Social business

📣Changemaker Challenge to Fund Big Ideas

The T-Mobile Foundation and Ashoka launched the fourth Changemaker Challenge together, a contest that gives young leaders the opportunity to advocate their ideas to drive digital empowerment, whose ages 13 to 18 are located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Until March 31, 2022, 15 winners will be selected to win up to $15,000 in seed funding to practice on their projects, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., to participate in the three-day Changemaker Lab later.

To know more and apply here!


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Social business

Social enterprise guide

What is a social enterprise? It is an entity that uses business operations to solve social problems, in case you haven’t read my social enterprise post. It is clear that it involves business management and a social mission, hence it is a broad topic and I can only give you a brief guide on both sides, and a basic understanding of the subject.

Social enterprise starts with a social mission – that is to say that you have to find one particular social issue you want to tackle, such as poverty, education, employment, etc. It is worth noting that you do not start a social enterprise just because you want to start one without a clear social mission (you may refer to the video below to get a deep insight). Design thinking is a popular tool to define social missions and find possible solutions (the solution doesn’t need to be a social enterprise, but you can take advantage of it). In between, you modify your mission and vision statement and develop strategies that can support your ideas and further development.

Credit to Ted Youtube channle

Once you have generated a rough plan for problem statements and solutions, then it is time to enlarge it into a detailed plan that includes the following points but doesn’t exclude the following:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company mission and description
  • Products or Services
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organization
  • Team assignment
  • Expenses and Capitalization
  • Social impact measurement
  • Financial Plan

In the meantime, you need to create your business model canvas, which is a visualization tool to help you with business operations, and it can change over time easily, compared to a business plan. While they both perform different roles, normally, business model canvas help you and your team to have a clear business strategy blueprint in mind, and may also be presented to your potential sponsor at the very beginning to gain their support, while business plans are necessary for deeper engagement, especially with your investors or sponsors who need a more thorough idea of your business, so they can make their decision whether they will say yes or no to you.

Marketing is a crucial part of any business, even if you are running a social business. And marketing usually is not part of prototype testing, so you need an acumen marketing plan extracted from the business plan you have built, so you can not only try different strategies but also measure them to get a decision made.

You have set your foot in stone and if you haven’t completed the prototype then now you need to go out and engage with your beneficiaries, the whole market, different stakeholders, and even the whole system, to explore opportunities and then start running your business and keep iterating your business models to better fit different needs and create revenue. Otherwise, you are ready to expand your social enterprise and create social impact.

Like many other businesses, clients are your value. They buy from you not only for the sake of your name, but also because of the quality of your products and services, so the final guide is on client management, making them count and value, and then they will make your business strive. Social impact measurement is another crucial factor, especially when your investors invest in you based on your social impact. And that is why social enterprise is challenging, because it not only focuses on business revenue but also looks into social goals and missions.

If you are planning to start a social enterprise, then good luck with that, and thanks for continuing to make our society better. You can get more social enterprise-related guides here.

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Social business

Why can a social business certification-B Corp, level up your company?

“B-corp is just a social business,” you may be wondering, and it is correct at one point, but B-corp is more than a social business. It is a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit like a social business does, furthermore, it has to consider the legal requirements on the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the whole environment.

Credit to B corp Youtube channle

B-corp is a gold medal for social business, and it would be a great honor to be certified by a B-corp organization in the U.S. B-corp organization is a global community that drives a global movement of people using business as a force for good. As they put it, ‘Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.’ Globally, there are 3522 companies certified as B-corp organizations in 74 different countries currently.

The important question now is: How can a business qualify for B-Corp certification? It is interesting to know that B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service; it assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it. And increasingly that’s what people care most about. Your social business could rely on the B Impact Assessment- a holistic assessment of the overall performance of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment developed by the B-corp organization. This B impact assessment also measures your supply chain and input materials to your charitable giving and employee benefits, to ensure that your business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.

Credit to B corp organization website

The following are the detailed areas that this B Impact Assessment focuses on:

Governance, study what your company can do to enhance policies and practices pertaining to its mission, ethics, accountability and transparency.

