Happy 2014!And with a blink, we are nearly halfway in to January!?  I wanted to take a few moments to give a few Innov8Social updates.

New Logo

First off, here is a new Innov8Social logo and icon:

 

A huge thanks to all of the talented designers that submitted innovative designs to our design contest hosted on GoodJoe. Special thanks to cmdixon2 for the winning design!

Social Innovation Book Project Update

Co-author Shivani and I have been whittling away on the social innovation book project. We met nearly every day during the holiday season—couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy peppermint green tea than while discussing social enterprises, or than spending the first day of 2014 surveying books, authors, and resources in the space. You can read the latest book update on the Social Innovation Book Project Indiegogo campaign page (click the tab “Updates”).

 

Innov8Social Posts

You may have noticed fewer posts and more interview posts on Innov8Social. And on the backend, there are a number of amazing, enriching interviews that have been recorded that have yet to be shared.

So, what’s going on?

Well, one of the major changes in the middle of last year was taking action on the idea/goal/dream of writing a book. The efforts, though they are primarily in research stage now, have been consuming in a new way. Not that there isn’t time to write blog posts—but rather the focus has shifted to turning idea into reality with a massive undertaking such as writing a book.

Another development has been the expansion of my consulting and addition of a new role. Innov8Social so far as been a labor of passion. And while I figure out how it can be more, it has led to some interesting consulting opportunities with startups, nonprofits, and impact investment funds. It also led me to overseeing curriculum for Thinktomi—an entrepreneurship education startup. Designing, facilitating, and teaching aspects of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship is exciting. And in the long run, I believe it helps to inform and expand my knowledge and network for exploring social innovation.

 

An App?

We have also been exploring new ways to deliver content including a mobile app or e-booklet. Would love any feedback on what you would like to see and formats that are easiest to consume. It is a bit of an undertaking, but not impossible by any means.

Here is wishing you an amazing year ahead. We look forward to another year of exploring social innovation together!

 

When enough people, especially those not otherwise connected with each other, recommend something, it can do wonders to capture your imagination and fascination. That happened with Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Incubator program.

Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI)

Though I learned about GSBI while researching social innovation startup accelerator and incubator programs, over the past few months I have heard it mentioned in various conversations with social innovators and entrepreneurs in the space.

Then, at the Womens’ Social Entrepreneurs’ Panel hosted by GABA at the Kiva offices in SF, a few panelists were also graduates of the program—and were doing absolutely fascinating work. My interest was building, and every subsequent mention of GSBI was akin to a “Klout” moment on my personal interest pique-o-meter.

Attending a GSBI Accelerator Showcase

GSBI accelerator showcase

More recently, SCU hosted a GSBI Accelerator Showcase on campus. The pitch event featured over a dozen social entrepreneurs, hailing from around the globe, who presented pitches and status updates on their endeavors directly to impact investors and the broader philanthropic community.

These driven problem-solvers were educators, artisans, farmers, and engineers—but took on the role of social innovators in the face of deep-rooted issues in their communities.

VentureBeat covered the event noting that “of the 202 enterprises that have completed GSBI programs since its inception in 2003, 90 percent are still in business and can boast of having positively impacted nearly 100 million lives around the globe and raising $89 million in funding.”

Thane Kreiner, Executive Director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society, at Santa Clara University, which is home of the Global Social Benefit Incubator also published a recap of the event on NextBillion.

The pitches were direct asks for funds to help social enterprises cross the proverbial chasm in scaling to the next level.  Here is a sample of a few of the asks:

  • Clinicas de Azucar requested $3.3M to scale low-cost diabetes solutions to reach 200 clinics in Mexico.
  • Avani requested $500K to scale sustainable textile production by women to 101 villages in northern India
  • Nishant Bioenergy requested $600K to scale production and distribution of energy-efficient, sustainable, cookstoves.
  • Literacy Bridge requested $500K to scale their accessible (non-literacy dependent) audio solution for teaching agricultural practices to rural farmers in Africa
  • Drishtee requested $3M to scale their solution to extend last-mile distribution of products to remote regions in India.
  • Iluméxico requested $250K to scale solar grid electricity solutions to open 30 branches in 10 states in Mexico.
  • Husk Power requested $5M to scale mini powerplants and provide electricity as a service from 5K to over 25K households in India and East Africa.

