Social Ventures as Learning Laboratories

By J. Gregory Dees

In this article, Greg Dees argues that, in the wake of the financial crisis, we need “entrepreneurship that creates greater long-term value while drawing on fewer resources and generating fewer destructive consequences”.  Financial pressures cause social problems to become even more pressing, and social entrepreneurs can help put us back on a path to inclusive prosperity.  Dees argues that social entrepreneurs serve as learning laboratories for society – they develop, test, and refine innovative solutions in ways that established organizations (with inherent biases, bureaucracy, cultures and commitments) cannot do as effectively.

Innovations, Special Edition for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009,  pp. 11-15, 2009