(A short story on social entrepreneurship based on readings from our theory class.)
A Cow’s Search for Her Wizard.
The usual characters gathered around the new hour school bus at AC4D. Ruby and Alex were handing over the keys to Jordache, wishing her farewell on her roadtrip to find her version of a wizard. The wizard she was looking for was a social entrepreneur, one that could help Jordache think in a disruptive and generative manner to save her farm so her friends could continue to live free and healthy. Her land was about to be sold to a corporate farm that valued shareholder wealth instead of a triple bottom line. Jordache tried googling it, but didn’t come up with anything – not because it was hard to type with her hooves, because there just didn’t seem to be one answer to her problem. She needed to collaborate with someone that had courage and determination to help find a better solution, but where would she find this person?
Jordache set off first to San Francisco, the land of the startups to see if she could find her wizard. She was disappointed to only come across greedy capitalists that were stuck tapping away behind their computers, not willing to help unless it meant more money in their pockets. “But you have to help,” she exclaimed, “you know how to capture value!” Yunus saw her struggling and consoled her, explaining that she was in the wrong place; she needed to find someone that also valued social and environmental metrics and make them a priority. But Jordache questioned, “how?” Dees suggested that they needed a change agent that could do thesese things, along with seeing possibilities and opportunities that others had a hard time doing under current conditions.
The threesome headed across the open road to the east coast, and came across Spears, who was hitchhiking to Detroit. Maybe the wizard was there? Spears took them on a tour of the city, and gently let Jordache down – he or she was nowhere to be found. They only saw vandalized buildings and stripped away cars. Spears explained that the people of the city weren’t at fault, they weren’t able to control their actions like they should. They were forced to make the best out of the limited choices with the knowledge they had. They ran across LeDantec staring sadly into one of the buildings, drawing balls of tangled yarn with his finger into the dusty, broken windows around the words, ‘transportation,’ ‘housing,’ ‘technology,’ ‘food,’ and ‘healthcare.’ He just kept repeating, “wicked problems, wicked problems, wicked problems,” over and over under his breath. They couldn’t budge him, he said that he had to stay and be with the people if he were going to try to help them. They left him there, but quickly ran across Baumol who tried to explain the situation: the Detroit car manufacturers weren’t able to create an energy efficient car because of the rules of the oil game, and they lost the automobile industry battle because of it. Discouraged by the misguided entrepreneurial allocations, they headed south to find a wizard that practiced productive wizardry.
Eek! Jordache spotted what she thought was the wicked witch of the east, but low and behold, it was just a student of Prahalad, selling satchets of soap to the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. They picked up Rittel on the side of the road, who told them that the student didn’t mean to create so much garbage as a result, but he wasn’t very inspired and didn’t have the right value proposition. His one answer to a wicked problem was just a symptom of another unique problem. Karnani looked on, wishing that the student would employ the victims in making the soap, instead of making them spend what little money they had on it. Jordache was on the verge of giving up, and steered the bus back towards Austin. She even passed a guy that looked like Tim Brown holding a sign that said, “I don’t need a faster horse, I just need AC4D. Austin or Bust.” She thought it was odd, but decided to take the risk and pick him up. She drove through the night with her crew of literary companions, tossing 5 Hour Energies back like they were Pez.
Jordache pulled into town at dawn, her head was hung low, but she was excited by the glow of a tent over the AC4D house. Had she not seen this before? Martin was drinking his coffee on the front steps, and wondered how could she not have seen this before? The people who had put up the tent of social fortitude had always been there. And inside, she found not one wizard to help her farm, but many.