Intro: Skills of a Social Entrepreneur

For over a decade, I’ve worked in the realm of social entrepreneurship and innovation finding ways to encourage people to make a difference in the world. I’ve said it before, but I absolutely love what I get to do for a living.


A social entrepreneur is someone who pursues solutions that have the potential to solve social problems and make a positive impact in the world. I love being a social entrepreneur and getting the opportunity to work with others in the field. It’s what gets me up in the morning. And what I love about people who decide to become social entrepreneurs is they can have all different types of backgrounds, education, and personalities. They just need to be people who want to create positive changes in society!


In addition to working with social entrepreneurs in the field, I get to teach aspiring social entrepreneurs too. In one of my classes, we spend six weeks doing activities that walk them through the social innovation process. After those six weeks, they worked in groups to come up with a list of innovation skills and teamwork skills that they think they might need to complete a social innovation project. Each group wrote their own list of skills on the whiteboard and then we combined all the doubles and voted on which skills should end up on our Social Innovations Skills List. Each team then came up with their own definition of what each of the skills meant to them and proceeded to give each other feedback on their skills as they execute a six-week social change project.


Here is the working list from this semester:


Innovation Skills

  1. Empathy

  2. Resilience/Grit

  3. Creativity

  4. Communication

  5. Resourceful

  6. Strategic


Teamwork Skills

  1. Communication/Listening/Open-Minded/Conflict Resolution

  2. Humility

  3. Accountability

  4. Compromise

  5. Inclusivity


This is such a fun project and the highlight of each semester I teach this class! I loved seeing how each student used their unique personalities, passions, and skills to come up with ideas to create change. I’ll be diving into each of the skills my students selected over the next few blog posts. We’ll take a look at how each skill can be useful and sometimes a hindrance through each phase of the social innovation process.


I hope you enjoy this upcoming series and find it helpful in your own journey of social innovation!