You could be a mentor to social entrepreneurs without behaving like a design thinker, but our finding is that in this case your results and the impact that social entrepreneurs can have as a result of your support will be worse than with this if you had a behaviour of design thinker.
What we have found from our peer work as mentors with social entrepreneurs is that to behave as a design thinker the mentor should be driven at least by the following basic prerequisites:
a) understanding the mentee (social entrepreneur) as a creative person who falls in love with the social problem and tries to solve it at whatever price. This principle starts with empathy and focuses on own study in order to he/she to understand the social entrepreneur and its target groups.
b) creating an open, playful atmosphere that will fuel the creativity of the entrepreneur. It allows the mentor to frame the problem in a new way, look at it from different perspectives and consider a variety of solutions and provoke entrepreneurs toward creativeness.
c) keeping the mind of the entrepreneur open that testing the social solution is a must and its potential reframing is a regular result. Early rounds of testing and feedback help ensure the entrepreneur is delivering solutions that the target group will love.
d) collaborating with the entrepreneur although they may have diverse perspectives on the social solution or impact. They have to work together, creating a team that encourage different viewpoints and stimulates the co-creation process. This principle is very important and we call it a peer-to-peer working process.
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