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Dear Reader,

We are excited to bring you the third installment of the Social Innovations Journal’s new series on financing social impact -- “The Social Innovation Finance Series.” Across the globe there has been a rapid rise in the number of social sector innovators and entrepreneurs who want to find out-of-the-box ways to solve or “move the needle” on society’s problems, and they are increasingly deploying the methods of business and private capital to do so. Today’s social entrepreneurs are now tapping markets for finance, in addition to seeking grants from donors and philanthropists looking to support innovative ideas and businesses that offer an opportunity to deliver sustainable social impact. The power of finance supporting social innovation has the potential to spark a social sector revolution by harnessing the energy of social innovations, enterprises, and partnerships that drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and capital to bring the dream of social innovation and impact to life. 

Our special series will continue to reveal breakthrough initiatives within Social Mobility, Health, and Human Services while exploring new funding opportunities through philanthropy, impact investing, policy as investment, raising capital, and new financial instruments. We will continue to bring you the freshest social innovation fiscal models that include: Funding Systems Change; Health Care Bonds; Philanthropic Roundtable; Raising Capital; Regional Focus; Philanthropic Equity; Program Related Investments; and Social Impact Bonds.

Abraham Lincoln’s words, “The best way to predict the future is to create it,” inspire the collective energy of our third edition. We embark on the new frontier of untapped finance in philanthropy by exploring what the future holds. What will philanthropy look like in 2030? What issues will it have addressed during the previous decade? What new philanthropic strategies discussed today will become commonplace 10 years from now?

The answers to these questions remain elusive but following the work of today’s leaders, Changemakers, and field builders will provide us with a glimpse of the bright future ahead. Avery Tucker Fontaine, Head of Strategic Philanthropy at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, shares her insights of what the future of Philanthropy and Impact Investing hold in an article she penned and during an interview in this special edition – “The Social Innovation Finance Series Part III.” In this one-on-one interview with Social Innovations Partners President Mike Clark, Avery outlines a series of practical strategies across philanthropy and investing that can be adopted by individuals, foundations, and donor advised funds to unlock capital to impact the issues that matter most today and tomorrow.

Admittedly, innovative social entrepreneurs still have a difficult time securing funding sources to seed and scale their work. In this edition, we explore the potential for an additional two percent of assets through charitable foundations and donor advised funds. This would establish nearly $20 billion in additional support to fund cutting edge solutions to tackle society’s greatest challenges. 

Yet, unlocking even a fraction of these funds will take a new level of commitment, behavior change, and forward-thinking. Luckily, leaders like Avery Fontaine Tucker -- are stepping up to serve as practical guides on this exciting journey into the future of philanthropy funding social innovation. 

We hope that this edition helps you to see the bright future social innovation finance holds, and the pathway forward we are hoping to carve out with “The Social Innovation Finance Series." Together, we can better respond to some of the largest issues facing our communities through smart, sustainable solutions that can change the trajectory of our lives and world, for generations to come. 

 

Yours in innovation,

Nicholas Torres and Tine Hansen-Turton, Co-founders

Mike Clark, President and Alescia M. Dingle, Managing Editor

 

Dear Reader,

We are proud to bring you the second edition of the Social Innovations Journal’s new monthly edition on financing social impact -- “The Social Innovation Finance Series.” Across the globe there has been a rapid rise in the number of social sector innovators and entrepreneurs who want to find out-of-the-box ways to solve or “move the needle,” on society’s problems, and they are increasingly deploying the methods of business and private capital to do so. Today’s social entrepreneurs are now tapping markets for finance, in addition to seeking grants from donors and philanthropists willing to fund innovative ideas and businesses that offer a greater promise of delivering social impact. The power of finance supporting social innovation has the potential to spark a social sector revolution by harnessing the energy of the social innovations, enterprises, and partnerships that drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and capital to bring social impact to life. 

Our special series will continue to uncover breakthrough initiatives within Social Mobility, Health, and Human Services while exploring new funding opportunities through philanthropy, impact investing, policy as investment, raising capital, and new financial instruments. Through this series we will delve into evolving social innovation fiscal models including: Funding Systems Change; Health Care Bonds; Philanthropic Roundtable; Raising Capital; Regional Focus; Philanthropic Equity; Program Related Investments; and Social Impact Bonds.

The focus of the second installment of the Social Innovations Journal is innovative funding and finance within ophthalmology. Today, there are more than 4.24 million people living with vision impairment in the U.S. alone, and more than 10 million Americans facing loss of their vision due to retinal disease. Helen Keller famously said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” This edition highlights the innovative financing concept of Eye Bonds envisioned by Karen Shaw Petrou, a leading banking analyst featured in The Wall Street Journal. Shaw Petrou, the Managing Director of Federal Financial Analytics, Inc., takes listeners and readers alike, into the her innovative fiscal model that marries cutting edge medical researchers in the field with financial institutions and investors who can provide much needed funding. In an exciting audio interview with our organization president, Mike Clark, Shaw Petro offers a ray of hope to those living with impaired vision and blindness by sharing her formula that pushes fiscal institutions further into the social impact space with support of research that offers the promise of eradicating blindness worldwide within the next decade. Shaw Petrou demonstrates how the concept of Eye Bonds can lead to the potential development of a wider Bio Bonds market; a market that would address the financing of a variety of unprecedented medical advances.

