Lesson # 15: Capturing the Knowledge
Last week our fearless Tech4Society event team leader put together a day devoted solely to distilling all of the knowledge we have or think we have about the invention and technology space within social entrepreneurship.
It’s a brilliant idea and a rare opportunity here at Ashoka to turn off email for the day and reflect on how far we’ve come in our understanding of a space we just stepped into three years ago with the support of The Lemelson Foundation.
As is tradition here, everyone participates. Interns, volunteers, senior leadership, junior staff-it’s an equal opportunity chance to share in some serious mind work.
The afternoon was devoted to free-wheeling brainstorming-first as a large group and then in small groups of 3 or 4. Ideas bounced round the room as people wielded smelly markers and Post-it notes like seasoned pros in the noble quest for Knowledge.
The goal was to articulate some guiding principles, some underlying themes and trends in the sphere of invention and social change. As such we avoided the over-complicated in our quest for the super simple but (hopefully) profound.
We aren’t there quite yet, but I thought I’d share some of the themes of the day:
The people who will bring the most important inventions to the most people are those who realize that their invention or innovation is bigger than themselves.
The people who will have the greatest impact are those who are aware of what they know and what they don’t know and who they can work with who does.
Everything is connected; the solution may not seem related to the problem. Sometimes you have to change something in the city to fix something in the countryside.
Invention and innovation always come at a price; they come with both positive and negative consequences. Those who will do the most good understand exactly how close they always are to doing harm as well.
As technology speeds up, being an innovator of iteration is just as important as being an inventor.
As we polish things up, we will be sharing them here on Ashoka Tech and also over at Social Earth during my regular Monday post. Posting might be a bit light over the next 2 weeks due to the holiday season and this blogger’s need to turn her attention to cookie-baking and celebration.