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Bill Drayton sees a world where 'everyone is a changemaker'

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Luis Magán/El Pais/Newscom/File

(Read caption) Bill Drayton, the godfather of social entrepreneurs, argues we must move quickly into an 'everyone is a changemaker' world, where ever-changing teams of entrepreneurs address the challenges facing humanity.

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If you want to find out what's happening in the world of social entrepreneurs, you can't do better than ask Bill Drayton: especially since he's the person who first coined the term "social entrepreneur" and is an acknowledged pioneer in the field.

Mr. Drayton is well-known as the founder and CEO of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, which now has about 3,000 social entrepreneurs in the field all over the world. This year marks 30 years since the first Ashoka fellows began their work. He has won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship. In 2006, Harvard University named him one of its 100 “Most Influential Alumni.” In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate from New York University and the Essl Social Prize, for his work creating and building the field of social entrepreneurship.

According to David Bornstein's book, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, one of Drayton's college professors once described him as having "the determination of Job and the brains of a Nobel laureate." "The life purpose of the true social entrepreneur is to change the world," Drayton has said. "[H]e or she simply cannot come to rest in life until his or her vision has become the new pattern societywide."

In an interview last week in Boston Drayton frequently evoked his mantra that "Everyone is a changemaker."

"Whether it's a large traditional social service organization, and you can quickly think of some, or a large bureaucratic corporation, they're both dead," he says. "The future is for the entrepreneurs in any sector."

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