“I’ve always been passionate about finding ways to solve problems of society. And Ashoka is a really unique organization to do that with. It’s the largest network of social entrepreneurs and provides startup financing and support services in 85 countries. Beyond finding and investing in great innovators with systems changing ideas, we are trying to change the way people think about engaging with the world around them. It’s a rapidly changing world. As a company, unless you innovate, you will not survive. As a citizen, you will only succeed in the world that lies ahead if you have the skills to be an innovator. So we work a lot with companies and foundations to help them see differently, so they can do differently. One of the ways we do that is by working with corporate partners who do business in markets around the world and our fellows to show patterns of innovation, and open their eyes to new business models. This is not CSR anymore. It’s about building sustainable growth strategies.
What I love about working with Ashoka is the bigness. In one week, I can be working with a global coalition on resilience to bring in the lense of social innovators, building a local alliance around radically transforming education and connecting a first class business entrepreneur with a social entrepreneur who will transform his business. It’s a mixture of consulting, movement building, networking and venture capital. And nothing is as fun or energizing as working with people who come up with new ideas, particularly ones that sound big and crazy but when you drill down it becomes incredibly powerful.
Before I joined Innosight, I had worked at Ashoka for 8 years. My experience at Innosight made me a much more effective change agent within Ashoka, and I use the problem-solving and innovation lenses I learned there all of the time: How do you think about getting people’s jobs done? How do you identify and understand their unmet needs and create ways to overcome barriers to access or affordability? The solution can be a platform, a tool, a business model, or a process. Another thing I learned at Innosight: innovation isn’t a thing that you create and put into the world – it’s a culture, a process, and a way of understanding what business you are in and who your customers are. If you do it right it touches every part of your company.”