For a sector that has long been obsessed with the holy grail of organizational scale, the social entrepreneurship sector is now coming to terms with the limits of organizational growth. The needs are just too large and urgent, the models for scaling we have developed thus far remain too narrow and simply take too long.
This report, “Beyond Organizational Scale: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Systems Change”, is designed for any social entrepreneur or social sector leader looking for strategies and tools to influence the broader system in which they operate.
The objective of this research report and the accompanying in-depth teaching case studies is to help practitioners understand what systems change means in the context of social entrepreneurship, how it is distinct from direct service or “business-in-a-box” models and, most importantly, what it looks like in practice – not as abstract concepts, but as a set of concrete activities, processes, and leadership lessons.
The case studies follow six for-profit and non-profit social entrepreneurs in the Schwab Foundation network as their strategies evolved beyond organizational scale – growing the reach of a prescriptive, organizationally designed solution to a problem – to systemic scale, with the goal of shifting the rules, norms and values that make up social systems.