Adam Lent: Let people solve their problems themselves
Adam Lent from the Ashoka organisation spoke about the need for social innovations.
The best way to solve the problems people are suffering from is to let them solve their problems themselves. This was mentioned by Adam Lent, Director of Research and Innovations from the Ashoka company at the Corporate Philanthropy Forum.
Small initiatives and businesses
In recent years, we have witnessed a change in our values – our attention has been shifting from basic and materialistic values towards self-expression, creativity and the desire for freedom and autonomy. More and more people are establishing their small businesses and initiatives and are eager to change their surroundings for the better. This trend will become more and more noticeable. Political and social change will not be only in the hands of large companies and governments. Small active actors are becoming more and more important.Our great current challenge is to give people support and full power which they can use to achieve essential change in the society, which will be beneficial not only for innovative organisations, but also for education, economics and public administration.
“Give people the tools to enable them come up with their own solutions. Social innovations and supporting people go hand in hand. The best social innovators are those who have understood that they can change things in a way thatwill give them full power,”said Adam Lent from Ashoka, which connects and supports almost 3000 social innovators in 70 countries in the world. Ashoka is attempting to create the world where everyone can be a change-maker and where millions of people are willing to take control over their lives and create a better world for themselves as well as for their surroundings. Ashoka aims to achieve these goals either through the school system, in close cooperation with companies or more and more through science and research.
Social innovators are solving the most urgent issues
Social innovators have an entrepreneurial spirit and systematically solve the most pressing issues in our society. People like Albina Ruiz, who founded the Ciudad Saludable in Peru, are among the Ashoka Fellows. She is building up a community waste management system on the poor outskirts of northern Lima, thus contributing to the improvement of sanitary conditions of people in the community. A further member of the Ashoka Fellows is the Nobel Prize winner Kaliash Satyarthi. He is an Indian activist who fights against child labour and modern slavery (an author’s note: he and his colleagues were often exposed to danger from modern slavers). Jimmy Wales, co-founder of the Wikipedia encyclopaedia, enabled people to write expert articles and share them with the whole world, instead of placing these competencies in the hands of the small group of academic experts. In this way, he has totally changed the area of academic literature.
A good example of innovation is the online marketplace Etsy.comwhich has made a huge breakthrough in enabling the small retailers of handmade products to step beyond local markets. “Thanks to this portal, nowadays, any producer can address customers anywhere in the world in just a few clicks. A similar situation is the case of the YouTube channel which offers every user the opportunity to upload and share their own video with the world, which was hardly even thought possible a few years ago. According to Lent, this is exactly where the strength and fast increase of the YouTube channel lie, as new videos are being added every minute. The whole area of social media is based on the principle of self-realisation and having an impact on your own surroundings or community through your activities,” explains Adam Lent.
We have mapped people and their initiatives
It often happens that the impact of these activities can lead to a systematic operative change in different areas of life where society needs to solve serious societal issues. That’s also why we have mapped people and their initiatives in Slovakia in order to connect them and help them to solve the most important issues in our country.