How did you attract public attention to the issue you wanted to tackle and make others believe in your purpose and potential?

You have a great idea about a social innovation project and you have started working on it, often day and night. So now what? Coming up with good ideas might be easy but ‘selling’ them to people you don’t know is the hardest part. Your idea can only grow successfully if you manage to create awareness around it and make others believe in your purpose and support it. We asked 8 successful social innovators from different fields, sectors and countries how they managed to attract public attention and make others believe in their potential. Here’s what they have shared with us.

 

Ever since it was founded Quid has always been extremely dedicated to the creation of a network with local and international organizations, NGOs and academic institutions. The public attention was attracted through this very network and also by getting in contact with relevant organizations in person, creating a long-term collaboration a little at a time. Over time Quid has also managed, on many occasions, to appear in local or national press, thanks to the activity and effort put in by the communication and institutional relations teams.

Giulia Houston, Progetto Qiud

I believe we have gained the most recognition with our accolades from the various social innovation and start-up competitions over the last few years. With every award we received, we also received a good amount of media attention. But we have always worked closely with visually impaired communities in Slovenia, who were testing and providing feedback on our devices. Their testimonials proved to be immeasurably valuable not only to the functionality of the devices, but also to share the benefits of Feelif to our other potential consumers. Their testimonials also informed others about their fundamental problems, most of which would seem trivial to the rest of us.

Željko Khermayer, Feelif

Mostly we used our lectures and the channels of communication we were already using before – one of the founders is a global educator, one is an owner of a café and one is the leader of Fair trade movement in Slovenia. So, we were able to present our idea to each of our communities, to the media and also on social media and website.

Živa Lopatič, BUNA

At the beginning, we didn’t get as much attention as we do now. Quite quickly words like sustainability, circular economy and things like that became popular and since we were one of the beginners at doing this kind of work, making things from waste material, the media caught up. This is not something we have to struggle with as we have quite enough attention. When we are more intentional in our messages then we try to keep it light, not be moralistic, but talk more about what we can do and how we can be creative and how we can really do amazing things from waste. This is what we want to get across. We would rather have a dialogue than give a monologue.

Maja Rijavec and Alenka Kreč Bricelj, Smetumet

The mobility issues facing vision impaired people, in the UK and worldwide, are well established. Our innovation was to take a new, digital-first approach to tackling this long-term problem. This in itself raised some positive awareness of what we are doing. Beyond that, sharing the feedback of vision impaired people goes a long way towards making people believe in the purpose and potential of audio navigation. We have been and will continue to work with vision impairment organisations in the UK and beyond, so that vision impaired people come to know the potential of audio navigation technology and push for its adoption across the globe.

Tiernan Kenny, Wayfindr

Initially I thought we could help others, we could make others believe, we could motivate people, etc. Soon after we found that is not possible. We found that we could only inspire others through example. So we did act as we found possible, organising events, meeting new people, traveling and reaching entrepreneurs one by one. Many times we were inconsistent, we started initiatives that didn’t work out, and we felt as we were losing too much energy. We decided to focus on what works, and amazingly that also helped with our communication. Our audience identified with what works, feel inspired and decide to act. We are far from perfection but that doesn’t stop us. Nike’s “just do it” mantra doesn’t really work when doing means being busy trying. It only works when delivering value.

Jose Antonio Morales, Lincoln Island Initiatives

That is still a work in process. No matter how long Nefiks exists, we are still fighting for attention. When young people search for a job and suddenly connect with Nefiks, they are very happy because they can make a record of all their past experiences. A very strong point is when young people really need Nefiks. No matter what we are also trying to promote, with Nefiks already in high schools and universities they usually write to Nefiks when they are looking for  jobs. And we also never get financing for the tool itself but for the projects around the tools. Young people believe in an idea when they need it. (NB – consider re-writing this section, it doesn’t really make sense).

Alenka Blazinšek, Nefiks

The Social Impact Award competition was organised by Impact of Bucharest. They collaborate with people from the media. It was a great help because we were promoted by most of the important media channels such as magazines and online and offline newspapers. We were also promoted on social media. We had different collaborations that were very good, including associations with important music festivals in Romania. The Social Impact Award also offered workshops for different teams. One of those was in story telling. We learned a lot and also learned how to use business canvas models. There were also workshops that helped us to create business plans, to tell our story and to present our idea.

Andreea Zaharescu, Upside Down

Would you like to learn how inspiring social innovators answer other important questions such as how to get over your fears and move your project forward or how to raise the money for your social innovation idea?

Check out the Social Innovation Academy – the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation.  If you are interested in keeping up with this project, you can subscribe to our newsletter, become one of our friends or follow us on social media (LinkedInTwitter and Facebook). We welcome all requests for collaboration here.

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