How do you change the whole system?

You are passionate about your project and you are willing to work hard to provide something that will really change not only the lives of single users, but the way the whole system operates? What kind of changes do you need to achieve within your organization in order to deliver such kind of impact? We asked 8 successful social innovators from different fields, sectors and countries how they managed to change the whole system and they shared with us how they do it.

It’s important to understand how the system works and who the key players are. It can be tempting to make a lot of noise and complain about how a system works, however true change will require a lot of work and buy in from a lot of actors. Understanding how the system works allows the opportunity to make incremental improvements, leading to larger changes over time.

Tiernan Kenny, Wayfindr

If only we knew! Quid’s belief is that the only way to start thinking of changing the whole system is to make sure that all stakeholders collaborate, creating a fruitful dialogue of all actors involved and to a certain extent also those that don’t initially appear as actual stakeholders. This means the policy makers, the NGOs, the welfare sector, businesses, international networks and the civil society in its entirety.  This is no news but for anyone who attempts to start a social project it must be the first thought, understanding how such collaborations must be the base of every step.

Giulia Houston, Progetto Qiud

We change habits of users and build strong community, which in time will affect the whole system. It will take a lot of time, but we have seen it happen before.

Živa Lopatič, BUNA

The system you are talking about is an idea that became a belief, in other words enough people decided to agree that the idea of such a system exists. Challenging belief systems is the main force that drives every single entrepreneur. Find the entrepreneur within, be true to yourself and clearly define what is your personal purpose. Live by the principles that support your purpose and you will find yourself inspiring others to wake up their own inner entrepreneur. We change everything by being authentic to ourselves. For a system to work, all its main components need to be in synch, otherwise, the function of the system collapses. What I see all around is people trying to adapt old system to our present conditions, I think that is still resisting change. Let’s create new systems!

Jose Antonio Morales, Lincoln Island Initiatives

For the first time, the blind and visually impaired can feel shapes on a standard touchscreen. Our technology opens new possibilities for the blind and visually impaired in terms of how and for what purpose they can use tablets. We will also connect all blind and visually impaired people in one place on a Feelif Open Platform, where the best content for them will be shared or sold. The Feelif Open Platform will connect all stakeholders in one big community. Feelif is affordable. It is mobile and easy to carry around. Feelif will provide new opportunities to the blind and visually impaired, so they can be creative. Feelif and Feelif Open Platform will help the blind and visually impaired with easier and faster access to the best digital content for them, so they can be more informed, competitive and prepared for life. But not just that: With Feelif and Feelif Open Platform they will have the opportunity to have fun playing games, even online. We cannot repair their vision, but surely we can make their lives more interesting, richer and playable. Feelif will have an impact on the quality of their lives.

Željko Khermayer, Feelif


With a positive attitude. I think it is done daily; continuity is the rule. Surround yourself with people that are like-minded, enlightened, with a sense of humour. It’s important you don’t stop. You should do it every day. Don’t let negative things get you down for too long. Try to involve different sectors of the society if possible, like the public sector, individuals, the economy. Try to find like-minded people in these sectors and try to get them to make a good project.

Maja Rijavec and Alenka Kreč Bricelj, Smetumet



The idea is that they have to collect skills and knowledge in one portfolio. But young people only realize this when they are searching for a job and I guess with Nefiks they at least get to know this. Our influence is limited to the network. Also, the youth organization starts to write down the content they can develop within their framework when they are working with them. Our greatest achievement was when Nefiks was presented at the EU Summit in Belgium in 2014. The international community gave Nefiks  credit for being a good tool and  a good system.

Alenka Blazinšek, Nefiks



We still have to do a lot of things. It takes time to educate and to change the whole system. I think it is important that people are more conscious about the choices that they make. They have other alternatives, other options. They can buy local products made from recovered materials, such as Upside Down products, or they can buy something made in China. It is up to them but it is important that we offer them alternatives. We think that Upside Down can be a way of thinking and acting, based on our Upside Down thinking outside of the box philosophy. We save specific materials that others don’t even think about using. I think we have made a difference on a market already full of other accessories or fashion-related brands.

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 raise money for your social innovation?

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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