Hard to believe it's been nearly three weeks since the Social Venture Capital/Social Enterprise 2010 (www.connectionmiami.com) conference in Miami. Between a mini-vacation, getting back in the swing of things, Spartans in the Final Four and taxes, the time has flown by, and I'm glad to have a moment this morning to reflect on the key themes and messages I gathered while in Miami.
Convergence is an international conversation: People from over 40 countries attended the conference and a hot topic of discussion was the blurring of lines between sectors. The session I moderated—Social Enterprise: Where do we draw the lines and do the lines even matter—with panelists Mark Pomerantz (http://bit.ly/d5iVGT) and Teju Ravilochen (@tejuravi) included lively discussion of the need to focus on outcomes rather than confining social change to a specific sector.
Impact investors need help: Impact Investors—including Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (http://rockpa.org/) and E+Co (http://eandco.net)–were crystal clear in expressing their need for intermediaries who can work in-country and in-community to facilitate the strategic flow of capital. Intermediaries understand the communities in which they work, know the restrictions and the opportunities, and have credibility as a member of the community.
The level of knowledge about the L3C is increasing: Rick (@L3C_RickZ) and Mark Lane (@lanewealthgroup) answered questions posed by a room of nonprofit, for-profit, foundation and investment folks about the legal and practical realities of the L3C business structure. Since I delivered my first training on the L3C in May of 2008, and in all of the trainings interSector and, in particular, Rick have done along the way, it's clear that the discussion has shifted from a need for very basic information about the L3C to a deep desire to strategize about and understand the L3C's potential for influencing social change.
New people=new ideas and perspectives: I know this one might sound like a big “duh,” but during his conference opening remarks, John Rosser challenged attendees to make an effort to step out of their comfort zones and connect with people they didn't know. This “permission” to introduce oneself with the lead-in line, “John said I had to reach out, do you mind if I sit with you?” led to many interesting conversations, exchanges of information and ideas and business opportunities.
It's now time to start thinking about how to apply these take-aways to our daily work and to our next conference stop, the Social Enterprise Summit/World Forum (#socent10) in San Francisco later this month.