Posts from the ‘Social Innovation’ category

Capturing Awe to Inspire Change

Healthcare Experience Design

How are you inspiring awe?

This week’s Healthcare Experience Design (HxD) conference found at #hxd2013 brings to mind the concept of “awe” in designing for change. Stanford researchers found that awe expands people’s perception of time, alters decision making and enhances well-being. So how do we capitalize on this for health and beyond?

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#FirstWorldProblems? Tablet Traffic Trumps Smartphones

#FirstWorld Problems Tablet Meme

What’s your website’s mobile traffic breakdown? 

Adobe’s Digital Index reports that websites now get more Web traffic from tablets, than smartphones. The findings come from Adobe’s review of over 100 billion visits to 1000+ websites world-wide, showing 7% of traffic is driven from smartphones, with tablets edging them out at 8%. The reason? While smartphones are more common, adobe found that users preferred tablets for more in-depth Web browsing.

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Calling All Creative for Good Projects

World Economic Forum's Creative for Good Initiative
How are you mixing art and science for good?

The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on “The Future of Media” is leading an effort to celebrate and amplify “Creative for Good” projects.  With a number of strong collaborators including the National Social Marketing Centre, The Kaiser Family Foundation, Osocio and others, the call for submissions shares:

Top Posts of 2012 – Social Marketing Meets Social Innovation

Where do social marketers get their inspiration?

In an attempt to share how social innovation and social marketing intersect with a colleague of mine, the colleague responded something along the lines of: “I don’t get why it matters. Social innovation sounds like everything we’re already doing in social marketing.”

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Social Innovation and the Dogged Pursuit of Being Unreasonable

image courtesy of an_untrained_eye

What’s Next? That’s the question The Social Innovation Summit asked us last week. Following the event’s hashtag #SIS12, I connected with Katie Ferrari, who’s passionate about storytelling for social innovation. I invited her to share her top observations from the conference. She asked if she could touch on storytelling in her recap, to which I replied: even better. Enjoy!

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A Glow-In-The-Dark Design Solution to Behavior Change

The Netherlands are about to launch a “smart road” system that uses infrastrure to support behavior change through a design solution–glow-in-the-dark paint! Nancy Lee, the godmother of social marketing, shared this innovative approach to behavior change on today’s social marketing listserv saying:

“[It’ll] be interesting to see if a) it is effective and b) whether there are any unintended consequences such as an environmental impact from any toxics related to the materials. Hopefully [they] checked for that already.”

Innovative solutions often have at least one element in common–the creator’s ability to first identify a problem. (Side note: How do you train yourself to identify problems–large and small–that you can help solve? And yes, it takes training.) The designer behind the new Netherlands road system shares:

“One day I was sitting in my car in the Netherlands, and I was amazed by these roads we spend millions on but no one seems to care what they look like and how they behave,” the designer behind the concept, Daan Roosegaarde, told “I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us.”

How It Works

The “smart road” uses a photo-luminising powder that will replace road markings and special paint that will be used to paint markers along the road. The paint will charge in the sunlight, giving up to ten hours of glow-in-the-dark power come night time. For example, when temperatures fall to a certain point, images like snowflakes will become visible, indicating that the surface will likely be slippery.

Read the full story in to learn how the system works and how its creators say this is just the beginning to rethinking road and traffic safety through design. I also appreciate how this New York Times article, Dignifying Design, also emphasizes the art of “radical listening” to help us adjust our tool belts in how we approach creating a better world through design.

How are you applying design in your work?

What Would You Say? Thoughts on Global Citizenship

What would you say to world leaders if given the chance? This is the question the UN’s Citizen Ambassadors campaign asks us. The campaign is two years running and involves a video contest that “encourages world citizens to voice their opinions to Heads of State and Government and weigh in on the decisions made by the member states of the United Nations.”

According to the campaign Web site, the initiative is one in a series launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The purpose? To utilize “the power of the Internet and social networking to engage a new generation of world citizens in the importance of international diplomacy.”  This is an inspiring charge–but in reality, could be quite difficult in achieving. So, let’s break this down.

The Power of the Internet and Social Networking

Over 825 million people use the Internet in Asia as of July 2010. In terms of population, Facebook would be the third largest country if it were a country given its 500 million active users. It’s also translated in over 70 languages. Six in ten Americans go online wirelessly using a laptop or cell phone. 86% of adults ages 18-29 use social networking.