We hope that this edition helps you to see the bright future social innovation finance holds, and the pathway forward we are hoping to carve out with “The Social Innovation Finance Series.” Together, we can better respond to some of the largest issues facing our communities through smart, sustainable solutions that can change the trajectory of our lives and world, for generations to come.

 

Yours in innovation,

Nicholas Torres and Tine Hansen-Turton, Co-founders

Mike Clark, President and Alescia M. Dingle, Managing Editor

Dear Reader,

We are proud to share that the Social Innovations Journal is introducing a new monthly edition on financing social innovation – “The Social Innovation Finance Series.” Across the globe there has been a rapid rise in the number of social sector innovators and entrepreneurs who want to find out-of-the-box ways to solve or “move the needle” on society’s problems, and they are increasingly deploying the methods of business and private capital to help them to do so. These Changemakers include people in the social sector who can now tap markets for finance, in addition to seeking grants from donors and philanthropists who are willing to fund innovative ideas and businesses if they offer a greater likelihood of achieving their desired social impact. The force of innovative finance and funding holds the potential to drive a social sector revolution by harnessing the energy of the social innovations, enterprises, and partnerships that propel forward innovation, entrepreneurship, and capital to power social impact. 

The focus of the newest series of the Social Innovations Journal is funding and finance in key areas within social innovation including Social Mobility, Health, and Human Services. The monthly series covers philanthropy, impact investing, policy as investment, raising capital, and new financial instruments. The rich array of topics of our new series includes: Funding Systems Change; Health Care Bonds; Philanthropic Roundtable; Raising Capital; Regional Focus; Philanthropic Equity; Program Related Investments; and Social Impact Bonds.

The economist Robert Shiller discusses the inherent beauty of finance in his Finance and the Good Society. We often think of many other things in life as beautiful, like a great work of art, an expansive landscape, but rarely finance. Yet, Shiller challenges us to expand our view of beauty to appreciate what lies beneath the surface. 

“Beyond the beauty of theory there is even more beauty in finance for what it creates. For finance is about human desires and human possibilities, and it facilitates all of the day to day activities that constitute our waking lives.” 

As Shiller states, there is an inherent beauty in finance and even more so in the use of finance as an instrument to address our most intractable societal problems. Shiller is pushing us to envision the use of finance and funding to imagine “what if” these resources could be leveraged to address our greatest social needs, and our hope is that our latest edition, "The Social Innovation Finance Series," will provide the framework to achieve this goal.

 

We are kicking off our inaugural edition of "The Social innovation Finance Series" with Odin Mühlenbein. Odin is an esteemed partner at Ashoka Germany and Ashoka Globalizer. He is recognized for his efforts in the development of systems change strategies through his work leading top social entrepreneurs as part of his role at Ashoka Globalizer. We are honored to have Odin's contributions in our first edition, where together we explore Odin's professional work through the articles he authored and learn from his expertise in finding, funding and fostering systems change initiatives through an in-depth, yet candid interview.

We hope that your journey into "The Social Innovation Finance Series" will bring you new insights from the articles and interview by and about the innovators at the helm of building the social innovation finance field. We believe that this series can serve as a catalyst to our coming together to advance innovative solutions in response to some of the largest issues facing communities across the globe.

Yours in innovation,

Nicholas Torres and Tine Hanson-Turton 

English | Spanish

Dear Reader, 

In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook: “Technology puts a name and a face -- a true identity -- to those that were invisible before and gives sound to voices that otherwise could not be heard.” 1 

Our questions, the catalyst for this edition, are how does technology give sound to voices in the social sector and does the advancement of technology accelerate the sharing of good ideas? These questions are personal to the Social Innovation Journal as we are driven by the belief that “the potential for good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated” and we work to capitalize on technology tools to share these ideas globally. 

To provide some context, digital technology continues to drive social innovation across the world through connectivity, new production systems, and new forms of employment. At the same time, digital technology also has rendered certain forms of labor expendable and has ushered in an era of uncertainty and volatility. This contrast has driven the debate around the benefits and harms of technological advancement over the past decade and will only grow louder in the coming decade. 

