Innovation is recognized as a way to succeed inside the technology startup space. This connection to tech companies, though, implies that once we think about innovation, we often consider newer gadget or patent an idea. This mindset makes creative breakthroughs seem predicated on possessing a top engineering team as well as a big research and development budget. Fortunately for nonprofits and social enterprises, this is not the case.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines innovation as “a new idea, device, or method.” Even though it may come such as a brand new machine or microchip, innovation may also be a fresh strategy to an issue, a change in behavior, or possibly a new way of using existing resources. Innovation can occur at any organization in any sector.
Among the most successful and celebrated innovations of the past decade center primarily over a new approach or even a new strategy for using resources. Organizations from the for-profit and nonprofit sector have used existing methods and technology differently as a way to revolutionize their space. Use their breakthroughs to inspire your team to produce game-changing creative leaps in your mission.
Money is power. That happens to be the status quo. Not only will the wealthy choose what products to buy for their own enjoyment, backing from large investors often determines which products and projects become available to the wider public. Even though this technique is still prevalent, the advent of crowdfunding has opened investing up to and including much wider population.
In 2003, the platform ArtistShare was launched to help you musicians fund projects with direct contributions by fans, instead of from record labels. Crowdfunding platforms for all types of campaigns, projects, and products quickly followed. Sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have formulated a whole new avenue for entrepreneurs and inventors to get funding. Very much like a social websites profile, users can create a page introducing their project and appeal to family and friends for support.
Crowdfunding allows regular people to contribute a small investment to films, clothing designers, food products, and much more. Because the cost of admission is so low, nearly anyone can become a trader, and the risk of funding a task is spread widely across its backers. By channeling existing payment and social networking systems, crowdfunding sites allow regular consumers to support projects within their infancy with minimal risk. The entrepreneurs can also tap into existing connections and social sharing to fund their ideas.
Crowdfunding has even spread to the nonprofit sector, where organizations utilize these platforms yet others to fundraise for projects.
Landmines are the weapons that continue taking. Mainly because they are made to be challenging to detect, they still kill and maim civilians years after having a war. What’s worse, landmines are often put into developing countries with few resources to locate and neutralize them.
While new technology often seems at the core of solving problems, APOPO took benefit from an indigenous creature and standard animal training solutions to mitigate the danger. African Giant Pouched Rats can be really smart animals by using a superior feeling of smell. APOPO conditioned them to identify landmines. By training the animals to work with their powerful feeling 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 and they didn’t genetically engineer a brand new rat. They took benefit from existing resources and techniques and used them to generate a new strategy to a longstanding problem.
Twitter and Facebook can be most widely known for allowing us to talk about the minute details of our lives on the web, but social organizers have unlocked its power as a tool for mobilizing people and spreading information.
Starting in December 2010, a wave of political protests and demonstrations referred to as the Arab Spring spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. “People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networks and organized political action. Social networking was a critical section of the toolkit for greater freedom,” said Philip Howard, who led research of methods social media marketing shaped the movement’s activity.
While these political actors weren’t the first one to spread content and news of demonstrations on Twitter along with other platforms, the Arab Spring represents a modification of how people viewed and used social platforms. This shift in the method of organizing people has rippled to causes worldwide, including #BlackLivesMatter and #YesAllWomen. Needless to say, a tweet won’t solve a social issue itself. But smart utilization of social platforms will help a movement reach a wider audience and compel traditional media outlets to analyze and publicize the situation.
While ridesharing platforms like Lyft and Uber appear to be a higher-tech answer to transportation problems, their power lies more with their social model than their apps. Ridesharing took existing GPS technology, invention ideas, and survey systems to modify just how people use cars.
As Lyft CMO Kira Scherer Wampler explains, 87 percent of commuter trips are people traveling alone. This means more cars on the streets and much more traffic. This concern, together with unreliable taxis and poor public transport, made commuting an expensive, frustrating problem. Lyft and Uber took the technology everyone was already using every day to create a new solution.
By synthesizing mapping data with driver profiles, ridesharing makes the process of getting from point A to point B faster, cheaper, and a lot more fun. “Our vision is usually to fundamentally change car culture,” says Wampler. To accomplish this, ridesharing companies aren’t designing new vehicles as well as building new devices. They may be mobilizing customers to utilize the tools they already have more effectively.
Despite having the success that lots of cancers of the breast organizations had in spreading awareness, the disease was still being seen as a problem only for seniors. This meant a tremendous part of the population wasn’t being exposed to the detection methods and preventive lifestyle changes that could save lives.
Keep-A-Breast, whose mission is “to empower young adults worldwide with breast health education and support,” has begun to bridge the space by reaching young people in a whole new way. Teens are now learning about cancer of the breast risks at one of their favorite summer events.
The Vans Warped Tour is a music festival which has traveled everywhere in the Usa each summer for the past 21 years. Over half a million kids attend, spending your day watching performances and visiting booths. For 20 years, one of the attractions continues to be Keep-A-Breast’s Traveling Education Booth, where volunteers speak 19dexhpky youth and present information about cancers of the breast and preventive tips. KAB says, “The inventions ideas brings breast cancer education to young people on their own turf.” By changing the way they reach people, Keep-A-Breast has brought life-saving information to a population which had been being left out of the conversation.
While we try to solve the world’s most pressing social problems, it’s important to recognize that innovation is not really restricted to tech startups and wealthy corporations. What every one of these organizations have in common is really a new idea, a new means of doing things. They investigated the circumstances and resources they had and asked, “How will we do more?”
For older nonprofits, it may be especially tempting to stay using the well-trodden path, but a brand new approach can lead to huge progress. You don’t have to create a new road in order to “take the street less traveled.” You just need to notice the path and pursue it.
Every single day, social impact organizations are coming up with and scaling new solutions to the world’s toughest challenges. We hope you’ll join us on the Collaborative and fashionable Awards in Boston in June to showcase and share innovations such as these.