Today we once again made the journey to Teri University, this time to learn about social entrepreneurship. I was particularly interested in the presentation given by Anna de Costa, "System Change and the Role of Enterprise." She discussed the present challenges facing our society in terms of systems, outlining the interconnectedness between problems and the paths to solutions. Anna pointed to the research of Donella Meadows, discussing twelve leverage points, or locations within a system which can be altered to affect the greatest change. These leverage points can be of different types: physical, informational, social, or transformational.
What Anna has found is that social enterprises tend to create change in higher-level leverage points, meaning that their approach to problem solving is more effective in terms how large of a change it is able to create. She showed us that companies with a higher sustainability rating also had higher leverage potential, or ability to invoke change.
Having an understanding of the potentials of social enterprise is one tool for combating the many frustrations which have arisen as a result of our continued exposure to problems in India that seem to be lacking any tangible remedy. Perhaps some of us will chose to join a social enterprise, or start one of our own. Either way, it is important to remember the vastness of possibilities for our future and that of our world. This visit in India has certainly reminded me that my reality is not the only one, and that my idea of what the world is (or can be) has been very limited. I am excited to apply what I have learned here once I return for my last semester at the University of Minnesota, as well as once I begin my career.