Brews & Views tomorrow: “Cutting Edge Trends in Social Innovation”


By on Wed, January 4, 2012


“Cutting Edge Trends in Social Innovation”

Free public forum at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company welcomes social entrepreneurs and thought-leaders Heather McLeod Grant, Peter Sims (photo) and Alexis Ringwald, with moderator Martin Giles, Technology Correspondent for The Economist src=

The field of “social entrepreneurship” has risen in prominence in recent years, to the point where many social ventures such as Teach for America, KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) and Kiva have become household names. In rapidly growing numbers, smart and talented young people and leaders are choosing careers in social entrepreneurship in an effort to make a difference in the world.  In an era where “top down,” centralized policy making has shown serious limitations, could innovations in social entrepreneurship, through combining forces with corporations, philanthropy, technology and media, lead to a large movement of “bottom up,” entrepreneurial problem solving to begin to tackle large-scale national and international problems?  

The participants in the January 5 Brews & Views are notable, local thought-leaders who have each made significant contributions to the rise of social entrepreneurship. The informal and free-flowing discussion will feature Heather McLeod Grant, the co-author of a landmark book on how nonprofits can achieve the highest impact, "Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits"; Peter Sims, the best-selling author of "Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries"; and Alexis Ringwald, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and change-maker who co-organized the Climate Solutions Road Tour, in which she and her partners drove 2,400 miles across India in solar electric cars in order to highlight innovations by Indian companies and to inspire others to take action. The discussion will focus on cutting-edge trends, challenges, and opportunities and will be moderated by Martin Giles, Technology Correspondent for The Economist. Lenny Mendonca, founder of the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and director at McKinsey & Company, will host the evening.

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
6 to 8 p.m.

The Mavericks Event Center
107 Broadway Ave.,
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Admission and snacks are complimentary. Beer, wine, and other beverages will be available for sale at the event. Ten percent of the proceeds from all dinner sales at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company for this event will be donated to the Cabrillo Education Foundation.

For More Information:
Call 650-728-2739 or visit

Speaker Biographies:

Heather McLeod Grant is coauthor with Leslie Crutchfield of a landmark book on how nonprofits can achieve the highest impact, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits, which was named a Top Ten Book of 2007 by The Economist. Based on four years of research and in-depth study of a dozen high-impact organizations, Forces for Good outlines a new roadmap
for nonprofits to succeed on their own terms. With the rapid and global growth of the social sector, it’s more important than ever that the people who run and fund these nonprofits understand what it takes to succeed and focus their resources on the most effective agents of social change. She also teaches at Stanford University and is an advisor to the Center for Social Innovation, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.

A former consultant at McKinsey & Company, she currently is a senior consultant for the Monitor Institute and serves on the advisory boards of Stanford Social Innovation Review and the National Civic League. She has been published in The New York Times, The American Prospect, and Alliance, and has appeared on CNN and NPR. In her spare time, she speaks on social entrepreneurship, nonprofit leadership and strategic philanthropy focusing how to be a stronger force for good.

Peter Sims
Author of Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, Peter Sims writes that we are living in very uncertain, rapidly changing times where, unlike before, people are changing their jobs every few years. Sims emphasizes that it is crucial for our careers and the overall economy that we constantly come up with new ideas and reinvent ourselves; using “little bets” can help us see what is coming next so we can move forward and not be left behind.

According to Sims, “little bets” are “low-risk actions taken to discover, develop, and test an idea” and are the secret to the success of leaders such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to Steve Jobs. “Little bets” are “at the center of an approach to get to the right idea without getting stymied by perfectionism, risk-aversion, or excessive planning.” Not only can this innovative way of thinking advance your career, but “little bets” can have an enormous impact on education, corporations and the overall economy.

Before writing “Little Bets,” Sims was the coauthor with Bill George of True North, the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek bestseller.

Alexis Ringwald
What better way to test-drive solar technologies than, well, to drive them around? Smart-building entrepreneur Alexis Ringwald did just that when she co-organized the Climate Solutions Road Tour, in which she and her partners drove 2,400 miles across India in solar electric cars. It was a move, she says, designed to highlight innovations by Indian companies and to inspire others to take action.

Since returning to the States from her 2.5-year Fulbright position, Ringwald has turned that big ambition to buildings and the smart grid. At Valence Energy, which she cofounded, Ringwald creates software to help decentralize the power grid into a network of smart microgrids, or communities that consume energy produced nearby and on-site. Valence has already made major inroads in decentralizing the grid: Last year, it partnered with Cisco to build smart, energy-efficient buildings. Eventually, Ringwald hopes to take her work full-circle, bringing microgrid breakthroughs to India, where on-the-grid power can be both inefficient and unreliable.

Moderator Biography:
Martin Giles joined The Economist as a Finance Correspondent in 1988. He then moved to Paris as the newspaper’s European Business Correspondent, before returning to London as Finance Editor. Mr. Giles subsequently spent several years on the business side of The Economist Group, latterly as Managing Director of the group’s US operations. During this time he was awarded an executive MBA from The University of Chicago’s Booth Graduate School of Business. In 2008 he returned to the editorial staff of The Economist, becoming the newspaper’s management correspondent in New York. Since 2009 he has been the US Technology Correspondent in San Francisco. He has written special reports on numerous subjects during his career at The Economist, including European business, international banking, insurance and the rise of social networks. Mr. Giles is a member of the Advisory Council of The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and a trustee of the Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation.


Brews and Views is the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s regular speakers series that tackles public issues that affect us all, from the Coastside of California to Washington, DC. Started by Lenny Mendonca, the founder of the Brewing Company and director at McKinsey & Company, Brews and Views serves as both a free public forum and fundraiser for Coastside nonprofit organizations (ten percent of all dinner proceeds are donated to a local nonprofit after each event). Previous notable guests include renowned forecaster Paul Saffo, managing director of foresight at Discern Analytics; Charles Kolb, president of the Committee for Economic Development; Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton; Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle’s political reporter; and California State Assemblyman Jerry Hill.

Previous Brews & Views are broadcast on the Coastside’s community television station, PCTV (channel 27) Monday evenings at 7 p.m. The December 1 Brews & Views, about the craft beer industry with special guest Pete Slosberg, founder of Pete’s Wicked Ale, is available online at: