An A – Z of social entrepreneurship: I – K

I – Ideas

 “It you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”  George Bernard Shaw

 My experience of the social economy is that people freely share their ideas – most of mine are ‘borrowed’ from other people. I still suspect that people keep their best ideas close to their chests – human nature? But David Floyd’s blog (much quoted by me) on the subject of sharing ideas is worth re-reading

J Jargon

Over 30 years ago I launched an international campaign – the Campaign Against Confusing Acronyms and Abbreviations (CACAA) and the same goes for jargon, bullsh*t, spin whatever gets in the way of clear communication. Of course, some use it intentionally to confuse and exclude, but we hope social entrepreneurs are above this.

My advice is: learn it then lose it. You should aim to understand the jargon associated with mainstream business but note – in a survey some years ago, 27% of business leaders admitted that they didn’t understand the jargon they were using. If 27% admitted this, think how many really didn’t understand it!

 K – Knowledge

 How many times have you heard an organisation say ‘we’re a learning organisation’ and then observed how they fail to live up to that claim? A friend of mine was once brought in to help an organisation establish what it means to be a learning organisation. I don’t under-estimate the potential value of doing that.

I’ve been involved in the knowledge business – assuming that embraces information, communication, learning, and education – all my 35+ years in the not-for-private-profit sector. I love and often quote Gandhi on the subject “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn like you were to live forever.”

But a cautionary note from Ian E Wilson – “No amount of sophistication is going to allay the fact that all your knowledge is about the past and all your decisions are about the future.

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