Why We Created a Patreon Page

Why We Created a Patreon PageIt was two years ago when a friend, social entrepreneur, and Impactathon Impact Talk speaker said, “Innov8social should make a page.” Well, Nathan, it took a second, but we created a Patreon page!

https://www.patreon.com/innov8social

What is Patreon?

For the uninitiated, Patreon is a platform where readers, listeners, and fans can support their content creators through memberships and subscriptions. It’s a way to value the work of content creators while creating a community of engaged fans and supporters. Content creators––ranging indie musicians, graphic artists, writers, podcast hosts––have been seen, heard, validated, and enabled to continue creating content.

 

Why we created a Patreon page

For the past eight years, through blog posts, podcast episodes, online resources, and convenings, we have been creating content and experiences with the mission of making social entrepreneurship more actionable and accessible. We have avoided including ads on the website, blog or in the podcast.

The timing felt right to create a way to both validate and value our work and create a new way to connect with our community–our tribe.

“Fail fast,” they say. And they usually say “fail forward” within the same sentence. In the spirit of those tenets of lean entrepreneurship, the Patreon page is also a way to receive a response to the overarching question. is it working? I.e. are we making meaningful strides in the direction of our mission. Are we creating content that matters to anyone.

There is a goal of 500 subscribers which will lead to the creation of a “Where are they now” type of series with past podcast guests. It is a goal post that seems football yards away today, but is an objective measure by which to track validation.

Just as many of us are becoming informed consumers or conscious consumers by voting with our dollars for the goods, services, and foods we choose to use, engage, eat, and champion; so too do we ‘vote’ when we chose to spend time reading, listening, liking and sharing online content. Supporting a content creator on a platform like Patreon, takes ‘mission-driven content consumption’ one step further, by giving value to content.

Value and valuation, as we know, are terms of art to some degree. A share price, a consulting fee, worth of currency or cryptocurrency all involve our belief in the worth of something.

In the social impact sector, content creators, conveners, and ‘social impact ecosystem builders’ (of which we include ourselves) are often asked to work for free. I.e., sending the message that we do not have value within the system. We cannot create a place to stand, and for future social impact leaders to stand, unless we see our work as valuable. And while the first step is seeing value in our work, it can only be validated by others. By you.

All of that to say, the reason we created a Patreon page is because we believe what we do is valuable. And, whether you are taking your first step within the social impact sector or have been in the space for decades, we invite you to become our champion.

We are grateful to Patreon, to our community, and you for taking the time to read this. Thank you!

 

What is a Social Impact Ecosystem BuilderThe social impact sector is growing and shifting. Over the past decade, I have seen the expansion of social enterprise in the US and abroad, spanning new business models, legal structures, impact metrics, types of funding and investment, and interactive events, experiences, and education informing and inviting new voices into the space. One unique marker of growth has been the expanding number of ‘social impact ecosystem builders’, of which I include my work with Innov8social.

What is a social impact ecosystem builder? In this blog series, we will explore what this ‘meta’ role is, challenges faced when trying to serve the impact sector as a system, examples of who impact ecosystem builders are, and ways to become a champion the role.

The social impact sector is growing.

However you quantitatively or qualitatively measure it, the impact sector has been unmistakably bullish in the past decade. When I shared an article on SSIR about emerging legal structures in 2011, California was looking to become the 6th state to pass benefit corporation legislation. Fast forward to today when well over half of states and jurisdictions, namely thirty-four, have passed benefit corporation legislation at the state level. Another four have passed a version of social purpose legislation that also champions legal pathways for for-profit and for-impact entities. All of this to a tune of about 5,000 benefit corporations, according to co-founder of organizing body B Lab, Jay Coen Gilbert in a 2018 article.

Additionally, there are nearly 2800 B corp certified companies globally– again, according to B Lab statistics–– that have proactively and successfully engaged in a certification process that underscores their commitment to social impact. These are companies that have elected to take a comprehensive assessment to show a double or triple bottom line, i.e. that they are companies that are pursuing multiple masters, not only profit; but also society and the environment. This certification is a pay-to-play model, much like Fair Trade certification, LEED, Cradle-to-Cradle, and numerous other sustainability certifications, a few of which are identified in this article by Forbes business journalist, Anne Field, who specializes in impact investing and social enterprise reporting.

As the number of companies proactively and publicly aligning themselves with social impact is growing, so too are the investors that may support them. Social impact thought leader and journalist, Devin Thorpe cited a statistic by The Global Impact Investing Network in a Forbes article, that estimated that funding to tune of $228 billion had been invested in social impact in 2018, which was double the amount from 2017.

Ok, so legal structures expanding: check. Certified and self-identifying social enterprises increasing: check. Impact investing growth: check. What about impact measurement?

In the past few years, I have often shared my view of the opportunity in the space for a commonly-held, universal way of measuring social impact. I believe that with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, we are on that path. Passed in 2015, these broad goals, and the accompanying 169 targets are giving us a common language, measurable milestones, and key interrelationships. Through the lens of SDG’s conversations around impact and measurement have the potential to go deeper and become more nuanced.

