Sunday, 29 April 2007


2007 Skoll World Forum on
Social Entrepreneurship
— some notes from Oxford / UK — March 2007
vivian Hutchinson
Social Innovation Investment Group
New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship

Report Summary

• This was easily the best conference I have been to in a long while ... it was well run, it attracted a unique diversity of participants, the content had a great deal of depth to it, and there was robust debate that was engaging and extending.

• There were 700 participants from 40 countries including a rich mix of social entrepreneurs, human rights activists, academics, business leaders, philanthropists and funders. Many of these people could be counted amongst the most remarkable change-makers of our generation. The Forum provided an unique opportunity for the exchange of legitimacy, insight and creativity between the different communities of these participants.

• The conference lived up to its reputation of being the main World Forum in the field of social entrepreneurship. As part of developing our projects with the Social Innovation Investment Group and the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, I have been researching and studying who are the key “movers and shakers” in the international scene of social entrepreneurship. Almost all of them were present at this gathering.

• There was so much going on, with up to seven workshops happening at the same time as well as breakfast sessions and Master Classes at the lunchtime breaks. But it still hung together well, particularly around the main plenary sessions which were held in Oxford’s historic Sheldonian Theatre.

• Highlights for me included:
— sessions from Geoff Mulgan, Bill Drayton, Charles Handy, Muhammad Yunus and Larry Brilliant

— the inevitable sharing of inspiring stories from the many social entrepreneurs, but particularly Gillian Caldwell and Peter Gabriel, Karen Tse and Taddy Blecher.

— the widening of the sense of social entrepreneurship from elite “celebrity” stories towards recognising the social innovation and entrepreneurship that is also found in groups and movements.

— a sense of the growing literacy about just what makes up the process of social innovation, understanding the life cycle of innovations and how to foster innovation more effectively in many different sectors.

— the “open source” example of Ashoka Changemakers, which represents a innovative model for sharing emergent knowledge and practice.

— the practical sessions aimed at Foundations and philanthropy about how to be more venturesome in giving financial support to new ideas and programmes.
• I’ve come away with an immense amount to think about, as well as links, contacts and ideas to follow up on. I’ve also had the opportunity to renew some of the international contacts I made at the gathering of “outstanding social entrepreneurs” organised by the Schwab Foundation at Davos last year, and at the Innovation Funders meeting in San Francisco.

• This report contains my personal diary notes from the Forum. It is a combination of a description of the sessions I went to, my thoughts at the time, and the links and research I have been doing on the people and their projects since the Forum took place.
— I have created a “blog” website of this report which contains live internet links of all the contacts and references mentioned in this document. You can also view video of the conference directly from these webpages at

— An online album of photographs which I took at this conference can be found at the Flickr photosharing website
• There was an obvious pressure from the sheer numbers of people around the world who would have liked to have attended this Forum, and the Skoll Foundation had an interesting process in stage-managing just who was going to be there. You could apply to go on a pre-registration list, and the organisers obviously did some digging into backgrounds before inviting a core group of people to come. After this, the formal registration gates were only open for a very short time before it was announced that the Forum was full.

• Beyond the 700 people attending at Oxford, there was a large “virtual” participation at this Forum, thanks to the live streaming of the plenary sessions and the blogger contributions of many people involved with the website.

• One of my roles as Executive Officer of our Investment Group and the NZSEF is to help build our international links and relationships with other social entrepreneur networks and philanthropic foundations that are fostering social innovation. At our first NZSEF Fellowship retreat in February, there was some discussion about how our local work in New Zealand needs to be put more into an international context ... and that there was much that we could learn from in the good ideas and practical strategies for change that are emerging overseas. Participating in the Skoll World Forum is an excellent entry point into these opportunities to network and learn.

