As we begin to notice a familiar crispness in the air—the characteristic calling card of fall, it seems like the right time to reflect on the summer and what is ahead. The bundle of traditionally warm months was momentous in a number of ways for Innov8Social and for my connection with the social innovation movement.

Explorer to Contributor

In a number of ways, the summer signified a move from explorer to contributor. The past two years have been a humble exploration of social innovation through covering events, interviews, trying out new types of content on the blog, and connecting with thinkers in the field. And now there is a new pull and push to create something useful, valuable and accessible.
The urge manifested in a campaign to write a book to map and guide a broader audience through social innovation and emerging best practices. Meeting Shivani gave the project wings to soar higher and with better vantage points, and our decision to crowdfund the book on Indiegogo gave us an automatic litmus test to validate our idea.

The Book, Beyond Crowdfunding

In the month since the campaign ended, we have been transitioning from ‘fundraising mode’ to ‘author prep’ mode. Shivani has been traveling to Africa and South Asia for a social enterprise consulting assignment—forcing our hand in creative, innovative remote collaboration. Just before her latest trip we met, outlined on Google docs (using an Apple TV and LCD to project and edit our outlining document on the big screen) and pitched each other chapter headings, workflows, and headlining organizations to interview and feature.
Where much of my work has focused on social innovators with a “Silicon Valley” mindset—utilizing tech, considering scale, and concerned with issues such as formation, funding, and business models—Shivani continually challenged and pushed my ideas of social innovation with what she has seen, heard, and read about of vital work happening abroad.
As she embarked on her latest trip to Bangladesh, we devised an intense reading list for each other featuring works ranging from Stanford Social Innovation Review to Jugaad.  As with any project—having been at this one for the past few months together—we now have a better idea of timeline. We know a few things: 1) we will have to write the book together, at the same time (remote writing will inhibit the collaboration process and writing chapters separately could create disparate voices and perspectives) and 2) we are focused on quality first and timeline second.  What that means for you: it may be better to think of this book as one for the new year rather than a holiday gift!

Hearting Design

 

Another element that wove itself into summer was design. I participated with a team in the first ever Human Centered Design for Social Innovation online course by +Acumen and IDEO.org. It was illuminating in a number of ways and has made me more aware of design—i.e. considering the end-user and whether the design really meets the need and use, and what (if anything) would be a better fit.
The process underscored my love for design. I also re-designed my business cards (using half-cards plus photos I took and edited) and am working with GoodJoe to launch a design contest re-envision the Innov8Social logo. More to come!

Photo Essay

As you may suspect from my posts here and on Flickr, I have an amateur’s fascination with photography. Here are a few photos from random, compelling events from the summer. Enjoy!
small airplane propellers

 

cappuccino dove peace
human-centered design for social innovation
Japanese garden
japanese garden
recycled, reused, repurposed
classic cars in downtown
kids at play in summer
golden gate bridge

What should we write about next?

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