At the Rockefeller Center, we educate, train, and inspire the next generation of public policy leaders, and I am thrilled to take on a role that combines social entrepreneurship and human-centered design to further develop our offerings at the Center.
These two promising approaches of social entrepreneurship and human-centered design correspond to our two primary domains of public policy and leadership in exciting ways. Not only do social entrepreneurs embody leadership, these changemakers oftentimes generate the beginnings of innovative and cost-effective public policy solutions to some of our most pressing challenges in our society (or, as Rittel & Webber put it, our “wicked problems”). Similarly, at the core of human-centered design is empathy, and this approach puts the focus of developing products or services on solving real problems for real people.
I am inspired by the stories of social entrepreneurs around the world who are supported by pioneering organizations such as Ashoka, Echoing Green, Schwab Foundation and by those who are recognized by such institutions as Forbes magazine. I find it fascinating that in another time these individuals may have been known as humanitarians or social reformists, but that they are more recently being categorized as something that altogether captures the essence of their work more fully -- social entrepreneurs. Just as business entrepreneurs seek to innovate to generate value that people desire, social entrepreneurs do the same, only with a major difference in the target populations. The value proposition for the business entrepreneur is that they bring innovations to markets that can afford to pay for the product or service (and thereby generate profits), whereas social entrepreneurs target at-risk or otherwise disadvantaged populations and develop innovations to improve lives and create social impact.
There is a choice that we all make about the way we contribute to this world, and how we use what we have to offer. By developing programming around social entrepreneurship in close collaboration with campus partners, such as the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, Thayer School of Engineering, Tuck School of Business, the Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Neukom DALI lab and many more, we look forward to providing this approach of social entrepreneurship as an option to students, and introduce this as a way for them to help others and make lasting impact.
--Thanh Nguyen, Rockefeller's Design and Entrepreneurship Officer
Thanh V. Nguyen has been with the Rockefeller Center since 2011 as a Program Coordinator for Co-Curricular Programs and in January 2014, he became the Rockefeller Center’s first Design and Entrepreneurship Officer. Prior to Dartmouth, Thanh spent 4 years serving within Cheshire County government developing innovative and cost-efficient solutions to public health and public safety issues. In his roles as a Clinical Case Manager for the State of New Hampshire's first Alternative Sentencing Program and Mental Health Court and later as a Project Manager for the County administration, Thanh helped to connect individuals affected by chronic alcohol and substance abuse issues with treatment services, and also led a safe medication disposal campaign by building partnerships with organizations across private, non-profit, and public sectors that contributed to the development of policy and new legislation across NH. Thanh graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Psychology from Keene State College in 2005.
Learn more about Thanh through a previous post on our blog, his LinkedIn profile, and follow him on Twitter at @thanhvnguyen.
The Dartmouth published an article detailing all the recent additions to Rockefeller programming which can be read here.