• Beyond this learning and networking, the Skoll World Forum is providing a very timely focus of hope in a world faced with deep-seated and complex problems. It is nearly impossible to feel cynicism and despair when surrounded by the stories and examples of literally hundreds of inspirational people who are just getting on and making a practical difference.

vivian Hutchinson
Executive Officer
Social Innovation Investment Group
New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship

April 2007

— The website for the Oxford Said Business School Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
— The Forum website homepage at the Skoll Foundation
— The Forum website homepage at Social Edge

— a PDF copy of this report (40 pages, 1.5MB) can be downloaded from

Academic Network for Social Entrepreneurship

• This was a pre-gathering meeting held on the day before the main conference started. I thought I would arrive at the Forum early and check it out. This Academic Network brings together universities that are fostering social enterprise in their various courses. It aims to develop social entrepreneurship as a vocation and as a field of intellectual endeavour, and to carry social entrepreneurship principles into other disciplines and sectors. The Network also acts as a professional clearing-house of resources that will be useful to both academics and practitioners.

There is now quite a large network of universities connected in this academic network, including all the major “brands”: Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, etc as well as Universities from Asia and Latin America. Ashoka is also one of the founding partners.

Gregory Dees speaking to the University Network meeting in the Nelson Mandela Theatre, Said Business School, Oxford University 26 March 2007 — photo Hutchinson

• Once the session opened, the speakers on this day got right into the controversies on how things are going to be defined, how to judge effective management of social enterprises, and how all this can be fitted into and assessed within a mainstream university system, and marketed toward students. It all felt like quite a healthy and contested space of inquiry.

Curiously enough, many of the university representatives remarked that it is the interest of students in this whole area of social entrepreneurship which seems to be one of the main drivers of the establishment of the university courses. Many of the universities are racing to keep up with the interest and demand of students for these course options. This is further in evidence by the growth of independent university clubs and student voluntary organisations that are about supporting social enterprises and connecting with social services in their local area. This was all very encouraging to hear.

• The explosion of academic interest is also obvious in the growth of the serious literature that is now available. The Skoll Centre’s leading Oxford scholar, Alex Nichols, reported that up until recently there were hardly any academic books available on the subject of social enterprise. But in 2006 alone, six academic volumes were published. And at this Forum, Oxford University Press held a book launching of Alex Nichol’s own tome — an edited collection of many of the contributions and papers presented to earlier Skoll Forums.

• The most impressive speaker at this session was Gregory Dees, of Duke University, who is the man credited as being the leading academic in the discipline of social entrepreneurship. Dees presented a paper summarising his interviews with many social entrepreneurs, and his thoughts on how to strengthen the field of social entrepreneurship. (Refreshingly, he wasn’t into splitting academic hairs on how things were defined. “The academics and funders are more interested in this than practitioners...”)

Dees remarked that the university network needs to recognise that they need a whole new model of how their knowledge is shared ... because so much of what is going on just doesn’t fit the academic paradigm. He pointed out that social entrepreneur practitioners were not reaching out to the academics in search of the knowledge that is being gathered within the university courses.

Not too many of the academics at this meeting were recognising the growth of “peer learning communities” and Fellowships amongst social entrepreneurs as an innovative and entrepreneurial response to their own learning needs. Very few of the social entrepreneurs I spoke to at the Forum were interested in going on a structured academic course, or even felt that they wanted to get more “qualified”. At the same time, they are obviously learners who want to do their work better ... and are looking to one another to get to the edges of their learning.

• The University Network has struck up a collaboration with the Social Science Research Network to provide a forum where all the recent papers, research and reports and course material on social entrepreneurship can be gathered in one place. I’ve taken a look at it ... and while you have to do a bit of digging to get to the relevant social entrepreneurship section, it does hold potential to be an important place for sharing and commenting on the research materials as they are generated.

• Hardly anyone I had spoken to at the Forum had heard of the recently-published Canadian book “Getting To Maybe” which I was able to recommend as a great example of how academics have taken up the challenge of making their research, wisdom and insights more useful to practitioners.

• During this day, there was quite a bit of emphasis on scoping, mapping and defining social entrepreneurship in terms of what they are promoting as a new academic field of endeavour. This is something I’m personally not too convinced about ... or rather, I think there is far too much talk about all this being “new”.

