<Ned> Front Porch
How to help Ashoka help itself?
Posted to: <Ned> Front Porch by Greg Murray (18), Sat, 01 Sep 2007 03:55:19 PDT
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Tags: ashoka community drayton fellow social-entrepreneurship
Comments: 52 by 16 members
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Like many of my co-conspirators, I have an ongoing love affair with what Ashoka has given to the world. Bill Drayton is a superbrain, social entrepreneurship rocks, etc etc.
I have hunted down approx 60 different Ashoka Fellows around the world over the last couple of years, in Africa, India, Europe etc. I've sniffed around at social entrepreneurship conferences, flown around the world to hug O-netters, read hundreds of books, stayed up way too late, and drunk far too many beers.
A recurring theme that has run through my brain, and through conversations with lots of people, has been the significant capability gaps within the Ashoka Fellowship.
More specifically, I think they main key strength of Ashoka is its search and selection process. It has been tested and refined and rolled out over decades, and it works. It plucks hard-working "undercover" social entrepreneurs from relative obscurity, and highlights and recognises the importance of their work. It sources effective business models for social change. It headhunts those crazy folk out their with vision, values, and the ability to make things happen for the benefit of others.
However, once its done its search-and-selection thing, its assistance and contribution seems to be sporadic. The serious quantities of information and data within the organisation are not properly managed or exploited, to the benefit of their Fellows. Opportunities for cross-pollination are lost. Technology itself, and all the benefits it could bring to the Fellowship, seem almost to be ignored by the org. The "Mosaic" initiative doesn't seem to be getting them anywhere substantive.
Maybe all of the above is uninformed sniping. But perhaps it is not.
I'd love to hear from people who have interacted with Ashoka in some form, and who have constructive criticism and ideas about how they could improve what they do.
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