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Social Entrepreneurs Use Technology to Increase Impact

Technology can empower social entrepreneurship initiatives by democratizing access to information, creating business value, and enabling new capabilities—although not every technology initiative succeeds.

“Technology for the sake of technology is a waste of precious resources. Social entrepreneurs need to understand the deep value that ICT can bring to social change when it is offered in context, with appropriate training, and with the intent of empowering the user. We hope this report inspires many others to take up this challenge in ways we haven’t even begun to imagine.” Justin Rattner, President, Intel  Foundation.

Whether they are collaborating with young entrepreneurs in local context or using crowdsourcing at a higher involvement level, there are five common success factors:

  1. Moving beyond digital literacy

Teaching someone about technology without hands-on experiences in real-life situations doesn’t guarantee long-term success. Inculcating increased self-sufficiency, employability and the opportunity to use technology to solve social challenges goes a long way towards creating digital citizenship

  1. Incorporating deep stakeholder involvement

Technology solutions that are not grounded in behavioral change supported by the stakeholders are likely to fail. Successful models seek to identify and meet the needs of the stakeholders and patiently iterate until the solution is fully adapted.

  1. 3. Altering perceptions of the marginalized

Social entrepreneurs are altering perceptions of broader society and the way marginalized persons—who are not well represented in ICT—perceive their potential by demonstrating their ability to succeed.

  1. Keeping it decentralized

Creating community networks where knowledge is easily shared fosters a great ability to act and therefore succeed in solutions being sought be itl health, prosperity and education initiatives.

  1. Communicating the results

Aggregating data reported by the citizen participants can be used to influence decision makers.

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