Friday, June 11, 2010

Conference report: Skoll World Forum 2010

Alejandro Litovsky
1 June 2010
Alliance magazine
Can a single social entrepreneur make a dent in the problems we face, given their phenomenal scale? This was one of the questions addressed by the 7th Skoll World Forum held at Oxford's Saïd Business School from 14 to 16 April. The simple answer is: very unlikely. So a series of plenary sessions and workshops brought together entrepreneurs with representatives of government, media, large companies and financial institutions to explore how the solutions proposed by social entrepreneurs could create larger-scale change.

Let me pick out two personal highlights from the sessions. First day: in 『Structuring Collaboration: Mergers, Partnerships and New Business Models', entrepreneurs talked about how their networks, which provide access to health and water, are beginning to interact with government delivery infrastructures. I was fascinated to hear Gary White, executive director of, who said that more people in Africa have access to mobile phones than to safe drinking water, beginning to ask how they could tap into the mobile network to improve delivery of water. The idea that infrastructures created in parallel silos could be thought of as linked and mutually supportive was definitely a highlight.

A session the following day, 『Oceans in Peril', looked at the alarming depletion of marine life by over-fishing. Particularly arresting was the very immediate and moving way the discussion was illuminated when Jake Eberts, an independent film producer, showed a preview of the new movie Oceans and created a direct emotional connection between the people in the room and the life of the ocean.

Behind the film is Participant Productions, Jeff Skoll's film production company, known for the production of the award-winning An Inconvenient Truth.

The session continued, but one could only wonder whether the key to unlock system change would rather lie in becoming ever more effective at manipulating mass media infrastructures to mobilize emotions on a large scale.

For more information

Source: Alliance Magazine

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