President, South East Asia and Pacific Region,
International Council of Social Welfare
This book is a great 101 for all newcomers to the social sector – and for all who are in it. Many in the sector today are grappling to make sense of the new fangled ideas of social innovation, social entrepreneurship, and the new philanthropy. Yet, philanthropy, innovation, and entrepreneurship are not entirely new to the social sector; they have been part of our early history when local communities helped each other more and survival was all about being creative. But today, these approaches take on a bigger complexion in our society while gaining, perhaps, new labels and hybridising into new forms in the social service sector. It can all overwhelm. Especially if one is a practitioner struggling with limited resources to serve the needy.
The World that Changes the World will appeal greatly as it offers a briskly engaging read with the facts laid out simply. Each chapter is structured in such a manner that the reader-practitioner easily identifies the constituent parts of the subject and the challenges. For example in Chapter 5 which deals with social enterprises: there is a definition discussion, followed by a mapping of the pathway from the non-profit social service models to profit- and ethics- oriented businesses. The chapter also deals with different social enterprise models, and discusses the underlying philosophy and challenges before concluding that the business model may not always be the answer to meeting society’s unmet needs. This chapter is just one example of many others in the book that effortlessly engages the reader with the subject matter to develop or deepen views.
The book, as a whole, is well organized with the first chapter on the social ecosystem – perhaps the most important, in its own way – framing the whole landscape of the social sector, the multi-stakeholder platforms, the roles, the inter-relatedness and the challenges. Subsequently, the book opens into each section of this landscape with individual chapters adding breadth and depth. As the writers come from diverse backgrounds and are from all over the world, they are also able to share many case studies from their backyards. And as an aside, it needs to be said that, through these case examples, one realises how small the world actually is, as are, indeed, people’s needs and their creativity for survival.
The contents are well sign-posted throughout the book. There is a determined pattern in how each chapter is constructed. This helps in understanding the inter-relatedness and interconnectivity of philanthropy, entrepreneurship, innovation and the other forces of change.
This book is timely. It captivates for its directness with information and for its well-illustrated and uncomplicated charts and maps that make it all so painless to understand the complexity of the changes that are underfoot. As we struggle to meet the ever-changing needs of the people that we in the social sector have dedicated our lives to helping, we also need to know what we can do, and connect better with the friends who share the same drive. This book helps us to achieve this task and to see how we are all connected with the same mission. The book helps us to reflect that we are, in the end, the greatest change there is.