Skoll World Forum (SWF) 2011 – A personal reflection

This was my first visit to the SWF and having had the experience of the Celebration of Entrepreneurship (CoE) in Dubai in November 2011 was really excited about the prospect for my days. I arrived home on Friday evening 1/4/2011, satisfied, exhausted, inspired, energised, humbled, full of learning, connected with so many great people I met and I would like to share my key takeaways.

Many of the key sessions are filmed and on the SWF website

1. Deep Leadership (Video available) – a great session with number of interesting perspectives including those of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Upon reflection, my own believe after some further thought and analysis is a hypothesis utilising the Heroes Journey. Each time you go through the “storm” within the journey you gain an understanding of your own humanity. By repeatedly going through and coming out of the storm successfully, you increase and enhance your own personal well of “deep leadership”.

Furthermore there is definitely a clear correlation between deep leadership and spirituality however we seem too shy to make the connection!!!!!!!

2. Markets – Reform or Rebuild (Video available).

Personal View – It is clear that for certain markets, the ability of certain players to dominate can mean that reform is the preferable way forward. However, wherever possible “rebuilding” the market provides for enhanced access, performance, and transparency and therefore should be encouraged as the preferred methodology.

3. Risks and Opportunities in the MENA Region

This session was a missed opportunity. With both historic and current political issues dominating the debate, the core issue of what market reforms are required to enable social and business entrepreneurs to grow and prosper being overlooked.

4. Skoll Awards Ceremony (Video available)

One of the highlights for me of the forum was learning of all the different activities being undertaken by social entrepreneurs in delivering a better society for all stakeholders. The 2011 winners were no exception

• Rebecca Onie, Health Leads – ability to get health resources to impoverished minorities
• Madhav Chavan, Pratham – evaluation of the output from education in the villages
• Ellen Moir, New Teacher Centre – provide mentoring to new teachers to enhance retention
• Ned Breslin, Water for People – provision of water to all
• Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Global Treasure Award – for his services to humanity
• Peter Gabriel and Baaba Maal – Singing on the death of Stephen Biko. Very poignant with the individuals who have stood up in Tunisia, Egypt and in other countries in the Middle East very recently.

5. BBC Forum – Is Heroism Obsolete? (Video available). This in conjunction with “Deep Leadership” provided very useful insights into the driving forces of entrepreneurs and how we create heroes whether they are acclaimed or not.

6. Social Entrepreneurs – Navigating Unchartered Waters – For Profit Companies with Social DNA. This session was totally inspiring, to hear the stories for three social entrepreneurs:-

• Thorkil Sonne, Specialist People Foundation – creating employment for autism sufferers
• Kresse Wesling, Elvis & Kress – Handbags and Belts. Recycles fire hose into luxury products handbags and belts and gives 50% of the profits to the Fire Association.
• Gobion Rowlands, Red Redemption Ltd – Creates games on social issues such as climate change through the game “Fate of the earth”.

7. Some interesting expressions
• “Behind every great man is a surprised women”
• “Be brief but brilliant”
• “Being inspirational through humanity”

And many others but did not capture them!

8. Interesting facts
Within the MENA region 70% of the employed population produce on 28% of the GDP.
A true hero must have something to loose
The internet, the first physical manifestation of God

The forum centred around celebrating social entrepreneurship and “learning” which was magnificent. The networking was good, based upon shared learnings rather than for promoting activities.

A very worthwhile and enjoyable three days…

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