Qualitatively, as a convener of an interactive impact event called Impactathon, I also have seen the welcome expansion of opportunities to engage new voices in the social impact sector. Be it through conferences, unconferences, curriculum, hackathons, courses of study, or professional organizations––there are more touch points and ways to engage than ever before. Perhaps most significant is that the social impact that past generations thought was ‘nice to have’ in addition to firm bottom-line profit is becoming a ‘non-negotiable’ for current and emerging generations as they plan for a sustainable future for a global population approaching nine billion, sharing finite resources.

What is a social impact ecosystem builder?

Even if you agree the space is growing, what does that have to do with social impact ecosystem builders?

Well, it may help to map out participants and enablers in the sector. There are social entrepreneurs. There are impact investors and funders. There are government and quasi-government agencies. There are universities and learning institutions. There are impact measurement services and standards, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There are the publications and journalists.

And, then there are ‘meta’ participants, who don’t fit solidly into just one of the categories, but which seek to address gaps and optimize the impact sector as a whole. This group has been identifying as social impact ecosystem builders.

While many may rightfully count themselves in this category, I am particularly referring to a hybrid of conveners, consultants, coaches, and creators who form the interstitial scaffolding to help social impact actors tell betters stories, collaborate radically, scale meaningfully, and who play a vital role in inviting new individuals to the space, across sector, age, background, geography, education, and socio-economic background.

Speaking as an impact ecosystem builder, we know there are gaps in the system, because we have seen it from working with various clients, initiatives, and organizations. We champion a systemic view of social enterprise and take it upon ourselves to be ‘cross pollinators’ and connectors of ideas, people and institutions. We wear multiple hats and use multiple tools to effectuate impact that is possible–– including convening and co-convening individuals in live settings, online settings, creating and co-creating content and media, designing and co-designing curriculum and experiences to empower ‘nodes’ within the sector; so that we can shift the impact sector from tendencies toward ‘heropreneurship’ to success by inclusive design.

I have come to this role organically. First, primarily as a blogger, then a podcaster, author, coach, curriculum designer, instructor, convener, intrapraneur, consultant and collaborator––all with an eye and focus on social impact.

Do you identify as a social impact ecosystem builder? How do you define the role?

 

This post is part of our #30daychallenge of new content. Support this challenge and our website and podcast episodes via our new Patreon page. Enjoy special perks by becoming a member today.

 

I’m Neetal Parekh, the founder of Innov8social, author of 51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship, and convener of Impactathon®. I work with social entrepreneurs, foundations, and universities to help build ecosystems for social impact through designing convenings, content, and communication strategies. To learn more, schedule a quick call and follow @innov8social.

In his book, When, Daniel Pink explores the importance of timing. He uses an evidence-based approach to suggest times of day that have been proven to be better for pitch meetings and interviews (hint: mornings), why starting the school day an hour later could have incredibly positive results for student learning, when it might be the right time to make a big change, achieve big goals, and the importance of ending strong.

As we plant our stakes into the new year, 2019, I found myself remembering a part of Pink’s observation that people whose ages end in a ‘9’ tended to be more likely to take a risk, achieve an audacious goal… and even run a marathon. According to his research, “someone who’s forty-nine is about three times more likely to run a marathon than someone who’s just a year older.”

T-1 year to 2020

With a significant “9” upon us collectively, we have an opportunity to leverage any peaks in motivation to move ourselves and our work further this year.

Pink purports that one of the reasons that 19, 29, 39, 49, 59, etc. ages are especially significant is because as humans, we tend to judge and recall experiences disproportionately by their endings. You can have had a fantastic year, but if it ended on a slump or downturn–it is more likely to impact your assessment of the entire year.

Even beginning to understand this psychology can help us frame this new year differently. Instead of thinking of resolutions, we can focus on what we want to finish, achieve, overcome, and accomplish so that we end this decade strong.

How can we make the most of 2019 as a capstone to the decade? Here are 5 ways to achieve big goals this year.

1. Visualize clearly and greatly

Study upon study has shown the power of visualization. With that in mind, we should first think about something impossible, improbable, that we can make inevitable this year. It may be something we have been putting off or have been avoiding or haven’t committed to. We can spend some time scoping out our audacious goals, and then visualizing with specificity. How will it feel to achieve that goal? What will it look like? Who will be there to celebrate? What doors will achieving that goal open? Who will it positively impact? How will it change our daily lives?

@innov8social

2. Believing we are almost there

Pink cites studies have shown that we will work harder when we believe we are just a little behind in a goal. If you have ever completed a crowdfunding campaign, you may have experienced this with the relative ease of trying to raise the last 10–20% versus the middle 25%. We should take careful stock and reflect magnanimously on how we might be closer to our goal than on first blush. Maybe we already have the equipment, gear, or training to achieve the goal. Perhaps someone who attained what you hope to was not much further than we are at this time or stage.

3. Boldly remove barriers

What could have seemed like a barrier in 2018, is no match for our renewed will to finish this decade on a high note. With this focus in mind, we can dissolve the digital, mental, physical clutter distracting and impeding our paths. Instead of being active on a half-dozen social media channels, we might choose one or two and bow out from the rest. This digital decluttering may make it easier to focus. I engaged in this bold step just over six weeks ago and have been taking more online courses and setting new learning goals that felt out of reach before. This approach can also be used to declutter your physical space and relationships. With a goal in mind, we can find ways to make it easier to achieve it and finish strong.

