'Dumb It Down': The Need to Simplify Your Message?

Discussions about social enterprise in the world today are often academic and intellectual. Many of the ideas of social enterprise have come from academic institutions and professors and researchers.

Nevertheless, the actual application of social entrepreneurship may require that the ideas be simplified so that the majority of people can understand and apply the concept too.

Getting Wrapped Up in Your Social Entrepreneurship

A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend about some of my ideas and upcoming projects. I shared with him some of my entrepreneurial ideas and how I wanted to share them with others throughout the world. Personally I knew in my gut that I wanted to speak with him because with his creativity, he could give me the passion and ideas to take my mission to the next level. I asked for his advice.

Funny enough, he looked at me and said something that I didn’t expect. He remarked that “Matthew, you are an intellectual.” I was humbled by his comment, but I was surprised he said that. He went on and explained that “I’ve seen some of your work and your ideas myself. I really wanted to let others hear your message too. It’s just that I think they’re a bit too dry for most people. People don’t want to be lectured to. If they wanted that they’d go to school. If you want to engage people, you have to simplify the message. Dare I say, you have to ‘dumb it down‘. Be more creative and make an emotional connection with people too. You have to also be an example of your own message.”

A Different Approach to Promoting Social Enterprise

That comment really struck me. I had never thought about that before. In my personal experience, I’ve always enjoyed new ideas and tackling them. I agree that I tend to have more of an academic gift about me, but as of late I truly have been wanting to tap into more of actually DOING things with what I have learned, rather than keeping the knowledge and wisdom all for myself. I think that’s why I have been drawn to social entrepreneurship rather than research per se. Social entrepreneurship is actually about doing something to achieve a result. It’s about taking action, rather than merely about learning. The research is important too, of course, but what becomes most important in social entrepreneurship is the result that you achieve at the end of it all.

Clarifying Your Mission and Ideas So Others Can Understand It

I don’t think that my friend was trying to say that social entrepreneurship should be dumbed down in order for it to oversimplify or degrade the ideas, or to decline creativity and innovation. Rather, I believe he was focusing on the fact that in order for your creative entrepreneurial ideas to impact millions of people, you must be innovative enough to adapt your message for a wider audience. Social entrepreneurship is a relatvely new idea. It’s not widely accepted or understood… yet. In order for other people who don’t have the time nor the inclination to learn about social entrepreneurial ideas and missions, I think he is right in saying that we sometimes have to simplify the message so that other people can relate to it.

Sharing Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship should not be a concept only for those in the “ivory towers” who speak its theoretical jargon. It should be shared with ordinary people so that this innovative way of doing business can be enjoyed by all. In order for that to happen, I propose that entrepreneurs and social innovators should make their message relevant to as many people as possible.