• Description

University education rarely focuses its attention and imagination on teaching students how to turn a vision into reality; how to design, develop, and lead social change organizations. The author co-created the Social Entrepreneurship Collaboratory (SE Lab) at Stanford University and then Harvard University as a model educational program designed to achieve this goal. The SE Lab is a Silicon Valley influenced incubator where student teams create and develop innovative pilot projects for US and international social sector initiatives. The lab combines academic theory, frameworks, and traditional research with intensive field work, action research, peer support and learning, and participation of domain experts and social entrepreneurship practitioners. It also provides students an opportunity to collaborate on teams to develop business plans for their initiatives and to compete for awards and recognition in the marketplace of ideas. Students in the SE Lab have created innovative organizations serving many different social causes, including fighting AIDS in Africa, promoting literacy in Mexico, combating the conditions for terrorism using micro-finance in the Palestinian territories, and confronting gender inequality using social venture capital to empower women in Afghanistan.