Innovation is regarded as a way to succeed from the technology startup space. This connection to tech companies, though, ensures that when we consider innovation, we often think about newer and more effective gadget or invention ideas. This mindset makes creative breakthroughs seem predicated on possessing a top engineering team and a big research and development budget. Fortunately for nonprofits and social enterprises, this is simply not the truth.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines innovation as “a new idea, device, or method.” Although it comes as a fresh machine or microchip, innovation can also be a fresh strategy to an issue, a change in behavior, or even a new strategy for using existing resources. Innovation can happen at any organization in any sector.
Probably the most successful and celebrated innovations of the past decade center primarily on the new approach or a new means of using resources. Organizations in the for-profit and nonprofit sector used existing methods and technology differently to be able to revolutionize their space. Use their breakthroughs to inspire your team to produce game-changing creative leaps with your mission.
Money is power. That happens to be the status quo. Not only can the wealthy choose what products to get for his or her own enjoyment, backing from large investors often determines which products and projects become accessible to the wider public. Although this technique is still prevalent, the advent of crowdfunding has opened investing to a much wider population.
In 2003, the platform ArtistShare was introduced to help musicians fund projects with direct contributions by fans, as opposed to from record labels. Crowdfunding platforms for all sorts of campaigns, projects, and products quickly followed. Sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have created a new avenue for entrepreneurs and inventors to achieve funding. Much like a social media profile, users can produce a page introducing their project and interest family and friends for support.
Crowdfunding allows regular men and women to contribute a small investment to films, clothing designers, food products, and more. Because the buying price of admission is very low, nearly you can now become a trader, and the chance of funding a task is spread widely across its backers. By channeling existing payment and social network systems, crowdfunding sites allow regular customers to support projects within their infancy with minimal risk. The entrepreneurs can also make use of existing connections and social sharing to finance their ideas.
Crowdfunding has even spread to the nonprofit sector, where organizations begin using these platforms yet others to fundraise for projects.
Landmines will be the weapons that go on taking. Because they are designed to be hard to detect, they still kill and maim civilians years following a war. What’s worse, landmines are frequently positioned in developing countries with few resources to discover and neutralize them.
While new technology often seems at the center of solving problems, APOPO took advantage of an indigenous creature and standard animal training solutions to mitigate the danger. African Giant Pouched Rats can be really smart animals with a superior experience of smell. APOPO conditioned these to identify landmines. By training the animals to utilize their powerful experience of smell to detect the deadly weapons, APOPO has disabled over 68,000 landmines in Tanzania, Mozambique, Cambodia, and also other countries.
APOPO didn’t invent animal training plus they didn’t genetically engineer a fresh rat. They took benefit from existing resources and methods and used them to create a new means to fix a longstanding problem.
Twitter and Facebook can be well known for allowing us to share the minute specifics of our lives on the net, but social organizers have unlocked its power as being a tool for mobilizing people and spreading information.
Beginning 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 curiosity about democracy built extensive social networking sites and organized political action. Social networking became a critical area of the toolkit for greater freedom,” said Philip Howard, who led a study of how social media marketing shaped the movement’s activity.
While these political actors weren’t the first to spread content and news of demonstrations on Twitter as well as other platforms, the Arab Spring represents a change in how people viewed and used social platforms. This shift in the approach to organizing people has rippled to causes worldwide, including #BlackLivesMatter and #YesAllWomen. Naturally, a tweet won’t solve a social issue itself. But smart usage of social platforms might help a movement reach a wider audience and compel traditional media outlets to research and publicize the trouble.
While ridesharing platforms like Lyft and Uber appear like a high-tech solution to transportation problems, their power lies more within their social model than their apps. Ridesharing took existing GPS technology, how to get an idea patented, and survey systems to alter the way people use cars.
As Lyft CMO Kira Scherer Wampler explains, 87 percent of commuter trips are people traveling alone. This simply means more cars on the road and much more traffic. This concern, as well as unreliable taxis and poor public transport, made commuting an expensive, 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 entire process of getting from point A to point B faster, cheaper, and a lot more fun. “Our vision would be to fundamentally change car culture,” says Wampler. To get this done, ridesharing companies aren’t designing new vehicles and even building new devices. These are mobilizing individuals to use the tools they may have more efficiently.
In spite of the success that a great many breast cancer organizations had in spreading awareness, the condition was still being viewed as a problem only for the elderly. This resulted in an enormous section of the population wasn’t being open to the detection methods and preventive lifestyle changes that could save lives.
Keep-A-Breast, whose mission is “to empower young adults around the world with breast health education and support,” has started to bridge the space by reaching young people in a whole new way. Teens are actually studying cancer of the breast risks at one of their best summer events.
The Vans Warped Tour can be a music festival containing traveled all around the United States each summer over the past 21 years. Over half a million kids attend, spending the time watching performances and visiting booths. For 15 years, one of many attractions continues to be Keep-A-Breast’s Traveling Education Booth, where volunteers speak 19dexhpky youth and present information regarding breast cancers and preventive tips. KAB says, “The patent my idea brings cancer of the breast education to young people by themselves turf.” By changing how they reach people, Keep-A-Breast has brought life-saving information to some population which was being left from the conversation.
As we work to solve the world’s most pressing social problems, it’s vital that you understand that innovation is not really restricted to tech startups and wealthy corporations. What many of these organizations have in common is actually a new idea, a whole new method of doing things. They checked out conditions and resources they had and asked, “How are we able to do more?”
For older nonprofits, it may be especially tempting to keep with all the well-trodden path, but a whole new approach can cause huge progress. You don’t need to develop a new road in order to “take the highway less traveled.” You need to simply see the path and pursue it.
Daily, social impact organizations are creating and scaling new strategies to the world’s toughest challenges. We hope you’ll join us in the Collaborative and Classy Awards in Boston in June to showcase and share innovations such as these.