Innovation is recognized as a secret weapon to success in the technology startup space. This association with tech companies, though, implies that whenever we think about innovation, we frequently think about new gadget or how to patent a product idea. This mindset makes creative breakthroughs seem predicated on using a top engineering team plus a big research and development budget. Fortunately for nonprofits and social enterprises, this may not be the way it is.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines innovation as “a new idea, device, or method.” Even though it comes such as a whole new machine or microchip, innovation may also be a whole new procedure for a problem, a modification of behavior, or even a new method of using existing resources. Innovation can occur at any organization in every sector.
Among the most successful and celebrated innovations of the past decade center primarily on the new approach or perhaps a new way of using resources. Organizations from your for-profit and nonprofit sector have tried existing methods and technology differently in order to revolutionize their space. Use their breakthroughs to inspire your team to make game-changing creative leaps with your mission.
Funds are power. That has long been the status quo. Not only can the wealthy choose what products or services to purchase for their own enjoyment, backing from large investors often determines which products and projects become open to the wider public. Even if this technique is still prevalent, the advent of crowdfunding has opened investing to a much wider population.
In 2003, the platform ArtistShare was released to aid musicians fund projects with direct contributions by fans, as opposed to from record labels. Crowdfunding platforms for all sorts of campaigns, projects, and merchandise quickly followed. Sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have formulated a fresh avenue for entrepreneurs and inventors to achieve funding. Very much like a social media marketing profile, users can create a page introducing their project and appeal to friends and family for support.
Crowdfunding allows regular men and women to contribute a small investment to films, clothing designers, food products, and much more. Because the price of admission is really low, nearly anybody can become an investor, and the danger of funding a project is spread widely across its backers. By channeling existing payment and social network systems, crowdfunding sites allow regular people to support projects in their infancy with minimal risk. The entrepreneurs could also draw on existing connections and social sharing to fund their ideas.
Crowdfunding has even spread towards the nonprofit sector, where organizations use these platforms among others to fundraise for projects.
Landmines will be the weapons that go on taking. Simply because they are designed to be tough to detect, they consistently kill and maim civilians years after a war. What’s worse, landmines are often placed into developing countries with few resources to locate and neutralize them.
While new technology often seems at the core of solving problems, APOPO took good thing about an indigenous creature and standard animal training methods to mitigate the danger. African Giant Pouched Rats are incredibly smart animals with a superior sense of smell. APOPO conditioned these to identify landmines. By training the animals to utilize their powerful sensation of smell to detect the deadly weapons, APOPO has disabled over 68,000 landmines in Tanzania, Mozambique, Cambodia, along with other countries.
APOPO didn’t invent animal training plus they didn’t genetically engineer a fresh rat. They took advantage of existing resources and techniques and used them to create a new strategy to a longstanding problem.
Twitter and Facebook may be best known for allowing us to discuss the minute details of our everyday life on the net, but social organizers have unlocked its power being a tool for mobilizing people and spreading information.
Beginning in December 2010, a wave of political protests and demonstrations called the Arab Spring spread with the Middle East and North Africa. “People who shared desire for democracy built extensive social networks and organized political action. Social media became a critical area of the toolkit for greater freedom,” said Philip Howard, who led an investigation of how social networking shaped the movement’s activity.
While these political actors weren’t the first to spread content and news of demonstrations on Twitter along with other platforms, the Arab Spring represents a change in how people viewed and used social platforms. This change in the approach to organizing people has rippled to causes around the globe, including #BlackLivesMatter and #YesAllWomen. Needless to say, a tweet won’t solve a social issue by itself. But smart consumption of social platforms may help a movement reach a wider audience and compel traditional media outlets to investigate and publicize the problem.
While ridesharing platforms like Lyft and Uber appear like a higher-tech answer to transportation problems, their power lies more with their social model than their apps. Ridesharing took existing GPS technology, how to patent an idea or product, and survey systems to alter how people use cars.
As Lyft CMO Kira Scherer Wampler explains, 87 percent of commuter trips are people traveling alone. What this means is more cars on the streets and more traffic. This concern, along with unreliable taxis and poor public transport, made commuting a costly, frustrating problem. Lyft and Uber took the technology people were already using every single day to make a new solution.
By synthesizing mapping data with driver profiles, ridesharing makes the procedure of getting from point A to point B faster, cheaper, plus more fun. “Our vision is to fundamentally change car culture,” says Wampler. To accomplish this, ridesharing companies aren’t designing new vehicles as well as building new devices. They are mobilizing men and women to utilize the tools they have got more efficiently.
In spite of the success that lots of cancers of the breast organizations had in spreading awareness, the illness was still being seen as a problem simply for older people. This resulted in an enormous portion of the population wasn’t being in contact with the detection methods and preventive change in lifestyle that can save lives.
Keep-A-Breast, whose mission is “to empower teenagers worldwide with breast health education and support,” has begun to bridge the gap by reaching young people in a new way. Teens have become understanding breast cancer risks at one among their favorite summer events.
The Vans Warped Tour is a music festival containing traveled everywhere in the United States Of America each summer over the past 21 years. Over 500,000 kids attend, spending the morning watching performances and visiting booths. For 20 years, one of many attractions continues to be Keep-A-Breast’s Traveling Education Booth, where volunteers speak 19dexhpky youth and give details about breast cancers and preventive tips. KAB says, “The patenting an idea brings breast cancer education to teenagers on their own turf.” By changing the direction they reach people, Keep-A-Breast has taken life-saving information to a population which had been being left out from the conversation.
While we work to solve the world’s most pressing social problems, it’s vital that you know that innovation is not restricted to tech startups and wealthy corporations. What all of these organizations share is really a new idea, a new strategy for doing things. They looked at conditions and resources that they had and asked, “How could we do more?”
For older nonprofits, it might be especially tempting to stick with the well-trodden path, but a new approach can cause huge progress. You don’t need to make a new road in order to “take the street less traveled.” You need to simply notice the path and pursue it.
Every day, social impact organizations are creating and scaling new answers to the world’s toughest challenges. Hopefully you’ll join us with the Collaborative and chic Awards in Boston in June to showcase and share innovations such as these.