Innovation is recognized as a secret weapon to success inside the technology startup space. This association with tech companies, though, signifies that whenever we think about innovation, we often consider new gadget or invention ideas. This mindset makes creative breakthroughs seem predicated on developing a top engineering team and 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.” Though it will come such as a fresh machine or microchip, innovation can also be a whole new strategy to a problem, a change in behavior, or a new strategy for using existing resources. Innovation could happen at any organization in almost any sector.
Many of the most successful and celebrated innovations of the past decade center primarily on the new approach or a new means of using resources. Organizations from the 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 create game-changing creative leaps with your mission.
Funds are power. That is definitely the status quo. Not only will the wealthy choose what products to buy for own enjoyment, backing from large investors often determines which products and projects become available to the wider public. Even though this product is still prevalent, the arrival of crowdfunding has opened investing as much as a much wider population.
In 2003, the platform ArtistShare was released to help musicians fund projects with direct contributions by fans, rather than from record labels. Crowdfunding platforms for all kinds 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 marketing profile, users can produce a page introducing their project and appeal to friends and relations for support.
Crowdfunding allows regular people to contribute a compact investment to films, clothing designers, food products, plus more. Because the buying price of admission is so low, nearly anybody can become a trader, and the chance of funding a task is spread widely across its backers. By channeling existing payment and social networking systems, crowdfunding sites allow regular customers to support projects in their infancy with minimal risk. The entrepreneurs also can make use of existing connections and social sharing to finance their ideas.
Crowdfunding has even spread towards the nonprofit sector, where organizations utilize these platforms among others to fundraise for projects.
Landmines will be the weapons that go on taking. Mainly because they are made to be difficult to detect, they continue to kill and maim civilians years after a war. What’s worse, landmines are frequently put into developing countries with few resources to locate and neutralize them.
While new technology often seems at the middle of solving problems, APOPO took benefit from an indigenous creature and standard animal training methods to mitigate the danger. African Giant Pouched Rats are extremely smart animals using a superior sensation of smell. APOPO conditioned them 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, along with other countries.
APOPO didn’t invent animal training plus they didn’t genetically engineer a whole new rat. They took good thing about existing resources and techniques and used them to make a new means to fix a longstanding problem.
Facebook and twitter may be best known for allowing us to discuss the minute information of our everyday life online, 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 known as the Arab Spring spread from the Middle East and North Africa. “People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networking sites and organized political action. Social networking became a critical section of the toolkit for greater freedom,” said Philip Howard, who led an investigation of methods social networking shaped the movement’s activity.
While these political actors weren’t the first to spread content and news of demonstrations on Twitter and other platforms, the Arab Spring represents a change in how people viewed and used social platforms. This shift in the strategy to organizing people has rippled to causes worldwide, including #BlackLivesMatter and #YesAllWomen. Naturally, a tweet won’t solve a social issue on its own. But smart utilization of social platforms may help a movement reach a wider audience and compel traditional media outlets to research and publicize the issue.
While ridesharing platforms like Lyft and Uber look like a higher-tech strategy to transportation problems, their power lies more inside their social model than their apps. Ridesharing took existing GPS technology, product patent, and survey systems to change the way people use cars.
As Lyft CMO Kira Scherer Wampler explains, 87 percent of commuter trips are people traveling alone. This implies more cars on the streets and a lot more traffic. This problem, together with unreliable taxis and poor public transit, made commuting an expensive, frustrating problem. Lyft and Uber took the technology individuals were already using every day to generate 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 more fun. “Our vision would be to fundamentally change car culture,” says Wampler. To accomplish this, ridesharing companies aren’t designing new vehicles or even building new devices. They may be mobilizing people to take advantage of the tools they already have more efficiently.
Despite having the success that numerous breast cancers organizations had in spreading awareness, the ailment was still being seen as a problem just for older people. This meant that a huge part of the population wasn’t being exposed to the detection methods and preventive change in lifestyle that could save lives.
Keep-A-Breast, whose mission is “to empower teenagers all over the world with breast health education and support,” has begun to bridge the space by reaching younger people in a completely new way. Teens are researching cancer of the breast risks at one among their most favorite summer events.
The Vans Warped Tour is actually a music festival that has traveled all around the United States Of America each summer for the past 21 years. Over 500,000 kids attend, spending the time watching performances and visiting booths. For 10 years, among the attractions has become Keep-A-Breast’s Traveling Education Booth, where volunteers speak 19dexhpky youth and offer information regarding breast cancers and preventive tips. KAB says, “The how to get an idea patented brings breast cancer education to younger people alone turf.” By changing how they reach people, Keep-A-Breast has brought life-saving information to your population that was being left out of your conversation.
When we try to solve the world’s most pressing social problems, it’s essential to know that innovation is not limited by tech startups and wealthy corporations. What all of these organizations share is actually a new idea, a brand new means of doing things. They investigated conditions and resources they had and asked, “How can we do more?”
For older nonprofits, it may be especially tempting to stick with the well-trodden path, but a new approach can bring about huge progress. You don’t have to create a new road so that you can “take the road less traveled.” You just have to see the path and pursue it.
Every day, social impact organizations are coming up with and scaling new solutions 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.