4. Find a community, IRL first

Even though we are on the path to achieving our greatest goals, if it is a lonely journey we may lose our will or desire to see it through along the way. While online communities may be helpful in the long run, I issue the challenge of first finding a live convening or gathering to meaningfully begin building community. This can look different based on different goals. And when in doubt, organizing an impromptu hike, brunch, or happy hour might do wonders to attract the right people (even if a small group) who are similarly aligned, focused, and motivated to finish the decade strong with a shared goal in mind.

From an Impactathon® live convening in 2018

5. Celebrate milestones

In the insightful online Coursera course “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects,” instructors, Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, explain the importance of creating positive neurological cravings for new behaviors and habits we are trying to set. We can create positive cravings for achieving success when we break down our big goal and celebrate our small wins.

I share these observations not as a one-way directive but to co-inspire completion of a couple of audacious goals that I would love to achieve in this decade.

It’s our new year, in all good things let’s #goanddo!

 

 

 

Interested in learning more about how Innov8social can help you achieve your impact goals?  Schedule a quick call and follow @innov8social.

 

What is your relationship with your email? If you are like me—it is complicated.

I love email

I love email. I can love receiving it. There is still a small rush in seeing the number in parentheses increase on the tab hosting my email. Could there be something unexpected—a friend reaching out from out of the blue, a new social impact opportunity, or collaboration idea from an unlikely source. I can love sending email, too. Writing is one of my favorite ways of articulating ideas, and so crafting an email can create a special kind of satisfaction and fulfillment.

I get overwhelmed by email

That being said, I can feel weighted down by an overload of email—I think of all of the people who I haven’t gotten back to, the emails I am behind on, many messages I haven’t had a chance to open. As an entrepreneur, these emails can range from requests for podcast interviews to marketing opportunities to offers to feature sponsored content to cold emails from service providers, and everything in between. The emails are important to process, but can create a serious feeling of overwhelm. And, instead of getting through more email, I notice my mind shifts focus to other projects completely.

And then there are the email newsletters

Increasingly prevalent in my stream of email have been email newsletters. Oh, the newsletters. I have spent a good part of my professional career writing, strategizing, and distributing content, including email newsletters. It is an incredible way to connect with people who are in our ‘tribes’ through direct notes and updates. At Innov8social, we have the #goanddo guide, an email listserv that has updates on Innov8social and a smattering of event postings and job and internship opportunities in social impact. Newsletters have been a way to connect with our tribe.

However, I am afforded another view as an email newsletter recipient.

Along my social entrepreneurship journey, I have subscribed to an email newsletter, or two, or over a hundred. It happens innocently enough, you attend an event or engage with a website and think “sure, why not subscribe—at least I’ll know the latest news. And delivered right to my inbox! What could be better?!” The convenience and feeling of connection of being part of a community and receiving news is thrilling. Each newsletter arrival is like a small tap on the shoulder, “psst, this just in” or “oh hello there, I have something to say” or “excuse me, I know you are doing that, but look at me,” or “no rush, I’ll just be hanging out here in bold font until you have a chance to check me out.” What started as a feeling of being part of an inner crowd of a website or initiative, when scaled, can feel like a futile attempt to win at Tetris when pieces are piling up faster than you can put them away.

And many listservs can be a bit deceiving—because they come in the form of follow-ups to a place you visit, something you purchased, or related to an event you attended. They may feel like account-related updates, but actually work like a listserv. Over time, these messages come to the inbox on equal footing with and often adjacent to business and client messages and can dilute focus.

Overwhelm is real for entrepreneurs

We may not agree on everything related to entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, but news stories, anecdotes, and studies show us that entrepreneurial overwhelm is real. We knew that finding a viable business model, finding partners, and scaling were all par for the course for entrepreneurs. But now, we can add fighting overwhelm.

And feelings of overwhelm don’t happen at just one stage in the entrepreneurial journey—but they pivot and scale too. We have to be vigilant about actively taking steps to reduce feelings of overwhelm so we can focus on the things that matter most—including our work, physical and mental health, and our loved ones.

Hacking email overwhelm: how might we make email better

As an avid communicator-a-la writing, I noticed that one of the key sources of overwhelm is my email. And, I decided to try to hack it.

Over the past year I have polled my social media communities, asked friends, and tried different techniques to create a new strategy for organizing email. This has included incredibly helpful new practices and tools such as customizing labels and tabs in Google email, adding Streak as a CRM overlay to Google mail, and using Boomerang to help re-surface important messages.

These steps have been helpful as post-inbox measures. But if you forget to organize for a few days, your inbox can again fall into disarray, giving path for overwhelm to creep up once more. I realized, that the next level of ‘hacking’ would come from exploring pre-inbox solutions.

From all of this, I recently tried a radical life experiment

So, just as I created a practice around decluttering physical belongings which helped me reduce the things I own, store, and carry by over 70% last year (more on that in another post : ), I decided to unsubscribe. Radically.

Save a few key email newsletters, I have been unsubscribing, to the tune of over 100 email newsletters.

