Social Bricoleur – The Case of Cycling Without Age

Creating Something from Nothing

A conventional entrepreneur brings together a unique set of resources to pursue an opportunity; seeking primarily to create an economic value. Yet, what makes many agog with curiosity is to understand how social entrepreneurs differ from such commercial entrepreneurs. Firstly, social entrepreneurs commonly share the same pursuit of revenue generation with conventional entrepreneurs. But what really makes them different is that while making profits, they simultaneous achieve social (and environmental) goals similar to what the non-profit organizations achieve. They uniquely offer creative solutions to persistent and unmet societal needs. For the most part, needs that are present in their local communities.

Generally speaking, entrepreneurship experts have used the concept of bricolage to address reactions to resource scarcity. That is, Bricolage – a term used in several disciplines and originally borrowed from the French verb bricoleur meaning ‘fiddle, thinker’ is the equivalent to the English term do it yourself. To a certain extent, bricolage is characteristically entrepreneurial because it involves combining accessible resources to unravel problems and leverage new opportunities.

The idea of adapting a more nuanced conception of bricolage to the context of social enterprises continues to take shape. Nevertheless, social entrepreneurs are already demonstrating traits that are generating and extending the use of this conceptual term.

Social bricoleurs “make do” by applying a combination of the resources at hand to new problems and opportunities. They count on making an impact with the resources already at hand that are either cheap or free. In many cases, these resources are judged by others to be useless of substandard. Thus, why social bricoleurs see this as an opportunity to act in an innovative manner to create.

Creating something from nothing is exactly what Ole Kassow started doing in Denmark in 2012. “I showed up at the local nursing home with a rented rickshaw offering a free ride to the residents”, he expressed. His desire to help the elderly get back in their bicycles to provide freedom, joy and reduce their limited mobility, has already spread to other cities around the world.

This changed his life, the lives of elderly passengers, and volunteers who came across Ole and his social endeavor Cycling Without Age – an initiative that contributes to both physical and mental well-being of the elderly and volunteers, thus giving nursing homes and municipalities a golden opportunity to stimulate and promote health and mobility.

Cycling Without Age is a perfect example of social bricolage in that its founder makes use of available resources in the community. Moreover, Ole clearly demonstrates his focus in discovering and addressing a small-scale local social need. These rickshaws achieve a new purpose by providing senior citizens with a safe environment, skills, and a sense of purpose in life.

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