Workers, focus on what your company can do to contribute to your employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being.

Community, learn what your company can do to contribute to the economic and social well-being of the communities in which it operates.

Environment, analyze what your company can do to improve its overall environmental stewardship.

Customers, emphasize on what your company can do to improve the value that you create for your direct customers and the consumers of your products or services.

Disclosure Questionnaire, Identify any potentially sensitive industries, practices, outcomes or fines/sanctions of your company that are not explicitly called out in the rest of the assessment.

This B Impact Assessment tool, used by over 50,000 businesses worldwide, not just by Certified B Corporations but also other companies. Each assessment category has 18-38 questions for you to answer and scores to measure what impact your business is achieving and which areas your business should improve.

Credit to B corp organization website
Credit to B corp organization website

Besides fulfilling the B Impact Assessment standard score, your business also needs to meet the legal requirement, which determines how your company can integrate stakeholder considerations into your governance structure. You may refer to this Legal Requirement Tool to find out what legal requirements you need to follow for a specific country policy.

After completing the B Impact Assessment and Legal Requirement, the B-corp organization will verify your score to determine if your company meets the 80-point bar for certification, which is the standard bar for certification. Afterward, you will have to meet virtually with B Lab staff to review your completed B Impact Assessment and submit confidential documentation to validate your responses. Companies also must meet certain transparency requirements to become Certified B Corps, as laid out in the B Corp Agreement as B-corp organization states.

Finally, to complete the certification, you also have to sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence, and pay your annual certification fees. It has to point out that fees vary by region, you could check the Global Partner websites for local pricing.

Overall, a B Corp Certification can help you to clarify your mission and goals to stakeholders and get support from them, but it’s also a symbol of sustaining a stable business model that ensures long-term benefits and impact. Moreover, it is also a symbol that your company is creating value for both society and individuals, in ways that affect the public’s impression of your company being seen as ‘green’ and ‘good’.

Read this article to know more→

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How to cope with change?-Adaptive leadership

Adaptive leadership is a newly developed leadership framework that allows individuals and organizations to see bigger pictures and gain a clear mindset in terms of changing environment and effectively respond to recurring problems and uncertainty. Research by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky at Harvard University formed the basis for Adaptive Leadership. More specifically, it is more about how to mobilize people to initiate change and make it thrive.

When there’s a gap between reality and aspiration, then it is time to think about starting changes as adaptive leaders. The gaps are usually the problems, the problem that impedes the way of achieving the desired result, the problem that involves the whole system that is too complex to solve. However, there are two clear kinds of problem: technical problems (that is easy for leaders to recognize and can be solved with a clear solution) and adaptive problems (that is recurring and difficult to define and it takes much more efforts to solve it), furthermore, most problems come mixed, with the technical and adaptive elements intertwined. An adaptive leader should acquire the ability to distinguish the problems and take action accordingly.

Credit to <The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World>

Being an adaptive leader in organizations required you must have strong willpower, because being adaptive means you challenging the status quo and frightening people who refused to change and even shattering other’s interest. The authority hired you and trust you to work here not to challenge them but to follow them, so they may even want to get rid of you when you rise a consciousness towards change. Regardless of fears, you need to help people tolerate the discomfort they are experiencing in terms of change, and find the balance between change and productive energy. Your goal should keep the temperature within what we call the productive zone of disequilibrium (PZD): enough heat generated by your intervention to gain attention, engagement, and forward motion, but not so much that the organization (or your part of it) explodes according to Ronald A. Heifetz and Donald L. Laurie.

Credit to <The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World>

There are three key activities in the process of adaptive leadership summarized by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky: (1) observing events and patterns around you, and the goal is to make observing as objective as possible; (2) interpreting and guessing what you are observing (developing multiple hypotheses about what is really going on); and (3) designing interventions based on the observations and interpretations to address the adaptive challenge you have identified. Those activities help you to gain insights around your organization and stakeholders, enable you to analyze and mobilize them for the initiative you raised.

