Risk = ‘to dare’. Why funders need to rethink their attitude to risk if they really want to support innovation

August 8, 2014
Following on from last week’s piece on the role of Foundations, here’s an excerpt from an excellent piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Although it is aimed at Foundations, spending the income from their endowments, it has important messages for others, including NGOs. ‘Risk stands at the center of an inherent creative tension within the field. Endowments, by definition,

The Pocket Piketty: a two page intro for non-bookworms

August 7, 2014
One of my main functions within Oxfam seems to be to review books to spare everyone else the effort. Last week, I was on Piketty duty. Batches of campaigns and policy types sat in suitable veneration around a copy of the giant tome, and I talked them through this two page ‘Pocket Piketty’. The Potted Piketty (longer summary here) From

How did a global campaign bring about a UN Arms Trade Treaty?

August 6, 2014
The last (but most definitely not least) of the case studies in active citizenship that I have been blogging about over the last couple of months is the inspiring global campaign that led to the agreement (and impending ratification) of a UN Arms Trade Treaty. It is co-authored with Anna Macdonald, one of the key activists in the campaign. Full

Why social entrepreneurship has become a distraction: it’s mainstream capitalism that needs to change

August 5, 2014
Pamela Hartigan, Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, is having second thoughts about the impact of social entrepreneurs. The first time I heard the term “social entrepreneur” I thought it referred to business people who liked to party. That was about twenty years ago, when the term was just beginning to surface, said

A week in the life of a humanitarian agency (it really is all kicking off everywhere)

August 1, 2014
To give people a better feel for our humanitarian work in Gaza, Syria and elsewhere, I thought I’d share the contents (unedited, but with a few explanatory links added + pics) of the weekly internal email that drops into Oxfam staff’s inboxes. It summarizes in pithy form what our humanitarian colleagues are up to – I think it captures the unique blend