Jed Emerson is a leader in social capital, with good ideas and clear thinking on this important topic for many social ventures. Here are some highlights from a recent interview:
1. Further growth requires new tools, platforms and policy. Examples: social impact bonds, social venture exchanges, B Corps). More intermediation (such as social venture funds), investment instruments, and so on will turn social capital from a niche to a functioning capital market.
2. Metrics are important IF they are useful for the investor AND the entrepreneur. Don’t expect a definitive metric framework to emerge; there is and will continue to be a wide diversity of forms, depending on what impacts are sought. For metrics to lead to impact gains, they need to be relevant to the entrepreneur.
3. Global collaboration is important — if everyone agrees to learn from each other. All too often, people from the US, Canada and Europe think of collaboration as bringing their ideas “to” developing markets and other countries. In contrast, what we’ve learned from micro-finance and sustainable agriculture, for example, is that there are great ideas from other countries that can strengthen initiatives in North America and Europe.
4. Talent is outpacing demand for people with skills — but young people are not waiting around. They get the twin pursuits of purpose and profit, and are creating their own opportunities. And not just for young people, the lesson here is don’t wait but rather “lean forward” and engage to make things happen with your vision.
5. In social innovation, “multilingual” leadership is essential. By that he means people who are not limited to a specific narrow experience area, but rather have played a variety of different roles in finance, be that private equity, development, social finance, and so on. That kind of cross-sector background puts them in a better position to run an effective fund because they can manage teams from multiple areas, multiple silos.
6. Innovation is coming from the outside in, not the top. We’re finally beginning to break through the traditional gender and racial limitations of the past, especially internationally, around social entrepreneurship and impact investing.
For the full interview, go to http://socialfinance.ca/blog/post/socap13-speaker-highlight-nine-insights-with-jed-emerson .
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