Is your non-profit leading social innovation?

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Innovation is usually associated with having fun and doing things differently.

 

 

Innovative non-profits create ideas and opportunities for their community

The contemporary understanding of charity is more than giving a handout or a hand up. It is especially about leaders in the not-for-profit sector working with their projects and communities using knowledge, networks, The Internet of Things (IoT), big data and innovation to create a fairer, healthier and more sustainable future for us all.

A social innovation is about creating new flexible working environments in which to solve the problems and frustrations wants and needs of our communities. It means creating working environments for staff and volunteers that are not only highly productive but fun to be a part of.

Why not put more fun and enjoyment into your non-profit organisation as having fun is a great catalyst for improving outcomes. Creating an innovation program is an effective, efficient and sustainable way to create real value and opportunities for those less fortunate than ourselves.

 

Working with the businesses in your community

 There is a tremendous appetite for innovation within the non-profit sector across all their business functions from the effectiveness of the board of directors to the way volunteers respond to the wants and needs of their communities.

 

“Create new conversations, that will lead to new relationships, better health and better businesses and non-profit organisations, as well as nicer places in which to live”.  Peter Sergeant

 

I know that there are wonderful examples of social innovation in both non-profit organisations and the business sector, not to mention the private citizens.  To unlock the potential there is a need for improving community leadership and entrepreneurial activity.

Without innovative, solutions to tough social problems will continue to be difficult and the struggles of the status quo will remain, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas.

When people work together and utilise their respective skills good things start to happen.

 

What action can be taken?

  1. Identify the real entrepreneurs in the business community.
  2. Identify the entrepreneurs who want to work on social and community issues.
  3. Identify the entrepreneurs in the non-profit sector.
  4. Select a small group to create new innovative strategies for the community.
  5. Seek to find the resources they need.
  6. Provide encouragement and support for the implementation of their initiatives.
  7. Watch for and publicise the incredible transformations many people will experience,

 

Here are some key things to help your group hit the ground running

  • What should be focused on that will have the biggest positive impact.
  • Creating a better social environment in the community
  • Improving support for volunteers and employees.
  • What technology could be used to improve outcomes for everyone?
  • Giving people a sense of belonging and reducing isolation and loneliness
  • Access to specific advice about current issues needing attention.
  • Accountability and commitment.

Look for someone who can construct the necessary business plans, business models, value chains, budgets and business cases for innovation and funding requirements? It will be important to reduce the administrative load on the group so they can focus on problem-solving and decision-making.

With all the energy, creativity and action this will create, the level of social improvement must increase across the community and the old business saying “success breeds success”, will kick in.

While the non-profit sector is already doing many good things, I look forward to seeing even more great initiatives resulting from a closer working relationship with the business community. It is not something that will happen by chance, it must be encouraged on purpose.

 

[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]

Personal Experience

I know there is a lot of potential for social improvement tied up in our non-profit organisations and I believe the business community can become a great catalyst given encouragement from the community and all levels of government.

There is one thing for sure the innovations we need for the future will not come from the governments themselves, so we should be getting on with it.

It would be great if the media was to put more effort into projects where innovation is bubbling away and just needs a little publicity to encourage quicker and more widespread implementation.

My wish is to see more communities establish what is commonly called a ‘mastermind’ group, that can make a positive impact on their communities from within.

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