The Social Innovations Journal shines a spotlight on Latin America to explore this contrast. Latin America, a region of many contrasts itself, simultaneously deals with the negative impacts of a digitalized world, while innovating with digital technology to drive economic growth and greater connectivity. Latin America has seen a proliferation of technology labs, incubators, and university programs to meet the growing demand for digital products and the skilled workforce needed to deliver them. As this issue demonstrates, the region moves to keep pace with technological advancement and integrate into the global digital ecosystem. The social sector in Latin America, including universities and philanthropies, has produced models for the region to bring institutions into this new digital economy. To close the productivity gap between Latin America’s countries and the developed countries, it is required to incorporate technology in the productive process and articulate it with the development objectives of the countries. Inasmuch as there has been progress in this matter, the only way to accomplish it is by creating more fair and inclusive societies. For that, two essential aspects should be considered:  

On one hand, a cultural change through which the innovative way of thinking is promoted. And, on the other hand, collaboration between all sectors of society. 

We encourage you first to read the introductory and framing article titled “Social Innovation and Technology in Latin America” by María Alejandra Navas, Latin America Director that provides a deep dive into Latin American’s Technology ecosystem. 

At the Social Innovations Journal, we constantly have our eye on how the social sector will evolve and advance in the coming decade. Latin America serves as a window into the forces shaping our global economy and how our institutions are managing this change. We are excited to present this edition, in collaboration and coordination with our colleague, María Alejandra Navas, the Latin America Director of the Social Innovations Journal.

Sincerely, 

Nicholas Torres
Tine Hansen-Turton
Co-Founders 

1Patricia Morizio, Hufflington Post, February 2013

 

Social Innovation and Technology in Latin America

María Alejandra Navas, Latin America Director, Social Innovations Journal 

The article focuses on the analysis of opportunities and challenges arising from the digital economy in the region and how to close the productivity gap between Latin America’s countries and the developed countries in a new era based on technology.

 

INTERPRETA Foundation: The Use of Technology in Humanitarian Work

Bastián Díaz

The Foundation was born in 2016 in Santiago, Chili, as an answer to problems of the migrant communities in Chili, a growing issue in recent years. Moving away from assisting solutions such as delivering breakfasts or giving Spanish courses to Haitians, the Foundation prefers to position itself as an example of innovation by using tools of the corporate world and technology to solve problems related to immigration issues.   

 

Local Innovation Ecosystems to Strengthen Agroecology in Colombia: The Preliminary Case of LabCampesino of Tierra Libre’s Organization

Juan David Reina and Julián Ortiz

The use of digital technologies based on free hardware to contribute to the promotion of agroecology is in itself an innovative idea. However, it is the process of social owning of science, technology, and innovation in the rural sector and specially from the rural population, which creates disruptive conditions facing the traditional practices of technological transfer. In this sense, the article presents the progress and opportunities that are creating the Tierra Libre Project and, in particular, its initiative of LabCampesino that aims to strengthen a social innovation’s ecosystem and to promote agroecological practices in the rural population of the province of Sumapaz, Colombia. 

 

The Social Innovations Scientific Park

Paula Estefanía Castaño

The Minuto de Dios Organization (MDO), created by Father Rafael García-Herreros in the second half of the 20th century, has focused its efforts on service to society as the driving force of each of its entities; these, always seeking to respond to social problems in Colombia in various aspects such as health, housing, education, and others. And it is thanks to this approach, that in 2012 the work of the Social Innovation Science Park (SISP) begins as a commitment to social innovation responding to social needs. In this, we will take a closer look at how the SISP came about, what it is, how it works, and its impact.

 

MPZero: Sustainable, Affordable, and Clean Heating Available for Everyone

Ricardo Soto

Every winter, the air pollution caused by the combustion of biomass for residential heating is one of the biggest environmental problems suffered by the cities of South-Central Chile. Because the use of wood-burning stoves is the most affordable heating method, it remains today, despite its negative environmental implications, the most used tool by the population of Chile, despite causing serious health problems in the community, especially for children and the elderly. MPzero is a device for reducing emissions of fine particulate material, developed in Chile, which captures up to 97 percent of the emissions produced by this heating equipment, helping to keep the air clean and heating costs low for families who do not have access to heating methods that produce less pollutions. 

 

Leader’s Profile: Martha Leticia Silva

María Alejandra Navas

The leader of tomorrow is humble and authentic, curious and sensitive, flexible to learn new things and adapts easily to changes. They are someone who does not give up and they are versatile enough to consider differences as opportunities for growth.  

I met Martha Leticia Silva Flores during a social innovation event organized by CISAI, Center of High Impact Social Innovation, in Jalisco, Mexico last June. As the Center’s direct she made quite an impression when we met, and what I was able to learn about her in just a few days’ time convinced me to write about her as a leader of tomorrow.