There are no absolute answers to how to deal with changing environments, so adaptive leaders need to tracing those changes and design different interventions. No one can accomplish alone, let alone the whole organization’s prosperity. Leaders need to mobilize different stakeholders and find common values in between. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Find a shared purpose and value is difficult, especially with different stakeholders when some party has to narrow their interest and make sacrifices when moving forward. Before the conversation engagement, you also need to find out their readiness and ripeness to develop different strategies, to analyze whether your stakeholders know the importance of issues and furthermore, whether they are willing to take action and their capacity.

Credit to +Acumen

Adaptivity is the key to success even in the future, Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky have explained it in their book: The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. Please find more thorough information about adaptive leadership.

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You are an amazing social entrepreneur, don’t let public speaking stop you

Who needs public speaking skills? You may say a great person who needs to convey the message to the public, or a great leader who has to inspire the followers to make a difference. As I mentioned here: How to deliver an astonishing presentation, where pointed out that everyone has to ‘deliver a presentation’ somehow to your friends, family, coworkers and even strangers, hence, surprisingly, everyone need public speaking skills.

If you ask me who would be the one to deliver the public speaking, then I would say anyone, who has a strong message to convey and it is for the public good, and it may include entertainment as well. When you look at “public speaking”, you may imagine a person standing in front of hundreds of people and talk, while what your imagination may not represent the whole story as some celebrities claimed that one-minute performance needs ten years of preparation. However, the ordinary only witness one-minute performance.

Photo by The_MrDan on

Public speaking follows certain sequences. When we received a topic which is not familiar, then we need to do certain researches about the topic and find the main theme which the talk would cover. Furthermore, knowing the expectations of your topic from your audience, what the audience would like to know from this talk, and what information they would like to acquire; Once you know the materials of the theme from the research, then you need to structure them, to make it in order and give your audience a taste of ‘Aha moment’; Decide the purpose or agenda of your topic, is it a pursue, exhortation, enlightenment or something else. Till now the paperwork is done, so you need to prepare the tools or instruments you need, a projector, survey, pens, paper, etc, and most importantly the place where you will perform, and it usually depends on how many audiences you expected, related to your topic theme or the interactive activities you will do with your audience; Last but not least, specify the time you need for each section in order to control the period of time, to keep the desire of the audience and also engage into your topic.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Great public speakers engage with the audience, but they still focus on the topic itself, not the audience, otherwise, the audience leads the speaking, not the speaker, and it is a great tip for us when it comes to interacting with the audience. Besides, body language can tell. When we get nervous on the stage, we will act somehow unconsciously which is not appropriate on the stage, and this may convey a message to your audience that you are nervous and you are not ready yet. The most obvious one is you stand still with a tight fist, and you may cross your arms to show your unconfidence, etc. Those gestures have a negative message, and the audience knows but usually not the performers. So the solution is to practice the powerful postures before the performance, this can increase your confidence level. And you could imagine that you are the expert who is the only one knows today’s topic and everyone listens to you carefully. This may sounds self-deception, but psychology does affect our mind and body.

Credit to Ted

Practice makes it perfect, and it applies to everyone. Do several rehearsals to make it predictable, and you may record it to find the places where you could do better. The alternative way is to find some friends or ‘experts’ to watch your rehearsal and receive feedback to improve yourself afterward. When we prepare the ‘speaking’ part, the most obvious is the tone, the voice, and the facial expression, all of those elements complete speaking. Regarding this, please read my other post: How to deliver an astonishing presentation. Learning is never an end, a great platform for speakers is TED talk, learning from them and try to imitate them, then create your own speaking style. It is never an easy task, but it’s worth doing.

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Want to be a leader? then start from the presence

Everyone can be a leader somewhere, no matter while area you are. This is the biggest take-away I came up with after finished the whole book. Sometimes I feel reluctant when it comes to the thought that I can lead people, let alone the leadership development, but the awkward thing is I tried to adopt the leadership development when I was in Uganda, then started to actually read books about leadership. People need the push to realize and do things, while some person hasn’t even found the push yet.

