A Crucible: A place or situation in which different elements interact to produce something new. The process entails a severe test or trial. In industry, it is a container where metals are mixed at high temperature to create a new material.
To have impact, ideas need to rub up against other opinions. They must be tested in the crucible of debate and experimentation. The concentrated forces of differing perspectives running up against an unyielding reality interact to create change.
My career since the late 1970’s has been spent in businesses working at the confluence of entrepreneurship and social impact. Combining mission and business was and is a particularly messy place although, in those early days, we were blissfully unaware of the heat of the crucible. The challenge of surviving and scaling in hyper competitive industries while pursing social mission created a multiplicity of pressures, often conflicting.
We survived. Those pressures resulted in unique and lasting solutions, a sense of accomplishment while generating revenue and, surprise, occasional profit. In the process I was changed, we all were.