 

Connecting Points: Intelligence on Field to Solve Social Problems

Iván Yza

Facing the search for the democratization of the media and the need to access new technological tools to allow for the solution of problems related to transparency and accountability, most of which we know little to nothing about their functioning or how to put them in operation, Virk came into existence in 2014. Virk had a clear objective: to create tools that will allow organizations to innovate in issues like the systematization and documentation of information in low-cost and user-friendly, simple ways. This enabled Virk to become a channel for innovations and avoid restrictions that most users have facing new technologies, and to develop the first tools for reports and documentations in Mexico and Latin America.   

Dear Reader, 

“Fortune favors the audacious.” This sentiment from Erasmus serves as a common thread for the innovators featured in this edition, “The 2019 Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Ecosystem,” subtitled as “Greater Philadelphia’s Innovations Inspiring the World Toward Social Impact.” These social entrepreneurs, innovators, and Changemakers all bring audacious approaches to solving some of our greatest social challenges here at home in Philadelphia, and breathe audacity into their work, organizations, and teams -- that inspire social impact work around the globe. If fortune favors the audacious, this edition of the Social Innovations Journal shines light on the bright future instore for Greater Philadelphia by featuring those leaders imagining and leading social innovations that are addressing our most intractable problems. 

As in years past, our first edition of the year dedicated to Greater Philadelphia celebrates the region’s social sector leaders who too often go without the recognition they deserve because their focus is instead on “doing” and creating change rather than promoting themselves. At the Social Innovations Journal, we are honored to have the opportunity to highlight these Changemakers through this edition and our annual recognition, The Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Awards.  

Ten years ago, we started the Social Innovations Journal to share the stories and work of social innovators while building a community of the audacious, risk-takers that refuse to accept the status quo – and are selflessly dedicated to disrupting business as usual. We are beyond thrilled with how our community of mavericks has grown over the past decade, yet we are constantly exploring new ways to further engage, and become more interactive, with our readers and partners. Greater Philadelphia has built a social innovation ecosystem and we have been there every step of the way to support and provide a platform for the voices of the social impact community. Yet, we would be remiss if we didn’t ask, what do the next ten years look like? The innovators in this edition provide a glimpse of what the response to that question looks like. 

We hope this edition, along with its social innovators and leaders, will continue to inspire social impact work around Greater Philadelphia and across the globe. We hope that it continues to pave the way for the future of social innovation and the sharing of ideas, initiatives, and policies that will inspire and give birth to social innovations. Join us on this journey to change the world in our steadfast belief that “the potential for good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated.” We hope you too find immense value in the contributions social entrepreneurs and innovators bring to their local communities as the Journal works to harness this power through their stories that provide best practices for implementing new policies, tools for replicating programs, and lessons to reinvent and spawn new iterations. Please take the time to read and share these articles written and inspired by the social sector leaders who are truly changing Greater Philadelphia, and in turn, the world.

 

Yours in Social Innovation,

Nicholas Torres and Tine Hansen-Turton, co-founders

Mike Clark, President and Alescia M. Dingle, Managing Editor

Inglés | Español

Estimado Lector,  

En palabras de Sheryl Sandberg, COO de Facebook: “La Tecnología le pone un nombre y una cara, - una verdadera identidad – a todos aquellos que eran invisibles antes, y permite oír voces que de otra manera no podrían ser oídas.” 1 

Nuestras preguntas, catalizadores de esta edición, giran en torno a ¿cómo la tecnología permite a las voces ser oídas en el sector social y cómo el avance de la tecnología acelera el intercambio de buenas ideas? Estas preguntas son propias del Social Innovations Journal ya que estamos motivados por la creencia de que “el potencial de las buenas ideas para inspirar más buenas ideas no puede ser subestimado” y capitalizamos las herramientas tecnológicas para el intercambio de estas ideas de manera global.  

Con el fin de proporcionar un contexto, la tecnología digital continúa impulsando la innovación social en todo el mundo a través de la conectividad, nuevos sistemas de producción y nuevas formas de empleo. Al mismo tiempo, la tecnología digital también ha otorgado ciertas formas de trabajos prescindibles y los ha introducido en una era de incertidumbre y volatilidad.  Este contraste ha promovido el debate en torno a los beneficios y daños del avance tecnológico sobre la pasada década, y continuará incrementándose en los próximos años.  

El Social Innovations Journal le da protagonismo a América Latina para explorar estos contrastes. América Latina, una región caracterizada por sus contrastes, se enfrenta simultáneamente con el impacto negativo del mundo digitalizado y con la innovación en la tecnología digital para conducir el crecimiento económico y una mayor conectividad. América Latina está viendo la proliferación de laboratorios tecnológicos, incubadoras, programas universitarios para satisfacer la creciente demanda de productos digitales y la fuerza laboral capacitada necesaria para producirlos.  Tal como esta situación lo muestra, la región se está moviendo para ir al compás con el avance tecnológico e integrarlo con el ecosistema digital global. El sector social en América Latina, incluyendo Universidades y filántropos, ha producido modelo para que la región pueda integrar sus instituciones a esta nueva economía digital. Para cerrar la brecha de productividad entre los países de América Latina y los países desarrollados, es necesario incorporar la tecnología en el proceso productivo y articularla con los objetivos de desarrollo de los países. A pesar de que ha habido progresos en este aspecto, la única manera lograrlos es mediante la creación de sociedades más justas e inclusivas. Para ello, dos aspectos esenciales deberían ser considerados: Por un lado, un cambio cultural a través del cual se promueva una manera de pensar innovadora. Y, por otro lado, la colaboración entre todos los sectores de la sociedad.  

