Frank Escoubès

Ashoka Fellow
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Fellow Since 2012


This profile was prepared when Frank Escoubès was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Frank is harnessing citizens’ creativity to influence large traditional institutions such as governments and businesses to solve social problems. He has created a new channel for citizens to influence public and private policy focused on social innovation. In particular, Frank seeks to transform the way that private and public sector consulting firms devise solutions and engage local citizens, who have the best understanding of the context, to collaborate with them. From supporting the citizen changemakers for their input to managing the relationships with multinational consulting firms who outsource to Frank’s organization, Frank and his organization bring citizens’ recommendations to influential public and private initiatives. This ensures they have high social impact and that contributors receive financial compensation in exchange for their skills. Further, by involving citizens in the consultation process, Frank is building the infrastructure for greater transparency in the implementation of public and private policy initiatives.

For each opportunity, Frank draws on a pool of citizen experts who have been sourced and vetted through his online wiki platform, a multilingual, searchable and editable knowledge base of creative social innovation projects, with the advanced functionality to make collaboration across the world user-friendly, intuitive and action-focused. Users can collaborate by forming online groups to tackle social problems, fostering an online and offline environment where creative ideas for solving social problems can germinate, incubate and be replicated through this open source vehicle. Then by finding partners on the ground in various countries, Frank complements the virtual technology, creating networks of local associations, which are the in-person continuation of the online collaboration. Frank is democratizing citizen participation ensuring that everyone can have a voice, be changemakers and collaborate with their peers around the world. Through mechanisms that ensure everyone has access to the tools to become changemakers online and offline, Frank is maximizing the use of civic creativity for social change.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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