“As leaders in education, our job is not to control those whom we serve, but to unleash their talent. If innovation is going to be a priority in education, we need to create a culture where trust is the norm.” – George Couros.
From our research after our stint at the WISE conference in Accra, we desired to find out what were successful initiatives in education. It was no surprise to us that the best innovative ideas come from the people who have experienced education in the classroom and who created radical solutions to make constructive changes to their workflows.
Such innovation is borne from personal annoyance and a decision not to accept the status quo.
Edmondo is an example of this; it is one of the biggest EdTech products in the world today. It was formed by two IT employees in an American school who were asked by their Board to prevent students from visiting Facebook on school PCs. Their answer was a social network solely fit for learning purposes.
Currently this network has more than 51 million subscribers.
Edmondo is successful because of how it was created. And their solution is scalable.
Social entrepreneurship begins this way; it works to transform difficult situations that exist for the good of everyone.
More often than not, they have so many obstacles and need to be very resourceful to provide their communities with sustainable solutions.
One innovation we admire at our social innovation enterprise is the Argentinian VideoLibros, a solution that comprises videos for deaf children in which they read to each other in sign language. The videos boost the young students’ abilities and self confidence to express themselves with the appropriate signs. It also makes them eager to read more.
This boostraping way of fostering innovation with a lasting impact in such a way, has proven to be extremely effective and is cheered on by lots of innovation experts in the world.
We have a lot of experience in this regard, and we have had to manage our meagre resources, coupled with the donations of a few individuals, which wasn’t much, to drive our ongoing STEM boot camp programme. We are focusing on innovation in learning. My understanding as both an educator and a parent propels me to desiring a transformation in our current system to come up with relevant based learning.
However for the idea to benefit multidudes, financial resources are needed.
To compound matters, innovation in the education sector is well known for its slow moving pace in adopting change.
To put it succinctly, social enterprises needs cash to make a real difference.
Corporations come in handy at this juncture; those with an interest in the social issue and how it affects society could set aside a the budget for the innovative solution to scale.
This can be either through investment, and the corporation becomes co-owner of the solution (think of the corporate venture capital funds out there) or through a complimentary partnership that is beneficial to both parties (think of corporate CSR or Innovation programs).
This is how we will bring about transformation in our society by a synergy of social entrepreneurship bootstrapping and corporate responsibility.
The social enterprise creates the idea and corporations helps it to reach the masses.
Adetola Salau; Educator / Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur / Innovator
She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness. She runs an educational foundation with the mission to transform education.