It's Saturday afternoon in San Francisco, CA and I am so lucky to be alive. The sun is shining, the weather is beautiful, people are bustling about the city and everyone in sight seems to have his and her basic human needs met.
As I sit in a cafe and think about social innovation and I learn more about what it means to think and act like an innovator, it occurs to me that the people out there who are much less fortunate than I are the ones who could benefit from learning these skills the most.
I'm reading about how important it is to understand the culture and the people and what the problems are and creating solutions that would work for them. I'm reading about being creative or being simple when thinking of solutions. I'm hearing that innovators have to have courage to try something different.
What if we were able to create a space that allows people of underprivileged communities to contribute and be a huge part of the social innovation team that changes their own community? Imagine a class if you will, that people of the community can attend where they are asked to list the most urgent needs that they can identify in their community. A class where they can voice ideas that perhaps they don't have the money or means to do themselves, but ideas that would work in their own community. Who would understand the culture and ins and outs of a community better than themselves? Then perhaps we can teach them the skills to allow them to create solutions and begin to make a huge difference in their own communities. Instead of someone coming in and making changes for them, teach them to make changes for themselves. This could be used to set up an economy in a community, create jobs, improve quality of life in a way that can be passed from generation to generation.
Many underprivileged communities' needs are much more basic than our fancy schmancy tech ways. While tech can be VERY useful in this, we can also allow the community to grow from wherever it is now.
This type of project would need funding of course. How can this be created in a way that it can pay for itself? Clearly the community can't afford the cost of the physical space and the staff for the program. Fundraising is the obvious answer, but I feel like there are ways that the program can produce products that not only help that community, but perhaps could bring in income some way...Gotta think more on this.