2012 Research Colloquium on Social Entrepreneurship: Pushing the boundaries of our thinking

Photo by Allan Staley Photographer

As some of you may have noticed, pharm our blog has been a bit quiet lately.  That’s because we’ve been so busy that we’ve just now been able to stop and catch our breath!  Whew!

One of the reasons we were out of breath (from both excitement and running around) is that we recently hosted the 5th Research Colloquium on Social Entrepreneurship.  With help from our co-convenors at Duke, viagra order we hosted 45 scholars from around the globe in Oxford.  Many of them were new to the event and our community, which enabled a great exchange of fresh perspectives and new inputs.

While the practice of social entrepreneurship continues to flourish, this research community is critical in pushing the boundaries of how we understand, assess and question the field critically. The Colloquium featured several themes which were provocative and self-reflective, including:

•Social entrepreneurship in multiple contexts
•Social investment and finance
•New institutions and instruments
•Policy and field development
•Performance measurement and data collection/analysis
•Role of civil society
•Accountability, empowerment, and critical approaches
•Role for social media and crowd-sourcing.

My favourite session was over lunchtime on the last day of the Colloquium, where a practitioner presented to a group of academic researchers…at a research colloquium.  I know this probably does not seem extraordinary, but it’s far too common that researchers and practitioners both stay huddled in their respective independent corners.   There’s a huge missed opportunity for the cross-pollination of ideas and actions when the two groups don’t interact.  As such, I think that session created an important way to forge links between those living and breathing SE on the ground, and those devoting their efforts to advancing the field intellectually.  For me, having a reciprocal exchange of insights between the two groups is key to ensuring socially entrepreneurial successes – and setbacks – are more widely understood and embraced.