In his first six months in office, President Obama has spoken at length about service, social innovation and professional responsibility. They are some of the core means for achieving his domestic agenda. He sees them as part of how we address issues in our society on a systemic basis.
Service is about volunteering, but it is also about a mindset where one is giving of themself to help the collective.
Social innovation is about the notion that government can’t solve problems alone and that we cannot continue do things the same way while expecting different results. The President sees innovation in the nonprofit sector as critical to an effective government and society.
Finally, professional responsibility was a major theme of criticism surrounding the Wall Street melt down and executive compensation. While the President believes in capitalism, he also feels that business professionals must hold themselves accountable to more than just the short-term bottom line.
Pro bono service is the intersection of these three priorities we’ve seen President Obama espouse. Pro bono allows business professions to provide social innovators with their skilled service while also constructing an ethic of professional social responsibility in these careers.
By inspiring the adoption of the pro bono ethic and investing in the infrastructure of its field, the President can find a rare synergy where one single effort can have a tremendous multiplier effect.