Why and how I unsubscribed

This experiment has included email newsletters from individuals and organizations I adore, respect, and value. I know as an email newsletter sender, we take newsletter unsubscribes incredibly seriously. Beyond the slight heart palpitations that (still) occur each time an edition of the #goanddo guide newsletter is sent out, the next wave of anxiety comes when checking how many unsubscribes followed the mailing—and then second-guessing why a person unsubscribed.

I didn’t want my attempt to reduce overwhelm to create overwhelm or anxiety for content creators, nor make it feel like I don’t value their work.

So, when possible and appropriate, I unsubscribe and then under “reason” I select “other” and write a brief note such as the following:

“I value your work and content. Am simplifying my inbox to sidestep overwhelm : ) If there are any ways to collaborate or co-create, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly. Warm Regards, Neetal, www.innov8social.com

I hope that giving an honest reason may provide the contextual explanation that being a mere statistic of an unsubscriber cannot convey.

What I learned from unsubscribing from 100+ newsletters

I have learned a lot from this process and wanted to share while the observations are fresh and in case they can be helpful to you.

1. Email can be a form of digital clutter

Even when filtered, archived, and labeled, email newsletter can still be clutter

It’s like having a storage unit. You store things and you feel better because you’re organized. But you are paying for that space–not just with your pocketbook, but with the mental energy of still owning and taking care of things that you might not even need.

2. It’s okay to unsubscribe

In this process of simplifying, I had to give myself permission to unsubscribe. In first part, it was a major change in operating procedure to see new newsletters and instead of thinking, “okay, mental note that I need to get to that” to thinking “let me unsubscribe for right now.” In order to focus on what matters most and become better versions of ourselves, it’s okay to unsubscribe. I think a calmer and more focused mind can also help connect us more meaningfully to other content creators, thinkers and doers in our space. I have made it okay to unsubscribe from newsletters, and also okay for subscribers to unsubscribe from Innov8social’s.

3. No one will unsubscribe for you

When I recently spent time at our family home I realized that my Mom was still receiving snail mail—twelve years after she passed away. Maybe I secretly thought there was a special alert system that would automatically let agencies, companies, marketing organizations of someone’s passing—especially after a number of years. The tough part was thinking that all of these years my dad regularly receives these mailings addressed to my mom.

Similarly, I realized that no one is going to magically unsubscribe us from our digital listservs when we are not around to receive them. Some listservs regularly prune and preen their lists, removing subscribers who do not open or who “don’t respond to this email”— but those that do are few and far between.

And that started weighing on me. If I feel overwhelmed with email clutter in my living days, it’s definitely not something I want to continue receiving after.

4. You can request/find the information in other ways

One of the tenets that guides my social media strategy to this day, and is something I focus on with my clients, came from Gary Vaynerchuk in his famous 2008 TED Talk. He iterated and reiterated that we, as content creators, need to be where our audience is—and not the other way around.

Extend that to email newsletters, and best practices would mean that web versions of email newsletters are also being distributed via social media—a practice that enables us to view, read, share, and enjoy—but not store, these important updates.

5. You might feel mentally and physically lighter, and ‘new’ again

I kid you not when I say I have felt mentally clearer and even subconsciously lighter from a cleaner inbox experience. Also, the simplified inbox makes me feel the kind of excitement and curiosity I felt when I first launched Innov8social—and I have noticed that I have had new ideas around content and partnerships.

6. Less email = more focus

This clarity has allowed me to focus on clients, potential opportunities, and following up with greater ease, and even more joy. Just as negative or white space can make graphic design more appealing and call to actions more pronounced, so too can negative email space help to create a sense of calm and renewed focus.

7. You can always re-subscribe

Another thing I have seen is just like every part of a Business Model Canvas is essentially a ‘hypothesis’ to be proven or disproven as an entrepreneur– so is unsubscribing.

In case you miss a newsletter, you can always re-subscribe. For me, I have a feeling that once I create a system in which I can regularly zero out my inbox, I can re-incorporate a few email newsletters without overwhelm.

8. There has to be a better way 

This deep dive into hacking email has made me think of technology-based solutions.

Gmail introduced the concept of ‘snoozing’ emails which is a positive start. But, what about being able to automatically delete emails after a period of time?

For example, I would love the ability to tag email newsletters to automatically delete after a specified time. Though a post-inbox solution, the automatic deletion would ensure that they would not go the path of becoming digital clutter.

Additionally, this would be excellent for calendar reminder emails too—which are incredibly important prior to an event, but can lose nearly all value after the scheduled event.

We are evolving. So too can our communication solutions.

Using an innovation mindset, I have to believe that just as email and email newsletters originally came to be, presumably as communication solutions, we are merely at the next stage where they have become incredibly powerful tools that are now in need of solutions to continue to reach their impact potential.

Curious to learn how you streamlined your inbox, create processes to reduce overwhelm, and zero out your inbox!

 

Tips from the community (updated)

  • Tash Jeffries of HireKind mentioned unroll.me
  • David of Innative mentioned using Slack or Asana for project and team communications + quickly assessing emails as soon as they come in (versus letting them sit in inbox)

 

We are in a profound moment of polarity.

We see it in the news, where the polar ends of political, religious, cultural, gender-conscious, racially-aware spectra voice their opinions with fury, feist, and without apology.