(Note: videos of the pitch event can be seen here and will be posted on YouTube here.)

The Courage to Try

The pitches represented more than a singular idea. In social innovation, as in entrepreneurship, ideas often come “into vogue”concurrently—i.e. if you are thinking of a new innovation or improvement, there’s a good chance someone is thinking along the same lines too.

This simple realization humanizes the social entrepreneur’s experience and also takes it out of the abstract. These entrepreneurs who venture into the dimly lit space of creating value and impact aren’t necessarily the first, they are the the ones courageous enough to grab the torch and stumble into the darkness to test out their potential solution.

In the coming weeks I look forward to interviewing a few of the leaders of GSBI to learn more about the program, the selection process, how the institute has evolved, and what the organizers have learned from hosting an annual accelerator/incubator program for social innovation.

 

Apply to GSBI by October 31

Applications for the 2014 class of GSBI are available now and you can apply until October 31, 2013.

Application for GSBI are here.

 

GSBI accelerator showcase
GSBI accelerator showcase
One of my favorite parts of participating in SOCAP is learning about relevant new tools and resources in the social innovation space. Here are 5 interesting ones I learned about via #SOCAP13 webcasts.

5 Social Innovation Resources from SOCAP13

 

1. Book: Mission in a Bottle


Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently–and Succeeding by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff

On Day 2 of #SOCAP13’s morning plenary session included a presentation by Founder and CEO of Honest Tea Co., Seth Goldman. He introduced the new book he co-authored with co-founder (and former professor) Barry Nalebuff. Interestingly, it is written as a comic book—a format Seth touches on in his talk.

As we set out on writing our own book on social innovation—we are constantly seeking to hear honest narratives of entrepreneurs who have set out create value and impact. After Seth spoke I immediately ordered an ebook version of the book. At the time, I didn’t realize it was primarily in comic book format so I do lose a bit in the way of color and size but am delighted to see a unique, visual take on sharing their story.

You can take a look at Seth Goldman’s talk at SOCAP13 below.

 

2. Report: 2013 GSMA Report on Scaling Mobile for Development

Report: Scaling Mobile for DevelopmentHarness the opportunity in the developing world
(Aug 2013)
by GSMA Intelligence, with support from Rockefeller Foundation

In an afternoon session on Day 2 of SOCAP13, Matt Bannick of Omiydar Network moderated a panel titled, “Priming the Pump in Action: A Sector-Based Discussion on Mobile Impact.” The focus of the session was to parse out case studies of use and scale of mobile for impact and development.

Mentioned a few times in the session was an in-depth report prepared by GSMA regarding the use of mobile technology for development. Considering that mobile technology in the developing world has become the basis of innovative social enterprises tackling issues ranging from access to healthcare (MAMA), access to finance (M-Pesa), to reporting of labor conditions (LaborVoices).

Priming the Pump in Action: A Sector-Based Discussion on Mobile Impact

 

  • Monica Brand, Accion Frontier Investments Group
  • Matt Bannick, Omidyar Network (moderator)
  • Faith Sedlin, Range Networks
  • Corina Gardner, GSMA






3. Conference: Sankalp Unconvention, Annual Summit in India

SankalpForum.com




During SOCAP13, Conference Co-Founder and Convener Kevin Jones sat down for an armchair conversation with Vineet Rai Founder of Intellecap and Aavishkaar. Rai organizes the largest meeting of social innovation minds outside of SOCAP called “Sankalp”—which translates to “pledge” or “determination.”

Sankalp was founded in 2009 to connect social enterprises and investors but has grown to a broader platform to bring together thought leaders, industry experts, policymakers and global social innovators.

The Sankalp Unconvention Summit 2014 is scheduled for September 4, 2014. You can read the in-depth 2013 PDF Sankalp conference guide and watch videos from past conferences.

