Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I believe we need more unreasonable people. Actually, I'm hoping that after this talk, 90% of this audience will want to become more of an unreasonable person. I can see some of you frowning here in the first row, which is understandable, because we were raised in the Western culture, and especially us Dutchies, to become reasonable people. Reason gives us better careers, better lives. I'm hoping to make you more unreasonable. So what is unreasonable? I have a slide and we don't need to read this all, but it means irrational, not having the faculty of reason. I got this from the free Wikipedia online. I found other synonyms like silly, senseless, foolish. So I'm not convincing you to be unreasonable yet, I realize, but the reason I think it's important I'm going to show you with this next quote by George Bernard Shaw, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." George Bernard Shaw believed that the only way to create progress is to be unreasonable. If we want to move forward in this world, create a just and sustainable society, we need people that are willing to break through the status quo, and I fully support his view. The first man on the Moon, the people who thought about that were deemed totally unreasonable. The first people that wanted to create the Internet were deemed unreasonable. Most innovation comes from unreasonable people. And personally, on a very small scale, I was called unreasonable when I started WarChild. People felt that I was a 24-year-old girl when I started, I had no knowledge of war zones and no knowledge of aid organizations or psycho-social projects, so where would I find the funds? Today WarChild supports a million children each year, in 13 war-torn countries. So I have found-- (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) For me it's obvious that unreasonable dreams can come true, and that they can create progress. One of my unreasonable heroes is Muhammad Yunus, some of you will know him. His very unreasonable idea was that you could provide unsecured loans to the poorest people in the world, namely women. Totally contrary to any banking system. It took him 17 years to prove that you could build a business and provide loans to these poor people, but today his model is copied all over the world and it's called Microfinance. His own social enterprise Grameen has already provided five billion dollars to five million people helping them, giving them the chance to free themselves from the poverty trap. That is progress. So I believe there is a strong correlation between unreasonable people and progress, especially if it is combined with entrepreneurship, with social entrepreneurship. Why do we need progress? To me that's very obvious, but I will touch on it because I think it's important. The last 40 years we've had growth, we've had huge accumulation of wealth, but we haven't really been able to solve any of the major challenges our world is faced with. I can just name a few. We're depleting our natural resources and raw materials at a totally unprecedented pace. There's 25 million people in Africa that have HIV/AIDS. A million of them die every year. We have one billion children growing up in poverty. There's two billion kids in the world, so every second child grows up in poverty. In 80% of the countries the divide between rich and poor is growing and Oxfam just published a report where they claim the 85 richest people in this world own more wealth than the three and a half billion poorest, which is half of the world's population. Just think about it. Poverty is closer than we think because in the Netherlands, we have one million people living below the poverty line. Another two million people are lonely which I personally perceive as a form of poverty. There are hundreds of thousands of people that we put outside of our society because they have a disability. And I could go on and on, and I hope you agree with me that this situation is totally unacceptable and also unsustainable. We urgently need to find new solutions to these challenges. I believe that these unreasonable people, these social entrepreneurs, play a key role in creating that change, creating that progress. Because entrepreneurs choose to see opportunities where other people see intangible problems. They choose to swim against the stream, to be unreasonable, to try new business models, to create innovation. There are actually four characteristics for a social enterprise I want to share. The first is every social entrepreneur has a theory of change, something they want to change in this world. Impact is their major driver. Impact is what starts it all. They want to create that change through a viable business model, through a market-based solution, which means they don't want to be dependent on subsidies, and grants, or on the government. They want to build a market-based solution, which also means that they can scale that solution if they make their business grow, and it means the solution is sustainable. The most ambitious ones want systemic change, want that change to be much bigger than their own enterprise. So let's look at the Netherlands. Do we have social entrepreneurs in the Netherlands? Yes, we do. Quite a few very impressive ones, and I'll tell you about a few of them. I want to start with Text To Change. Text To Change is a social enterprise started in 2007 by Bas and Hajo, and they wanted to use mobile technology, SMS messaging, to reach the unreachable people in the outskirts of the world, to bring development, health care, education. It was deemed totally unreasonable. First of all, you don't combine mobile phones and healthcare and secondly, these people in the outskirts of Africa would never be able to access mobile phones - this was 2007. Today, 700 million people in Africa have a mobile phone, which is almost 60% of the continent, and people are expecting that next year it's already going to be 85%. Text To Change has done 70 projects in 16 countries, also in South America and Asia, and they have already sent 32 million text messages this year, and we're only in April. So what do these text messages do? To give you one example, in Uganda they made an SMS quiz about HIV/AIDS. For prevention, to prevent transmission and for people to raise awareness. 40% of the people that took the quiz had themselves tested at a local clinic. That is progress. Another unreasonable entrepreneur, who is actually from Utrecht, is called Sjoerd van der Maaden from Specialisterren. His unreasonable idea was he was going to to build a business where he'd only employ autistic people. He believes autistic people have enormous capacity if you look at what they can do instead of look at what they can't do. There are 26,000 people with a form of autism that are highly skilled that sit at home without jobs. So he built a software testing company because he knows, he has an autistic son, that people with this form of autism are extremely good in concentration and details, and have concrete focus. He has already proven that his staff, his team, is better in testing software than any other software testers around. This is a successful business creating huge impact, giving people that were formerly unemployed a chance to be part of our society and build their own lives. As you can see these social enterprises are very different than commercial enterprises, or charities, or public institutions. They form a thriving new sector, a sector that has continued to grow. Some of them are very ambitious; they really want to change the system. System change is not just about scale, system change is about changing the hearts and minds of people. One of those potential system changers from the Netherlands is Fairphone, by Bas van Abel, who actually also lives in Utrecht. (Cheering) Bas wanted to change the phones we are using. He was totally frustrated by the fact that they are filled with raw materials from conflict areas, mined often by children. They're being produced in shady factories in Asia, they're totally customer unfriendly because we can't customize them, we can't even change the batteries anymore and they end up in e-waste dumps in Africa. So what do you do? You can protest against it and be an activist, or you can show that it can be done differently. They created the first Fairphone. The system change is in the fact that consumers are willing to buy this phone. The fact that the consumers, that we are willing to look at the different way their products are made. Fairphone could potentially be a revolution in the electronics industry. Of course, Bas was deemed very unreasonable when he started this venture. Another movement that you must have all seen, and is a potential system changer, is the share economy movement.