For those of us who see ourselves as problemsolvers driven by impact, we may feel overwhelmed and even momentarily paralyzed by the din of feuding opinions, the viscidity in reaching common ground and commonly-held beliefs. Where delivering and distributing social impact has often been associated within the purview of government and agencies, a new reality leaves these channels for impact less available and less accessible for those purposes.

However, those championing inclusion, innovation, and gamechanging innovation still have an important lever to pull. Business. Specifically, impact-driven business.

Social entrepreneurship has never been more important than it is right now.

Divisiveness around the role of government to support citizens, by default, seems to favor business, scaling, and job creation as measures of success.

Fortunately, changemakers have also increasingly been tinkering with business as a medium for change over the past decade or longer. This exploration has resulted in the passage of new legal structures including benefit corporations and social purpose corporations in over 32 states and jurisdictions that solidify the legal precedence of for-impact + for-profit companies. It has also led to creative and adaptive business models that seek to prioritize impact and account for impact. And, the foray into business practices is paving new ways of measuring and reporting impact; so that our accounting of social impact is not abstract and anecdotal, but a measurable means of evaluating success. This field of championing social impact and business is maturing as new kinds of capital-raising–including impact investing, community notes, and crowdfunding–are letting investors choose where their money grows and rests.

We realize that far from immobile, we are finding new muscles and new ways to move, connect, fly. Far from overwhelmed, we are building the scaffolding for a future that hasn’t been fully envisioned and architected.

Can social entrepreneurship be a common language?

It bares question whether, in this moment of polarity, we can turn to business as a common language.

Fortunately, social entrepreneurs not only speak the language but have become experienced in bridging gaps of knowledge and resources toward cultivating communities of conscious consumers, investors, and achieving new milestones in success.

We are seeing that beyond language, social entrepreneurship is a mindset. One that individuals across aisles, across industries, and across business and enterprise can adopt to create change and inclusion in their own ecosystems.

To be an effective way to express and empower impact, we need broader and deeper engagement in social entrepreneurship.

I have spent the better part of six years, since founding Innov8social, on the path of exploring, sharing, and building ways to make social entrepreneurship more actionable accessible. Spanning blog posts, podcast episodes, a book, live events, and now, consulting–I feel my personal life’s work entwined with this work of inviting, educating, and helping launch social entrepreneurs.

Here are steps I have found helpful in feeling more comfortable to create and grow as social entrepreneurs:

  1. Learn what social entrepreneurship is
  2. Define the impact you seek to make
  3. Understand the legal options for formation and fundraising
  4. Explore (and invent) business models
  5. Measure social impact, and the effects of the absence of social impact
  6. Tell a compelling story and share it personally and professionally
  7. Lead with empathy, clarity, and with impact-aligned team members
  8. Raise capital that fits your goals and your impact
  9. Always remember that we are problem-solvers first. Be ready to problemsolve thoughtfully and often
  10. Build your networks big and small–that serve to challenge you, empower you, and give you a forum of inviting others into the space and empowering their success

Social entrepreneurship will not reach its potential to create impact and shift the norms of business as a spectator sport. As millennials, Gen Z, and “Zoomers” look to start businesses and engage in meaningful work–I have little doubt that we will discover new ways of delivering impact through the medium of business.

 

Neetal Parekh is the founder of Innov8social, author 51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship, host of The Impact Podcast, and convener of Impactathon. She consults with social entrepreneurs, companies, and institutions to help them reach their impact potential. On Twitter and social media: @innov8social

Last May, Innov8social hosted its first live event—IMPACTATHON—at the creative and collaborative Tech Shop in San Francisco. Today, I am thrilled to announce we are partnering with UCLA to host the first university Impactathon at UCLA Anderson on Friday April 21st 2017 as part of their Social Impact Week!

 

impactathon at ucla anderson

 

Register for IMPACTATHON at UCLA Anderson, Friday 4/21

Impactathon brings together the best of seminars and TED-style talks along with hands-on ideation and collaboration for a powerful experience focused on helping participants take social impact ideas and ventures to the next level.

At Impactathon at UCLA Anderson, participants will also learn how to effectively craft and share social enterprise stories from the famed Red Bull Amaphiko Storytelling Lab.

 impactathon at ucla anderson, interactive workshop for social entrepreneurs

 

Join this event to:

  • Engage and hear from other founders, aspiring founders, social intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs, thinkers and doers in the social impact space.
  • Listen to honest, candid experiences and perspectives from thought leaders and trailblazers; hear about their successes and challenges and how they continually pivot to puruse both profit and social impact.
  • Get a special guided tour of the UCLA Anderson Accelerator and learn about how to build your brand through a high-energy storytelling workshop by Red Bull Amaphiko.
  • Work in small groups to build an idea and ‘mini pitch’. Beyond the idea, you will have a chance to build relationships with motivated, talented individuals aligned with a shared goal of creating social impact that can create community beyond Impactathon.
  • Enjoy a fun networking lunch with peers.

 impactathon at ucla anderson, interactive workshop for social entrepreneurs

Agenda

9:15 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Registration and breakfast

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Introductions and Keynote Talks

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Storyteller Lab by Red Bull Amaphiko

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Networking Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Impactathon Workshop

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Pitches

4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Judges debrief and awards

Meet the Speakers

Kaitlin Mogentale, Founder/CEO, Everytable & Groceryships*

Kaitlin Mogentale was a college senior when she watched a friend juice a carrot. She was appalled to see that as much as 75% of the vegetable was wasted, leaving behind vibrant heaps of carrot pulp. Calling up juiceries across Los Angeles, she found that most were sending their pulp to the landfill (as much as 3.5 pounds are wasted per pound of juice produced!). After that fateful moment, Kaitlin’s traditional career trajectory was turned upside down as she began to build Pulp Pantry, a social enterprise turning neglected resources such as juice pulp into value-added products.