My own view is that social entrepreneurship has always been with us in many different guises, although it is “new” to brand it in the way that it is framed within these conferences. I do agree, however, that we seem to be on the verge of a growing literacy as to the practice of social innovation. The academic research has a great deal to contribute in this regard ... but, for me, this is not so much about the creation and branding of a whole new academic field — it is more about noticing and developing the language to describe just what is making a difference. It is about developing this literacy on how fundamental sustainable social change is achieved.
— the website for the University Network
— Gregory Dees leads the Centre for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University
The Social Science Research Network archive of papers
Social Entrepreneurship: New Models of Sustainable Social Change, edited by Dr Alex Nicholls. (book pub 2006 by Oxford University Press)
"Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs: Enhancing the Performance of Your Enterprising Nonprofit", by J. Gregory Dees, Jed Emerson, Peter Economy (pub 2002 Wiley)
"Enterprising Nonprofits: A Toolkit for Social Entrepreneurs", by J. Gregory Dees, Jed Emerson, Peter Economy (pub 2001 Wiley)
Getting to Maybe: How The World Is Changed by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton (book pub Random House Canada 2006)

Changemakers Ashoka Network Meeting

meeting in Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre, Said Business School
Tuesday 27th March 2007

• The next morning there was another pre-conference session from Bill Drayton and the Ashoka Network. Bill Drayton is considered the “elder statesman” of the social entrepreneurship field, and is credited with popularising the term itself. He has a remarkable track record of 30 years of supporting social entrepreneurs through the Ashoka Network, as well as establishing and leading many innovative projects himself.

• Most of you will know that, in New Zealand, The Jobs Research Trust (of which I am a trustee) has launched a new initiative which is also called Changemakers. There are many groups around the world calling themselves changemakers ... so it is probably just as well that there is plenty of opportunities for change to go around! Our New Zealand group is based around a 5-10-5-10 strategy to foster more active citizenship in our communities. (For more information see

This Jobs Research Trust project was partly inspired by Bill Drayton’s speech at last year’s Skoll World Forum. At that time, Drayton remarked that until recently, Ashoka has been stating its mission chiefly in terms of “building a more entrepreneurial and competitive not-for-profit sector”. But more recently, he has come to re-assess this goal:
“ The most important contribution any of us can make now is not to solve any particular problem, no matter how urgent energy or environmental or financial regulation is. What we must do now is increase the proportion of humans who know that they can cause change. And who, like smart white blood cells coursing through society, will stop with pleasure whenever they see that something is stuck or that an opportunity is ripe to be seized. Multiplying society's capacity to adapt and change intelligently and constructively and building the necessary underlying collaborative architecture, is the world's most critical opportunity now. Pattern-changing social entrepreneurs are the most critical single factor in catalysing and engineering this transformation ...” — from “Everyone a Changemaker”, by Bill Drayton (2006)
•In his opening speech at this Ashoka Changemakers session, Bill Drayton re-iterated many of the key points of his “everyone a changemaker” world-view. He believes that the next big step in the field of social entrepreneurship is tackling the question of how we do entrepreneurship together. He sees this as complementary to the fostering of an elite leadership model that so many of the Fellowships (like his own Ashoka) are focussing on.

The Ashoka team then went on to outline their latest initiative in “open-sourcing” innovations in various fields of social change. Their Changemakers approach is a strategy of sharing ideas for innovation as they are happening, and in a way that entrepreneurs can easily adapt them to their own local conditions.

Changemakers sets up thematic “collaborative competitions” between local groups from all around the world which are asked to present their ideas and projects for change on complex social areas. These ideas and projects for change are all placed on an open website at A panel of key decisionmakers and investors (from the leading philanthropic foundations) then assesses the applications, and picks the 10-12 finalists which they then bring together to collaborate on an overall plan for the whole social area.

