How Do You Know When a Group of Social Innovators Have Revolutionized an Industry?

Submitted by: John Converse Townsend on 12/06/12

How do you know when you, or a group of social innovators like you, have revolutionized an industry? Ashoka has been working with CEB for the last several months to explore this million-dollar question.

Ashoka is the world's largest community of changemakers and leading social entrepreneurs, with more than 3,000 Fellows across 70 countries. It's a powerful network for social impact—which we define as the systems change that results from social business models—because it supports people, not projects. Like CEO Bill Drayton has always said, “the only thing more powerful than an innovative idea in the hands of an entrepreneur aiming to change the world is a group of innovators coming together and collaborating.”

That collaborative eco-system has tackled a number of pressing social problems in a variety of sectors, from education to economic development, but just how effective is it? Well, it should come as no surprise that Ashoka's community of social innovators plays a major role in the organization's approach to assessing impact. After all, they're the driving force behind it.

We talked to 217 Ashoka Fellows from 42 countries, who completed the first survey of its kind in 13 languages, to determine the value of Ashoka's Fellows, their ideas and the networks they support. For instance, we learned that 2/3 of Ashoka Fellows have successfully changed the culture around changemaking within five years, enabling people to better identify and solve social problems.

The complete findings from the survey will be made public in January, but, for the moment, enjoy this sneak peek:

There's more where that came from, so hang tight. But if you believe in our mission and want to support the cause, we've got just the thing for you this holiday season: give a gift that gives back. For as little as $10, you can directly support the system-changing work of Ashoka as an organization, or your favorite Ashoka Fellows.

Invest in innovation. Disrupt a system. Change the world.