Somya Munjal, Youthful SavingsSomya Munjal, Founder/CEO, Youthful Savings

Somya has one clear mission in life – economic empowerment. By working hard, understanding the economy and business, she believes all can be empowered and live a better life. She is a social entrepreneur with a passion for helping people through financial planning, education and impact-driven entrepreneurship. She is the founder of Youthful Savings, CPA for the People, LLP, Audacious Endeavors, LLC and the author of the forthcoming book Audacious Endeavors: How to Light Your Inner Fire and Change the World Through Socially Conscious Business.

 

Andrew Mcdowell, With Love Market and CafeAndrew McDowell, Founder/CEO, With Love Market & Cafe

Andrew McDowell is the Founder and CEO of With Love Market & Cafe. With Love (www.WithLoveLA.com) is a community-centered business venture, seeking to address injustices and inequalities disproportionately affecting the minority community of South Los Angeles. As a for-profit business with a non-profit community development arm, With Love is working to create a sustainable, replicable model for healthy food access, employment and community empowerment in urban poor/under-resourced  communities. Andrew is a graduate of Occidental College, resident of South LA, and member of Church of the Redeemer, in South LA.

 

 

 

impactathon at ucla anderson, interactive workshop for social entrepreneurs

More About Social Impact Week at UCLA Anderson

Social Impact Week at UCLA Anderson, which kicks off this Friday, features events, talks, and workshops focused on social impact, impact investing, and designing for social impact.

Join us! You can register for Impactathon at UCLA Anderson here. General admission is $15, the event is free to UCLA students, and scholarships are available.

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to #goanddo!

 

impactathon at ucla anderson, interactive workshop for social entrepreneurs

I went to SXSW this year. It pretty much rocked my world.

It was my first time to South by Southwest, the 10-day festival that has been bringing together a combination of music, film, startup, social impact, tech, and interactive media sessions since 1987. I was there to speak about social entrepreneurship, mentor, attend, connect, and meet unique, passion-drive people from around the globe and around Austin. Though there for just the first few days, SXSW — or “South by,” as it’s referred to by seasoned festival-goers and Austinites — proved to be an immersive experience not only embodying the culture of an incredible city but also cross-pollinating the quirky-creative-progressive vibe of Austin.

Here are a few lessons from SXSW I learned from my 2017 experience.

Lessons from SXSW

 

Stay Weird

If you go to Austin you will likely run into “Keep Austin Weird” stickers, logos, hashtags, etc. It’s a slogan, an anthem, and a call to action. (an interesting aside, it seems that the original creators of “keepaustinweird.com” lost out on the trademark to the slogan…an interesting tale explained more here). The original intent behind the phrase was to “counter Austin’s descent into rampant commercialism and over-development” but over time it has evolved to become a badge of individuality, creativity, and community.

The lesson here is to not only identify the “other,” “counter,” “unique” aspects of our work or brand, but to find ways to lean into and celebrate it. For social entrepreneurs, building a business that prioritizes impact and a bottom line, can sometimes put us out of sync with traditional business and non-profit communities. But, it is that precise distinction that should be valued, championed, and developed.

Ultimately, what is weird about us and our work, is what makes us unique — and findable amid the noise of media. If we can find a niche of users, clients, investors to support our vision and work, we don’t need to ‘fit in’ but can be more easily seen and recognized by standing out.

A post shared by Innov8social (@innov8social) on

 

Experience over Handshakes

SXSW is an alternative universe where experiences are just around the corner, at an interactive lounge down the hall, or at the next happy hour. Some of the most meaningful conversations happened with folks I met after they reached out via the SXSW app or vice versa, at a session, or while shuttling to and from venues via local car-share app “Fasten”.

Where many events like this are built around the customary exchange of business details, at SXSW there is a premium on having a meaningful experience together. The length of the event — 10 days — admittedly facilitates organic and planned experiences.

In 2 days, I met with an impact investor, connected with CEO of a DC-based nonprofit social enterprise; engaged a new friend and documentarian to informally cover my talk; reconnected with friends from college, a recent fellowship, past podcast episodes; had one of the most ‘real’ conversations with a fellow female social enterprise founder about what it takes to actually scale and grow an impact-driven business…and even sighted a few celebrities to boot. I connected with teachers who purchased my book in hopes it could help their entrepreneurial high school students further their work and had some incredible discussions with mission-aligned leaders in New York and Washington D.C. about hosting Impactathon sessions in those cities.