An interesting tool being used in this collaborative process is the use of a “Changemakers Mosaic” of the innovative solutions generated by each competition. The Mosaic serves as an intellectual framework which maps at a glance the most powerful emerging principles of innovation against the underlying factors that drive a problem. It helps social innovators see how their work fits into a larger picture and demonstrates that the collective impact of their solutions is greater than the sum of the individual projects. It also gives you a great overview of the challenges in a particular field ... as well as a sense of how systemic change can really take place.

At this workshop, the finalists in two recent competitions on “Health for All” and “Entrepreneuring Peace” gave summaries of their various projects, and then talked about how the collaborative process was helping them accelerate innovation and improve impact.

The Said Business School at Oxford — photo Hutchinson

• There is much we can learn from this approach which applies to the process of fostering innovation in New Zealand. The Ashoka Changemakers model spells out many processes which could be used by the various grantmakers and foundations in fostering a common and systemic approach in specific social sectors.

It’s certainly got me thinking: What if there was a source of philanthropic funding in New Zealand aimed at fostering innovations, and all the project applications were open-sourced on a website in this way ... and the finalists challenged to work together on a common approach. That would be something completely different from the current approach to grant-making. And it would be a way to blast through the whole concept of “patch protection” — and to focus on how we might improve each other’s work for the common good.

“Health for All” Mosaic
“Innovating Peace” Mosaic

“Everyone a Changemaker” by Bill Drayton (2006)
published in Innovations (MIT Press) Winter 2006

Skoll World Forum 2007 Opening

Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Tuesday 27th March 2007

The Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford — photo Hutchinson

• All this already ... and now the Forum starts officially. The opening of the 2007 Skoll World Forum was held in the heart of Oxford, — the historic Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Wren in 1662 in the style of ancient Rome. This is the building used by the Oxford Colleges for their graduation ceremonies.

The Forum was launched with music from Pakistani musician Salman Ahmad, who is a UN Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/Aids, and the founder of South Asia’s most popular rock band Junoon.

Junoon is made up of Lahore natives Ahmad and Ali Azmat, who are Muslims who follow the Sufi teachings of Islam, and New Yorker Brian O'Connell, who is a Christian. Dubbed the “U2 of Pakistan” by the New York Times, the rock band bridges East and West, Islam and Christianity.

— Streaming video of the “Skoll World Forum Opening Plenary” (2 hours 27 mins) featuring music by Salman Ahmad, and remarks from Stephan Chambers, Jeff Skoll, John Hood, Geoff Mulgan, Rushanara Ali, Charles Handy, David Galenson, Muhammad Yunus and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan (Real Player required)
— YouTube videos of Salman Ahmad’s performances at the 2007 Skoll World Forum (part 1 of 3) (part 2 of 3) (part 3 of 3)
— YouTube video of Junoon Documentary (hosted by Susan Sarandon)

Skoll World Forum Opening - 2 hours 27 mins (Real Player required)

Salman Ahmad's performance at the 2007 Skoll World Forum: Part One

Geoff Mulgan

• After opening remarks by Jeff Skoll and John Hood (the New Zealander who is also the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford) the keynote speeches started. Geoff Mulgan spoke on the main theme of this year’s conference: Social Innovation — what it is, why it is important, what are the barriers and how can it be accelerated.

Mulgan is one of the people who started the Demos Think Tank which has been a major intellectual influence on the Blair government. Mulgan went on to become head of Strategy and Policy in the Prime Minister’s office, but more recently has left government to head up a revitalised Young Foundation. (This Foundation is inspired by the work of the most successful British social entrepreneur in the 20th century, Michael Young).

A major focus of Mulgan’s current work is research and promotion of the process of social innovation. He has produced several reports on this for the Young Foundation, and the latest version (now published by the Skoll Centre in Oxford) is one of the best summaries of this field that I have read so far.

• In this report, Mulgan points out that economists now estimate that 50%-80% of economic growth comes from innovation and new knowledge. While there are no reliable figures, innovation appears to play an equally decisive role in social progress. Social innovation also plays a decisive role in economic growth, and there are signs it will do so even more in the future. Mulgan says that the key growth sectors of the 21st century economy look set to be health, education and care ... accounting for around 20-30% of GDP.

