How do you EVOKE? There are only four rules.
Live by these rules, and you will become a master social innovator.
Rule #1. “I tackle social problems.”
What are social problems? They’re big problems that affect society as a whole, and not just individuals — problems like hunger, poverty, climate change and disease. Solving a social problem means making life better for an entire community.
What social problems should I tackle? Here are three ways to start picking a social problem that matters most to you. Try one, or try them all.
- The Millennium Development Goals are eight big social problems that the world is trying to solve by 2015. Discover what they are. Which goal is most important to you?
- Changemakers lists more than 100 unique social issues that require innovation, from democracy and voting to housing, environmental justice to women’s rights. Explore the options, and decide: Which issue matters most to you?
- The World Bank tracks more than fifty of the most urgent problems faced in the developing world. Which problem sparks your curiosity most?
To EVOKE, you must find a social problem that you care about — and that you want to help solve.
Rule #2. “I don’t just make, I innovate.”
What’s innovation? It’s the process of bringing something new and better into existence. Something cheaper, or faster, or stronger, or more efficient, or more fun, or more sustainable, or safer, or more just.
Innovation is risky. It means trying things that might not work. It means learning from failure, and not giving up.
When innovation works, it makes people say “wow.” It’s not just different. It’s transformative. It changes what other people think is possible.
Here are some innovators who are defying expectations of what’s possible.
To EVOKE, you must believe that you can make possible in the future something that is impossible today.
Rules #3. “I’m ready for a venture.”
It’s not enough to have a good idea. You have to make that idea real.
You make it real by starting a venture.
What’s a social venture? It’s a business that helps you change the world. It turns your creative idea into a solution other people can use.
Social ventures combine the passion to make a difference with a business-like discipline.
Here are some guides to brainstorming a venture, and creating a business plan:
- Are you a social entrepreneur?
- Stanford Business Plan Guidelines
- Writing the Social Venture Business Plan (PDF)
- Evaluation social venture ideas (podcast)
To EVOKE, you must share your best ideas and take action to make your solutions real.
Rule #4. “I go wherever I am needed most.”
Social innovation can happen anywhere.
It is most urgently needed in the developing world.
Every community has unique challenges to overcome. Your goal is to solve problems with a local community, and not for the community. So learn about local needs, local values, and local resources.
There are developing areas on every continent. Explore some of the places that need your world-changing ideas here.
To EVOKE, you must learn about the unique challenges of communities all over the developing world — and create solutions that work locally.
Remember these four rules as you embark on your social innovation adventures — and you will EVOKE to great success.