SOCAP11: The emergence of networks and design of common values

Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Entrepreneurship, Green

Map of human connections

Editor’s note: This post is part of our SOCAP11 conference coverage in San Francisco. 

One of the most beautiful aspects about human nature is our ability to connect and create networks of relationships among people who share a common vision to create a broad-based change. In my last post on diving into SOCAP11, I highlighted ways that the conference is enabling these connections and fostering relationships that would last beyond the four days in San Francisco.  As we countdown to SOCAP next week, what is so important to understand is to approach these conversations with a openness to sharing. This is because at its most basic level, connecting with others unlocks a higher fraction of human potential which spearheads innovation and creates a clearer understanding of our own capabilities and perspectives.

With this premise, I propose that building the money + meaning intersection should start with careful attention to:

  1. The emergence of networks; and
  2. The design of common values

In extending this value proposition to the SOCAP track leaders by asking them their one message for the SOCAP community and the frame of mind attendees should be in during their track sessions, all of them identified with the curation of networks and common values.

“An openness to collaboration; a hunger to learn about the valid and critical role of a myriad of interests – private/public; financially-driven/impact-driven; large institutional/small entrepreneurial – and our shared interest in building infrastructure that leverages the strengths of all parties” – Ben Thornley: Meaning, Money and Impact Track

“It’s all connected. That makes it hard to solve problems, and opens up amazing opportunities to create solutions.” – Liz Kruger: Green 2.0 Track

“It’s crucial to track the precursors to productivity (intangible assets) so that we know how home, community, business, and government relate to each other through the generation, exchange, and depletion of resources.” – Jessica Margolin: Technology Track

We all have the power and ability to be impact investors people power, ie community driven change, can be exponentially more powerful than institutional acts. – Rebecca Petzel: People Powered Capital Track

“We have the knowledge and the capacities to create thriving communities, networked to learn from one another across the globe, let’s align our resources and our actions, and partner prolifically to make it happen.” – Fiona Hovenden: Polycentric Solutions

“This community is driven, focused, wired for collaboration and creative problem solving. Let’s build on those strengths and push the edges for ways to help each other get through blocks  and continue innovating. Let’s help each other scout opportunities for collaborators and supporters.  And importantly, let’s make the most of the opportunity to spend time together, in person. ”  – Sarah Brooks: Design for Social Innovation Track

*Quotes have been edited and paraphrased

There is no question that the emergence of a powerful network can help push forward the social capital markets agenda. However, the second component of designing common values that businesses and policies can use, proves itself to be a challenge. Important questions arise: can we achieve economic scale wile empowering local communities, how can we design a set of incentives that users of the supply and demand end of the chain can both identify with, how can we openly share our values but retain originality and how does this meaning + money intersection calls for a long-term sustainable vision of wealth creation?

As conversations in the money + meaning intersection swirl around a new paradigm, we have to move away from using the language inherited from the dated model of “the firm” or “the non-profit”. We have to shift our focus to developing an entirely new model: one that values collaborating, value creation and a new respect for the pragmatic idealists. Let’s start this conversation by creating connections and working with them to design our common values.


Jocelyn is constantly on the hunt for new innovative platforms as an intersection point for business models and markets at the base of the pyramid to contribute to social or economic progress. An impa­tient opti­mist, Jocelyn believes that through com­pas­sion, inno­va­tion and edu­ca­tion, we can be the change in the world.

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