David Lehr

Social Capital Markets: The Informal Sessions

TalkHallThe final day of last week’s SoCap event was, for me, the best of the 3 days.? It was the chance to meet with lots of other participants, hear their ideas, and get actively involved in the things that I really cared about and wanted to discuss.? The “strategically unstructured“?format of the day was SoCap’s way to take the informal discussions of the hallways and expand on them.? It was also the place to find the people that were in the sessions on Monday and Tuesday who you never found the time to have a chat with.

I attended only 2 sessions that day, the first on franchising as a tool for scale and the second on China and development, but I actually spent the entire day on-site chatting with new found friends, old-found friends, and a whole host of compelling ideas.? The franchising talk brought together seasoned members of the community from organizations like VisionSpring one of the early adopters of microfranchising, and those that were just starting to look at franchising such as Rubicon.?I also learned of a really interesting mobile medical initiative in the US that was considering franchising ambulance services in the Midwest and had the chance to share some of the key findings from my own microfranchising research.

In the session on China, I was exposed to some of the challenges that development organizations are facing there, and also shared my thoughts on how China had changed since my first visit in 1982.? The attendees ranged from Calvert to the World Resources Institute and topics covered the gamut from microfinance to environmental issues to GONGOs.? Seems like an unusual structure–Government Organized Non Governmental Organization–but then again China is an unusual place!

I want to extend my thanks to the organizers at Good Capital for finding a way to make time for the networking that is so crucial to our work, and look forward to an even bigger event in 2009!