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How Do We Find The Young People Who Are Going To Change The World?

How Do We Find The Young People Who Are Going To Change The World?
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PSFK chats with Yoxi.tv founder Sharon Change about who today's Social Innovation Rockstars are and how can they help create real change?

Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 28 april 2012

Yoxi.TV is an innovative media platform that helps discover and develop Social Innovation Rockstars (SIR)’s with a goal of building partnerships to create shared value and bring about real change. We recently had an opportunity to speak with Sharon Chang, the company’s founder, to learn more about Yoxi.TV’s mission and the growing social good movement.

Tell us a bit about Yoxi.TV and the larger company mission.

Yoxi is a media organization that discovers and elevates social entrepreneurs by leveraging their expertise for shared value business opportunities. We support and create “Social Innovation Rockstars” (SIRs) by developing compelling content that connects key stakeholders to drive social change, while generating broad appeal and deep engagement to define the pop culture of social innovation.

Our long-term ambition is to use the power of media to scale social impact. We care tremendously about media innovation and media responsibility. Recent controversies surrounding the KONY2012 campaign provided a clear example of how emerging media tools can play a pivotal role in amplifying social issues. But just stirring up media frenzy is not enough. We look deeper into how we can best empower Social Innovation Rockstars to become iconoclastic leaders through media-focused programs.

How do you define a ‘Social Innovation Rockstar’ and how are you finding these individuals?

Social Innovation Rockstars are not exclusively social entrepreneurs. We have chosen each word very carefully – social = social value/impact;  innovation = human ingenuity;  rockstar = inspirational leadership. Anyone who embodies these qualities can be seen as a SIR, regardless of whether the pursuit is ‘entrepreneurial’ or ‘intrapreneurial,’, public sector or private sector.

You can take a look at how we describe Social Innovation Rockstars on SIR.tv (teaser page: http://sir.tv) – our new ‘Who’s Who In Social Innovation’ channel scheduled to launch in Spring 2012.

We find these individuals through very rigorous research and relationship building. We look at all the major social innovation fellowships/competitions, school programs, editorial platforms, idea festivals and thought-leadership conferences, start-up news outlets, impact investment communities, corporate CSR programs…etc., and then cross reference all candidates using specific metrics we have developed.

Explain the shared value system and the role that brands play in this equation.

The central premise behind creating shared value is that the competitiveness of a company and the health of the communities around it are mutually dependent. Recognizing and capitalizing on these connections between societal and economic progress will catalyze the next wave of global growth and in turn redefine capitalism.

Brands that see these connections should go beyond a more traditional CSR approach which tends to focus on reconciling trade-offs between profitability and social responsibility. The real opportunity lies in creating competitive advantage by engineering a core social value proposition into the company’s overarching corporate strategy. Real innovation will occur when brands map this concept to their DNA. Shared value isn’t about reacting to social issues that have immediate effects on quarterly goals, but rather a long-term philosophy that re-evaluates fundamental business principles.

In the work we pursue, we urge brands to look at creative ways to foster more collaboration between “institutional” and “entrepreneurial” operations. We can accelerate shared value creation by marrying corporate resources to entrepreneurial ingenuity.

What are the key factors for creating a successful collaboration?

Talent diversity, willingness to challenge the status quo, real transparency and deep trust, relentless effort to think creatively, a true understanding of why process is often more important than outcome (without compromising accountability).

In what ways is the growing social good movement starting to change the marketplace?

We are beginning to see an entire ecosystem emerge, encompassing three major areas that cover both market supply and demand:

1. Consumers are demanding more transparency and social responsibility. In a survey last year of more than 10,000 consumers in 10 countries by Cone Communications and Echo Research, over 50% of respondents said they were very likely to switch brands to one associated with a good cause, if there was an alternative in the same price range and of similar quality.

2. A growing number of entrepreneurs are working on solutions and business ideas that will bring greater value to society. Even those who began their careers with a greater focus on “social” rather than “entrepreneurial” have become increasingly fascinated by the market as a mechanism to advance their social agendas. Social change is seen more as a business strategy than as a charity program. This evolution dovetails nicely with growing consumer demands mentioned above. For example, the expanding popularity with collaborative consumption has given rise to new companies like Zipcar and Airbnb.

3. Corporations have also begun to cross over into the mainstream of social change. CSR programs are getting more attention and funding, and a new breed of ‘intrapreneurs’ are championing more creative and fundamental changes in corporate strategy.

Yoxi.TV

Thanks Sharon!

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