Saturday, June 29, 2013

Innovation and Impact

This week I enjoyed being part of a discussion on Innovation and Impact.  The speaker made an excellent point that social innovation has flourished in the last 20 years and that most of what is needed now is to drive what we have already learned throughout our society to have impact.  In other words, implement the models that work!

Is that where we are with Cafe Momentum?  No!  We have a lot of work to do to execute and refine our model, validate our theory of change, grow our community and define our innovation.  Our aspirations are high.  Innovation has become an overused word, so we need to be clear on what it means to us.  When we are talking about innovation we look to the Rockefeller Foundation's definition to inspire us to shoot high.
At the Rockefeller Foundation, we define
innovation as a break from previous practice,
occurring when different points of view or
existing practices are framed, imagined, or
combined in new ways. Innovation succeeds
when it creates new pathways for solving
entrenched social problems, resulting in
lasting transformation of the systems that
most affect vulnerable populations and leave
stronger social relationships in their wake.
There we go.  That is what we are shooting for.  But you'll be pleased to know that even as we work with our various strategic partners to innovate, we are also thinking about how we can move quickly to impact.  Because while we know that every single guy we help counts and is worth all our effort, we are not satisfied to leave all the other young men and women behind.  So while we work, build, promote, convene, dine, celebrate, and give thanks, we are striving from day one to clear the pathway on this particular entrenched social problem.

And we are glad you are coming along with us.