These experiences, a small snapshot of what is possible in a multi-day event, provided fodder for reflection, inspiration, and clarity. With each of these connections, we had a moment in a place where people think bigger and make the impossible yesterday’s news.

It made me re-think how I evaluate investing in experience over product. The things we have may come and go, but the experiences leave impressions, raise questions, build relationships, and can inspire and guide our work far longer.

A post shared by Innov8social (@innov8social) on

It’s Always the People

One of the memories that stays close from my time at Apple was the credo each retail specialist carried with them which declared that, for Apple, “our soul is our people.” This simple phrase definitively conferred importance and value to individuals, relationships not distinct from the company brand, but central to it. I often echo this sentiment when considering my work and team.

As social enterprises grapple with how to attract and retain excellent talent, they can also look to that simple sentiment when considering how to cultivate a culture of respect and resilience.

Fast forward to SXSW which takes place in a city that has been consistently recognized as “friendly”. Among the designations Austin has amassed are: top five friendliest city, one of the most dog-friendly cities, LGBT-friendly city, and bicycle-friendly city too. The friendliness I encountered with people from Austin was consistent with the rankings, and I think it spilled over to the interactions between conference and festival goers too. It is the culture behind that kind of warmth and welcoming that has helped put SXSW on the map as a ‘go-to’ event for innovators, collaborators, thinkers, and doers.

It has also made me think about how a more open attitude can facilitate our next level of growth. How connection, collaboration, and respect can help relationships transcend given roles to become part of a lasting connection, that we re-visit, contribute to, and grow from over time.

I look forward to continue growing from the lessons from SXSW, and of course, to staying weird :)

Austin, #howdy 🤠 . . #sxsw2017 #sxsw #austin #socent #impact #downtown #goanddo

A post shared by Innov8social (@innov8social) on

“If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.” – Michael Phelps, US competitive swimmer, most decorated Olympian of all-time

Michael Phelps at Summer Olympics 2016.

photo credit New York Times

 

Whether you have have been glued to your screen of choice watching every Olympic event possible or have caught highlights from posts on Facebook, there is little doubt that spirit of the 2700-year-old games have once again challenged our view of the possible, propelled us to deepen our focus, and maybe even inspired us to play our favorite sports again.

So, what can the social impact sector learn from the Olympic Games?  Here are 3 takeaways that have been on my mind.

 

3 Things the Social Impact Sector Can Learn from the Olympic Games

 

1. It takes time to build a tradition.

 

In looking at nearly 30 centuries since the Ancient Olympics which took place in 776 BC  or considering the 120 years since the launch of modern Olympic Games…it’s clear that it has taken a hot minute to build the global, pervasive tradition that is the Olympic Games.

 

We all might wish the social impact sector was growing more quickly, that resources to grow and scale social enterprises were more readily available now; however, we might do well to ask ourselves how we want this space to look in 100 years. These critical moments, somewhere past inception but before full maturation, are when we can inform, influence, and shape the sector and how people across time (and perhaps space) may engage with it ahead.

 

With the long game in mind, we afford ourselves the opportunity to think more broadly and hopefully more boldly about what we are creating and how we can impact this growing sector that we hope, in turn, will go on to positively impact many others.

 

2. To make it stick and mean something, you have to invite people to the table.

 

It was only during its resurrection in Athens in 1896, and with delegates competing from 34 countries, that the Olympic Games became truly global. Fast forward to the Rio De Janeiro Games in 2016, and we witness participants from 206 countries and a first-time team of 43 refugees in competition.

 

The Olympics did not achieve its je ne sais quoi from limiting participation and involvement, but rather, by opening up the opportunity to everyone while also raising the bar for who could qualify and how. As a result, it has become a global symbol of excellence, rather than exclusion.

 

Applying this sense of community and possibility, we have to remind ourselves that the greatest innovations in impact will likely not come from behind closed doors, but rather at open tables. From my experience of covering social impact through Innov8social for over five years, I have seen (or later heard about : ) many private, closed door events. Or others featuring prohibitive entry fees. Technology is enabling innovations such as livestreaming and virtual participation, but it still feels like as a sector we can do more to include, invite, and raise the bar for how individuals and entities participate.

3. Planned, live events let people plan, get excited for, and train to innovate to the next level.

 

With all of the concerns we have seen in recent years as to whether Olympic host cities will “pull through” and be prepared by Opening Day, it is tempting to wonder if there might be technology-enabled solutions that would allow for remote competition and likely save hundreds of millions of dollars for host countries. However, time and again we are shown that the magic happens in the midst of live, in-person interaction.

 

In May 2016, Innov8social hosted our first live event, “Impactathon”. After years of creating content and syndicating over digital channels, through blog posts, podcast episodes, online course, book, and other online content, the inaugural in-person event did wonders to show the power of having committed, mission-aligned individuals in the same room ideating together.

 

Extending this more broadly to the social impact sector, there already are growing ways and events to bring together individuals for a live, planned event. Whether through fellowship such as Starting Bloc, Echoing Green, Global Social Benefit Institute, Opportunity Collaboration, Hive Global Leaders, or others; or through events or through pitch competitions; these exist and are growing by the day. However, there is not an “Olympic” standard type of event as of yet–one that is marked by its openness and rigor and which somehow recognizes or furthers the profile and legacies of its participants.