But surprisingly little is known about social innovation compared to the vast amount of research into innovation in business and science. After an extensive survey undertaken by the Young Foundation, Mulgan says he found no systemic overviews of the field, no major datasets or long-term analyses, and few signs of interest from the big foundations or academic research funding bodies. He argues that this lack of knowledge impedes the many institutions interested in this field, including the innovators themselves, philanthropists, foundations and government.

• Mulgan’s speech was a call for a more concerted approach to social innovation. He talked about “Social Silicon Valleys” to describe the future places and institutions that will mobilise resources and energies to tackle social problems in ways that are comparable to the investments in technology made in the original IT Silicon Valley in California.
“ Although social innovation happens all around us, many promising ideas are stillborn, blocked by vested interests or otherwise marginalised. The competitive pressures that drive innovation in commercial markets are blunted or absent in the social field and the absence of institutions and funds devoted to social innovation means that too often it is a matter of luck what comes to fruition or displace less effective alternatives. As a result, many social problems remain more acute than they need to be ...” — Geoff Mulgan
• I thought Mulgan’s presentation was an excellent start to the Forum. It was also encouraging to hear the contributions of many earlier British social entrepreneurs (Robert Owen, The Rochdale Pioneers, Michael Young) being name-checked, and also an emphasis being put on the importance of historical British social movements (such as the co-operative movement) in fostering social innovations. The example of how various movements worked together to create a climate for the abolition of slavery in the 1800s was mentioned several times — the Skoll Forum was taking place during observances to mark the 200th anniversary of the passing of legislation outlawing slavery in the British Empire.

“The Process of Social Innovation” by Geoff Mulgan, published in Innovations Spring 2006 (MIT Press)
“Extreme Makeover” by Geoff Mulgan, The Guardian 26 April 2006
Good and Bad Power: The Ideals and Betrayals of Government by Geoff Mulgan (book pub Allen Lane 2006)

Social Innovation: What It Is, Why It Matters and How It can be Accelerated
by Geoff Mulgan with Simon Tucker, Rushanara Ali and Ben Sanders
(Skoll Centre Oxford Said Business School 2007)

Charles Handy

Charles Handy speaking at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. — photo Fruchterman

• I was certainly looking forward to hearing Charles Handy. I last heard him speaking on “The Future of Work” at an Economics conference at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland in 1983. His speech at that time talked about the rise of entrepreneurship and self-employment as a growing sector of the economy ... and it directly influenced me to return to New Zealand and start up the Skills of Enterprise business courses aimed at unemployed people.

Since the 1980s, Charles Handy has gone on to become a prolific author, broadcaster and speaker on the business circuit. And he has gained a well-deserved reputation as a social philosopher. He’s just published his latest book, called “The New Philanthropists”, which profiles 23 business people who are using their skills and resources to work for the common good and for social change.

• In his speech, Handy gave some of the stories from his book and explained why he thinks they are examples of an emerging new generation of practical philanthropy. Many of the people he has profiled are young ... still in their 40s. They became wealthy from their business interests at an early age, and now want to invest in a social vision. They are quite different from earlier generations of philanthropists who put their money into buildings, universities, hospitals or churches. They want to directly address the causes of social need. And they want to be hands-on in doing it themselves.

Handy has hopes that this group of new philanthropists represents the seedlings of a new type of capitalism ... where altruism and capitalism are not seen as wildly antagonistic to each other. Handy: “Wouldn’t it be nice if one day all businesses saw themselves as social enterprises?”

