We had a great UnSectored Talk last week on the “Legality of Social Change.” Definitely enough diverse opinions and smart comments to keep everyone engaged for the two hours. A summary of the event is below, and you can always contact us to get a more in-depth summary of the conversation.
The next UnSectored Talk, “Cross-Sector Leadership for Change,” will be on Monday, June 11th from 7-9. Make sure you RSVP if you plan on coming, because there will be readings distributed before hand! Yay! (Not required, of course.) This event will be co-hosted by myself and our very own Laura Tomasko, who has written extensively about leadership development, including what she has deemed “infrapreneurship.”
“Cross-Sector Leadership” is an important topic for the UnSectored community, as many of our discussions are fundamentally about the need for leaders (both established and up-and-coming) to understand what it means to have an “unsectored” society. A system without divisions is only possible if individuals (inside and outside of organizations) understand that those divisions hinder change.
At this event, we will discuss the commonalities of different types of leadership across sectors, what qualities are necessary in a changemaker to operate in an “unsectored” way, and what the role is of a leader in a society which no longer has strict sector boundaries, nor clear paths to creating change.
This event will be the last Talk until the fall. In the meantime, we will be on the lookout for other individuals and organizations who are interested in hosting an UnSectored Talk around a topic of their interest. If you would like to help us build our community, grow your network, and surface new ideas for working for change beyond sectors, let us know and host a Talk. The topic can be on anything related to the tenant of UnSectored: that social change is the responsibility of all sectors. If interested, read more about hosting a Talk.
Hope to see you on the 11th, or at an event soon!
Summary of UnSectored Talk: “Legality of Social Change,” 5/14/2012
- The discussion focused around several emerging legal structures available to changemakers: The B Corporation (administered by B Lab), the L3C, the benefit corporation, and the flexible purpose corporation. There was also a discussion of how foundations and grantmakers could use program related investments (PRIs) and mission related investments to finance change. There was a small discussion on Community Finance Development Institutions as well.
- While these structures–particularly the newer ones–are encouraging, ideally, they would only be a band-aid solution for the systemic problems our society faces. In the future, one hopes these structures would not be necessary as all organizations–corporations and nonprofits alike–will have a broad definition of “stakeholder” and be more involved in their communities. The rise of the megacorporation, and the global economy in which it operates, has made it difficult for organizations to operate with a broad, community-based definition of stakeholder.
- With the end goal of a broader definition of stakeholder in mind, these structures are still useful, as they provide more choice for entrepreneurs interested in pursuing innovative ideas for change.
- However, there was a lot of discussion about the actual impact of these new structures, as it is unclear how rigid their requirements are for creating change. Much of what can be done as a benefit corporation, or an L3C, can be done as a standard corporation or LLC. In some ways, these structures just strengthens a socially-responsible organization’s brand.
- The question was raised that if these new structures aren’t exactly that new, then why have they come about at this point in time? The general sense is that the workforce is more entrepreneurial and flexible now than before, and that many people have become fed up with the commonly-perceived inertia of the nonprofit sector and have sought ways to operate outside of that sector, but still work for change.
- The end of the discussion concluded with thoughts on how to solve the problems discussed. One general suggestion was continued discussion and learning, especially by people who aren’t really in our “circles”.
- Another suggestion was that UnSectored has a unique role in provided unbiased information on what kinds of legal structures are appropriate for what kinds of ventures. Everyone agreed this would be a good thing to pursue.
Photo credit: familymwr
A system without divisions is only possible if individuals understand that those divisions hinder change.