What were you afraid of at the beginning and how did you overcome your fear?

Every new beginning includes fear and uncertainty. We asked 8 social innovators representing some the most dynamic social innovation initiatives to describe their fears at the beginning, how they confronted them and moved their projects forward. The following tips on how to overcome your fear are provided by people from different fields, sectors and countries who turned their ideas into a successful social innovation reality.  Let’s see how successful social innovators overcome their fears.

To me it was being in love, therefore I was ready to jump to the swimming pool with shallow water! No detected fear, I embraced the idea fully. The fears started showing up when meeting the first difficulties. Six years from then, I still discover fears on the way. But as you know one of the initiatives is called Fear & Fail, so I clearly know that fear is just a helpful reminder that there is an opportunity to learn.

Jose Antonio Morales, Lincoln Island Initiatives

Initially, Wayfindr started out as a concept idea and a small proof-of-concept test. This generated a lot of positive coverage and positive momentum, however it was not entirely clear how far we would be able to go. Once we secured a multi-year grant, we were able to plan our activities and ensure we could deliver something tangible that would benefit the market and benefit end users. This helped us to overcome fears as it was clear to everyone what we were trying to achieve, how much time we had to achieve it, and how our work was being funded.

Tiernan Kenny, Wayfindr

At the beginning the greatest difficulty, rather than the greatest fear, was that of presenting Quid as a credible actor and a stakeholder that other organizations and brands would consider as a possible partner. This was because Quid’s team was made up by a group of very young members, some of which had just finished university, thus with little to no work experience at all. Dedication, time and high professionalism in spite of the young age lead important local businesses to give Quid a chance, slowly creating a network of partners and supporters. In fact, after the first few collaborations with renown fashion companies and other key organizations, Quid gained credibility that supported the further expansion of its activity and thus contributed to the creation of greater impact on the territory.

Giulia Houston, Progetto Qiud

There was no fear, when we started the cooperative, because none of the founders was at that point dependent on the success of the cooperative. But today we are.

Živa Lopatič, BUNA

The first concern was whether our technology would work and whether the blind and visually impaired would actually be able to feel shapes with it. After a successful series of rigorous tests, our users’ feedback was very promising. They were very impressed with it and their feedback proved immensely useful. After that, the other big concern was presenting our innovation abroad and finding a way to get our devices to as many people as need them. I suppose that the concern never goes away, especially if you are deeply invested in what you are doing and are striving to be the best at it. Despite that, knowing we’ve received a lot of good feedback so far helps to keep me calm when things don’t go according to plan.

Željko Khermayer, Feelif

I think there is always a little fear present – the fear of how to survive, how to make the end need. The whole collaboration, the fact that we, from early on, we were the community. There were a few of us combined and we could do things inside this group and we felt better and more understood because we had each other, so it was all about community. We created our own world. We are like a family, like-minded people that feel the same as we do. This is a community of women, NGOs and people who think like us.

Maja Rijavec and Alenka Kreč Bricelj, Smetumet

I don’t think there was any fear present in the beginning, because they had nothing to lose in bringing that out and they also had good support from The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth. This is an independent body within the Ministry of Education. With the development Nefiks had a lot of other tools which did the same but didn’t exist for very long.  The biggest fear was that the Ministry was giving out money for all these tools but none of them were as resistant or had a long history or as many functions as Nefiks.

Alenka Blazinšek, Nefiks

From the beginning I believed in this idea completely and I didn’t have any fears. Certainly if I had any fears, I didn’t focus on them.  I also knew that it was something new for Romania and we needed to test, to learn and to collaborate with other initiatives that had more experience in the social entrepreneurship field.

Andreea Zaharescu, Upside Down

Would you like to learn how inspiring social innovators answer other important questions such as how to start your project from scratch or how to capture and engage your audience?

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