Given the complexity of current systems and the growing difficulties that lie in finding solutions to global challenges, players can no longer act single-handedly. While social entrepreneurs have powerful solutions and insights on social issues, “scaling up” and reaching a larger audience remains a significant challenge. On the other hand, corporations are known for their capacity to operate at a large scale but have little knowledge about social issues or disadvantaged communities. It is therefore vital to find ways to pool together the different strengths of stakeholders.
Through innovative alliances, social entrepreneurs, businesses and governments can complement each others' skills and expertise, take on challenges that no one could solve alone, and simultaneously have access to new strategic win-win opportunities. Today, sectors are still silo-thinking but we can accelerate history by connecting the world’s most powerful network of social entrepreneurs with changemakers from the business and private sectors to tackle social challenges at a large scale.
Vision: A world where everyone is a CHANGEMAKER and where solutions to social issues can be developed at a large scale.
We refer to Co-Creation (between social and business or private sectors) as an innovative collaboration model that pools the strengths of different stakeholders - social entrepreneurs, civil society, private companies and/or government - through win-win partnerships to address effectively social challenges. At Ashoka we believe it is a key lever for giving life to radical innovative models with strong impact capable of tackling social issues at larger scale.
We have identified the following characteristics of Co-Creation models:
1. Partner from different sectors, each bringing complementary and unique assets beyond the simple act of funding
2. Creation of shared value for society and for each of the partners
3. A collaboration dynamic that relies on changemakers, shifts boundaries in the partnering organization and has the potential of transforming them
Ashoka is deeply convinced that Co-Creation is a key lever to scale up social entrepreneurs’ innovations while at the same time fostering competitiveness and new business models with high social impact for companies and public institutions. Currently individual changemakers pioneering these hybrid collaborations are isolated, poorly connected and need more tools and support.
Ashoka’s objective is to make this kind of innovative and transformative alliances a mainstream way to address the most pressing social issues at a large scale, by creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and visionary leaders actively co-creating for greater impact. In order to do so, we focus on 3 main actions:
Relying on its strong track record in selecting over 3000 leading social entrepreneurs, Ashoka identifies intrapreneurs and visionary leaders from the corporate and public sectors known for their ability to “tear down walls” between organizations and connect them to its global network.
-Giving more visibility
-Giving access to a network of peers, partners and supporters through in-person gatherings (conferences or hands-on workshops)
-Sharing best practices, learnings and tools to improve Co-Creation models
-Contributing to create an enabling environment for corporate changemakers by arousing awareness and interest internally on shared value, social innovation, Co-Creation and system-changing approaches
3. Building the Field
Actively mobilizing “multipliers” (influencers, media, business schools and universities, management consulting firms, impact investors) to raise awareness about the potential of Co-Creation, to educate and to build enabling ecosystems for all changemakers.