FORUM2015: Sharing is Caring: Six Lessons From the Skoll World Forum
April 28, 2015 | 1648 views
With so much going on at the 2015 Skoll World Forum, it's impossible to participate in everything. Our bloggers are sitting in on many of the exciting sessions at this year's event. Read their concise notes and observations to catch up on important discussions you may have missed.
With Skoll World Forum 2015 just days away I thought I would reflect on the lessons learned from last year’s Forum – themes I expect to emerge this year – as well as offer tips to those taking part in this year’s event for the first time.
1. Sharing solutions: As you would expect with any social enterprise event the air is buzzing with dynamic and passionate people with new and innovative ways of tackling social problems.
One of the most refreshing things about Skoll is hearing first hand from social entrepreneurs from across the world about their solutions and openness to sharing. It’s probably one of the only arenas where people actually invite you to steal their ideas.
One of the main metrics of success for a social entrepreneur is the number of people they can help and lives they can impact through their work, so unlike in other areas of business where people are likely to be more guarded, at Skoll you will find the opposite. Sharing really is caring!
2. Science: A number of sessions took a more scientific and analytical approach to social enterprise. It is often the case that social entrepreneurs struggle with the assessment of their impact, which is often a pre-requisite of the funding community.
Measuring impact and understanding the drivers of social change are hot topics which I am sure will re-emerge in this year’s Forum, as well as looking at the role of technology as a driver of social change.
3. Scale: A number of the sessions last year looked at new ways of scaling whether it be through innovative supply chain practices, partnerships with corporations, social finance as a facilitator, as well as the role of social intrapreneurship. Scale is a recurring theme in the social enterprise arena which pre-occupies many a social entrepreneur’s strategic planning.
4. Serendipity: The Forum is a jam-packed three days; often you will be struggling to pick between conflicting sessions. I would however make time and space to reflect, and for serendipity to play its part.
I found myself having some of the most interesting conversations during coffee breaks, lunchtimes and in down-time where I may have been writing up a blog or notes from a previous session.
5. Stars: The Skoll World Forum can be seen as the “Davos of Social Enterprise.” The Forum attracts the who’s who of the social enterprise arena and beyond – with the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Malala Yousafzai attending last year, and this year attracting Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, as speakers.
6. Social: A pre-requisite of a social enterprise conference is being sociable (of course!). There are plenty of evening activities to choose from, both at Skoll and at fringe events hosted by Marmalade.
If you are attending make sure you download the Skoll World Forum app so you can do your homework about what’s going on and who is attending to maximize your opportunities to connect with the people you want to meet.
Bring plenty of business cards as you are sure to be meeting amazing people during your few days in Oxford, and ensure you give yourself time the following week to follow up and keep the conversations going.