Opinion: Stop Calling Everything ‘Social Entrepreneurship’
By Willy Foote
The term “disruptive innovation” is thrown around a lot these days. From AirBnb to Uber, everyone seems to be disrupting something, and the phrase has permeated the lexicon of start-up and blue-chip companies alike. I admit, I’m guilty as well.
But its broad usage has become a big problem, according to Clayton Christensen, the original architect of disruptive theory. In this month’s Harvard Business Review, he argues that the theory has been widely misunderstood and its basic tenets frequently misapplied. “People use the term loosely to invoke the concept of innovation in support of whatever it is they wish to do,” he writes.
Without a doubt, the term has strayed far from the original definition offered by Christensen twenty years ago. Today, it’s less of a management theory and more of a marketing buzzword, and Christensen believes the concept is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success.
Here’s my question: Will the current idea de jour of “social entrepreneurship” follow a similar path? Indeed, has it already?