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.

`Change comes slowly and from within, especially in healthcare. We prefer not to ‘push’ change but to ‘pull’ it instead. This means that the needs of our audience (patients in this case) should drive the change, and a solid positioning of the change direction should be established and maintained. For example, in our case, change is reflected in the growing needs of patients for self-care and self-help, given the fact that they spend an increasing amount of time at home and not in hospital, where support and information are available 24×7.’ says the co-founder of Care Across, says Thanos Kosmidis who runs a digital start-up company focusing on cancer.

Thanos KosmidisCare Across  

‘It would be so arrogant of us to claim that we had changed the whole system. However, we believe we have contributed to the improvement of science lectures in Athens, through our initiative, over the past decade. We also aim to encourage members of the society to think in a scientific manner.’ says Nicholas Protonotarios who is in charge of “The Hub Events” series of lectures in social sciences.

Nicholas ProtonotariosThe Hub Events

‘Find the pioneers who are ready to move and shake and focus on them, create a network of movers. These are usually not your corporate managers, they are not there to move, in fact many are trying not to move at all. When someone is obstructive, just find ways to go round them, no point in going head to head, waste of energy and momentum. Just find the winners who will go with you, the others will follow once things start moving. At the end those that were most obstructive will take the credit for initiating and implementing the change, but it does not really matter who takes the credit, the main thing is to get things done.‘ says Toni Staykova, co-founder of the UKeMED Platform which works as a single open operational space to support the development and deployment of telematic services for the management and sharing of knowledge and experience among healthcare professionals in all operational aspects around the world. 

Toni StaykovaUKeMED   

‘You can never do anything alone. Changing systems and perceptions is always a collective effort. Never underestimate the power of a group of people who share a common vision and purpose. You change a system one step and one perception at a time. In our case, we worked on showcasing successful role models to inspire action, then we provided solid and concrete ways in which people can follow through their dreams and turn them into practise. You never change a system without changing the mindsets and the mentalities of the people who drive them. This is what we are trying to do at Reload Greece, hacking an entrepreneurial mindset into our culture.’ says Effie Kyrtata, the co-founder and CEO of Reload Greece, a UK registered charity which enables a new generation of entrepreneurs to start businesses that have a social and economic impact in their home country.

Effie KyrtataReload Greece 

`If I understand you correctly, by system you mean changing status quo to follow your calling and passions for the common good. This seemingly simple topic is a difficult issue that most of us in Africa face majorly because of societal pressure to get money irrespective of the sources; and partly due to lack of support systems for social innovators such as access to fund or enabling environment. So, you see, it is easier to follow the status quo than struggling with old structures that our society encapsulate. But! Some of us have radical innovations and we’re brutal in bringing them to reality to see people live better lives. It involves personal sacrifices which we have been paying and are prepared to do more. The secret is to close your eyes and ears to the noises around and focus on your work. Hard work, dedication and commitment to a cause is contagious when you don’t give up.’ says Adetunji Adeniran, co-founder and Executive Director at Hopefield Network.

Adetunji AdeniranHopefield Network 

‘By automating a rather mundane process.’ says Konstantinos Politis, founder of Socialinnov, a non-profit endeavour with a mission to eliminate the digital skills gap and high unemployment rates by educating individuals and connecting technological talent with the private sector.

Konstantinos PolitisSocialinnov   

‘Every year we adopt users’ ideas in order to upgrade the system. Moreover, we regularly upgrade the digital platforms.’ says Stathis Haikalis being responsible for the Human Grid Project which is about connecting social initiatives and volunteer groups in Greece.

Stathis HaikalisHuman Grid Project 

‘One day at a time with constant reflection, continuous improvement and enormous tenacity!’ says Anna-Liisa Googs, Co-Founder and Partner at C3 Partners – Executives on Demand (C3P), a UAE-based advisory firm providing senior executive support services to businesses needing temporary management solutions.

Anna-Liisa GoggsConsult and Coach for a Cause (C3) 

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 (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). We welcome all requests for collaboration here.

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