Expertise may be overrated. Especially in social innovation.Social innovation aims to harness raw entrepreneurial spirit with a social and environmental sensibility. Do well by doing good—this has been the mantra we have heard countless times at conferences, talks, meetings, and in various readings.But social innovation is a moving target—changing with variables such as changing economies, shifting societal needs, emerging current events, and altering views on everything from health to wealth. The day we think we can nail down innovation in an equation or algorithm is the day we may realize we aren’t really innovating anymore.

Guy Kawasaki captured this sentiment in his opening sentence of Reality Check, “Flailing, grinding, thrashing, and getting lucky are why companies succeed. Not knowing you’re doing something that’s ‘impossible’ helps, too….”

Instead, Learn for the Questions

“In times of change, learners will inherit the earth. While the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with the world that no longer exists.” — Eric Hoffer via Matt Theriault

While it may be a good idea to become wary of experts in the field—there is still a compelling reason to continue reading articles, attending events, and talking to others in the field over coffee. If we are learners in this field, we want to be the best learners possible.

And that means knowing which questions to ask. The more we learn, the more we should want to learn about innovation and the social and environmental issues that can share a symbiotic connection.

As Kawasaki and Theriault allude, we shouldn’t let inexperience be a barrier…especially when it may be our greatest strength.


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