Siding with my main man Benny Franklin on this one
Here is the difficulty I am having with this whole definition thing: One part of me is wanting a real solid idea of this phrase so that it can be used by many and at least ring somewhat similarly in a variety of individuals’ heads, while the other part of me is a tantrum-throwing teenager yelling, “Don’t confine me to a label!” I enjoy the freedom of an ambiguous definition, for I feel it keeps my mind open to solving problems however would truly be best for all involved, as opposed to just acting out of obligation to fit a definition. But then, you can’t work with a phrase that has no meaning.
The dilemma: How do we create a definition without creating parameters?
My solution: The definition, or at least my definition, should not include the how, only the what. There is a difference between using a definition like “Improving the social sector to affect others’ lives for the better” vs. “Improving the social sector to affect others’ lives for the better through changing the system in a way that would mutually benefit a colonization……” You get the idea. By including a how in a definition, you are limiting a lot of other how’s. But we need a what in order to create a how. There is my solution: a howless what.
I do see the point that perhaps the how would be helpful in understanding the meaning of social entrepreneurship from person to person, and within the public. It is helpful to understand other social entrepreneurs when they speak of projects, and perhaps even more helpful to explain to people who know nothing about this. Thus, the battle is freedom vs. clarity. In my mind, freedom is scissors, and clarity is paper. No contest. I may be going a little too Ben Franklin here, saying freedom trumps all else, but it kind of does. Maybe freedom is more like molten lava than scissors.
I realize we are not fighting the English because we are sick and tired of tyranny, but hey, freedom in a definition is important too. The freedom of allowing every person to define for themselves their “how” of social entrepreneurship invites each person to see their abilities as potential. When you can create a spot for yourself in an area of your pleasing, you are much more likely to fit than if you simply try to change your shape to fit in a pre-designed mold. This way, we will not get stuck in a social entrepreneurship groupthink and instead keep the ideas fresh and diversified. We will be presented with many different social problems, and the ways we solve them with also be very different. Keeping the freedom in the definition, I believe, will help us do that.