Interview with Greg Dees: Reflections on Teaching Social Entrepreneurship

David Bornstein recently wrote about “The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur” in the New York Times.  His blog notes the rapid increase in social entrepreneurship education – from only a handful of courses taught in 2002, to more than “350 professors and researchers focusing on the topic in more than 35 countries” by 2008, and continuing to increase today.

Did you ever wonder how the story of social entrepreneurship education began?  Or what we have learned along the way?

I had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Greg Dees – the “Father of Social Entrepreneurship Education” – to tackle those questions and many more: “Reflections and Insights on Teaching Social Entrepreneurship.”

We began the interview by reflecting on how Dees got started teaching social entrepreneurship – and the obstacles he had to overcome along the way.  From that fascinating story, we then discussed the evolution of his teaching pedagogy and trends in the field. For example:

  • On the distinctions between teaching social entrepreneurship and traditional entrepreneurship:  Not only do we need to teach about triple bottom lines and ecosystem thinking, but also “the art of creating social change” and teaching emotional intelligence.
  • On the best place to teach social entrepreneurship: If he “had to pick one place” he’d pick the business school but ideally we are also bringing in faculty and students from other disciplines – behavioral economics, public policy, science and engineering, and many more.
  • On how we can measure if our teaching is having an impact: “I don’t think our job is to produce students who immediately launch social ventures upon graduation,” Dees states, “[…]I think the right measures are more about equipping our students with the tools to be effective in any entrepreneurial social problem-solving activity that they might engage in – whether it is through a corporate employer, at a consulting firm, working with a social entrepreneur, serving on a board, providing volunteer consulting, or the like.”

Read about those insights and many more in “Reflections and Insights on Teaching Social Entrepreneurship: An Interview with Greg Dees.

As CASE approaches our 10 year anniversary celebration, we look forward to building on the history of social entrepreneurship education and continuing to prepare leaders and organizations to change the world.

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5 Responses to Interview with Greg Dees: Reflections on Teaching Social Entrepreneurship

  1. That is a great point. It does show that if consultants have two out of three aspects within bottomline that are accomplished there is a net impact that can be made within social, and entreprenurial groups. A great way to channelize this is through social news, and impacting journalists, readers who contribute to making the difference in the lives of governments and organizations.

  2. Well, i am deeply impressed by the efforts of teaching Social Entrepreneurship made by SE guru Dr. Dees and his enlightened colleagues of CASE at Duke University. Dr. Dees is rightly regarded as father of SE education , who is trying to bring social change through his innovative methods. I had an unique opportunity of meeting and interviewing Prof. Dees in Sept.2011, when I visited CASE for one full day .CASE has become a genuine SE laboratory generating young graduates to offer their dedicated endevours for the social causes , as they undertake creative and useful social projects and try help community in the USA and elsewhere .I therefore offer my best wishes and compliments to CASE in general and to Prof. Dees and the graduates in SE in particular.

  3. Pingback: The Past, Present and Future of Social Entrepreneurship | CASE Notes

  4. Pingback: “Be A Social Entrepreneur” with Greg Dees | CASE Notes

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