While in Toronto I had a chance to introduce two friends, Frances Westley from the University of Waterloo (SiG at Waterloo) and Leighton Jay from the School of Management, Curtin University, Perth Australia.  Both are activists and academics with a special interest in social innovation and disability.

Leighton is a big fan of Frances' book, Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed which is as good a reason as any to appreciate how much her book has influenced my thinking and action and indeed those of activists world wide.  In fact, embedded in the Recommendations of the Task Force on Social Finance, Mobilizing Private Capital for Public Good are the concepts Frances and her co-authors Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Patton introduced us to.  Concepts like: resilience, complexity, social innovation, scale, cold heaven (our sobering financial reality) and powerful strangers (private capitalists). 

Better still why don't I let Frances' number one Australian fan complete these thoughts.  Here are some excerpts from Leighton's book review of Getting to Maybe:

Over the past few months, I have read and re-read this book. Throughout this time, I have eagerly introduced it to a wide range of friends, colleagues and acquaintances as ‘my new best friend’. I have now lost count of the number of additional copies of it that have been ordered into Australia as a direct result of my urgings, but those who are ordering it are reading it and echoing my sentiments – this is a very well-written and important book.

With a front cover like that, you can understand why the book initially grabbed my attention and resonated with my soul’s longing to make a difference in the world. It is a book about social innovation – how to apprehend the dynamics of, and contribute to, meaningful and positive change in the world. In opening to chapter 1, I then discovered that the writers write from a ‘complexity science’ paradigm rather than a positivist paradigm. As a ‘management thinker’ myself, this is (in my opinion) profoundly important, because – as the authors say: ‘Complexity science embraces life as it is: unpredictable, emergent, evolving and adaptable – not the least bit machine-like. And though it implies that even though we can’t control the world in the way we can control a machine, we are not powerless either. Using insights about how the world is changed, we can become active participants in shaping those changes’

Click here to link to Leighton's full review of Getting to Maybe.

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