If you could have a vision of The Power to Create in action, it would probably look like the first ever ASEAN Impact Challenge. The RSA was honoured to support as a knowledge partner and in the extremely difficult role as a finalist judge.
I have the enviable job at the RSA, working to support Fellows to start, share and scale their social impact ideas. Empowering them to unleash their own Power to Create. This means connecting with some of the most inspiring people with impressive ideas to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Sometimes the ideas don’t quite make it past the ‘ideation’ stage, but as Steven Johnson says in a popular RSA talk ‘Where good ideas come from’ ‘Most Important Ideas take a long time to evolve. Good ideas come from the collision of smaller hunches, so that they form something bigger than themselves’ therefore the process of sharing an idea is also highly valuable.
It was easy to read about the ASEAN Impact Challenge finalists, and their innovations and see their potential to solve challenges identified in the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals, although, I questioned how scalable they could really be. Was there an eco-system to really support them to scale? How developed were the investment opportunities?
The cynicism was quickly eliminated on witnessing the buzz and energy in the ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit, because of the variety of exhibitions and people on hand to offer advice, support and connections, including MaGIC, the Malaysia Global Innovation & Creativity Centre, (launched by Barak Obama in 2014). The cynic in me was also obliterated upon meeting the teams. The social impact already achieved by those in the room cannot be summed up in any words that I feel would do them justice.
How can you sum up the life-changing impact of SoyAi, a social enterprise partly run by orphaned young people who are helping underprivileged youth build their future? A completely replicable programme which sees them deliver up to 1,000 bottles of Soy Milk to commercial clients in Myanmar on a weekly basis. You can watch their ASEAN Impact Challenge presentation here.
If you have seen any of the COP21Paris activities you’ll know that one of the challenges facing communities all over the world, not just those in the ASEAN region, is waste. Garbage Clinical Insurance is an innovative answer to this problem and making value out of something that would have otherwise littered the streets or would have ended up in landfill.
The ultimate ASEAN Impact Challenge winning place went to SocialGiver, an innovative solution that helps consumers, businesses and social projects work together to create positive social impact. Think Airbnb meets LastMinute.com and you get SocialGiver who want you to ‘Collect moments. Not things’ whilst supporting the best local social impact projects in Thailand.
What now? Even if you know nothing about the RSA and stumbled across this blog, or you’re an RSA Fellow who is inspired by the content of this blog, I implore you to take a look at the ASEAN Impact Challenge finalists to find one way in which you could support them in their journey to solving some of the greatest challenges identified in the UN Development Goals.
Let’s help facilitate the Power to Create in action.
Do you have a connection you could share or a piece of advice? Could you promote them via your own social media networks? We all know the importance of sharing good ideas.
Alternatively we are seeking Fellows who have expertise and experience of running social impact businesses to provide advice and guidance via a monthly webinar during 2016. Do you have an hour you could spare? If so contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The ASEAN Impact Challenge is a programme designed and delivered by Scope Group in partnership with 35 partners around Southeast Asia