(William) Bill Drayton – USA

William (Bill) Drayton is a social entrepreneur. Born in 1943 in New York City, U.S. Drayton was named by US News and World Report as one of America’s 25 Best Leaders in 2005. He is sometimes mistakenly credited with having coined the phrase “social entrepreneur”, although it was already in use by 1972 … The American Society of Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration jointly awarded him their National Public Service Award and he has also been named a Preiskel-Silverman Fellow for Yale Law School and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences … (full text on wikipedia).

William (Bill) Drayton is a social entrepreneur with a long record of founding organizations and public service. As a student, he founded organizations ranging from Yale Legislative Services to Harvard’s Ashoka Table, an inter-disciplinary weekly forum in the social sciences. After graduation from Harvard, he received an M.A. from Balliol College in Oxford University. In 1970, he graduated from Yale Law School. After working at McKinsey and Company, he taught at Stanford Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. From 1977 to 1981, while serving the Carter Administration as Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, he launched emissions trading (the basis of Kyoto) among other reforms. He launched Ashoka in 1981. He used the stipend received when elected a MacArthur Fellow in 1984 to devote himself fully to Ashoka … Bill Drayton, USA is Chair and CEO of Ashoka. (full text on ashoka).

He explains: … “First, you have to give yourself permission to be one (a social entrepreneur)! And that may be the biggest barrier – you have to very politely ignore those people who will tell you that you will fail” … (full text).


(William) Bill Drayton – USA

Watch these two videos:

Everyone a Changemaker, 18 pdf-pages, Feb 23, 2006.

He says also: “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry” … (full text).

He says: … “A $20 donation represents much more to us than just the money. It means that the investor, begins to explore the field of social entrepreneurship. It means one more person becomes aware of the powerful work of social entrepreneurs around the world and it means one more person will hopefully be inspired to create social change. And of course, it also helps provide support to Ashoka Fellows and gives them the freedom to pursue her/his idea. Once launched, the impact will grow and multiply for decades. And success will provide a powerful role model encouraging many, many others to step up and become change-makers. That is the enduring value of a donation to Ashoka” … (full text, December 3, 2007).

Muhammed Yunus and Bill Drayton at Santa Clara University, October 19, 2008.

… In the summer of 1963, Bill Drayton witnessed the power of a simple idea to effect vast social change. A Gandhian named Vinoba Bhave was walking across India and persuading individuals and whole villages to legally “gift” their land to him. Bhave then redistributed the land more equitably to support untouchables and other landless people, thus breaking an endless cycle of poverty. Drayton, just 20 years old and on summer break from Harvard, drove a red-and-white Volkswagen van from Munich to India to join him … (full text, 10/31/05).

He says also: … “(a)big idea with a good entrepreneur: there’s nothing more powerful. That’s just as true [for] education and human rights as it is for hotels or steels” … and: “The social entrepreneurs are governments’ best friends … “Yes the social entrepreneurs are challenging the governments, but that’s very healthy” … and: “Two of the last three Nobel [peace] prize winners have been social entrepreneurs. This is a recognition that our field is maturing” … (full text).

Find him and his publications on NationMaster-Ecyclopedia; on BetterWorldHeroes; on Backbone Cabinet;
on changing the present.org; on amazon; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

… Chairman and CEO of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, has a vision for the future: a world where “everyone is a changemaker – truly a full citizen.”  He foresees a society in which engaged citizens apply their skills to make important contributions to solving broad societal problems. Against this aspiration, Ashoka, which Bill founded in 1980, brings to bear “a powerful force: a big pattern change idea in the hands of a top social entrepreneur.”  As Bill describes it, the biggest impact social entrepreneurs can have is not their solutions to problems; it is their recruiting thousands of local changemakers to give their ideas wings in community after community … (full text, September 20, 2006).

And then he says: … “You just do it. You don’t need much. You start small, like so many others at Ashoka. There’s a definite need out there. You’ll hear the response” … (full text).

… In his opening speech at this Ashoka Changemakers session, Bill Drayton re-iterated many of the key points of his “everyone a changemaker” world-view. He believes that the next big step in the field of social entrepreneurship is tackling the question of how we do entrepreneurship together. He sees this as complementary to the fostering of an elite leadership model that so many of the Fellowships (like his own Ashoka) are focussing on … An interesting tool being used in this collaborative process is the use of a “Changemakers Mosaic” of the innovative solutions generated by each competition. The Mosaic serves as an intellectual framework which maps at a glance the most powerful emerging principles of innovation against the underlying factors that drive a problem. It helps social innovators see how their work fits into a larger picture and demonstrates that the collective impact of their solutions is greater than the sum of the individual projects. It also gives you a great overview of the challenges in a particular field … as well as a sense of how systemic change can really take place. At this workshop, the finalists in two recent competitions on “Health for All” and “Entrepreneuring Peace” gave summaries of their various projects, and then talked about how the collaborative process was helping them accelerate innovation and improve impact … (full text, 27th March 2007).


Watch the video: The Tactics of Hope – Join the Social Entrepreneur Movement, 3.56 min, Dec. 12, 2008;

Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship;

National Public Service Awards;

American Academy of Arts and Sciences;

American environmentalists;

ashoka.org, its January 2009-Homepage online;

Stanford Discussions

Change Your World? They Are;

The Green Changemakers.

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