To get attention for your ideas, creations, products, or messages you need to devote time, effort and resources. Below, 8 successful social innovators from different fields, sectors and countries share how they managed to attract public attention and make others believe in their potential.
To draw attention to our business, we mainly used internet and social media (website, Facebook and Instagram). Instead for the opening of the activity, we organized a great event to which was present the mayor of our city and a local newspaper dedicated us an article within his newspaper. We are now designing more attractive digital tools, such as QRCode and a YouTube channel, in order to involve young people in the project.
When you have a clear point and are talking honestly, people listen. But most importantly, I would say, we are providing a simple, effective solution, one that is easy to implement within the regular educational framework. This resonates extremely positively with educators. However, when we presented the solution directly to the school administrators, we were not very successful. Then we addressed the teachers directly and offered them a licence; they just needed to provide the consent of the headmaster. This really worked. You have to talk to people that experience the problem first-hand and who are interested in finding real-life solutions that actually work.
We sell our products online, but so far, the largest impact has been through various vendor fairs and small business markets. We have also been a part of various networking events and programmes at different colleges, including the Seneca College HELIX programme for entrepreneurs. Due to the coverage of terrible accidents in the industry (Rana Plaza collapse), a lot of customers are at least somewhat aware of the working conditions but don’t always realise the connection to their everyday purchasing decisions. Many are happy to see that we are providing a means to do something about it.
At this early stage we were very much piloting so we weren’t necessarily looking to attract a lot of public attention beyond the community groups and people in the town. We did, however do a lot of visiting of individual community groups to explain what we were trying to do and explaining the link between the badges and bringing community groups together around trying to combat loneliness and isolation. On reflection that message around inclusion and combatting loneliness was hampered by trying to explain the technology. We also struggled to get other community groups to act as Ambassadors to make it a small organic movement.
We have used different methods to attract public attention to the issue of food waste and our potential to be part of the solution. First, we conducted a food waste survey in Vancouver, among hotels, restaurants and coffee shops. This enabled us to present our services, grow our local network and gather local data and best practices. We also organized a Zero Food Waste Event. We then had the screening of a local documentary around food waste (‘Just Eat It‘) followed by a panel discussion with experts including a councillor from the City of Vancouver, a chef cooking with rescued food, a food recovery platform and a company making juices with rejected produce (…) We are also empowering the community: not only student organizations (offering our expertise as speakers or mentors) but also the general public (talking about food waste on the radio, or leading participatory workshops at festivals and events). Finally, we continue to meet various stakeholders fighting food waste and climate change: representatives of cities, business owners and associations. We are principally involved in the Waste Working Group of the Vancouver Food Policy Council.
We’re taking a bottom-up approach. We’ve building a community of 50 launch partners and individuals who share our vision, and are inviting them to share WokenUp with their own existing networks, so that we can get growth predominantly by word of mouth and organic community building. We’re also being approached by an increasing number of individuals who see the impact that WokenUp could empower you to make and are excited by our potential – they’re asking to be advocates for us, so we’ve just started appointing a number of passionate people as Advocates for WokenUp. Drop us a line if you share our vision and would like to help drive positive change! I have some contacts in the press from my career in the City, but honestly its very hard to break into the press or TV media on a cold-call basis. That being said, I have confidence that we are only ever one interview, or one phone call, away from the opportunity to appear in national and international media so that we can raise awareness of how we’re seeing to empower you to build the world in which you want to live.
The only thing I did, and this is true, was to be myself. As I’m talking to you, as in a meeting I had in Lisbon, as in the Assembly of the Republic (parliament of the Portuguese Republic), as in the talk with the President (of the Portuguese Republic), I say exactly the same things.
The issue I want to tackle isn’t exactly a small forgotten cause, it is after all the greatest threat to the existence of our species. So the issue for me was not so much to attract public attention to it, but rather to convince a sufficient number of people around me that to address the challenge of climate change and our addiction to fossil fuels, unexplored avenues need to be explorer, and that my idea of an alternative, dedicated currency was worth a try. I read up about the available technologies, mostly blockchain, took part in brainstorming sessions dedicated to the potential of cryptographic technology and got involved in a blockchain-based project in the realm of social finance. Eventually, after zeroing in on a pilot-project format designed to fit the realities of Luxembourg, I obtained initial funding from a local charity, which allowed me to start dedicating all of my time to the project.
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