Bill Drayton
(1943-)

American Social Entrepreneur, Founder of Ashoka
Ashoka Fellows

birthdate: ?
birthplace:
New York City

QUOTES

"Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry."

The core psychology of a social entrepreneur is someone who cannot come to rest, in a very deep sense, until he or she has changed the pattern in an area of social concern all across society. Social entrepreneurs are married to a vision of, for example, a better way of helping young people grow up or of delivering global healthcare. They simply will not stop because they cannot be happy until their vision becomes the new pattern. They will persist for decades. And they are as realistic as they are visionary. As a result, they are very good listeners. They have to hear if something isnít working; and, whenever they do, they just keep changing the idea and/or the environment until their idea works. They are intensely concerned with the how-toís: How do I get from here to there? How do I solve this problem? How do these pieces fit together?

The biggest problem is getting beyond the ďyou canítĒ syndrome. The moment you figure that out, youíre on your way to flying. Anyone who cannot see problems around him or herself is utterly blind. All the problems sitting there are an invitation for you to be creative, make use of your skills and resources and find a solution. Of course you can do it. It doesnít require brilliance. Itís just giving yourself permission and then being persistent. Persistent in seeing the problem or opportunity and persistent in thinking about it until you have come up with some interesting ideas that might change the pattern. Itís really a mindset, not anything in the objective world ó that is the problem.

What is the most powerful lever you can imagine? A big idea, but only if itís in the hands of a truly outstanding entrepreneur. It starts with the person and the idea, and then grows to the institution. All three are intertwined.

 

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