 

4. Publication: 5 Characteristics of a Social Entrepreneur by Greg Dees of Berkeley

 

Greg Dees
Professor, Thought Leader
in social entrepreneurship
(photo credit: AshokaU)

In Berkeley Professor Laura Callanan’s introduction to her insightful talk, “The Surprise Social Entrepreneur”on Day 2 SOCAP13, she referenced a list of characteristics of social entrepreneurs as set out by Professor Greg Dees.

I had not heard of this specific list referenced. In looking up the list and Professor Dees I see him as an early adopting and leading social enterprise thinker. To put it in perspective, I launched Innov8Social in 2011 to study the “emerging space” of social innovation. Professor Dees? He published his list of characteristics in 2001.

He has remained close to the evolution of the movement having held positions at McKinsey & Company, Yale School of Management, Harvard Business School, and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He also serves on the board of the Bridgespan Group and World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Social Entrepreneurship. Professor Dees is on numerous advisory boards including Volans, REDF, Aflatoun, Business Leadership for Tomorrow, the Limmat Foundation, and the Social Enterprise Journal.

From “Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship” by J. Gregory Dees (published in 2001) 

Social entrepreneurs play the role of change agents in the social sector, by:

  • Adopting a mission to create and sustain social value (not just private value),
  • Recognizing and relentlessly pursuing new opportunities to serve that mission,
  • Engaging in a process of continuous innovation, adaptation, and learning,
  • Acting boldly without being limited by resources currently in hand, and
  • Exhibiting heightened accountability to the constituencies served and for the outcomes created.

 

http://www.uniteforsight.org/social-entrepreneurship-course/module2

 

5. Book: The Business Solution to Poverty

 

During the morning plenary session of Day 3 of SOCAP13, one of the speakers was Paul Polack, co-founder and CEO of Windhorse International. A newly minted 80-year old (he noted celebrating his birthday two days prior) he spoke earnestly about his life-long dream of transforming business as usual and extreme poverty.

Paul outlined 3 movements that he said were in the “crossroads” between success and failure. This, from someone who has been immersed in poverty solutions for decades, was particularly insightful. On his radar were: 1) the movement to end extreme poverty as in need of new and innovative solutions;  2) the need for social impact to finds ways to demonstrate commercial profitability at scale; and 3) the need for big business to shift from designing and selling mindset of over-consumption.

He also introduced the new book he and co-author Mal Warwick released titled “The Business Solution to Poverty.”

Want more? Here are a few Storify compilations recapping SOCAP13:

 

If there is ever a frenzy similar to Chicken Little proclaiming “the sky is falling” that is 1) constructive and 2) applied to the social innovation community—it is that in preparation of the annual Social Capital Markets gathering in San Francisco. Affectionately abbreviated as “SOCAP”, add “#” at the front and appropriate two-digit year at the end for digital perfection, the conference brings together thousands upon thousands of thought leaders, movers & shakers, investors, and companies squarely in the social innovation sector.

SOCAP, the Holy Grail

So, you might ask, this must be your premier event of the year? I.e. your little blog on social innovation must erupt in rainbow colors and neon lights when this conference comes along—and you must gingerly pick out an appropriate consumer-conscious wardrobe, arrange your specially-ordered greenstock Moo business cards, and otherwise prepare yourself for a tsunami of information. Absolutely and kind of.

