A vision is the starting point of any enterprise - social or otherwise. It is a dream, but with a plan to make it happen. A social entrepreneur has a vision of what society would look like if the problem they have identified has been solved. That might be a society where the oceans are clear of plastics, everyone has equal access to healthcare, mental illness is no longer stigmatised or young people’s voices are heard. The social entrepreneur’s idea - and the organisation they build around that idea - is their route to making their vision a reality.
Realistically, one person - no matter how remarkable - and the organisation built around their idea - can only have a limited impact; after all, there are only so many hours in the day and one person can only do so much. That is where systems change steps in. If the social entrepreneur allows their idea to grow without them, by campaigning and empowering others so they can easily implement it themselves, then the vision is so much more likely to be achieved. It is undoubtedly difficult to let go, but if the vision is always kept in mind, then it becomes the obvious path.
In the video clips we will be posting throughout today, you will hear from Ashoka Fellows Michael Sani, Mark Swift and Karen Mattison about the vision that inspires them to dedicate so much of themselves to their work. For Michael, it is a democratic system that includes and works for everyone - including young people. Mark wants to make social prescribing as normal as medical prescriptions, while Karen’s goal is that people who need to work part-time feel valued and fulfilled.