The organization was named after the Indian emperor Ashoka, a good historical example of a social innovator.
Since the organization’s main purpose is to develop a changemaking culture, looking for social innovators and helping them reach their full potential is one of its important functions.
The Ashoka Fellowship is the organization’s core program. “Ashoka found that the best way to promote this culture is by finding who are the best role models for changemaking,” Terri said, “We’re looking for people who have proof of concept, people who just need that extra level of support.”
The lifetime fellowship provides Ashoka Fellows with enough support to help with their projects and also gives them access to the vast network of other Ashoka Fellows who they could collaborate and partner with.
When it comes to the organization’s perspective on problem solving, Terri likens it to how people view traffic problems. “If you ask someone what causes traffic, there are five different other problems that they would mention,” she explained, “So it’s a web of problems. Ashoka is trying to build the web of solutions.”
The organization operates on a large scale. Instead of focusing on one specific issue area, Ashoka aims to look from a farther standpoint, dealing with problems more effectively.