How you can become a social innovator
The industrial revolution, the ever-changing world we live in, and most recently the pandemic have left us with so many unanswered questions. How do we keep up with all the changes? How can individuals and businesses make sure that they are up-to-speed when it comes to technology & innovation? Most importantly, how can we use all this advancement for the greater good? What the past years have proved to us is that “change is the only constant” & change can only be achieved through innovation. Innovation, in all its forms, is the answer to most of these questions.
Innovation has become one of the most imperative aspects that must exist within a company. It is actually the only way that firms can ensure that they remain in business. This is why tech startups and businesses continuously look for innovative individuals to join their teams. Companies with an innovative talent pool ensure that their products and services are aligned with the latest technologies while being sustainable.
Moreover, in the era of innovation race, youth are necessitated to adopt an out-of-the-box thinking approach to come up with adequate solutions to specific problems. In short, innovation has nowadays become a necessity for startups, businesses, and firms to stay intact and reach their full potential.
Innovation vs. invention
Vast numbers of people still associate innovation with invention; there is a broad difference between them. Inventing is the process of creating something new and unheard-of. For example, the light bulb is an invention because it did not exist until Thomas Edison designed it back in 1879. You can also think of the television, invented by John L. Baird back in 1926. These inventions changed the world for the better and helped us evolve further. Innovation, on the other hand, is the process of using these inventions differently and unusually or enhancing them. Another good example is the cellphone, invented back in 1973. Many companies such as Ericsson, Nokia, Apple and Samsung worked on upgrading the mobile phone until it became the smartphone that we use today. Therefore, we consider the smartphone to be an innovation that was built on top of the invention of the cellphone. Cellphone companies that did not catch up to this trend have either lost a significant market share or no longer exist today. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that individuals and companies as a whole adopt an innovative mindset and actively work on acquiring skills that enhance it.
The innovation mindset
To acquire an innovation mindset, you need to work on these five key areas: openness to change, creativity, agility, being visionary and experimental.
Openness to change: The willingness to accept that the world is developing at a tremendous rate and that there’s a continuous need for quick adaptation. Accepting the fact that the world is moving forward is the first key to grasp innovation.
Creativity: The second and the most vital key is to acquire or possess a creative mindset. To do so, one must attend to solve daily complications unusually to train his mind on adapting creativity.
Agility: It is also one of the 21st-century skills that individuals must obtain. Agility is defined as the capability to recognize different challenges as they arise and quickly adapt new learning or practices effectively.
Being visionary and experimental: Daring to dream is an act that many people are afraid of. Your vision for the future is the fuel to innovation and it plays a vital role in attaining an innovative mindset. Moreover, daring to experiment with new ideas is a necessity. We can always do better and we won’t know how unless we get creative and try various ways and methods.
What is social innovation?
Innovation is the process of using an already existing solution in an unusual fashion. Tom Freston, CEO of MTV Networks, defines innovation as “taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way.“
The purpose behind social innovation is to utilize innovation to solve social problems or meet social needs. It is a special kind of innovation with a core social value and a noble mission. Sara Soule, professor at Stanford, defines social innovation as “the process of developing and deploying effective solutions to challenging and often systematic social and environmental issues in support of social progress.”
A neat example of social innovation would be “ProAbled” social enterprise from Lebanon. While many HR managers express their interest in recruiting technical employees with disabilities, they face difficulties to find them. In order to turn the entire recruitment process of people with disabilities into an easy and meaningful one, Samer Sfeir founded ProAbled. ProAbled connects HR departments to potential pre-trained employees, with a priority to people with physical or social disabilities. ProAbled helps company representatives search, connect with trained applicants, and recruit the right people for their job vacancies.
Shabab Lab and social innovation
Innovation is at the core of all we do at Shabab Lab. We’re proud to be the first social innovation e-learning platform in the Arab world. Our entire work revolves around helping the Shabab or “Youth” in Arabic become social innovators early on in their life. Shabab Lab was founded to fill the gap for students who are graduating from school with little knowledge on social innovation & entrepreneurship. It is worthy to note that our programs do not only target future entrepreneurs but all progressive individuals and young leaders. Why? The program helps the youth adopt an out-of-the-box thinking style and complex problem-solving skills.
Furthermore, Shabab Lab is more than just an e-learning platform. It is a social network for young change-makers from diverse backgrounds. We encourage our participating youth to leave their comfort zones and team up with other like-minded peers. Through the unique programs on the platform, you will work in groups to develop adequate solutions and enhance your communities.
Join us now
Through Shabab Lab, you will learn to adopt the mindset needed for innovation early on in life by developing projects that aim to solve social & environmental problems of your interest. Moreover, we encourage the students to embrace technological advancements and adopt an agile mindset.
By joining Shabab Lab, you are immersing yourself in a community of courageous dreamers and change-makers. Most importantly, you join innovators who are continuously striving to “be the change they want to see in the world”. And as George Bernard Shaw once said: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself”. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable ones.
So what are you waiting for? Start the change now! Start the “Social Innovation” course below!