4 Women Creating Change With New Perspectives on Social Innovation
Using your tech talents to create change in the world can be incredibly rewarding. While the concept of social innovation seems simple enough, a lot can be learned from women who’ve been involved in the movement for years.
Get a head start and learn from social innovation pioneers about what it’s like to work for change and find out how you can create an organization that really makes an impact.
Astrid Scholz on Industry
Source: Biz Journals
As the CEO of Sphaera, Astrid works to accelerate the pace of change by connecting solutions with problem solvers globally. With her years of experience working in social good, Astrid has a unique perspective.
On her thoughts on social change, Astrid commented, “Trained as an economist, I think of social change as an industry that exists because governments and markets fail to provide everything people and planet need to be well.”
This idea didn’t come out of nowhere. Astrid said, “After 15 years of working in NGOs, I now find myself at the helm of a for-profit, for-purpose tech company that puts a solution-centered view of the world at the heart of our platform for discovering, sharing, and scaling what works. Our approach at Sphaera is predicated on the notion that there is an abundance of solutions, creativity, resources, and value that can fruitfully be organized on a peer-to-peer platform.”
Anthea Watson Strong on Civil Engagement for Real People
Anthea is a Googler changing the world through organized data that promotes civic engagement and social impact. Her work has given her an in-depth look at the issue of getting people involved in the community.
Thoughtfully, Anthea observed, “As creators of campaigns and civic engagement tools, we need to be much more honest with ourselves, and each other, about the motivations and interests of ‘real people’. One of the mistakes we make as a community interested in building civic engagement tools is that we assume the old world rules no longer apply because internet = magic. But the internet isn’t magic.”
While pointing out the issues with civic engagement tools, Anthea also has a solution. She explained, “Too often, I’ve seen tools designed and built for the way that we wish users would behave. Yes, it would be nice if suddenly the whole world got passionately interested in the nuance of policy decision— but that’s not going to happen just because we invented the internet. Our users still have dinner to make. If we want internet scale usage of the next generation of civic tools, we need to better understand real world people and how they will act in the civic space.”
Jenny Stefanotti on the Taxonomy of Social Innovation
Source: Stanford University
Jenny is constantly thinking about social good as the co-founder of OneProject. Lately her thoughts have been on defining a business by its use of social good.
Jenny explained, “In order to bring clarity to my own thinking and our discussions, I developed a taxonomy of the ways which businesses do good in the world. In developing the taxonomy, a few high level questions stood out: Does the company have social intent as a part of its core mission? Can I imagine this same company existing without social intent? Is the consumption of a company’s product or service itself addressing an important problem in the world?”
While Jenny isn’t interested in every company that touts social good, she sees potential. The Co-Founder described, “I think there is tremendous opportunity to address big problems with business. I also think that the form of capitalism dominantly practiced today is unsustainable. We need to move to a new model.”
Kristyna Zapletalova on Personal Growth
Kristyna is the CEO of Maqtoob and when she thinks of making a social impact, she knows to consider personal growth first.
The mindful CEO noted, “If we understand entrepreneurship as a means to delivering value, we must realize that all starts and ends with self-improvement. When I improve not only my skills, but also my body, my mind, my inner harmony, and my relationships, I provide myself with certain long-lasting value. Simply put, I become a better person. A person who is, or is on the way to be, strong, competent, and well adapted to create value for others.”
The solution is as simple as it seems, Kristyna said, “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle would then be the obvious and essential first step. Paradoxically, herein many ambitious entrepreneurs fail. Often, they achieve material success and build prosperous companies, yet their physical constitution insidiously degenerates to the point where they are no longer able to lead a quality life. The most important part of your business is you. The key ingredient to your success is you. Also, sometimes the problem with your business is again you.”
These women have likely provided you with a number of things to think about as you pursue social innovation. Their interesting perspectives can act as a stepping stone to making your own conclusions.
What’s your social innovation mission?
What are you working to change? Share your drive with us Geekgirls in the comments below.