Welcome to SOCAP11
#SOCAP11: Go Big or Go Home

In 2011 after I found out about the event just months after I began my blog (and left my full-time job), I made the huge decision to pay the nearly $1K to attend the event. And so I did meticulously select a wardrobe–which paid homage to both the color green as well as the dangers of greenwashing–, I made arrangements to stay with a close friend in SF, I mapped out the public transport routes. And, I tried to meet anyone and everyone I could at the event by exchanging cards, LinkedIn-ing with impressive turnaround times, and creating #bff-level twitter friendships.
The event did hold muster. I interviewed a number of fascinating, driven individuals for Innov8Social—enabling me to launch a YouTube channel, wrote handfuls of posts, and otherwise tried to absorb as much of the event as I could. Not only that, having paid full sticker price, I wanted to make sure I continued my learning outside of the event. I used the conference info app to continue connecting with people after the event—meeting over coffee, Skype, or rollover minutes.
It was energizing, electric (concept further explained here, kindly scroll down), and eye-opening. But, as you may know, as a social innovator with an appetite for the future that can sometimes exceed resources in the wallet—paying to play without a fiscal sponsor was not necessarily a scalable solution. A blog is a tricky thing and while it has lent to some incredible interviews and consulting opportunities, it requires a discipline that is at times more aligned with “lean”, “bootstrap”, and “survival” than anything more lofty or luxurious.
(for your perusing pleasure, Innov8Social’s coverage of #SOCAP11 including interviews, session recaps, and photo essay.)



#SOCAP12: The Lost Year

In 2012, the timing and resource flow weren’t aligned to purchase another ticket. I did apply for other avenues such as a press pass or volunteer role but was not a lucky grasshopper on either count. #SOCAP2012 will remain the “lost SOCAP” for me as my work and study schedule didn’t permit online participation and my resources (or combined ingenuity) didn’t pave the path for actual participation.(Link to official #SOCAP12 webcasts is here)

#SOCAP13: Go Big, at Home

As SOCAP2013 rolled around I was again determined. I entertain innovation regularly and laugh in the face of closed doors and one-line rejection emails. Surely, this time around there would be some way to connect with the Holy Grail of social innovation events in the SF Bay Area.  Thinking about how my readership has grown (200K visitors have wittingly and unwittingly happened upon the site and  40+ amazing people have shared their time for an interviews), I tossed my name in the hat for a press pass once more. And, what the heck, for a volunteer role too.
This time, though, there was yet another avenue. Like a natural gas-powered organic food truck emerging from the SF fog, there was a new, accessible, potentially promising path to earn a golden ticket and contribute to the curriculum. And it was called SOCAP Open. We could pitch ideas for a session, gather support and buy-in via social media, and await determination from the SOCAP illuminati. Considering that co-author Shivani and I were in the concluding stages of finalizing our social innovation book idea and crowdfunding it, we pitched an idea that was forming the backbone of our book.  Maybe it could be a win-win-win and win for all. We could participate, gain access to the event, share some great learnings from writing the book, and engage in a meaningful dialogue that could in turn impact our content.
A few things added hairs of complication to the plan. Namely 1) we are still in the outlining phase of the book; 2) despite our humble yet valiant social media efforts, our session idea was not one of the 23 selected (out of 124); and 3) my volunteer and press pass queries must have lost in the proverbial metadata haystack, as I did not receive a response to either.
The SOCAP organizing team was magnanimous in offering a considerable discount for those who submitted idea. I think I lost track of both time and common sense, and did not act on the offer.
But this year I was determined not fall in the abyss and completely miss out. So I did what any #socent worth her salt would do—I looked for a quick and easy solution that would get me closer to the action at a fraction of the cost. I rigged my iPhone to my TV using the appropriate tethering Apple dongle and I streamed the sessions live online.
“What do you want to make absurd in your lifetime?”
social innovators Premal Shah (Kiva), Robert Gomez (filmmaker),
Donna Morton (Principium), and Bill McKibben (350 org)
“Accelerating the Good Economy”
Opening session – #SOCAP13

In 2011 I always grimaced when I was late to a plenary session—I hate missing keynotes, especially when they include jokes and funny anecdotes. This time, my strategy worked with true atomic watch precision. I sat directly in the center of the couch with my laptop poised in start position on my lap, and an appropriate array of remotes to my left. I had readied myself with plethora of open tabs—including Twitter, the official #SOCAP13 schedule, Wikipedia for unfamiliar concepts, and Linkedin & Facebook to share update and consult bios of the upcoming speakers. And then, I waited.

