Major waves are poised to rip through our society. Demographic shift, global mobility, urbanization, and digitization of the working world – our traditional perspective no longer suffices to answer all the questions raised. Yet we need solutions to these questions – socially and economically. 

Social entrepreneurs are among the people working to develop those solutions. Not only do they relieve the symptoms of social problems, they also remove the cause. Their entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, risk-taking, and persistence set them apart. 

"Social entrepreneurs are the essential corrective force. They are system-changing entrepreneurs. And from deep within they, and therefore their work, are committed to the good of all."

Bill Drayton 

So how do social entrepreneurs manage to change systems? What stops them, and what drives them on? Just how much potential do their solutions really offer? 

To explore these and other questions, Ashoka joined forces with McKinsey & Company to conduct extensive interviews with some of Germany's 1,700 social entrepreneurs – as well as their partners in the respective systems. In the final analysis, we have taken four very different examples from the healthcare and education systems to demonstrate how social entrepreneurs are driving change: 


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