“The Courage to be Second” – a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative event at Arizona State University in March 2014 – is about “failure” if you believe – as so many aspiring social entrepreneurs do – that success requires developing a new methodology to attack your chosen social problem.   But why start a new initiative or organization when proven solutions to many of the world’s most seemingly intractable problems already exist?  Coming in second – adapting for your context what is known to work elsewhere – isn’t as sexy as the prospect of fame and glory for developing a hot new methodology, but it’s often smarter and more effective. 

This panel, moderated by Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, with Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO of Ashoka; Katie Smith Milway, Head of Knowledge for the Bridgespan Group;
Deogratias Niyizonkiza, Founder and CEO of Village Health Works; and Rosario Pérez, President and CEO of Pro Mujer, explores how social innovators can better recognize opportunities to join forces with established organizations, and examines the challenges, costs, and benefits of scaling up successful solutions.  They also consider whether recognition for doing an extremely good job coming in second can ever match the social rewards of being first. 

Former President Bill Clinton summed up this topic for the assembled university students this way:  “All of you young people, you have to decide whether the only way you can win is for someone else to lose.  That’s the core of this question.”

What do you think?  I hope you’ll let me know.
 


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