As soon as the plenary sessions launched, so did I. I tweeted, I facebooked, I even took handwritten notes. I would have thrown my business cards at the screen in hopes of networking, but that seemed excessive. I did email speakers who shared their addresses with the audience in hopes of following up. Moreover, I learned and absorbed.
I could let my mind wander around and through the concepts—and I myself could do the same in the kitchen and patio—as I listened. It was a much different experience than #SOCAP11 but it was a determined one. I learned much and truly appreciated the conference organizers’ efforts to let us simple humans connect with the grandeur taking place at the Holy Grail.

(to be sure I was actually tuning in and not just clicking on sponsored posts on FB, here are 5 resources I learned about from tuning in to #SOCAP13)

#SOCAP14: ________ ?

Stay tuned for a few concrete learnings about #SOCAP13—the home edition. And, know that you don’t have to take my word for it—those videos that I partook in are still available. As we wait for even newer ways to potentially participate in #SOCAP14, we can prepare ourselves by staging a viewing marathon of SOCAPs of years past. I can just imagine the happy tweeting of updates from the plenary sessions—nevermind that they took place months (or years) ago—and the throwing our business cards at the screen in gleeful appreciation.
NetIP North America (Network of Indian Professionals) strives to “serve as the unequivocal voice for the South Asian Diaspora by developing and engaging a cohesive network of professionals to benefit the community.”

dare to give back #netipconf2013
“Dare to Give Back” Panel at #netipconf2013 : (from right) Seena Jacob, Bookwallah;
Golda Philip, Hospital for Hope; Neetal Parekh, Innov8Social
[adapted from photos by Kavita T.]

Dare to Be You

One of the manifestations of its mission is the conference held annually at a different compelling metro in North America. The 2013 NetIP conference convened in the heart of downtown San Francisco on Labor Day weekend. The canvassing theme “Dare to Be You,” created a framework broad enough to accommodate a range of topics and bold enough to highlight breakaway paths South Asians are increasingly pursuing.  There were speakers from the CIA, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and even a relationship expert on hand to share what they’ve learned while also showing the potential of unconventional pathways in the process.

NetIP Descends on San Fransisco

Being in the backyard of tech and social innovation, the event also included features cognizant of the SF/Bay Area milieu.
For example, the event hosted its first ever “Fast Pitch” session in which entrepreneurs pitched early-stage startup ideas, and answered tough questions from a panel of experts in hopes of gaining valuable feedback and possible scoring a win on an enticing prize suite of products and services.
Another distinctive feature—which fellow event/conference enthusiasts can appreciate—was the unique pocket-sized program. Measuring just a few inches by a few more inches, the pamphlet could fit in the palm of your hand, in an oversized pocket, and definitely in any size bag or purse.  It was a “fit and light”version of its traditional full-size counterparts—half the calories with the same great taste.

Dare to Give Back

I was honored to join a panel titled “Dare to Give Back” which was designed with the focus of sharing stories of social innovation from those who have launched projects in the field. The panel:
The time slot of Saturday morning at 10:30 AM to noon did a couple of things. It likely dissuaded the faint of heart—whose interest in this topic hasn’t peaked or who didn’t realize there were sessions that started before 1pm on a Saturday. And, it brought together those who were inexplicably compelled by this topic. That latter group made the session an exceptional exercise in sharing, learning, being vulnerable, supporting each other, and generally getting fired up.
In our introductions we learned so much about each other. Not only was Golda working with an amazing team with audacious goals of creating rippling impact in healthcare for hundreds of thousands of villagers, she is also the youngest sister of two college friends who are phenomenal leaders in their own rights. Connecting with her brought back fond memories of undergrad leadership, and her quiet eloquence served to inspire those thinking about giving back in health care capacities in South Asia and beyond.
Seena disarmed the panel, audience, and attending media early in the session. Her vibrancy and honesty about the ups and downs of being a social innovator and nonprofit leader were genuine and uncoated. Bookwallah has maintained its vision of sharing storytelling and books with children in South Asia, but she quickly pointed out how the methods of effecting the vision have pivoted to adapt to actual and unforeseen needs and challenges the project faced. Her story and passion moved members of the audience to find out how they could help. A participant in one of sessions later in the day, wrote her a check on the spot to contribute to her work.
dare to give back #netipconf2013I shared what I have learned in launching a blog on social innovation, understanding the need, setting (and re-calibrating) expectations, and–most importantly–the actionable learnings about legal structure and business models for social innovation and social enterprise.

