It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; It is because we do not dare that things are difficult. Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Too Weak to Fail: Haskell at Berkeley and Duke

If you feel dwarfed by the social challenge you’re tackling, then you’re in good company.

This April, UC Berkeley Haas and Duke Fuqua Schools of Business hosted David Haskell to present on the paradoxical power of weakness to leverage mission impact.  But Berkeley and Duke graduate students are anything but weak.  These MBA programs rank among the top ten worldwide for social entrepreneurship and nonprofit management.  

So why celebrate weakness at these powerhouses? Because humble weakness, if wisely harnessed, is an unrecognized but powerful lever for mission impact.

The story of an unsung Egyptian civil engineer illustrates how.  His dream is to solve the poverty housing problem of 22 million people in Egypt. Undeterred by Egypt’s turmoil, his housing movement is expanding to house thousands of Egyptian families struggling to survive on less than $2 per day.   So far, over eighteen thousand families have moved into decent housing.

Within six years, this phenomenon showed up on the global radar of Harvard Business School researchers.  Now a published HBS case, it demonstrates how a visionary network can deliver more mission impact than any organization could wish for alone. You can find a case preview here.

David unpacked four keys to this networked approach that unleash mission impact:

  • shared dreams
  • aligned values
  • participatory weave
  • servant leadership

At UC  Berkeley Haas School of Business, David co-presented with Jane Wei-Skillern in the MBA class, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, Wednesday, April 4, 2012. For more information, please email

At  the Duke Fuqua School of Business, David presented at the Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, Monday, April 23, 2012. For more information, please email

Bookmark and Share