Episode 16 – Being an Outsider

Whether you have started a new job, moved to a different town, or created a social enterprise, at one time or another we have all felt some sense of being an outsider. In this week’s episode, Jerrid and Courtney embrace the role of the outsider and discuss how this position provides the perfect opportunity for innovation. As Jerrid defines it, outsiders in the social entrepreneurship world are people who are not of their industries before their social enterprise endeavors.

“I get a kick out of being an outsider constantly. It allows me to be creative.” – Bill Hicks

A significant benefit of being an outsider is the potential for outside-the-box thinking. Outsiders tend not to have the preconceived notions that more experienced people in the field may possess. Industry insiders are by nature close to their professions and have an intimate view of the inner workings of their jobs. While this closeness reaps its rewards, it may also limit their ability to approach issues within their perspective fields from a fresh point of view. Thus, the need for the outsider.  

In the social entrepreneurship world, the outsider is typically met with praise, but sometimes confusion may occur as well. On the one hand, outsiders may generate excitement as they disrupt the status quo and seek to remedy a social ill. On the other hand, the industry insiders may not take them as seriously due to the outsiders’ newness to the field. However, as outsiders become successful in their missions and generate profits, they become more respected by those who may have questioned their capabilities.

So, does it take an outsider to solve lofty problems? Maybe not always, but this was certainly the case in social entrepreneurial success stories Clean the World founded by Shawn Siepler and Recycle Across America founded by Mitch Hedlund. The owners of these social enterprises were very much outsiders when they started their respective businesses which may have given them the distance needed to bring their innovative solutions to life.

 

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