Power of Sharing

The session went from great to exceptional when we shifted the spotlight from the panel to the audience. With over a dozen audience members and nearly an hour left on the clock we invited attendees to introduce themselves and their ideas for stating a social enterprise, nonprofit, or what drew them to the session.
The responses were remarkable. Not only did we learn that attendees hailed from Washington D.C., New York, the Bay area, and the Midwest—we heard about work they have been doing, resources they have to offer, and the ideas that are just seedlings looking for ways to develop. As each person “pitched” their giving back aspirations, remarkably, everyone in the room conspired on ways to help. Golda, who herself is based in DC, was keen to follow up with the east coasters for a local DC follow-up gathering. Seena offered her organization as a volunteer opportunity for those looking to connect more deeply with projects around literacy.
There were attendees practicing law in one field but trying to find out how to help victims in more impactful ways outside of work hours. Health care professionals voiced interest in volunteering in South Asia in the developing world in new ways. One attendee shared a personal story of attending the session in honor of a dear friend dedicated to service, who passed away suddenly some years back—and how she actively sought ways to honor her friend’s memory.As people felt more comfortable and encouraged, they opened up and said aloud ideas that may have just seemed to be fleeting but whose repetition was cause for notice.

Singing the Body Electric

I remember picking up a Ray Bradbury book called I Sing the Body Electric! at a garage sale as a middle-schooler. I had been so taken by Fahrenheit 451 that any book by the author caught my eye. I can’t honestly remember any of its the short stories—-but the title has stayed with me.

1969 ... 'I Sing the Body Electric' - Ray BradburyWhen you engage in something you are passionate about—be it sports, fashion, art, tech, or service—there is a certain electricity that is generated when you recognize that common passion in others. Even though we had each descended to this session from different parts of the country, with varying levels of experience and interest, and different end goals—our common passion for service and working on ideas bigger than ourselves created an unmistakable melody of positive current.

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
Tomorrow will be mark a week since we concluded our Indiegogo campaign to fundraise for our social innovation book project.

How did it go?

Thanks to your efforts, we successfully raised (and exceeded) our goal of $7100. Co-author Shivani Khanna was catching a flight to Africa on the day before the crowdfunding campaign concluded. We caught each other just as she boarded the plane and wished each other (and the book project) the best as it headed into its final sprint.

Sunset, Sunrise

We acknowledged that either way, we were heading into a new phase of the book project. What started as a personal goal, morphed to a partnership, became an active project (complete with shared documents, expansive spreadsheets, and a talented videographer), had become a public project. And now, for the next few weeks it would descend back into the deep waters of quiet as we both respectively gather knowledge, perspective, and negotiate distance as we continue working on the project.

Shivani heads abroad on consulting assignment which will bring her in direct contact with social enterprises, officials, and constituents at the forefront of initiatives to provide financial services to the base of the pyramid.

While we are in touch through the means available, much of our exploration and knowledge gathering over the next few weeks will happen independently. The sun setting on our crowdfunding campaign only means an upcoming sunrise for the next phase.

Reading again

Though a voracious reader growing up, since attending law school books have taken a backseat to different deliveries of information such as blogs, podcasts, and documentaries. To transition back into book-reading mode, I have set a personal challenge to read 10-15 books over the next 4-6 weeks. Additionally, there are a number of very exciting interviews that will be posted to Innov8Social which will serve to simultaneously deepen and broaden the conversation on social innovation.

To you

Though we have written a number of love letters to you all, our supporters (including the one below sent out to all of the contributors), it deserves mention again here. From a firsthand view there is something very real and humbling about a crowdfunding campaign. For weeks, days, hours, seconds as you refresh the campaign page and wonder. How will reach our goal.

