The simple thought that there are people in this world, striving hard to make it a better place, makes me go “high” on intellect. New ideas, new technologies and new discoveries hit the scientific world constantly, and there are, among them, a few that impact our lives directly.
Nope! I’m not talking about your latest iPhone, and how it helped you get a new girlfriend (I know she’s “haawt”, but still). Neither am I referring to your Xbox 360, and how playing it is more sensual than an orgasm (I know Assassin’s Creed “rocks”, but still). I’m talking about Social Innovation – the genesis of 21st century ideation; doing it for the people, doing what matters, and doing what makes this world a better place.
The dusk of 1990s dawned upon us some great ideas to tackle the problems of the ailing world. In 2001, Jimmy Wales came up with a project named Wikipedia, thereby imparting free education to millions of people around the world. Pranav Mistry, the founder of SixthSense, came forth with his brilliant idea in 2006; a technology that had all it would require to revolutionize the world. And what does he do? Publish it as an open source (Legen-wait for it-dary!). With the coming up of websites like Udacity and Coursera, education hit a new level. Higher learning became free, that too with professors from world class universities delivering the lectures.
But why are all these people doing it for the “common good”? Don’t they want to make money? Yes they do! Perhaps not in the conventional way, not by promoting capitalism, not by delivering the “black hearted” goods, and not by sacrificing environment for petty profits.
The basic misconception that comes with social entrepreneurship is “you have to be a non-profit organization; you can’t make money by catering to social needs”. That’s completely wrong. Social Entrepreneurship aims at developing and growing ideas that work to meet the pressing, unmet needs of the society. They can surely generate revenue. Some of the top grossing social enterprises in the world are ACCION International, Acumen Fund and BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life).
If they can do it, so can we. Right now we are young, wild and free, full of “moral fibre”, required to take on the worldly challenges. Let us bring on our creative ideas and show the self-centred companies that real innovation lies in developing the world, taking everyone along with you, and making their journey on earth a pleasurable experience.
Here are some competitions promoting social innovation. If you have what it takes to be the next green leader, the next social entrepreneur, then enter in your idea, and we’ll meet somewhere up there (right on the top):
Dell Social Innovation Challenge
Echoing Green Fellowship