What is leadership and what we can do to make ourselves a leader? Leadership Presence tells me that leadership is all about people, about how to connect to them, how to appreciate and inspire them, and most importantly how to be humane. It is easy but hard to maintain and apply to every single person around you. Leadership is about being present with people, so what is the presence, a state that you can be in the place where are you now, a state that you can immerse yourself with surroundings, and a state that you live livelily. As for leadership, it is an ability to connect with each other and understand the real situation, but not just sit in the office and think what you thought it could be. ‘The core of leadership is the interaction, the connection, the relationship between a leader and the people she leads.’ Have you ever encountered a situation where you are having a conversation with someone, while you are listening to them, but all of a sudden, there’s something else popped up in your mind, and you can not listen to them at all. This is the opposite of being present, and no one could appreciate it.

Photo by Christina Morillo on

A leader is not a title, and you don’t need a title to lead a group of people toward obtaining a particular result. Hence is what I pointed out that everyone can be a leader somewhere, where you are an expert, where you have the most confidence. A leader can be more than one person, a bunch of people who have the same thoughts and persistence to achieve the results. ‘Leadership Presence: the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others, in order to motivate and inspire them toward the desired outcome.’

Presence can be subdivided into 4 parts, where P stands for being present, the ability to be completely in the moment- let all of your thoughts go and fit into the moment. R stands for reaching out, the ability to build a relationship- to truly understand the people with empathy. E stands for expressiveness, the ability to express feelings and emotions appropriately by using all means, furthermore, the mindset and your expressions need to be consistent. S stands for self-knowing, the ability to accept yourself, to reflect your values- self-knowing is always tricky, but discover more and more then you will find more and more about yourself in different ways.

Everyone has the ability to be a leader and it is our responsibility as well, if we all have the ability to motivate and inspire others, then there is no outsider, who gives up on themselves, who destroys everything around them, who even hurts other people. Wake up your inner beast and become a leader where you have the passion and willingness to dedicate yourself in.

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Presentation is not only about the content but also the ‘how’

What was the last time you deliver a presentation? was it difficult to handle? and what was the feedback? The presentation shows others your work and yourself, the personality. Usually, the agenda of speakers are either to gain attention or win potential support. No matter which situation it is, when you are at the workplace, school or even in your friend circle, there must be a time for you to do the presentation formally or informally. So this is a killing skill, you could also check my other post here: storytelling makes difference.

Now please stop a while and think what are the most situations when you have to do a presentation? As far as I know, the situation could be presenting your work and telling others what’s the progress, pitching your ideas to gain any kind of help, sharing the knowledge you come up with, displaying your homework and gaining suggestions from the senior, or even just simply introducing yourself. You can see there are tons of different presentations scenarios, the first thing we need to do is to understand and predict what’s the situation of your next presentation because the situation decides the style, which you need to decide at the very beginning.

Photo by SHVETS production on

Speaking of the style, I mean the whole atmosphere, it can be casual, funny, relaxed, serious or even sad as long as you settled your purpose then the style is easy to be captured. Second, you need to do some research about your audience, who are they? what do they know about the subject you are trying to bring? what do they want to know from you? and lastly what they can benefit from your presentation? Your audience is the presentation all about and they are the one who decides whether your presentation is worth or not, so pay attention to your audience and know about them in order to present in the way that they favor.

What else? at this stage, it is important to know the purpose of your presentation. You need to figure out what do you want to do with the presentation or what outcomes do you want it to come from? Nevertheless, it is also about your audience, what actions do you want your audience to take after the presentation? what do you want them to think, feel or understand? And lastly, what is the benefit your listeners will gain from taking ‘actions’ of your purpose. This is important in the philanthropic sector to ask for help, otherwise, people only know the social problems and they are pleased to know there are some organizations trying to solve those social problems in your presentation in the end. It will be different if you add a ‘take an action’ at the end, then people are aroused at that moment to take any actions to help, which is the most agenda of philanthropic organizations.