 

To reach our olympic potential in social impact, the opportunity is ripe for action and innovation, and more reasons than ever to #goanddo.

 

In this episode we meet the participants from Impactathon 2016, where participants share candid experiences and perspectives from thought leaders and participants in the social impact space; hear about their successes and challenges and how they continually pivot to pursue both profit and social impact.

The participants also got a special guided tour of TechShop in San Francisco. This is a powerful resource to build physical things using state of the art equipment and technology. They also learnt about classes and new packages that TechShop offers.

Listen to the Podcast Episode 

Meet Andrew Calvo 

Andrew Calvo, is the Director of Sales, SF Bay Area at TechShop.  At the ImpactAndrew Calvoathon,  Andrew introduced the Tech Shop to the crowd with demos of metal shop, wood shop and laser cutters.

Andrew explained, that hundreds of companies launch from TechShop. Square who developed their first prototype for the Square Reader, a device that turns smartphones and tablets into credit-card readers, came out of Tech Shop.

Andrew also explained that, a lot of Social Impact projects have kicked out of Tech Shop. Bio-light camping stove is a great way to cook food, it reduces the particulates coming out of the flame is one among them. Similarly Resource Sanitation helped to develop, better sanitation products for the developing world. Dodo case is another example, which got benefited out of Tech Shop. He also explained that learning about prototyping tools and technologies, would spark a lot of ideas and can eventually lead to innovative and impactful projects.

Another company, Embrace, is making sleeping bag-like incubators to keep children warm, hundreds of thousands of babies die because they can’t make it to an incubator quickly enough. TechShop also offers free public tours of every machine and shop area.

Show Notes

Here are a few articles related to this episode.

More about Impactathon

  • Website: https://www.innov8social.com/impactathon
  • Value Proposition: “Live and online events to bring together thinkers and doers inspired to create and further social impact. Join us to explore the space, learn about nuances, and expand your network.

Ability in Tech Summit

In this episode we meet the participants, speakers, and organizers at “Ability in Tech Summit” . The summit addresses barriers and biases for people with different physical and mental abilities in tech – through workshops, panel discussions, a technology showcase, a career fair and a safe space to learn and meaningfully connect.

The first Tech Inclusion Conference in September 2015 began as a simple idea by co-founders Melinda Briana Epler and Wayne Sutton to bring together the tech community to discuss solutions to the industry’s diversity and inclusion challenges. The idea quickly gained momentum with overwhelming support from impassioned speakers, supportive sponsors and engaged partners.

Listen to the Podcast Episode 

Meet San

"Ability in Tech Summit"

“Ability in Tech Summit”

This is day 23 of our 30 Day Podcast Project!  Today, you will meet San, from the “The Lions Center for the Blind”. The Lions Center for the Blind uses the latest in technology to provide individualized, one-on-one training to develop the skills necessary to succeed.

San feels more work needs to be done to educate those who are not aware of the laws protecting those of disabilities. They feel more resistance based on the skepticism and lack of understand of person’s ability rather than the actual disability.

San hopes to see what’s in the store, for the progress of those who are disabled. His organization provides rehabilitation services for people who are blind or low vision to build independent and productive lives. There is a professional team of experienced instructors provide individualized, one-on-one training for our clients to develop the skills necessary to succeed. To know more please visit lbcenter.org

Meet Lorna

Lorna Seitz is from Legis Institute, they are in process of developing an online platform to facilitate collaborative policy and legislation development.Lorna is attending the session so that she take care of the concerns for the disabled.

Legis tailors interventions to build on an institution’s existing strengths and address its unique challenges. They begin the needs assessment process by using unique institution-mapping and assessment system to identify repetitive patterns of behavior that undermine institutional fairness, effectiveness, and efficacy.  Clients and partners have used their resources to improve

  • legislative drafting processes in Government ministries and in parliaments,
  • public hearings and the use of public input to law and regulations,
  • monitoring and evaluation of legislation as it is implemented,
  • law reform processes
  • court functioning

To know more please visit legisinstitute.org

Meet Darlene

Darlene is working with Alameda County Social Services Agency. The agency promotes the economic and social well-being of individuals, families, neighborhoods and communities. The Alameda County Social Services Agency is comprised of 2,200 men and women working collectively and in partnership with community-based organizations to serve the needs of the community. 

  • The Agency assists approximately 11.3 percent of Alameda County’s residents.
  • Benefits programs contribute over $278 million to the local economy through cash assistance and CalFresh.
  • Every month more than 52,000 people receive CalWORKs (assistance for families with children), CalFresh and General Assistance.
  • Every month health insurance is made available to more than 78,000 people through the Medi-Cal program.
  • Every month more than 11,000 frail, elderly and disabled individuals receive in home care, adult protection and support managing their affairs, and throughtout the year 16,000 seniors will receive services through the Area Agency on Aging. 3,700 children are in foster care.

More About Ability in Tech

  • Website: http://ability.techinclusion.co/
  • Value Proposition: “As technology continues to affect every sector of business and innovation, there’s a growing concern for the lack inclusion across the tech ecosystem. While we work to correct this through a growing focus on diversity and inclusion, we often leave out populations of capable people in tech like those with visible and invisible disabilities.