Los invitamos a leer primero el artículo introductorio que enmarca el tema de esta edición Innovación Social y Tecnología en América Latina escrito por Maria Alejandra Navas, Directora para América Latina  el cual los sumergirá más profundamente en el Ecosistema de la Tecnología en América Latina.  

En el Social Innovations Journal, estamos constantemente pendientes de cómo evolucionará el sector social en la próxima década. América Latina puede ser vista como una ventana a través de la cual se pueden observar las fuerzas que están moldeando nuestra economía global y cómo nuestras instituciones están enfrentando este cambio. Nos llena de emoción presentarles esta edición, con la colaboración y coordinación de nuestra colega, María Alejandra Navas, la Directora para América Latina del Social Innovations Journal.

Cordialmente,  

Nicholas Torres
Tine Hansen-Turton
Co-Fundadores  

1Patricia Morizio. Huffington Post. Febrero 2013. 

 

Social Innovation and Technology in Latin America

María Alejandra Navas, Latin America Director, Social Innovations Journal 

El artículo se enfoca en el análisis de las oportunidades y desafíos que surgen para la región en una economía digital y cómo cerrar la brecha de productividad entre los países de América Latina y los países desarrollados en una nueva era basada en la tecnología. 

 

INTERPRETA Foundation: The Use of Technology in Humanitarian Work

Bastián Díaz

The Foundation was born in 2016 in Santiago, Chili, as an answer to problems of the migrant communities in Chili, a growing issue in recent years. Moving away from assisting solutions such as delivering breakfasts or giving Spanish courses to Haitians, the Foundation prefers to position itself as an example of innovation by using tools of the corporate world and technology to solve problems related to immigration issues.   

 

Local Innovation Ecosystems to Strengthen Agroecology in Colombia: The Preliminary Case of LabCampesino of Tierra Libre’s Organization

Juan David Reina and Julián Ortiz

The use of digital technologies based on free hardware to contribute to the promotion of agroecology is in itself an innovative idea. However, it is the process of social owning of science, technology, and innovation in the rural sector and specially from the rural population, which creates disruptive conditions facing the traditional practices of technological transfer. In this sense, the article presents the progress and opportunities that are creating the Tierra Libre Project and, in particular, its initiative of LabCampesino that aims to strengthen a social innovation’s ecosystem and to promote agroecological practices in the rural population of the province of Sumapaz, Colombia. 

 

The Social Innovations Scientific Park

Paula Estefanía Castaño

The Minuto de Dios Organization (MDO), created by Father Rafael García-Herreros in the second half of the 20th century, has focused its efforts on service to society as the driving force of each of its entities; these, always seeking to respond to social problems in Colombia in various aspects such as health, housing, education, and others. And it is thanks to this approach, that in 2012 the work of the Social Innovation Science Park (SISP) begins as a commitment to social innovation responding to social needs. In this, we will take a closer look at how the SISP came about, what it is, how it works, and its impact.

 

MPZero: Sustainable, Affordable, and Clean Heating Available for Everyone

Ricardo Soto

Every winter, the air pollution caused by the combustion of biomass for residential heating is one of the biggest environmental problems suffered by the cities of South-Central Chile. Because the use of wood-burning stoves is the most affordable heating method, it remains today, despite its negative environmental implications, the most used tool by the population of Chile, despite causing serious health problems in the community, especially for children and the elderly. MPzero is a device for reducing emissions of fine particulate material, developed in Chile, which captures up to 97 percent of the emissions produced by this heating equipment, helping to keep the air clean and heating costs low for families who do not have access to heating methods that produce less pollutions. 

 

Leader’s Profile: Martha Leticia Silva

María Alejandra Navas

The leader of tomorrow is humble and authentic, curious and sensitive, flexible to learn new things and adapt easily to changes. It is someone who does not give up and versatile enough to consider differences as opportunities for growth,  

I met Martha Leticia Silva Flores during a social innovation event organized by the CISAI, Center of High Impact Social Innovation, in Jalisco, Mexico last June. She is its director and the impression that she made when we met, and what I was able to learn about her in just a few days’ time, convinced me to write about her as a leader of tomorrow

 

Connecting Points: Intelligence on Field to Solve Social Problems

Iván Yza

Facing the search for the democratization of the media and the need to access new technological tools to allow for the solution of problems related to transparency and accountability, most of which we know little to nothing about their functioning or how to put them in operation, Virk came into existence in 2014. Virk had a clear objective: to create tools that will allow organizations to innovate in issues like the systematization and documentation of information in low-cost and user-friendly, simple ways. This enabled Virk to become a channel for innovations and avoid restrictions that most users have facing new technologies, and to develop the first tools for reports and documentations in Mexico and Latin America.   

