Friday, 17 September 2010

Social Innovation & The Technology Of Change

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead)
One of the reasons I have always loved digital communications has been its ability to bring groups together for social change (which includes my own passion project It's Time To Shout). The first consulting project I got after my time at the Agency, was doing the corporate giving approach for one of the largest food brands in Canada. At that time, Corporations and the technology itself wasn't ready to be embraced as a core of a strategic execution. But the times, as Bob would say, are a changin'.

Let's talk "Social Innovation". There are many definitions but I'll give you my own:

SOCIAL INNOVATION: Businesses, platforms and programs built for positive change and social good

What I love most about it is the necessary connections of people on a deeper level. It's not just about 'common interests' but rather what DRIVES me. Some believe it's happening because the development of a 'Passion Economy', others look to the advent of Emotive Networks .

What ever the reason, Social Good, Social Entrepreneurship is every where.

Case and point, a new start up called If We Ran The World. (found via Ms. Oonie)

It's a simple of enough idea on the surface. Just put your good intention into the box and press click. The site either connects you with others who are already doing something about it, lets you start your own action plan or utilize what they call "micro actions" (I haven't really figured out how that one works yet).

While that may explain the function of it, I think their Founder Cindy Gallop's words are far more important for what's really going on on a deeper level - Once you take that simple action of typing some words, you are somehow forced to question yourself almost immediately (as the site goads you to action):

"What's your responsibility?"

The notion of Social Entrepreneurship is not just about doing good - it's about being good as well as being a business and making money all the while. In the past, companies used to ask themselves how can they afford Corporate Social Responsibility, but now they are beginning to understand that they cannot afford NOT to participate in the drive for change in this world.

There are many recent examples of brands jumping on board. They seem to be finally realizing the power to move and connect people (examples here, here and here) is a fundamental dynamic of our new networked society and one that brands can no longer afford to ignore.

So, don't be scared. Maybe it's time to ask yourself the question too. If you ran the world, what WOULD you do?

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