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Boards are one of the key design features of any organisation. As instruments of governance of social ventures, they have a dysfunctional history. They represent a division between moral and manual labour, between the board that interprets the social goals of the organisation and the staff who carry them out. Yet the success of a social venture depends on an integration of the two. The means of overcoming this division is in part through participation in an active process of formation, and in part through the engagement of Board members in the active work of the venture. Boards are legally required to act as guardians of values and mission, and often see themselves as having to resist innovation. But increasingly social ventures are seeking ways to involve stakeholders that do not depend on representation on a board.