After all have been done, you are only at the paper phase. How about during the presentation, what can we do to improve the interaction and presence. A good way to attract people’s eyes is using visual aids, for example, the slides to connect people emotionally by showing people the story, the props to support your story. Visual aids are a trick at the first moment, furthermore, your story or content determines how deeply people can connect with your presentation. However, visual aid is good to reinforce your content and grasp people’s attention.

Photo by Rica on

Lastly, the final step to go. I agreed with what Acumen pointed out that ‘vertical and horizontal moment is the way to ensure you stay present and not rush’. Vertical moment means you have to relax from your cells to muscles, to simply ‘be yourself. While horizontal moment means a way to connect your audience by making eye contact or adjusting yourself along with the audience, but you should also connect to your own, to breathe and relax. Other things you could also do to adjust are taking a break, answering questions, looking at the slides or notes and simply sipping water.

If you ask me what is the most important thing about the presentation, I would say its the passion. Imagine if the speaker is idle and doesn’t know what he/she is talking about, would you still be willing to spend time listening to them? I hardly think so, but when you imagine the speaker is passionate and set fire in you, the audience would also be affected and take action afterward. Passion is the catalyst to the fire, rather than to simply “explain” your data or stories, your passionate content could be:

  • Welcome your audience to the presentation, and then
  • Warn them of the dangers if a specific social problem isn’t resolved, then to
  • Reassure them that you have a solution, and finally to
  • Motivate them to take action with you’-extracted from Acumen

This template can raise the desire of the fellow audiences to be willing to tackle social problems with you, that would be more welcome that you pointed out the destination as well to give them hope, a reason why they need and have to take actions, then they will finally engaged and buy your ideas.

Photo by Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent on

Last but not least, body language, it includes words, tone of voice, non-verbal communication. For effective and meaningful communication, the visual, vocal and verbal three parts of the message need to support each other, which means they have to be “congruent”, otherwise, the audience would get confused by different messages. It is important to point out that your gestures, posture, body movement and facial expressions all play a major contribution in getting your message across. So you better record yourself and do a rehearsal before the presentation, then you can easily find the place where you need to improve or pay attention.

Never miss the chance to present yourself or your work, then you will find surprises along the way. If you want to know more, please read my other posts: Storytelling makes difference and Active listening isn’t just listening.

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SIA-Social impact analysis, a sufficient way to measure your projects’ impact

I have shared one of the analytical tools, which is the theory of change, and it is a great tool to justify your social projects and gain support. So today I am going to talk about how to conduct actual solid analysis to guide your project and achieve the desired social impact.

There are some SIA guidelines available online, but it may misfits for your project to use. And most of those guidelines will not tell you the fundamental method, which is open to listening and receive unbiased feedback from customers and beneficiaries, which I think is the basic factor to access social impact. More specifically, the whole process is based on a trust relationship between your projects and beneficiaries. Adversely, you will not gain useful insights if you cannot build a solid, trust relationship with them even if you have the most sophisticated analytical tool in the whole world.

Alnoor Ibrahim, V. Kasturi Rangan, Ivy So and Alina S. Capanyola have done some excellent work to classify approaches to SIA in their 2014 and 2016 papers. 1. Social return on investment (SROI), is a method to calculate investment of social value compared with input. 2. Theory of change, to measure the whole project process. 3. Data collection to justify your social impact quantitatively and qualitatively. 4. Mission alignment methods, measuring the execution of strategy against the project’s mission over time. 5. Experimental and quasi-experimental methods are after and before evaluations that see the impact of your intervention. When measuring the social impact, those methods are not inter-exclusive, and they work aligning with each other based on the project to show the best evidence, in a way to prove that this project made social influence.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on

Before starting to conduct SIA, you have to understand the goal of the project’s social impact. That is to say, generating the social impact hypothesis. You have to bear the logic hypothesis in mind to guide your activities or services, otherwise the project would work as a fly without the head. You can choose this format to guide you through: If I __________ (proposed intervention or solution) , then __________ (action or activity that will result). If __________(action or activity), then __________ (impact that will result)-Reference to Acumen. You should iterate this process with your project team members to ensure that your hypothesis can work and reach to social impact. You can refer to the box below.

