“The fundamental social problems faced in the 21st century are shared global problems that do not respect national boundaries. The solutions require the engagement of all of humanity in its full diversity.”
Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, University Professor, NYU Immigration Studies
Successful social innovation begins at a local level where it often remains isolated; subsequently good ideas are fragmented, often trapped in small communities. Current mechanisms for diffusion beyond the community of origin are limited, and because “one size does not necessarily fit all,” the spread of new ideas is often uncertain and slow.
Despite countless attempts to capture and share knowledge, we have yet to figure out the “secret sauce” that results in an ongoing process of collaboration to solve critical challenges. And despite billions of dollars spent every year in well-meaning gifts and programs, our social problems keep getting bigger: 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty, 10 million children under the age of 5 dying annually, 1 billion people with no access to clean water, 2.5 billion people without access to basic sanitation, two-thirds of the world’s countries without universal primary education for children, only 22 % of the world’s fisheries now sustainable, and dropping every year—and the list goes on.
As a rule rather than an exception, solutions are ‘reinvented’ time and again across the globe due to our inability to fully interact. There is a growing realization that to scale and sustain any efficiency and effectiveness of social programs that the answer lies in different approaches and working smarter -- and making more effective use of shared and tacit knowledge to drive innovation.
Tapping into the full diversity of people, places, ideas and experiences around the globe will help us to innovate and bring the best solutions forward. The Internet creates a level playing field for those who have access via whatever device they can use to share their points of view. The accelerating formation of online communities and the ever-evolving development of technology solutions offer unprecedented potential—to end the fragmentation and under-resourced isolation that holds back the scale of ground-breaking, local innovation. Neighborhood “eureka’s” must reach the rest of the world.
Today, we have an opportunity to enable greater dialogue between people by leveraging technology. It’s no longer a question of whether collaboration platforms will have an impact—the real question is how to best harness that impact and gain an advantage.
Hence, this blog. I want to welcome you to the launch of our Emerging Countries blog where we hope to have more conversations around the challenges we face in these markets and most importantly, how we are addressing them. Our goal is to engage in online conversations that bring new ideas and new ways of addressing them. We have a diverse group of bloggers who bring different perspectives and will share their perspectives here.
Please join the conversation and let us know what is on your mind.