A scientific theory should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. – Albert Einstein
As I was cleaning out some bookmarks on my wife’s laptop (which I occasionally use when I need to use Powerpoint), I stumbled upon this post on social entrepreneurship definition by a lawyer dude. The money sentence is right here:
In its simplest form, social entrepreneurship is: the attempt to solve a social problem or fulfill a social need by starting a new initiative.
His elaboration also makes sense.
That’s it. At the end of the day, that’s what it is. Just like an entrepreneur starts a business, a social entrepreneur starts an initiative to solve a social problem. Significantly, this definition does not include the word ‘innovative.’ I have found through my research in the sector that the use of word ‘innovative’ does little more than arbitrary exclude some from the field. For example, the first person to sell fair trade coffee may be innovative, while the second is not. It also does not include phrasing similar to ‘global scale,’ which often leads to the field overlooking impressive local efforts that effect important community change. Both an oratorically gifted individual who aims to change international policy is just as much of a social entrepreneur as an organization starting a small, local grassroots initiative to address poverty in a single community.
If you are wondering why there is such a fuss about ‘definitions’, have a look at this magnum opus of a definition from Stanford Social Innovation Review and you’ll soon appreciate the beauty of simplicity.