Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

I believe the most important secret of social innovation is to provide skills!

I believe the most important secret of social innovation is to provide skills!

"Provide skills, not just finished technologies.
The current revolution in design for developing countries is the notion
of co-creation, of teaching the skills necessary to create the solution,
rather than simply providing the solution. By involving the community
throughout the design process, you can help equip people to innovate
and contribute to the evolution of the product. Furthermore, they
acquire the skills needed to create solutions to a much wider variety
of problems. They are empowered."

For example, it is no good if volunteers or aid workers go out and build a well in a village and then leave without educating the villagers on how to maintain the well - if the villagers are involved in the build they will also feel more responsible for it's upkeep.

Similarly, installing pricey solar energy panels without equipping those who are meant to benefit from it about the correct way to use and maintain the panels could lead to them falling apart faster or not being used. This does not empower the intended beneficiaries or help them
contribute to the evolution of the product - yet if the community takes part in the design process, as well as the build process, it is likely that they will feel as if they have ownership over the product and therefore be more committed to it's maintenance. Also they will have gained skills that make them less dependent on external "intervention" or assistance, and a broader set of skills also will allow them to find creative solutions to a broader range of problems.

The way in which this secret will help me make a positive change is that the social enterprise/NGO that I will set up will take this important insight into consideration - rather than delivering a particular product I wish to focus on providing young people with the skills they need to believe in their own abilities to make a positive change themselves.
I have been "infected" by Kiran Bir Sethi's work with young people in India and I believe this model could be spread to far many
more places around the world - see Kiran Bir Sethi's TED talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y2sj_G4Njg

Views: 19

Comment by Some Name on March 5, 2010 at 5:00pm
We share similar thoughts.
Comment by Dean Shankle on March 6, 2010 at 4:40pm
It is harder and takes longer to include the education component, so many projects do not include it. Very short-sighted, in my opinion. Good post.


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