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The Courage to Ask, and Where it Can Lead: A Must Watch TEDX Video on a Social Innovation Success Story

I had the pleasure of meeting and introducing Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora from Back to the Roots when they spoke at Sustainable Home & Organic Gardening stage at the 2011 Green Festival in San Francisco.  And while we worked through a few AV issues before they presented, I looked around to see the audience filling quickly. By the time we started the session I saw every seat filled with tens of people standing or sitting in the aisles to catch the action.I hadn’t heard about their adventures in mushroom farming which I soon came to see put me in a super-minority. As they talked the audience sat in close attention, clapping, laughing, and oohing with delight at their story, their journey, and their amazing and innovative product.Still Wondering, What is Social Innovation?It’s been 6 months since Innov8Social launched and my favorite question to answer (which also happens to be the most frequently asked one) still is so, what is social innovation again?

You can read a post about it here, but you see it in action below. Nikhil and Alejandro’s journey is the shiny example of how social innovation can reuse waste, how gardening and food production can be local, and how social cause can find an entrepreneurial outlet. It is not the story of every social enterprise or social innovator, but it showcases the untapped potential of connecting cause with business.

And as Nikhil and Alejandro emphasize below, you have to have the courage to ask the the unasked questions first….

The Courage to Ask: Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora speak at TEDxYSE 

Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora are the founders of Back to the Roots. This is their presentation at TEDxYSE:Unleashing Young Social Entrepreneurs on November 13th, 2010

Marketing, Aspirational-Style

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and it is a pretty fascinating social innovation experiment aimed at sharing big ideas by thought leaders in those fields—and posting those talks online for all of us to glean something from.This is an interesting one by Melinda Gates. She explains the concept of aspirational marketing–using the ubiquity of Coke as a model.Aspirational marketing—finding ways to make ideas core to social progress, well, “cool”– is an interesting concept. And it seems like tools such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook can be apt instruments for spreading the aspirational marketing gospel by allowing a leveled playing field for getting front-and-center to the masses, leaders, and you and me.

you can watch Melinda Gates @ TED 2010 in her talk “What nonprofits can learn from Coca-Cola” below…