 

Dear Reader,

The Social Innovations Journal is driven by the belief that the potential for good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated. We must ask the question whether this belief holds true and is it enough?  Ashoka, the world’s oldest and most significant leader in the field of social entrepreneurship, asked a similar question and in doing so designed a study in 1998 to measure Ashoka Fellows’ impact and began to track independent replication, policy change, and persistence as approximate measures of systems change. 

20 years later, the articles in this edition titled: “From Social Entrepreneurship to Everyone a Changemaker -- 40 Years of Social Innovation,” point to what’s next curated by Ashoka, plumb the data gathered in a more recent extensive study comprised of survey and interviews conducted by Ashoka over the past year and validated by LUISS University in Rome. The results paint a rich portrait of how and what it takes for social entrepreneurs, identified by Ashoka as changemakers, to thrive and succeed in rapidly changing contexts.  

Diana Wells, Ashoka President, in the introductory and framing article, states that what matters most in determining a changemaker’s impact is not the size of one’s budget nor the number of those directly served. Rather measures of impact include: independent replication, public policy change, market change, and shifting mindsets, and can be measured, as seen in Ashoka’s image below, through direct service, scaled direct service, systems change, and/or framework change metrics. In other words, the most effective social entrepreneurs are those whose models help everyone be problem solvers. Ashoka defines itself through systems change and widespread framework change. 

Returning to our question on whether the potential for good ideas to inspire more good ideas holds true and is it enough, we conclude that it is because it is stimulating the environment and context for all individuals to be problem solvers and changemakers. The journal challenges our academic and professional institutions to change not only the way they operate but the way they support young people and employees. People, despite their age or geographic location, need to know and feel what it means to co-lead teams and empower others to address a problem that they are experiencing. Peter Goldmark, former Publisher of the International Herald Tribune and former President of the Rockefeller Foundation once said, “Ashoka has shown how to invest successfully in pattern-breaking, powerful ideas and the people behind them -- and how to do so early when a little makes an enormous difference -- when hope can overcome cynicism, when tenacity can prevail over inertia. It has given us all the lessons in how to harness the most powerful energy in the world  -- human talent -- to the task of adapting  to the demands of the 21st century. We could not agree more.

Carol Sanford, in her most recent book: The Regenerative Business, agrees as she emphasizes that successful businesses today stop the practice of motivating people with incentives, rewards, and recognition, and shift to fostering initiative and self-management. She states that just important as technical skills, people need to develop a regenerative mindset defined by the fundamental characteristics of 1.) a desire to grow and improve, 2.) a motivation to engage and learn from others, and 3.) derive meaning from contributing to something larger than themselves.

We thank Diana Wells, Alessandro Valera, Sara Wilf, and Terry Donovan for the countless hours of curating and compiling their collective 40 years of experience, knowledge, and research into this edition which will be the driving force shaping how the global social sector approaches social innovation. We are inspired by Ashoka and because of their work we can imagine a world where Everyone is a Changemaker and where we all live in a Changemaker World. 

We hope this edition will achieve our mission to inspire leaders and organizations to become changemakers; create the space for leaders to tap into their own creativity to innovate; empower leaders with the tools and knowledge to launch and grow their ideas; challenge leaders to become more empathetic; and transform everyone into a leader in a team of team’s world. 

Yours in changemaking,

Nicholas Torres
Tine Hansen-Turton
 
SIJ Co-Founders

 

Ashoka 2018 Article Summaries

 

From Social Entrepreneurship to Everyone a Changemaker: 
40 Years of Social Innovation Point to What’s Next

Diana Wells

Ashoka launched the field of social entrepreneurship in 1980, and today it is the largest global association of social entrepreneurs. This article provides an overview for the journal issue that focuses on insights from Ashoka’s Global Impact Study of its network of social entrepreneurs with the following 10 articles ranging from regional, gender, sector, and subject matter analyses. Over the last decade, new technologies have enabled transformations in communications, media, and financial systems that have accelerated the pace of change and radically opened new means for citizen participation. In this context, social entrepreneurship has become a globally recognized practice, welcoming corporate, university, and government participation in the movement previously dominated by the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. This article summarizes pioneering insights of Ashoka that serve as the foundation for the field, and it updates our thinking on the impact of our Fellows based on evidence from our most comprehensive survey of our global network of 3,500 social entrepreneurs in 92 countries. These data confirm the core framework for Ashoka's current vision of realizing an Everyone a Changemaker world."

