Social Innovation, BYUI, Week #1

This first week of Business 347, Social Innovation, introduced a myriad of possible definitions for the subject.  Instead of clearly explaining what it is and providing hope for a clear pattern for success, it became apparent that social innovation’s boundaries are as broad as its definition. Through successful examples of social innovation, we learned that there is no limit, except as we put on ourselves.

My favorite video was in the “Extras” section, a TEDx talk filmed at BYU presented by a former Marines Commander, who shared the “why” behind his journey in social innovation. However, it was what he learned that rang sweet and true to me. He shared that after going to business school and searching for methodologies, it was a strong women in Africa to made him listen to her and the ideas of the women in her village, that led to success. The solutions are found with those who live in poverty. They know what needs to be done, but they don’t have the means to accomplish that task.

This echoes an article I read years ago in which an invention that was touted by the mainstream to solve a problem of electricity in third world countries; when in fact, that’s not what the people needed. Nobody asked them if they wanted or needed electricity. Their needs were much simpler and basic.

Why is Social Innovation more prevalent today?

Never before has there been as much opportunity across the world for those with the means and time to spend considering how to solve the social issues across the globe. As the world gets worse, the best rises to the top and we see humanity helping their brothers and sisters. This happens to be a characteristic of Millennials, but as I get older and more able, I’m driven to push for change for my brothers and sisters.