I ran into someone who was taking an honors class in Social Entrepreneurism at the University. Their focus is on rural education and micro-economic enablement through micro-loan systems. If you have not heard about this concept, it was pioneered by Grameen Bank in Bangladesh a number of years ago and has since become a worldwide phenomenon.
As I was describing to them, however, social entrepreneurism (SE) isn't limited to helping the poor. There are other groups of people out there who need help and education just as much. Even dW is a form of SE in terms of helping emerging topics and technologies grow within the realm of software systems.
There are a great many valuable ideas out there initiated by people who know a lot about technology and software. However, not every developer knows what to do to keep a project running, sharing it with others, or getting recognition for their efforts.
We hear of many successful and innovative open source projects created purely on the basis of successful leadership, and even a hefty dose of good luck. However, there are tens of thousands of other projects which fall off the grid because the lead(s) of the team simply don't know what to do to get it to the next level.
Many technical people simply say "Oh well that's a marketing thing to get more people to use it", but that's only one element of it.
Towards that goal, the idea of dW started as one whereby we could help that kind of project that either came out of IBM or one we were involved in to help them grow and become more successful. It has grown in many ways beyond just the needs of IBM and we think that is a good thing for the whole industry.
Our community areas are no different. Our SE role is in the same domain: helping projects, topics and ideas to grow. That means we need to focus on providing tools, knowledge and other forms of assistance to fuel this.
Obviously, with a limited team there's a limit to how much you can do for anyone one group, and it always depends on the leaders of that group. However, by documenting successes, identifying best practices for different situations, we think we can help the situation for others. The learning and education here is not just in terms of solving a particular technical issue but addressing how to actually improve the human side of the equation.
Social entreprenuerism is not just an activity for rural environments