Social Entrepreneurship Inside of Hard Places

An inspiring question has fueled the lifelong quest of David and Janice Haskell for over three decades of residence and focused work on hard places in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa. “What is required to foster tangible hope and human development on the inside of hard places?”

“Hard places” are those characterized by sectarian violence, human right abuse, compromised rule of law, and chronic poverty.  Such are the places currently hemorrhaging the refugees now arriving in Europe.

Says David: “At this event, we will not discuss how to assist the thousands that escaped.  Rather, we will consider but how to strengthen those committed visionaries who could have left but stayed.  These rooted agents of change can make hope possible on the inside of zones of misery.”

Fifteen years ago, David and Janice launched Dreams InDeed, midwifery network for hard place social entrepreneurs, to strengthen insider “dreamers” to bring hope to life inside their hard places.

Dec 14, 2015 · 6:30 PM
Impact Hub Berlin


What does that take? To find out, we have the great pleasure of welcoming David and Janice to Berlin, to discover what they have learned over three decades of innovation on the ground in hard places.

First, we will explore active change ingredients distilled by Dreams InDeed, illustrated in field cases:

– Focus on the zones of misery – not risk avoidance 

– Follow insider servant-leaders – not outside experts 

– Rely on values alignment – not management controls

– Act only on inspired dreams – not mere good ideas 

– Engage dreamers relationally – talent and resources are not enough

Then, we will put our heads together to work on the next thorny challenge ahead.

The audacious vision of Dreams InDeed is “a light in every hard place in our generation.”

Dreams InDeed sees its role as a catalyst of self-organizing networks for this vision, not an organization aiming to scale a program.  Our hope is that this generation will be motivated and equipped to effectively engage on the causes of the misery inside hard places, rather than merely treating symptoms or insulating themselves from fallout.

For this Stanford Peace Innovation Lab event, David and Janice will engage all of you to bring your thoughts and experience to bear on a question that will shape the future of Dreams InDeed: “How can Dreams InDeed catalyze this generation to pursue and achieve this vision?”


For this event, we welcome participants willing to ponder and contribute to this paradigm shift of inside-out engagement with hard places. We will orchestrate discussions in breakout groups to explore a variety of themes on this challenge.  We need you to bring your experiences and inspirations to this event. There are many and diverse ways to engage with this network, whether on the ground in hard places, and/or here in Berlin, and beyond.


Dreams InDeed International

– strengthens local social entrepreneurs, who live in and are from hard places, so that their dream for a transformed community, where the poor celebrate life, becomes a light inviting all to participate.

Prof. Christian Seelos

– is a visiting scholar at the Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and the Leo Tindemans Chair of Business Model Innovation at KU Leuven. Previously he was the Director of the IESE Platform for Strategy and Sustainability and faculty of the Strategic Management Department at IESE Business School.

In 2006 he was a Director at FSG Social Impact Advisors in Geneva, a firm co-founded by Prof. Michael Porter from Harvard University which carries out CSR and sustainability consulting with for-profit, public and NGO sectors.

Berlin Peace Innovation Lab

– as part of the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab global network, focuses on how technology is facilitating emerging and measurable social changes toward global peace. The Berlin Peace Innovation Lab provides design frameworks, principles and methodologies for interventions that will increase positive engagement at scale.

Impact Hub Berlin

– is a member-based coworking space and event venue for entrepreneurs creative positive impact. The Hub is an open ecosystem of collaborators focussed on prototyping the future of business and society.

Innovation for/with Refugees: Next Steps

This summer the Peace Innovation Lab Berlin has hosted a series of larger and smaller meeting around the theme: ‘Innovation for and with Refugees’.

Now we get back together for the next steps. We warmly invite you to hear where the different projects now stand, share your experiences, and join the projects for this next phase. The projects that have came out of the Peace Innovation Labs or joined us for part of the way are:

• Refugees on Rails

• ReStart

• Knowit

• InfoCompass

At the end of this summer, we decided that you eventually need to stop talking, and start doing. So this fall, the projects set off one by one. Now, we want to bring everyone together again for an evening where we share experiences.

It is not just an evening to get together again, it is also an evening where we want to invite you, our community of peace labsters, and the members of the Migration hub to join us. Your fresh insights and experience are invaluable.

Also, if you are working on a project that you would like to propose, you can join us in the mix.

Dec 3, 2015 · 7:00 PM
migration hub @ startupboat


In the first hour, we will together together debate where Social Entrepreneurship and Refugee Projects meet, introduce the projects and where they now stand.

In the second hour, we will hold a project clinic. In smaller groups, we will hold small brainstorm sessions, where we can discuss the projects one per one in depth, and find solutions for challenges together.

Organizer: Berlin Peace Innovation Lab

as part of the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab global network, focuses on how technology is facilitating emerging and measurable social changes toward global peace. The Berlin Peace Innovation Lab provides design frameworks, principles and methodologies for interventions that will increase positive engagement at scale.

Host: Migration Hub

Migration Hub Berlin is part of Migration Hub Network. Migration Hubs are physical and virtual space that leverage the expertise of the local tech community and synergizes with the talented migrant community. We create viable solutions for the pressing challenges of mass migration.