Mobile giving raising over $30 million for Haiti relief efforts. Technology saving lives and enabling communication. Community-funded journalism fueled by the passion of citizen journalists and digital storytelling. Random Hacks of Kindness, Crisis Camps, Ushahidi, accessible health data and a slew of additional examples have some dubbing 2010 as “the year citizen platforms grew.” Why? Because of the power of the Internet and social networking in facilitating, connecting, empowering and enabling both individuals and communities to better serve a global mission.

Need I say more?

A New Generation of World Citizens

By now, you’ve probably heard about the “Millenials,” those born between 1981 and 2000 as defined by the Pew Research Center. Summed up, Pew identifies Millenials as “Confident. Connected. and Open to Change.” The UN is correct–there is a new generation of world citizens who want more, but I don’t think it’s limited to just Millenials. I think they are referred to as global citizens. Lovisa Williams in her post “Global Citizenship Building Momentum” defines global citizens as:

A Global Citizen is everyone whether they know it or not.  They don’t have to know the term or even the concepts associated with the term.  The bottom line is if you live on earth you are now part of an ecosystem that is larger than your village, your tribe, you town, state, province, or nation…Part of recognizing you are a Global Citizen is recognizing you have the world on your shoulders.  You have the responsibility to help advocate for those who don’t recognize they are Global Citizens and are also responsible for helping to provide solutions to these issues.

The concept of global citizenship faces its own challenges.  For example, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs may come to mind. If someone doesn’t have their basic needs met such as having food and shelter–is it too much to expect global citizenry? Some may say yes. But the potential of a network of people coming together over shared commonalities wanting to promote humanity–well, if we could achieve that, then just imagine the possibilities.

International Diplomacy

In August 2010, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton announced the State Department’s Global Health Initiative, working to improve global health as a way to achieve diplomacy:

I’d like to share with you the next chapter in America’s work in health worldwide. It’s called the Global Health Initiative, GHI for short, and it represents a new approach, informed by new thinking and aimed at a new goal: To save the greatest possible number of lives, both by increasing our existing health programs and by building upon them to help countries develop their own capacity to improve the health of their own people….

Global health is a prime example of how investing our resources strategically can have an immediate and lasting impact on people, communities, and countries.

There is too little coordination…

There is too little integration….

There is too little innovation…

Addressing global health is now a part of the U.S.’ International diplomacy efforts. An important step–is going to be figuring out how to enable and empower the global citizen to play a part in achieving better global health (diplomacy). Our world is growing–but it’s also shrinking. We are becoming more connected and more aware of the problems we face and the commonalities we share–how we funnel this awareness into action could make the difference.

When These Powers Combine

Combine innovation mixed with the rising call of global citizenship with the changes happening at the policy level–I dare to be optimistic in saying that change is going to come. The next step? How do we first define global citizenship, then operationalize and expand its mantra? There are glimpses of it–See the U.N. Foundation’s Girl Up! campaign or the State Department’s Civil Society 2.0 initative–but the concept can go wider and deeper.

So, what would I say to world leaders if given the chance? First, I’d ask them when was the last time they served the humblest members of their communities and what they learned from the experience. My hope would be that shared challenges would be identified and that the  conversation would turn from “What Would You Say?” to “What Would You Do?” And in that, a focus and discussion on global citizenship would take place.

I recently asked some fellow colleagues what they would say to world leaders if given the opportunity. And without any prompting from me–the discussion concluded with an assertion that gets to the heart of global citizenship–We are the world leaders:

So, What would you say to world leaders if given the chance? And if we are the world leaders, what does that mean?

The Rise of OpenGood

socialgood-dayIn honor of #SocialGood Day, I wrote a post for the IQ Solutions blog reflecting on the TEDxChange event and calling for #OpenGood.  (Disclosure: IQ Solutions is my employer.) Since posting, a number of things have happened that echo the themes from TEDxChange and this concept–giving cause that perhaps #OpenGood is more of a reality than an ideal. For instance:

Read more about what I mean by #OpenGood. At the very least, remember this: If we don’t start with asking “What if?” how do we get to “What next?”


What others signs have you seen or read that may indicate the rise of #OpenGood?