How Social Entrepreneurs Make Change Happen

PHOTO COURTESY OF RIDERS FOR HEALTH.

PHOTO COURTESY OF RIDERS FOR HEALTH.

Who drives transformation in our society and how do they do it? Roger Martin and Sally Osberg argue in their new book,Getting Beyond Better, that the answer is social entrepreneurs, who target unjust and unsustainable systems — or “equilibria” — and transform them into entirely new, superior, and sustainable equilibria. In this excerpt, they tell a story illustrating how vision is the key to successful transformation.

To serious motorcycle racers like Andrea and Barry Coleman, flat-track racing is the most primal, authentic, and thrilling form of competition, harkening back to the origins of the sport at the turn of the twentieth century. The track itself is dirt and configured in the classic oval shape. Motorcycles make 20 or so counterclockwise laps during the course of a race, at speeds of over 100 miles an hour. As the bikes roar around the track, they gradually wear a groove where you’d expect to find it—near the center, just hugging the inside. Along the outside, the kicked-up dirt and dust forms what’s known as the cushion. Throughout the race, riders tend to stay in the groove, avoiding the cushion, where the ride is riskier because the dirt is soft and traction is uncertain.

Read more at hbr.org