We strengthen local social entrepreneurs, who live in and are from hard places, so that their dream for a transformed community, where the poor celebrate life, becomes a light inviting all to participate.
How does this come about?
- We link up with values-aligned networks in hard places. Places where sectarian violence, compromised rule of law, human rights abuse, and chronic poverty, compel people to think and live creatively.
- We recognize an insider from the hard place who has a dream and who lives the values that propel human development.
- We come alongside these dreamers to listen and learn what kind of support they need to see their dream become a reality.
- We accompany them to provide customized encouragement and support.
Our operating model defines the types of support needed by social entrepreneurs in hard places:
- Recognize – a mutual process to discover a win-win relationship
- Accompany – walk together through thick and thin
- Equip – customize requested inputs
- Invest – enough to keep going but not enough to succeed
- Buffer – only relate what the visionary wants
- Network – weave relationships as a node not a hub
Our theory of change proposes that five factors are needed to sustain change with the poor:
- Focus on hard places – not risk avoidance
- Select insider servant-leaders – not outside experts
- Rely on values alignment – not management controls
- Cultivate bottom-up visions – not pre-packaged programs
- Provide customized support – not only funding and technical inputs
Our published research originated from a Dreams InDeed case presentation made at the First International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, Systems Thinking and Complexity at Adelphi University in April 2008. Recognizing the potential of integrating complexity theory with social entrepreneurship, the conveners invited Dreams InDeed to publish its theory of change and operating model.