Credit to Acumen

Now it is time to build the SIA framework. Remember that I have shown you the depth, breadth and focus in the theory of change blog, and they are important to set up whole SIA as well. The breadth of impact, or scale, talks about how many people are benefiting from your project. It includes the number of goods or services sold, distributed, performed, or implemented and the multiplier of the number of people each unit of effects if greater than 1-Reference to Acumen. The latter one is talking about how many units have been affected indirectly by your project. There are some risks you should avoid during this phase, such as counting the repeated number and identifying sales numbers as end-users number.

It is common for organizations to report the breadth of their impact, but fewer organizations will do the depth analysis to really understand how much their beneficiaries live have been changed due to their project, but this is an important element in SIA. So how to do the depth analysis? It starts by asking your end-users and building a good relationship with them. Generally, you should ask some open questions to give them more room to express their thoughts on your project. Most people would take reference of the survey to show the depth, however, the format of questions should be open and not more than 15 minutes.

The last factor is assessing the degree to which you are reaching your target population. Especially when your project has no direct control or contact with your users, you’ll need to develop ways to assess whether you’re actually reaching the ‘right’ people, and this mostly done by the survey to measure whether your targeted people are in the region of your project. For example, your project is mainly for low-income families, and you want to know the average income of your customers. The easy way is to reach your customers and make a phone survey since it won’t take them so much time and space. After conduct the phone survey, you find most of your customer is above the poverty line, which is not the ‘right’ customer. Hence some adjustments needed to take and try to get the ‘right’ customers.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on

Last but not least, you already created your SIA hypothesis and framework, so now all you need to do is to collect data along the way, to testify your hypothesis and work as storage leading to support your SIA. It is a long process and should be documented well, and the great result you will get once you have done those work properly. SIA analysis is a rigorous scientifical tool, and it deserves a prepared process and surprising results.

A project to resolve the social problem is good to have, and a project with strong SIA evidence is more than good. Develop the SIA and show the world your project efficiency.

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Yes, networking management can make a difference

Some people may identify networking as either reluctant or feel physically uncomfortable after approaching others, naturally they refuse and resistant to interact when it comes to networking. They may also think networking is about giving business cards and introducing yourself to the conferences or workshops. On the contrary, those perceptions are dead wrong and I was one of them before I got really know networking.

No matter which occupation you are, networking is one of the skills that you have to acquire, especially when you want to find a new job or transfer to another sector. Good networking is one of the secrets to make your career. And I believe you also want to make some changes in your networking, otherwise, you will not find this post. So let’s get started.

First, you have to change your mindset about networking if you have a passive attitude toward it. Experts suggested that it is because people seeing networking as a single communication that stops them from approaching networking for the first time. That is to say that people feel they are inferior compared to their counterparts in networking. But in fact, it is an equal communication and reciprocal, you may ask help from him or her, while she or he also can ask help from you. But most people only see one part of networking during the relationship. Networking is not a one-time business, it requires a continuous interaction for a certain time. Furthermore, networking is not only about quantity and it is not necessary to grow a big network, but rather by focusing on deep the relationship you have. Quality is better than quantity in networking and seeing the relationships as mutually beneficial.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli on

We have a master of networking, Adam Rifkin, who is listed by Fortune as the best networker, with more connections on LinkedIn to the most powerful people in the world than anyone else.  So he admires the mutual relationship and creates the five-minute favor tool to help people to gain confidence and respect in networking. So what is five-minute favor? The five-minute favor is an idea to interact with others by providing your favor to them without any immediate expectation of returns, and this act will pay you goodwill finally. I have tried this when I was in Uganda and it worked well for me to build a good relationship with others.

So networking should be (extracted from Acumen).

  • Reciprocal
  • Ongoing
  • Mutually-beneficial
  • Intentional and strategic
  • A method to help create opportunities, solve problems and achieve goals

After the theory exposure, now you have to analyze your networking by using the tools below, listing each and every relationship on a paper and see how do they related with each other or not connected at all, afterward you may see a pattern of your networking.

