START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS
"A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." - Henry Ford, 190
Henry Ford’s statement accurately applies to the Global Social Entrepreneurship Summit (GSES) that took
place parallel to ASB Un-Plugged 2014 this year. With a team of 8 student leaders across the high school,
we spent seven months planning, questioning, researching, studying and replanning our summit. GSES is
a student-run summit that merges design thinking with social entrepreneurship. It is a space where
students and teachers from around the globe can design innovative solutions and processes that can
change the way their communities interact.
Participants Build Empathy
Our participants were international students who came from China and India. The ones in India came from
Indore and Mumbai. From students to teachers, a diverse group of people came together to design
innovative solutions to global social challenges. We began with the first stage of design thinking: empathy.
Empathy can be built in various ways; we chose two ways that we thought would increase our participants’
understanding of social entrepreneurship, the characteristics of a social entrepreneur, and their approach
to social challenges. These two ways are case studies and the social entrepreneurship experience trip.
1. Case Studies - In order to provide examples of successful elements and increase exposure to social
enterprises, the participants went through 4 to 5 case studies prepared by the student leaders.
2. Social Entrepreneurship Experience Trip - Participants experienced an afternoon of action at a
social enterprise in Mumbai: Reality Tours. A social business, Reality Tours provides tours in
Dharavi, one of the largest slums in Asia. But what most people don’t know is that Dharavi is also
one of the largest recycling plants in Asia, and definitely the largest in Mumbai. Reality Tours gives
back 80% of their profits to their sister not-for-profit: Reality Gives, which in turn, gives back to
the Dharavi community. Together, Reality Tours and Travel represents a hybrid model for their
social enterprise. This field experience allowed participants to see an innovative approach to
creating a social enterprise.
After the empathy stage, participants were organized into cross-school teams, and proceeded to create
their own social enterprises. Through a single portal of communication--a closed Facebook group--we
were all able to share our resources and thoughts before, during, and after the Summit. Our goal was to
ensure that participants would be able to communicate and share their ideas before and progress after