 

How Ashoka Fellows Create Systems Change: New Learnings and Insights from the 2018 Global Fellows Study

Sara Wilf

Since Ashoka first began electing Fellows in the early 1980s, our selection criteria and impact measurement metrics have mirrored Fellows’ single-minded focus on spreading an idea rather than achieving traditional private sector measures of “scale.” Based on this view, Ashoka first began measuring Fellows’ systems change in 1998. In this article we will use Ashoka’s systems change measures of independent replication, mindset shift, public policy change, and markets change, to share both a “big vision” picture of Fellows’ systems-level impact emerging from the study, and new insights we’re learning from a more in-depth analysis of Fellows’ systems change achievements.

 

Ashoka’s Role in Maximizing the Impact of the Social Entrepreneurs Elected as Ashoka Fellows

Alessandro Valera 

Ashoka’s previous effort in gauging the impact of its works focused mostly on the systemic change that its Fellows achieved five and 10 years after election. The aim of the 2018 Ashoka Fellows Global Study was to go further and enquire what role Ashoka played in accelerating that impact. This paper will present the evidence that has emerged from both the quantitative and qualitative side of the Global Study which confirms that a large majority of Fellows have found benefits from their association with Ashoka in terms of systems change thinking, leadership, reception of practical help, and connection to other fellows and Ashoka staff and third parties within the network. We will also present the evidence that working with Ashoka has made large number of fellows change their strategies while continuing to focus on the resolution of the social or environmental problem they had originally sought to solve.

 

Redefining Success for Women Social Entrepreneurs

Iman Bibars

Women in leadership positions across the globe and in all sectors have not reached the desired or deserved rates. In the for-profit sector, women constitute only 31 percent of leaders in the U.S. and approximately 18 percent in the UK. However, over 36 years and across 88 countries, 38 percent of leading social entrepreneurs elected by Ashoka have been women. Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs in the world, and with more than 1,200 leading women social entrepreneurs, marks the world’s largest resource for knowledge on women in social entrepreneurship. In this article, we leverage the compelling results of Ashoka’s 2018 Global Impact Study to argue that women in the social entrepreneurship field have excelled and have created impact that affects deep and lasting social change. However, we also highlight two very important aspects in the journey of women changemakers: first, that they face pervasive gender-specific challenges that can disrupt the achievement of their full potential. Secondly and more importantly, success and growth in social impact have been narrowly defined to the neglect of more encompassing descriptions, systematically excluding women social entrepreneurs from being widely acknowledged as successful by the mainstream. The insights within this article tell the story of how women’s leadership and success can and must be redefined from a gender perspective, transforming how women, and indeed all social entrepreneurs, are perceived in the field.

 

What Top Social Entrepreneurs Are Telling Us: Early Changemaking Stays with You for a Lifetime

Claire Fallender and Ross Hall 

In a world of rapid change, value comes from how people adapt to and guide positive change rather than from simply following rules or routines or from blind repetition. In this article, the authors look at the world’s largest network of top change leaders -- Ashoka Fellows -- to see what factors led them to become changemakers. Nearly half of these leading social entrepreneurs -- regardless of geography and gender --started changemaking (i.e. solving a problem they cared about) before the age of 20. They named their most important influences as their parents and teachers. The authors explore what implications this data might have both for the priorities that define our education systems as well as for the kinds of support parents and teachers need to guide young people to lead young: follow their passions, find creative solutions, create teams, and experience changemaking at an early age.     

 

The Roots of Social Change: Young Changemaking in Global Context

Michael Gordon and Sara Wilf

A number of research studies have examined the field of entrepreneurship in an effort to understand the social, environmental, and personal antecedents of entrepreneurship. While these studies provide key insights to understand the origins of entrepreneurship, they may be misleading in the context of social entrepreneurship because entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs have different primary motivations. Our interest in this article is in understanding if early experiences and behavior in childhood and adolescence are a factor in determining an individual’s journey as a social entrepreneur. With the 2018 Fellows study data, we can go a step further and attempt to use childhood experiences to predict which social entrepreneurs are likely to produce extraordinary social transformation by comparing the 2018 findings with data collected through Ashoka Changemaker’s Pulse study.

 

The Emerging Ecosystem for Social Innovators

Dina H. Sherif and Maria Clara Pinheiro

When it comes to entrepreneurship and social change, the existence of enabling and supportive ecosystems is a key ingredient and catalyst. Organizations like Ashoka who are working to promote social entrepreneurship often find themselves asking the question: Have we succeeded in creating the kind of ecosystem necessary to support social entrepreneurs? While many of us working in the sector may constantly debate the concept of an ecosystems framework, one reality remains -- social innovators might be able to survive without an ecosystem of support, but it is highly unlikely that they will thrive. Vibrant ecosystems of support are necessary for truly transformative systems change. What ecosystems do to support social innovators is as significant as what social innovators do to transform ecosystems. This article will take a close look at what matters to Ashoka Fellows as a guide to building better and stronger ecosystems of support.  

