The MakeSense global community has been built by individuals ready to take action to help social entrepreneurs all around the world. We call them the Gangsters: they organize Hold-Ups of ideas to build collaborative solutions to the entrepreneurs’ issues. Some of them, even launch new initiatives to push MakeSense impact further!
Discover the story of Daniel, a super Gangster from Berlin and a MakeSense pioneer always expanding our impact!
Dear Gangster, who are you?
I’m Daniel, 32 years old, an activist at heart. I believe social business is a key to a future we need to build. I believe in innovation to solve our most pressing social and environmental issues. I think climate change is the challenge of our generation, and not solving it would exacerbate all other issues.
What are your superpowers…
Entrepreneurship, design thinking, events, communication.
…and how did you discover MakeSense?
I was supposed to go to an event that Christian (editor’s note: co-founder of MakeSense) also attended, and we connected via Facebook. He pointed me to Ismail, who was organizing a Hold-Up in October 2011 for knowable.org.
Then, what did you like at first?
I loved the direct involvement, being thrown into solving a problem for an inspiring project. I was excited to support social entrepreneurs as the most direct way for me to have an impact.
How did you become a Gangster of the MakeSense community?
Right there and then I told Ismail “I’m in and let’s make this into something”. Three months later, we created the first SenseCamp*.
What did you do to develop MakeSense?
We started to build community and we tried out a bunch of things. The initial SenseDrink came from the idea that all other events are more or less promotion, and we wanted to create a format that’s highly social, never in a place that feels like work (no office, no co-working spaces), and allows people to unwind with other like-minded people. We started doing them regularly, at worst it was Ismail and I and a random friend, at best, it was 100 people coming through an evening at Prinzessinnengarten in the summer. We also did Hold-Ups, trained people, went to tons of events, and planned and supported lots of activities to engage people with social entrepreneurs.
April this year, we started doing a ‘cause month.’ The idea was to make it easier for people to rally around the issues that matter to them. We started with refugee integration, a topic that is close to all of the group, and went out to find social entrepreneurs and initiatives that excite them and ways to support them through Hold-Ups, SenseFiction workshops, a big MKS Room and other kinds of events. We mobilized 600 people that month and connected a lot of innovative actors with gangsters and sensemakers in our network that continue to support these enterprises.
The SenseCamp was really a special story for me. What got me into this field was Muhammad Yunus’ ‘Creating a World Without Poverty’. The idea that profit is only bad when it is being maximized at all cost rather than solving a social issue expressed something I deeply agree with but had not been able to express before. Welcoming Yunus to the SenseCamp in 2013 was not only an honor, it was so encouraging that he stayed much longer than anticipated because he enjoyed being with our community.
“Creating together is a much better social glue
than consuming together.”
What did it bring you?
MakeSense is an amazing global community of people, and being connected to them is what matters in the end. It was fascinating to see so many other Hotspots adapting and innovating the SenseCamp format and turning it into something that went way beyond what we had imagined while still keeping the core attitude — and giving us a challenge to keep experimenting and improving.
It’s inspiring and uplifting to be part of this community of so many people that amaze me. I like to say that we are prototyping community in the digital age. I believe one of the key ingredients is that that we are actively creating something together. Creating together is a much better social glue than consuming together.
What are the next steps? Do you have any project?
We need more inspiring social entrepreneurs who can really disrupt the status quo, with technology and strong communities, and I want to help more of them bloom. I’m working on establishing a SenseCube acceleration program in Berlin that can help us develop more social entrepreneurs and give the community more inspiring enterprises to rally around and get engaged with. There’s a lot of momentum and we plan to start in early 2016 with the first batch of social startups.
Do you have some cool anecdote to share with us concerning your experience as a Gangster?
Some of the best anecdotes happen at the SenseCamp parties. However, you have to be there to be in the know. I’ll just say this: I’ve never experienced so much energy in one room as Marleen from the Berlin Gang created this year with her performance.