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You have a fantastic idea and you strongly believe in its potential to change the world for the better. You have dreamt about it, you have made your own plans but you only have two things at the moment: a big heart and the willingness to move forward. So what do you do next? Do you follow your passion? We asked 8 successful social innovators from different fields, sectors and countries to share their advice on the secret to starting out. Let them inspire and guide us.

Go and do it! And don’t forget – it is only you who defines what success is. As my mum said to me at the beginning – if you only help one child, one family, it is worth it.

Ursula Lavrenčič

Keep it really small to start off with and learn as much as you can from it (…) sometimes things just don’t work despite your passion and being able to see how it could work can be very frustrating. Just make sure you share your learning and your efforts won’t be in vain.

Kevin Field

Keep going! If I’ve learned one thing more than anything else, it is that in order to be the change that you want to see in the world, you need determination and resilience!

Simon Puleston Jones

A social innovator has to be a bit “bipolar”: one must be visionary dreamers and economists at the same time.

Enrico Dolza

Don’t give up. The challenges to overcome are huge, there are plenty of villains out there determined to keep us on our collective destructive course, and all hands are needed to open up avenues of profound change.

Jean Lasar

If you are reading those words, you are very likely to be dreaming of a better world. Our advice would be to set SMART objectives: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. A goal is a dream with a deadline. And if your dreams do not scare you, dream bigger.

Laure Dupuy and Ben Liegey

But dreams only exist for you to end them. And I only know one way to make dreams end, and that’s to make them come true. So you go after a dream and end the dream when you make it come true. The advice I would give is not to ‘run after dreams’ but ‘end your dreams’.

Miguel Neiva

Those two things, the big heart and the willingness to do something, are the basis of everything you are going to build from now on. So do not underestimate them. What you need to do now is to not be afraid to share – it takes a village for your baby idea to grow. So, be open to other people and the faster you move to action the better.

Kostapanos Miliaressis

We, who live in the western world, are very fortunate to have many opportunities to acquire the necessary skills and resources to make a difference in our world. A better world for all is possible if each of us makes even a small initiative. Everyone has a role to play, we just need to discover where our strengths and passions fit. After I started my business, I might have felt tired sometimes, but never bored or unhappy with the work I was doing. Financial is not the only type of reward – my driving force is knowing I have assisted people’s and their families lives for a better future.

Nurjahan Begum

Would you like to learn more from other inspiring social innovators?

Check out the Social Innovation Academy – the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation.  Subscribe to our newsletter, join our private LinkedIn group, 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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