— YouTube video of Charles Handy’s speech at the 2007 Skoll World Forum (part 1 of 2) (part 2 of 2)
“The Serious Business of Philanthropy” by Charles Handy in The Financial Times September 19 2006
—Charles Handy Interview “The New Philanthropists” (Expertsonline)
The New Philanthropists by Charles Handy (book pub Heinemann 2006)

Charles Handy speaking at the 2007 Skoll World Forum: Part One

Charles Handy speaking at the 2007 Skoll World Forum: Part Two

Muhammad Yunus

2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus — photo Fruchterman

• Muhammad Yunus has long been a hero of the social entrepreneur community for his work in creating the Grameen Bank, and transforming the micro-credit movement. Now that he has been awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for this work, Yunus has been virtually canonised by the social entrepreneur movement. Not that he is going to rest up on the conference circuit as a “living saint” — Yunus has now put his hat into the political ring in Bangladesh ... a move which was often commented on in the different workshops at the Forum (with several participants expressing fears that the most prominent hero of the social entrepreneur movement would be tainted by the political involvement).
“Many of the problems in the world remain unresolved because we continue to interpret capitalism too narrowly. In this narrow interpretation we create a one-dimensional human being to play the role of entrepreneur. We insulate him from other dimensions of life, such as, religious, emotional, political dimensions. He is dedicated to one mission in his business life ---- to maximize profit. He is supported by masses of one-dimensional human beings who back him up with their investment money to achieve the same mission... I think things are going wrong not because of "market failure". It is much deeper than that. Let us be brave and admit that it is because of "conceptualisation failure". More specifically, it is the failure to capture the essence of a human being in our theory.” — Dr. Muhammad Yunus
• In his presentation, Yunus described how he had been able to attract private capital to fund a variety of socially driven businesses in Bangladesh. GrameenPhone, a for-profit telecom outfit, is 51% owned by Norway's Telenor (TELN ). It works with the not-for-profit Grameen Telecom to provide bulk airtime for village phones which are built from simple handsets and solar chargers. Funded by loans to individual women, these systems function as pay phones in many rural areas. Nowadays the idea of a “village phone lady” is catching on in other parts of Asia and Africa, with the local entrepreneur providing other associated services using low-cost, high-tech systems.

Another enterprise, Grameen Shakti, sells around 1,500 home solar-panel systems per month throughout rural Bangladesh and is growing 15% a year without subsidies. Yunus is also developing a partnership between Grameen and the French company Danone to make a nutritious and inexpensive baby formula. Next on his list are low-cost eye care and rural hospitals with video-conferencing between villagers and doctors in Dhaka.

— YouTube video of Professor Muhammad Yunus speech to the 2007 Skoll World Forum
Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty by Muhammad Yunus (book pub 1999 PublicAffairs)
The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank by David Bornstein (pub Oxford University Press 2005)
— ABC News story on Professor Muhammad Yunus receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (2006)
“Social Business Entrepreneurs Are the Solution” by Dr. Muhammad Yunus published by Grameen Bank
— Previews of Muhammad Yunus DVD created by Ashoka's Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship

Professor Muhammad Yunus speech to the 2007 Skoll World Forum

Jeff Skoll

Jeff Skoll speaking to the 2007 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship — photo Fruchterman

• Jeff Skoll himself is a stunning example of Charles Handy’s observation that we are seeing a new breed of young philanthropist who wants to be pro-actively involved in social change activities. He is not only the founder the Skoll Foundation, but also the co-founder of eBay (the source of his wealth) and also the Los Angeles-based media company Participant Productions. It’s his latest successful venture with Participant Productions that tells you something of his own driving passion to be a social entrepreneur, and why he is backing major conferences such as this Oxford Forum.

Jeff Skoll passionately believes that the world needs to hear many more stories about people who are making a difference. He had himself been influenced by great films that had highlighted social injustice, or told stories of people who had dedicated their lives to righting wrongs ( films such as Ghandi, Schindler’s List, Erin Brockovich). His company Participant Productions started with producing a series of short documentaries on Social Entrepreneurs (The New Heroes, hosted by Robert Redford), and more recently has produced a series of mainstream award-winning feature films including Syriana, North Country, Good Night and Good Luck, Fast Food Nation and the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

