Social Innovation

July 11, 2010

The Venus Project is too far out for me even though I love sci fi and the photos on their site reminded me that I have an issue of Asimov yet to read. I need something a little closer to now to dig my teeth into, however.

TED is a great source of information for us auditory learners. My most recent viewing was of Geoff Mulgan. “Instead of sending bailout money to doomed old industries, why not use stimulus funds to bootstrap some new, socially responsible companies — and make the world a little bit better?

Great idea. Mulgan directs the Young Foundation that has a long history of social innovation, or helping grassroots organizations help their community.

President Obama now has an Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. I tried to read through some of their blog postings but I must say… blah, blah, blah. Way too much rhetoric for me; too little action and too much talk.?

Boston is home to an action-oriented group called Root Cause. They support non-profits in the Boston area that improve their communities like develop cross-generational reading programs and art for poverty stricken communities. How is this going to pull our country away from economic disaster and our planet from ecological meltdown? Luckily there are people like the Venus project working on changing the world in a big way, while there are others who can work close to home.

The Root Cause website is full of honest-to-goodness achievements. The more local the support, it appears, the more productive the system.

Stanford has a whole department of social innovation. The internships and success stories on their blog highlight their students’ experiences in Africa and Thailand. There is such need here in the US right now, with the recession and unemployment that I am drawn to learn more about social change in my own country.