For us, once the first supporters logged in their contributions we knew one thing for sure—this book was happening.

You have carried the race to this point, and handed the baton back to us. We look forward to digging deep and finishing strong.  For the encouragement and opportunity to create this resource, we express our heartfelt gratitude.

 

Posted from our Indiegogo page updates

 

Together, we did it!
The past 34 days have been a tremendous, humbling journey. Thank you for not only acknowledging this book project, but for making it happen. With the support of 118 people we achieved our goal of over $7100—and exceeded it. And, along the way, we have been honored to be featured in notable publications such as GOOD and Women 2.0.
We are beyond excited to move to the next phase of this journey—immersing ourselves deeper in the study and ecosystem of social innovation.
Shivani will be meeting social entrepreneurs, government officials, and the underrepresented in Africa and South Asia in the coming month on a consulting assignment. Her perspective will help keep our work and ideas about social innovation grounded and will inform how we map and evaluate social enterprises.
Neetal has already begun diving deeper into reading—both to gain learnings and begin brainstorming the elements of an effective book in today’s hectic landscape. She has some great interviews and posts lined up for Innov8Social this month, which will also provide a deeper look into social innovation.
As we count down the final hours, feel free to let anyone who may be interested in pre-ordering know before the campaign sunsets Friday evening. Any additional funding received will go toward a small print run of the book and marketing efforts.
For all who have supported—you will receive occasional updates, be invited to participate in polls, etc.. And, in case you have been following this campaign passively & want to be connected to our efforts, you can join here: http://i8s.us/19B3oYN
A heartfelt thank you to you all—and looking forward to the next stage of the adventure!
All the best,
Neetal & Shivani
Anthony shares video examples of transformative hip hop in his guest post, here

For many of us, music plays a huge role in our lives. It is the soundtrack to what do and think about. It is helps inform our memories. It can shift our mood and give perspective. It can make us want to dance. And, according to Anthony Pineda, it can be a powerful force for transformative social change.

Meet Anthony Pineda, Founder of Creatrix Institute

Anthony holds a Masters degree in Consciousness and Transformative Studies from John F. Kennedy University and is the Anthony Pinedafounder of Creatrix Institute. He is currently finishing a documentary on transformational hip hop—the culmination of over seven years of research and work.

Anthony has been a student of the effects of music and human consciousness since 1999, when he reflected on the role music played in his own life. Hip hop, specifically a genre dubbed ‘Conscious Hip Hop‘, transformed his outlook and personal and professional goals. It was a catalyst to his personal evolution and launched him on a path to deepening his understanding of the music and sharing its potential with others, especially kids.

In fact, Anthony has demoed a class called “Hip Hop & Poetry” in local middle schools and high schools in Silicon Valley. He designed a class specifically for emotionally disturbed students and used conscious hip hop as a way to connect, related, and help students move forward.

Starting with the music, he analyzes elements that make it conscious-raising and transformative, as well as creating ways to discuss themes of overcoming hardship and challenge through examining lyrics and message.

Conscious Hip-Hop: A Tool for Social Innovation?

Anthony firmly believes in the power of hip hop to be conscious-raising and in a word, transformative.

What struck me most about meeting Anthony over a year ago during the course of our New Leaders Council Fellowship in 2012, was his determination to create the life he envision for himself and share his knowledge and passion. From becoming a father at an early age to finding his voice and purpose in hip hop, he has worked against numerous challenges to pursue his education, develop his art, and set a meaningful example for his family. It is humbling to meet such a determined, committed proponent for social change.

I had a chance to sit down with him and discuss in depth his evolving view of music, hip hop, conscious hip hop, and the 2.0 version he calls transformative hip hop.

 

Q | When did the transformative/conscious hip hop movement begin?

Anthony Pineda, Founder of Creatrix: The movement of transformative hip-hop was in the beginning, in my opinion. Hip-hop began in America as a way to transcend socioeconomic and environmental situations. It was to expose the ills of society and a critique of what was happening on the streets of impoverished areas of America.

