Whenever a well-known business announces redundancies of hundreds of jobs it makes the headlines. We all understand the horrifying impact these kinds of decisions have on people and communities. So imagine where the UK's recovery would be without the 100,000 jobs that exist thanks to responsible finance lenders over the past 10 years.
I believe the next five years will see the full emergence of a new breed of individual: the Public Service Entrepreneur. These will be people who are passionate about public services but know that there is a more entrepreneurial way to get the social outcomes they are working their socks off to achieve. They don't want to submit to the unhelpful aspects of an often over-bureaucratised system, they want to by-pass it altogether and spend their time finding new ways to solve the problems of their service users.
That one of the jewels in the NHS's crown has ended up on a list of high-profile failures has come as a shock to many. The branding of Addenbrooke's Hospital as 'inadequate' by health regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), raises serious issues about the way hospitals are run. How can a hospital that was considered one of the safest two years ago, now be in special measures?
Eric Ries, in his book "The Lean Startup", states that mistakes are beneficial to the development process of a new business. However, he says that it is important to fail as soon as possible and to learn as quickly as possible! In other words, entrepreneurs should keep their failures small and should also eliminate them while they are not creating bigger problems..
As much as "social enterprise" is a buzzword these days, there are people who reject this label entirely. 'Reluctant social entrepreneur,' Iqbal Wahhab is one such person. Sitting in Roast Restaurant in Borough Market, London, enjoying a delicious macchiato and the exceptional service of their highly-rated staff, I questioned Iqbal's hesitation to embrace this categorisation of his long-standing work supporting the community.
Social enterprise is a great idea, but still will not, and cannot, replace state social welfare programs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against social enterprise. Indeed, I have worked for social enterprises all my working life and I champion the causes across the University of Northampton in the UK, where I now work. I have started, stopped, advised, been a director of, researched and published about, social enterprises over the last twenty years.