Influence for Good
How Highly Resourced Individuals can Support Systems Change
This report is for every Highly Resourced Individual (HRI)* who wants to help build a better future. We need powerful forces of change to address the compounding crises that strain our societies today. In this publication, carried out in collaboration with Ashoka, Generation Pledge, Echoing Green, Catalyst 2030 and McKinsey & Company, we look at how to strengthen personal capabilities for systemic change – the latest in our series aiming to equip stakeholders with tailored guidance.
*Highly Resourced Individuals are those with considerable wealth and a general ability to influence social, business, and political circles, typically entrepreneurs, founders or CEO’s of companies.
What Questions Highly Resourced Individuals Should Ask Themselves
All those who decide to invest time and significant resources to address a social challenge want to make sure that their impact is maximized.
Highly resourced individuals who are engaging systemically for social change are on a learning journey. For this, they should iterate on the questions showed in the image, endorsed by practitioners and leading, interdisciplinary scholars in the field.
Ashoka Staff Contacts
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Diana joined the organization after graduating from Brown University in 1988 with a degree in South Asian Studies. As an undergraduate, her year-long study abroad in Varanasi, India led her to see the need for local solutions to solve global problems. This insight inspired her to pursue an internship at Ashoka, where she created one of its core programs, Fellowship Support Services, (now Fellowship) which expanded the resources available to Ashoka’s social entrepreneurs to connect them to one another. When Diana took a leave to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University (2000), she was named both a Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson scholar. Her ethnographic research on understanding how social change happens as a local articulation of a global social movement resulted in her dissertation: 'Between the Difference: The Emergence of a Cross Ethnic Women’s Movement in Trinidad and Tobago.'
Ph.D. in hand, Diana returned to Ashoka as a leader in the worldwide process of selecting social entrepreneurs to be Ashoka fellows. Additionally, she was given responsibility for Ashoka’s geographic expansion and during her tenure, there was a significant increase of Fellow elections, allowing Ashoka to reach its current total of 3,000. She became the President of Ashoka in 2005. She has contributed significantly to the field of social entrepreneurship by implementing one of the first, and now widely respected, tools to measure the impact of social entrepreneurship.
She is on the Advisory Board for the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and on the Board of GuideStar International. She has taught at Georgetown University on Anthropology and Development and has authored and edited numerous journal and book publications, including two compilations on social movements in the United States.
In 2007, Diana was celebrated as one of 10 winners of the first annual Women to Watch award, by Running Start. She also received the first Social Innovation Champion Award at George Mason University’s Accelerating Social Entrepreneurship (ASE) conference in 2011. Since then, in 2012, her alma mater, Brown University, honored her with its highest distinction for graduates, the Williams Rogers Award, in recognition of exemplifying Brown’s mission to prepare alumni for lives of "usefulness and reputation."
Njideka Harry is working with leading entrepreneurs who have made a big, positive impact in their industry and want to make an equally big, positive impact on society. A Leadership Group Member and Vice President, Strategic Entrepreneurship Relationships, Njideka is leading "Entrepreneur-to-Entrepreneur," an exclusive, invite-only network of high-impact entrepreneurs who partner with Ashoka's social entrepreneurs to change the way people harness their social capital, enabling equity, access and create lasting systemic change.
Njideka’s entrepreneurial spirit emerged at a young age. At age 12, Njideka and her best friend founded an outdoor bakery, providing nutritious home-made pastries. Starting a business was a daring undertaking for girls in Nigeria. Empathy was at the core of their business model, and it worked. When someone couldn't afford to buy a pastry, Njideka and her friend gave the person a free pastry, asking only that the person tell five other people, who could afford to pay. As a marketing strategy, it paid back two-fold.
Njideka was selected as an Ashoka Fellow because of the success of Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), an organization she founded when she was 25 years old. A citizen-sector organization focused on education technology, YTF leverages appropriate technology for education and entrepreneurship, replacing economic disparity with economic opportunity. YTF enables youth and women living in low-income and developing-world communities to develop the skills they need to enter a global, digital, entrepreneurially focused workforce. Njideka also founded 3D Printing Academy for Girls, an education technology start-up with a social impact. It brings STEM to life by engaging girls in technology through making, creating, and inventing the world they envision for themselves.
Most Ashoka Fellows had their first changemaking experience before age 20. Those who signaled that they started something noteworthy in their teens are four times more likely to be entrepreneurs.
As a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, Njideka serves on the Civil Society and Future of Work committee. She has served on Kellogg Advisory Council and is currently in the Pete Henderson Society of Northwestern University. She is a member of the advisory board of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). She is an expert contributor on education and prosperity at the Legatum Institute in the UK. Prior to working in social impact, Njideka spent most of her corporate career working at General Electric and Microsoft, living and working in Europe, Africa and North America.
Njideka earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master of Business Administration degree at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She completed post-graduate studies at Stanford University, where she was a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow.
Odin Mühlenbein is a Partner at Ashoka Germany and co-leads the Systems Unit at Ashoka Globalizer. Globalizer develops impact strategies for advanced social entretreneurs from around the world with the goal to promote social system change.
Before his job at Ashoka, Odin worked at McKinsey & Company and co-founded two social ventures that are now led by successors. He studied in Munich, Oxford, and Cambridge and holds degrees in Philosophy, Logic, and Political Sciences.