A review of KaBoom! How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play, by Darrell Hammond
@@@@@ (5 out of 5)
A little more than two years ago I found myself immersed up to my eyeballs in a new venture dedicated to fostering the spirit of play among disadvantaged children. That venture — a mission-driven, for-profit company — was the One World Futbol Project, just then founded by the husband and wife team of Tim Jahnigen and Lisa Tarver. Tim had invented an extraordinary new soccer ball that never goes flat, needs no pump or needle, and goes on playing even if it’s punctured. The Project opened for business shortly afterward during the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg. Our goal was to distribute one million One World Futbols within three years to children and young people in refugee camps, war zones, impoverished villages, and low-income urban neighborhoods around the world.
What had drawn me to the One World Futbol Project when Tim and Lisa showed me a prototype ball late in 2009 was not the opportunity to give poor kids what would probably be their first ball to play with. For me, the Project wasn’t about play, or sports. I was drawn in by the way so many UN agencies, schools, and NGOs were using soccer as a teaching tool, offering games that helped children acquire insights and skills in conflict resolution, self-confidence, teamwork, gender equity, and HIV/AIDs awareness.
In other words, as I saw it, the One World Futbol could speed community development efforts where poor people lived. That, to me, was a no-brainer, since I’ve been concerned throughout my life with the challenges of global poverty. (Now I’m even writing a book on that topic.) As the business began organizing in the spring of 2010, I became one of four partners. Both Tim and Lisa have continued ever since to emphasize the importance of play in child development, and I even attended a presentation by Dr. Stuart Brown, one of the world’s leading authorities on play. Still, I didn’t get it.
Then I read Darell Hammond’s surprisingly powerful little book, KaBoom! I think I get it now: if kids are deprived of opportunities to play — not twiddling thumbs on video games but creating their own games and rough-housing out-of-doors — the ill effects are evident and provable in their later lives.
Less than 20 years ago, Darell co-founded KaBoom!, a nonprofit organization that builds playgrounds in disadvantaged neighborhoods in North American towns and cities. Darell himself grew up in difficult circumstances (though he didn’t see it that way), and he never finished college, but he proved himself to be a brilliant leader — enough so that he’s now Dr. Hammond, having received an honorary Doctorate from the college he briefly attended.
Since the mid-1990s, KaBoom! has built more than 2,000 playgrounds throughout North America, and it’s estimated that its training, advisory services, and online tools have enabled others to build 10 times that many over the same period. KaBoom! has become a model of social entrepreneurship and a superb example of how nonprofit leaders can equal the very best managers to be found in the private sector. These are all truly remarkable accomplishments.
KaBoom! (the book) is really three books in one. It’s Darell’s story, and the organization’s — an important story, told with charm and unflagging honesty. It’s an essay on the importance of play and the implications for public policy. And it’s a how-to manual for communities to build playgrounds themselves.
If you’re a social entrepreneur or just want to learn more about social entrepreneurship, you owe it to yourself to read at least the first half of this book.
Oh, and by the way: that goal of the One World Futbol Project to distribute one million balls in our first three years? With a generous boost from Chevrolet, we’re on track to meet it!
Social Enterprise: A Resource List
Here are the books, periodicals, blogs, websites, and organizations I’ve come across in exploring the field of social enterprise. This is by no means a comprehensive list (although, so far as I can tell, it’s longer than any other I’ve found). And I haven’t read everything here or engaged with all the websites or organizations in the list — though I’m working on it.
I’ve boldfaced those items with which I am personally familiar and recommend as good sources of information and insight about social entrepreneurship. The books I’ve reviewed in this blog are linked to their reviews.