 

Let’s Bust the Lone Hero Myth: The Role of Collective Leadership in Systems Change

Reem Rahman

There’s a myth that still needs to be busted. It’s the idea that the main way that social change happens is with a hero, that change won’t happen until we have a charismatic leader to show the way. This article presents evidence for how collaborations -- and the collective leadership needed to achieve them -- have been central to the most effective pathways for social change, and deserving of greater recognition.  

 

Everyone is a Changemaker, But is Every Change the Right One? 
Assessing the Alignment Between Ashoka Fellows’ Missions and the Most Urgent Issues Affecting Their Countries 

Mattia Margonari, Lumen Ventures & ERShub; Francesca Capo, LUISS & ERShub, Francesco Rullani, LUISS & ERShub; and Luca Mongelli, PUSC & ERShub

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are of primary importance and help to concretely define the most urgent issues the world is facing as a whole, by analyzing the relative problems and bottlenecks, and promoting clearly identified avenues to solve them. With the most urgent issues at hand, it becomes pivotal for Ashoka and its network of social entrepreneurs to understand how far they have gone in tackling them, and which paths to walk to achieve a more pervasive social impact and scale.  

In this article we offer a perspective on this point by the analysis of the “Alignment Issue-Mission” (AIM) index, that we created to measure the alignment between the most urgent issues faced by a country and the mission pursued by the Ashoka fellows operating in it. We computed the AIM index for all projects fellows undertake in each country and analyzed how its distribution changed over time between 2014 and 2017. Additionally, we also separated fellows’ projects in groups according to their technology familiarization, profit-seeking intentions, and community-building purposes, and checked the difference in the AIM index among these groups.  

 

The Need for Transformative Alliances Between Social Entrepreneurs and the Private Sector

Arnaud Mourot

Today’s global issues have changed so dramatically in size and complexity that no single class of player can pretend to solve them alone. As a result, alliances have been forged to tackle major issues (access to vaccines, new forms of energy, and food) but very often in emergency contexts, and most of the time led by government or private donation programs. Yet in a world marked by an increasing rate of change, social problems have become so widespread and numerous that these classical alliances between international or local NGOs and international bodies are no longer sufficient. New types of approaches must be invented that leverage market dynamics to solve our world’s most entrenched and challenging issues. Ashoka Fellows, two-thirds of whom have partnered with for-profit companies, are leading the way on transformative alliances with the private sector. In this article we will share best practices and lessons from our Fellows on creating transformative change through strategic business alliances.

 

Case Study 1: Contextualizing Changemaking: Case Study on Ashoka Fellows in Asia

Irene Wu

Decades of international development has taught us many valuable lessons, including the importance of contextualizing problems and solutions. While the principle may seem obvious, much of the contextualization is deeply embedded in social norms and are thus highly implicit and not easily noticed. The field of social entrepreneurship is no different: while leading social entrepreneurs -- Ashoka Fellows -- across the world may share certain common traits, they too, are influenced by their respective societal rules and cultures. This highlights the necessity of applying contextual lenses when examining both the social solutions as well as the creators of these solutions.

Using the data collected from the most recent Ashoka Global Fellows Survey, we illustrate the abovementioned point with a focus on the East and Southeast Asia regions. Although East and Southeast Asia vary in their modern historical trajectories, significant similarities remain in much of their cultural imprint including conformity and compliance, deference to social hierarchy, and traditional conservatism. These unique characteristics of East and Southeast Asian societies have undoubtedly casted various degrees of influence on social entrepreneurs from these regions, both in terms of their own experience in changemaking and informing the strategy with which they approach systems and framework change.

To understand Fellows’ own personal journeys of changemaking, we look at the age at which Fellows joined someone else's initiative to create a solution to a social problem as well as the age at which they personally took the initiative to create a solution to a social problem. To explore youth-related strategies Fellows utilize to scale their work, we look at the percentage of Fellows who put young people (0-18) in charge of leading initiatives/projects within their organizations, the percentage of Fellows who encourage young people (0-18) to create independent initiatives to spread or scale their work, and the percentage of Fellows whose ideas focus on influencing societal mindsets/cultural norms.

 

Case Study 2: Impacting Public Policy Collectively in the Field of Migration in Europe

Kenny Clewett

Systems change includes impacting public policy. This is why a key metric to measure Ashoka Fellows’ success is how they have impacted public policy. As the world becomes more globally connected and complex, we need models that help social innovators impact public policy more quickly, deeply, and collectively. This article outlines such a model in the area of migration, integration, and refugee movements in Europe and how we foresee this kind of work spreading to other sectors across the globe.

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