The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship held its Annual Summit on 21-22 September 2019 in the World Economic Forum's New York offices. This was a special moment for the community as it officially embarked on a journey into its third decade, welcoming a more comprehensive ecosystem with three new award categories. Over 90 members from around the world participated, representing expert Social Entrepreneurs, Corporate Social Intrapreneurs, Public Social Intrapreneurs and Thought Leaders.
The two-day event proved to be a valuable experience not only to build and strengthen community bonds, but to also map out where and how the community will grow collectively. This page provides a snapshot of the key highlights from the Schwab Foundation Annual Summit 2019.
A Systems View: Surfacing New Frontiers of Social Innovation
The success of the field of social innovation should be demonstrated not only in the impact achieved, but also how embedded it has become in our existing systems and institutions. The challenges remain immense as power and politics continue to respond too slowly or worse, ignore the people and planet that suffer from complacency and exploitation. Participants heard from five different perspectives of how this evolution is happening and had a chance to select and discuss one in more detail.
Hard Talk: Let’s Be Honest
The field of social innovation has been celebrated, but in many ways we are regressing as a society. In this session, members had a reality check to face up to the hard truths about the challenges, barriers, dysfunctions, ethics, and issues of the evolution of social innovation.
The Possibilities of a Community of Purpose
This event was a gathering of the ‘doers’ of the world so it was only appropriate to end the meeting by posing the question: How can we harness the collective wisdom and perspectives of this community to develop experiences, insights and a vision for a collective future?
There was a resounding consensus that the Schwab Foundation community of Social Innovators can accelerate the pace of disruption and use their energy for the greater public good. Each person’s experience is unique, but the challenges are common. The wealth of experience and diversity of skills within the community are well poised to give voice to the underserved, awaken the consciousness of businesses, and change mindsets to correct the injustice in the world.
Members agreed the way forward is to identify the immediate problems to focus on and get behind the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more coherently. There is a need to map out the ecosystem, measure impact, and remain accountable; connecting the SDGs down to the individual at the impact level and then aggregate outcomes as a feedback loop to ground reality.
Working alongside the World Economic Forum will help to champion solutions and fast-track initiatives by serving as the bridge between what can be done and the resources to achieve it.
Schwab Foundation Closing Dinner
The event culminated in a closing dinner with distinguished guests and longtime friends of the Foundation. Throughout the evening, each of the 40 new class awardees were called upon the stage to receive their certificate alongside peers in their award category. Special addresses were given by Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Feike Sijbesma, and the Honorable Al Gore. The evening was marked off with a surprise performance by Angelique Kidjo whose powerful voice echoed within the gala’s walls and reminded us that the world is not only waiting for us to do good, but to do it better.