• Speaking at this Forum Opening, Jeff Skoll said his main drive is to work to make social entrepreneurs much more well-known in mainstream society, and to see that this particular variety of leadership and creativity is better valued. He paid tribute to 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, and the fact that his gaining this prize has lifted the profile of social entrepreneurship everywhere.
“ Social entrepreneurs have two kinds of power. The first is the power to make change happen. And the second is the power to show what is possible and to inspire. Today, wherever you find a social challenge at its worst, you will find a social entrepreneur. They are everywhere where social problems call for innovation, inspiration and an inability to take failure as an option. In the process, social entrepreneurs are replacing cynicism with hope, optimism, energy and love ...” — Jeff Skoll.
• Skoll also told the story of the spectacular success over the last year of the work of one of this year’s nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize — former US Vice President Al Gore. The film An Inconvenient Truth has been a great example of what can happen when an inspiring story reaches a critical mass of people.

The documentary has very quickly contributed to changing the debate about climate change around the world. It has won two Academy Awards, and become mandatory viewing in schools in England, Scotland and throughout Scandinavia. Six legislative Bills relating to climate change are now before the US House of Congress ... and on July 7th this year, there will be a series of concerts on seven continents, called Live Earth, which will bring the climate crisis message to a much more widespread audience.
— YouTube video of Jeff Skoll’s speech at Exeter College to welcome Skoll Award recipients
— YouTube video of Jeff Skoll’s Opening Speech at the 2007 Skoll World Forum
— YouTube video of Jeff Skoll’s speech at the 2007 Skoll Awards
— YouTube video of Jeff Skoll video: Imagine the Headlines of the Future
— Jeff Skoll is featured in a chapter in Charles Handy’s book “The New Philanthropists”
“Moving Pictures” — profile of Jeff Skoll by Anya Kamenetz, in Fast Company Issue 108 September 2006
Participant Productions
The New Heroes — PBS Documentary Series hosted by Robert Redford tells 12 dramatic stories of social entrepreneurs who bring innovative, empowering solutions to intractable social problems around the world.

Jeff Skoll’s Opening Speech at the 2007 Skoll World Forum

Jeff Skoll video: Imagine the Headlines of the Future

Al Gore at Skoll Forum 2006

• Al Gore was the keynote speaker at last year’s Skoll World Forum in Oxford, but he wasn’t speaking about climate change. He was speaking a different focus of his own social entrepreneurship — the challenge of fundamentally changing the world of venture capital investment.

At last year’s Forum, Gore pointed out that while we are seeing evidence of leading public companies adopting sustainable business practices, there is still a long way to go to make sustainability fully integrated into the way the world does business. The main problem is the short-term investment focus which still pervades the corporate community, and which hinders long-term value creation. His example: 30 years ago in the US, the average stock holding period was 7 years ... now the average mutual fund turns over its entire portfolio in less than 11 months.
“Society is facing serious global challenges such as HIV/Aids, global warming and water scarcity. There is nothing new about this—what is new is the scale of these challenges. Sustainable development will be the primary driver of industrial and economic change over the next 50 years. More business leaders now agree that you can’t run a great business without responding to these forces. Business has to be part of the solution here: managers need to integrate sustainability values within their businesses.” — Al Gore and David Blood
Gore has set up a new company, Generation Investments, with David Blood (the former CEO of asset management at Goldman Sachs). The company aims to combine conventional equity market analysis with much longer-term judgments about sustainability. This venture has the potential to take the sustainability vision — which includes economic growth, earth stewardship and social accountability — right into the heart of mainstream investment practices. Generation Investments is doing this by investing in companies which embrace longer-term opportunities, foster transparency, innovation, and eco-efficiency.
Al Gore and David Blood’s presentation to the 2006 Skoll World Forum (1 hour 5 mins)
The Generation Investment Management Company Website
“For People and Planet” by Al Gore and David Blood Wall Street Journal 4 April 2006
An Inconvenient Truth / Al Gore Climate Crisis
The Live Earth concerts (7 July 2007)

Al Gore and David Blood’s presentation to the 2006 Skoll World Forum (1 hour 5 mins)