Bryan Bell, Editor, Good Deeds, Good Design: Community Service Through Architecture (2004)
David Bornstein, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition (2007)
—, The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank (1997, 2005)
— and Susan Davis, Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know (2010)
Ben Cohen and Mal Warwick, Values-Driven Business: How to Change the World, Make Money, and Have Fun (2006)
Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orlanda Ruthven, Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day (2009)
Jim Collins, Good to Great and the Social Sectors: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great (2005)
Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, 2nd Edition (2008, 2012)
J. Gregory Dees, Jed Emerson, and Peter Economy, Strategic Tools for Social Entrepreneurs: Enhancing the Performance of Your Enterprising Nonprofit (2002)
Cheryl L. Dorsey and Lara Galinsky, Be Bold (2006)
John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan, The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World (2008)
Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere (2012)
Adam Hochschild, Bury The Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves (2006)
Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (2003)
Paul Charles Light, The Search for Social Entrepreneurship (2008)
Kevin Lynch and Julius Walls, Jr., Mission, Inc.: The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Enterprise (2008)
Johanna Mair, Jeffrey Robinson, and Kai Hockerts, Social Entrepreneurship (2006)
Pavithra Mehta, Infinite Vision: How Aravind Became the World’s Greatest Business Case for Compassion, (2011)
Alex Nicholls, Editor, Social Entrepreneurship: New Models of Sustainable Social Change (2006)
Jacqueline Novogratz, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World (2009)
Paul Polak, Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail (2009)
C. K. Prahalad, Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, Revised and Updated (2004, 2009)
Beverly Schwartz, Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World (2012)
Rupert Scofield, The Social Entrepreneur’s Handbook: How to Start, Build, and Run a Business That Improves the World (2011)
Social Enterprise Alliance, Succeeding at Social Enterprise: Hard-Won Lessons for Nonprofits and Social Entrepreneurs (2010)
Jane C. Wei-Skillern, James E. Austin, Herman B. Leonard, and Howard H. Stevenson, Entrepreneurship in the Social Sector (2007)
Muhammad Yunus, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism (2008)
Stanford Social Innovation Review (Stanford University), http://www.ssireview.org/
Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization (MIT), http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/itgg
Evan Carmichael’s Top 30 Social Entrepreneurship Blogs to Watch in 2012, http://www.evancarmichael.com/blog/2012/04/10/the-top-30-social-entrepreneur-blogs-to-watch-in-2012/
Skoll Foundation Social Edge, http://www.socialedge.org/
World Resource Institute’s NextBillion.net, http://nextbillion.net/
Alltop’s Social Entrepreneurship Coverage, http://social-entrepreneurship.alltop.com/
Catalyst Fund’s Social Business blog, http://www.clearlyso.com/
E-180’s Top 25 Social Entrepreneurship Websites, http://blog.e-180.com/en/2009/02/our-top-25-social-entrepreneurship-websites/
Institute for Social Entrepreneurs, http://www.socialent.org/
Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, http://www.ashoka.org/
Echoing Green, http://www.echoinggreen.org/
Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship (Oxford University), http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/centres/skoll/Pages/default.aspx
Social Venture Network, http://svn.org/
Social Enterprise Alliance, https://www.se-alliance.org/
Net Impact, http://netimpact.org/
University Network for Social Entrepreneurship, http://bit.ly/KwqWgz
Bainbridge Graduate Institute, http://www.bgi.edu/
Center for Responsible Business, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, http://responsiblebusiness.haas.berkeley.edu/
Center for Social Innovation, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, http://csi.gsb.stanford.edu/
Presidio School of Management, http://www.presidioedu.org/
Babson College, MBA in Entrepreneurship, http://www.babson.edu/graduate/Pages/landing-graduate.aspx?gclid=CPm_1YL37rACFUQaQgodizXjug
Marlboro College Graduate School, MBA in Sustainability, https://gradschool.marlboro.edu/academics/mba/
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/student_resources/academics/concentrations/social_entrepreneurship/
Also see Aspen Institute rating of top 30 SUStainable MBA programs, http://www.topmba.com/mba-rankings/sustainability-mba
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Tagged as Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Bill Drayton, business, David Bornstein, design, genetic engineering, Grameen Bank, Haas Center for Responsible Business, J. Gregory Dees, Jed Emerson, marketing, Muhammad Yunus, social enterprise, Social Enterprise Alliance, social entrepreneur, social entrepreneurship, Social Venture Network, Stanford University, susan davis