As I studied Exhibit A over and over again trying to actually decipher which was my favorite secret of social innovation, I realized no matter how many times I went over it, it seemed nearly impossible for me to make one single pick and as I came across different points I totally agreed with, I would nod so hard, smile and say to myself wow that's brilliant. At the end of the day I was able to narrow my favorite picks down to 4, yes one from each group including the group added by the writer, Dave Tait.
Favorite 1- What you have matters than what you lack: I especially loved the example used with a bicycle; if u have a bicycle focus on what you can do with it rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck or a metal shop. I find this secret to be super-brilliant and a very useful tool for anyone interested in being a Social Innovator. This reminds me of the William Kamkwamba story, the story of the Malawian boy who, though lacking in proper education and basic English at the time, built a windmill (out of bicycle parts and scraps) for his home in Malawi. The first time I read about William and watched his TED Conference Talk on the Internet, I remember how blown away I was and kept thinking to myself that wow this is a boy that comes from poorest of the poorest part of Malawi and despite the poverty around him, he was determined to do something so inspiring. William knew he didn't have the resources to build a conventional windmill like those depicted in the textbook he used but he didn't let that stop him. He knew he couldn't understand English to the extent needed to read off the textbook to understand how to build his model but he wouldn't let that stop him either. He instead focused on the things he could use; he had his sight and he knew his eyes would serve him well in understanding the windmill diagrams and measurements in the textbook; he had his environment- he focused on what scraps and junks he could find in his surrounding that would help be a good substitute for the materials needed to build his windmill. He didn't have the support of family and friends who all thought he was crazy. As a majority know, not having the moral backing from family and friends can be such a discouragement for many of us in following our dreams. Although this is only if we allow it to be, still it makes the road even harder and almost impossibe trying to encourage yourself without the necessary support from loved-ones. However William had his determination, his positivity and optimism for the success of his project and to him that was enough because he knew eventually when he did become successful he would finally get support. Even when he got to a crossroad and realized that the most important part of his model (the engine) was missing, he didn't let that deter him but instead kept moving forward till someone literally passed by with a bicycle and he exchanged the little funds he had on him for the bicycle because he knew failure was not an option. As individuals looking to make a difference, this is a brilliant point to embrace about giving more importance to what we have rather than what we lack.
Favorite 2 - Do the Hardwork needed to find a simple solution: I find this post on "rules for design in the developing world" by Amy Smith to be another brilliant secret I agree with. The concept of simplicity being the ultimate sophistication is undoubtedly genius and I tend to find another William Kamkwamba-moment in this post. Infact to spare you the wait, I would just like to throw it out there that I have been able to find a W.K-moment also in my other two favorites. However to delve further into this point, W.K stayed determined to do the hardwork of figuring out how to build his windmill, which he knew without a doubt would provide a simple solution of taking his family out of poverty (the simple solution at that time being "IRRIGATION" needed for farming as a means of bringing an end to the drought his village was faced with). What I have learned from this is that as a social innovator hoping to create something that would bring about a positive change (which you should have at the back of your mind requires hardwork), the question to ask yourself is what simple solution to what problem are you trying to come up with that would necessitate the hardwork you should be willing to put in?
Favorite 3 - Stay positive; Don't be distracted by what other people think: *Chuckles* Do I hear you say "Clearly a W.K-Moment? Haha yeah definitely. A key point for me in this group by Paul Polak is to not let people talk you out of what you think/know you are capabe of doing. As a social innovator or entrepreneur looking to change the world, there would be doubts shown by people around most times because people have different ways of resisting to change or anything new. Instead of focusing on these doubts, find a way to let it motivate you further to stay positive and make a huge success out of your work.
Favorite 4 - Knowledge Sharing: For those of us who have been following the story and works of W.K, we would agree that the concept of knowledge and skills sharing to help continue the innovative process both to and from people and communities, a secret shared by David Tait has been the major premise which is helping to sustain the dream and vision of W.K to take his people and his nation out of the realms of poverty. A key responsibility of a great social innovation is to innovate in a way that you can pass down the success of your innovation, share your experiences, and all you've learned down to others willing to learn. In the process of doing this, more success will be achieved, jobs will be created and the economy of the nation would thrive.
To sum up my four favorite picks from Exhibit A, it is important to note a few things when addressing the concept of social innovation. As individuals looking to change the world no matter how little or huge the impact of our effort is, let's all keep in mind that social innovation to bring about a positive change in a nation, a continent and in the world is possible even in the most difficult situations and the most difficult of times as exemplified by "the boy who harnessed the wind" who has clearly shown that with the necessary determination and education, anything is beyond possible.