrick and Jack Soll and their push to improve fuel efficiency and consumer behavior by simply changing the measurement from MPG to GPM.  Today, Duke Research Advantage blogged that this work was featured in the New York Times Magazine’s “Year in Ideas” issue.  They’ve also launched a new GPM calculator to find your current GPM, compare cars, or see the GPM for all 2009 cars.  More information about this research, including an interactive fuel-efficiency quiz and a video of Larrick and Soll discussing their work is available at mpgillusion.com.

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Bill Strickland: new book, new blog

Bill Strickland, who I learned about in Greg Dees’ classes at Fuqua and subsequently saw speak (see link for streaming video) when he was honored at the inaugural Annual CASE Leadership in Social Entrepreneurship Lecture (Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank was honored in 2004, before his Nobel Prize win), has a new book out, and a new blog on Social Edge. Those unfamiliar with Strickland’s work may want to check out the Manchester Bidwell website.

America Forward Coalition – putting social entrepreneurship on the public policy agenda

In today’s issue of The Enterprising Voice from the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA), they announce that last month the SEA became a member of the America Forward coalition. This new organization’s stated purpose (taken from their website) is:

America Forward works to connect social entrepreneurs with policymakers to promote innovative solutions and provide a new vision for the role government can play in solving our nation’s social problems.

I’m of mixed feelings on this one. Apparently this group came about as a result of discussions led by New Profit, Inc., a venture philanthropy that I’ve heard and read great things about. However, looking at their list of “high impact organizations” I saw some shockers – organizations that I wouldn’t have typically associated with being particularly innovative, enterprising or entrepreneurial.

I also don’t know about the necessity/efficacy of looking for government to play a greater role. Usually this seems to mean greater regulation of limited funds (or setting aside a portion for specific initiatives), rather than an increase in overall funding for the social sector. This often hits smaller, more entrepreneurial organizations the hardest, as they are often young and without the funding, infrastructure or history to scientifically prove their model. If this group starts to really emphasize the importance of investment in infrastructure and professional development in order to foster organizational sustainability and scaling social impact (as opposed to the push to decrease administrative costs that has accompanied the accountability movement in the last 20 or so years), I might be a bit more enthusiastic. However, looking at their blog page, it seems to be more about individual members working to push their individual agendas on Presidential candidates, often under the aegis of social entrepreneurship or social innovation. In my admittedly quick skim, I only saw one blog post that began to address thoughts on transforming the role of government and funding in the social sector in any meaningful way.

Further, in some ways this public policy approach seems to be antithetical to the market-driven, enterprising ideals of many blended businesses in the “third sector”. I would be surprised to see someone like Pierre Omidyar endorsing this initiative. I know that business, big and small, lobbies government for benefits such as tax incentives, funding of new technology initiatives, IP extensions for developing technologies and much much more – I just don’t know that such efforts are where we ought to be focusing our attention.

I see the value in further disseminating the central tenets of social entrepreneurship through media coverage and a “seat at the public policy table,” but worry that the message will only get through in a diluted form, and social entrepreneurs will become synonymous with social workers. Ambivalence abounds. I guess this is another one of those initiatives that I’ll be on the “wait and see” side (aka the sideline).

Great Nonprofits – An Interview with Perla Ni

A message on the npEnterprise listserv mentioned a list of blogs centered around social entrepreneurship. This list included several that I haven’t seen and may need to add to my own links. It also included Beth Kanter’s blog, which I haven’t visited in a while. I surfed on over and found this interview with Perla Ni, former publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review and founder of Great Nonprofits.