Some may argue that the golden age of hip-hop through the mid 90’s with Tupac began a new stage in conscious hip-hop. I believe it was created with this premise of being transformative, so the basic foundation of hip-hop culture is a conscious movement. I feel that transformative hip-hop is a new phrase I feel I am contributing to the academic discourse of hip-hop studies. People often use ‘conscious hip-hop’ or even ‘spiritual/positive hip-hop’ to define sub-genres of hip-hop music, yet transformative hip-hop denotes a process by which the music offers a new perspective to become self-aware and change one’s path.

 

Q | How can someone get involved in the movement?

Anthony: First, I think its important to note that hip-hop is a global youth culture and most of our youth are in fact involved with the movement. The way to get most involved in the movement is to become a practitioner of the craft or culture. To be involved means to act, and action can occur in many ways. For me, becoming not only an emcee, but to actively engage my community and help facilitate dialogue regarding hip-hop as a way to educate youth is part of my path within the movement.

 

Q | Tell us about the film project and what you hope to accomplish with its release?

Anthony: So the film represents the story/narratives of Hiphop music and culture. The power of Hiphop to save the minds and lives of people who use it to evoke their consciousness. We are looking at the impact of the music to be transformative and educational.

The main themes are education, spirituality, and story. The therapeutic implications of Hiphop are innate, so perspectives will solidify the current and ongoing research of Hiphop within institutions and systems. We are interested in personal stories with the youth and desires to expand Hiphop culture as a main aspect towards educational aspirations and what would it mean to include Hiphop in schools with structure and curricula. I have been documenting hip-hop in my life for 7 years and this film is the culmination of my transformation and research.

I hope that people begin to question the stereotypes of hip-hop and what we can accomplish with hip-hop in schools and around the globe. I also hope people acknowledge the power of lyrics in hip-hop to advance human consciousness. I want this to be the first installment of future projects on hip-hop research in visual form and to continue to document what it means to be hip-hop and what our responsibilities are to youth and their development. Hip-hop is more then entertainment and culture, it is a way of life and a spiritual practice by which people transform.

 

If social innovation is a journey, the infographic below attempts to map out a path and help define a process in broad brushstrokes. It resembles a design approach to identifying a problem, listening/empathizing with those impacted by it, brainstorming & prototyping, and evaluating.What is interesting about the infographic is that it doesn’t define a flow. Without arrows showing us which step is next, it reminds us that in some degree all of the elements or steps live on the same plane and social innovators skate across them at once as often as they dive deeper into any one aspect.This image is published by Innovation Management Game

 

As we ease from the crowdfunding phase of our social innovation book project and deepen our research, one big personal goal is to read more books spanning leadership, innovation, design, and sustainability.

I shared this fantastic infographic for business books a few weeks back. Now, thanks to an incredible post by Dimitar Vlahov of Sustainable Brands, we have a robust list of 13 sustainability-centered books by some of the leading thinkers in the space.

Read the full post: http://i8s.us/16OeW4G

Read the full post and see the graphic on the Sustainable Brands website here.


A few that caught my eye:

The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing for Abundance, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, is the long-awaited sequel to Cradle to Cradle, arguably one of the few most influential sustainability books of all time. The Upcycle promises to be at least as impactful and comes fresh off the printing press!
Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future, by Jonah Sachs, has turned into an instant must-have classic on storytelling, a tool vital to the success of any corporate communications campaign in an era of information overload and instant content gratification. The New Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line, by Bob Willard, shows how sustainability strategies can increase revenue, reduce costs, avoid impending risks and enhance brand value, resulting in profit improvements of 51-81% within three to five years for a typical company.We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media To Build a Better World, by Simon Mainwaring, is a powerful account of everything brands have to gain from an always-on and always-authentic social media presence.You Unstuck: Mastering the New Rules of Risk-Taking at Work and in Life, by Libby Gill, discusses the (surprising) difference between True Hope and False Hope, and formulates wise lessons in getting unstuck in one’s career, finances, health and relationships. As a renowned executive coach, Gil offers timely tips on employee engagement and organizational change.