Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SWF2010 - Catalysing Collaboration

The theme of this year's Skoll World Forum is Catalysing Collaboration.

It seems straightforward that the fundamental reason for catalysing collaboration is for achieving greater scale in our effort to tackle the world's most difficult problems. But what kinds of collaborations are good collaborations?

When I was a student in grad school, I was taught the purpose of forging collaboration - be it across many different organizations in the same sector or across sectors - is to achieve synergy. The US Sociologist Peter Evans once suggests that there are two basic components of synergy, viz.: Complementarity and Embeddedness, and it is important to note that the two components might not work well along with one another. [Think about the big debate about Hong Kong's economic integration with China for achieving, you know, synergy... while we're definitely strengthening embeddedness, a lot of criticisms is about Hong Kong losing its distinctiveness - hence its complementarity - vis-a-vis China.] I would like to see if the speakers in the Skoll forum will address this issue on complementarity vs. embeddedness as manifested in the domain of social entrepreneurship theories and practices.

Other related themes that I would like to explore and write about after the Forum include, inter alia: the role of intermediaries [Skoll Foundation is itself a SE-supporting intermediary organization], the networking opportunities provided by the Forum [Personally I'm not a good networking person in the conference setting...], the meaning of "market" in catalysing social impact [Are we just part of the big neo-liberal project of capitalist globalization?], and lessons for Hong Kong and China to learn through the personal stories of this year's winners of the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship.

Day 1 of SWF2010 - Ready to roll!

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