Credit to Acumen
Credit to Acumen

Effective networking should be open, which means there should not be so many lines which are overlapped, you need to cross joint networking but also other lines of networking to expand your professional life to some extent. Another crucial thing is to grow diversified networking, crossing different sectors and different layers. Diversity helps you broadens your own thinking and also helps you go beyond your individual stereotypes. Some studies show that a diverse network, which means people from different works of life, can dramatically increase your level of innovation due to open networking which brings lots of possibilities.

Last but not least, as I mentioned before that quality is the matter in networking and it is also one of the elements to make it effective. Build your networking on a trust and respect basis, nurturing on a long term mutual interconnection. It is better to have a few quality relationships rather than lots of shallow relationships.

Credit to Acumen
Credit to Acumen

After you have done those analyses, then you will get a whole picture of your networking and how would you wish it to be based on your expectations. Remember that effective networking should be open, diverse and deep, and this will be your networking guide. Good indeed favor those who have been prepared, prepare your networking and make a difference in your life. If you want to skip those analyses, I can also offer you an online tool to analyze your networking with your Linkedin account, Socilab and another way is using your email, Immersion. Basically, they will give you the same taste of networking analysis. You can also find this online course to learn more about networking.

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Social innovation guide

I have introduced you what is social innovation, so how can we really practice it and make some changes in our life?

This is a brief guide for you to be a practitioner if you really want to apply social innovation in your work or life. There is an order to make social innovations come true, as the 7 habits of highly effective people I have posted, start from yourself first and then expand to build the connection with others. Why so? In the social innovation process, you have to bear a problem and people-oriented mindset first, in order to find the true or root problems behind each phenomenon then you come up with innovative ideas and achieve social innovation. Every change starts from yourself first, change yourself and then change the world.

The process is much similar to HCD (human-centered design), so I will share
this with you briefly. Normally, it is the time for social innovation when we see some social problems remain unsolved or unpleasant, then focus on one or two certain social problems after you sensed them instead of several. After you found the social problems you want to tackle, then you have to find ways to understand them thoroughly. Specifically, you may do research online, analyze news reports, ask for consultation from the experts who have experience or who has abundant study experience on those problems and also get information from the people who are directly or indirectly affected by this problem. This means you need to have a fresh look at social, health, policies, and economic dimension, but also at education, environment, business, industrial, urban development, etc., to ensure you understand the problem from every aspect if it is applicable.

It is the time when you should generate enough possible innovative ideas after you have understood the root reasons for the social problem. Ordinary people may only see social problems as troublesome but social innovators always see opportunities in social problems. So social innovators can think of other alternatives to approach social problems in an innovative way after you have done such an amazing analysis. But you can refer to HCD to find relevant tools for ideas creations. Ideas generate possibilities, you have to seize each possibility while opening to others.

Paperwork has been done at this moment, so it is time to take them off the paper. One convenient and costless way is doing the prototype, which allows us to test the whole idea by using limited resources. For instance, a company wants to build a mobile App, normally the engineer will create a demo App and test it with clients, and they have to make changes back and forth in between to get a final App, it is not only time-consume but also waste lots of money and resources. Prototype suggests the engineer could draw the App interface on the paper first to test it with the relevant stakeholders, which is a cheap and simple way of testing without consuming tons of time and resources. Nevertheless, the idea needs to change continuously to reach the final point.

Now you have your tangible ideas, then what about others? How others will perceive your ideas and how does the market will react. Even though you have already shown and tested your ideas with your clients, but it should go beyond your clients. So this is the time to interact with others and build relationships and partnerships in terms of scaling. Social innovation should not stay still if it makes a certain social impact, and it will make a huge social revolution if it is scaled up.

Congratulations, so you have familiarised yourself with how to start your social innovation and make it come on the market to make changes to people’s life. Do not get fascinated only by the name of social innovation, but the social impact. You can download the full social innovation guide here for further reference.

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