This is the first article of the new series about networks and communities for changemakers by Sebastian Winter. Based in London, one of the hotspots for social innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe, he contributes to What A Mission remotely.
On 29 May 2019 the executive director of the UN human settlement
Social innovation underpins sustainable development, it is as Jeremy Mallard at the social innovation atlas wrote ‘the anonymous bedrock of global sustainable development’. Much has already been written here on the great work done by social entrepreneurs. Instead, I will focus on the communities that build networks between social innovation agents, and how they are facilitating the sustainability transition.
This article covers the London make_sense community. Make_sense is a global community of social innovators, with sub-groups called hotspots in major cities all over the world. Here I will focus on the activities in London, as the independent nature of the network hotspots makes for important differences between regions. Thanks
Make_sense is a community of social entrepreneurs and those interested in social entrepreneurship. The community activates individuals towards achieving their own social impact through a number of facilitation events, while also using many of the similar methodologies to enable social entrepreneurs to improve their businesses and how they benefit society. To guide these activities the community has unwritten principles to be collaborative, spontaneous and creative.
The online community includes over 2000 people based in and around London. The community is open membership, and while its main targets are social entrepreneurs and those wishing to become social entrepreneurs, many of its members have become aware of social entrepreneurship through make_sense’s activities. The community has connections with activists, and edges formed makes the community
The core members of this community regularly meet for a range of facilitated activities to inspire entrepreneurs and assist them to achieve their impact. These range from holdups, where a specific entrepreneur presents their challenges and the make_sense members brainstorm solutions, to an MKS room, a panel night where an artist presents on a sustainability issue inspiring those in attendance to learn more about the problem, to
Like all groups aiming to grow the impact of their members, make_sense has their own challenges. A key challenge is the need to balance covering the costs of their activities while maintaining their motivation, openness, and inclusivity.
The London group has social entrepreneur success stories, with Gianpietro himself recently launching AppyMaps, an app that maps social businesses, connecting them with local communities and provides a platform for their advertisements. The make_sense community also works as a resource for already active entrepreneurs, acting as consumer feedback groups, providing stakeholder insights and acting as a forum to discuss new ideas. The global community also recently raised a Euro 8.2 million seed fund called seed 1