News — June 15, 2017

Social Innovation: Shaping the Next Generation

By: Molly Eime, JCI Communications Coordinator 

The rise of social entrepreneurship among young people seems to be driving more and more sustainable change across the globe. Young people everywhere are looking for ways to contribute to social change while also realizing their goals. But how does that relate to JCI or more importantly how can JCI leverage this to create even greater impact in communities globally? That is what JCI members at the 2017 JCI Conference of the Americas set out to explore.  

The Conference of the Americas took place 17–20 May in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic uniting 483 active citizens from 41 countries to advance the JCI Mission, celebrate the impact created throughout the region and develop the skills needed to be an active citizen in today’s world.

The Innovative Social Challenge, led by Associate Professor of Entrepreneurial Management and Social Entrepreneurship for IE Business School Rachida Justo, encouraged young people from eight countries to change their perspective of social entrepreneurship. This perspective change required thinking about the restructuring of institutions and how young active citizens can be the driving force behind the revolution of social entrepreneurship worldwide. 

Social entrepreneurs implement a business approach built on others. It is addressing neglected societal problems by challenging conventional wisdom through innovative business models that empower people to deliver sustainable solutions, achieving multiplied impact in people's lives," said Justo. This unique session offered participants the opportunity to explore social enterprises and how to carry out a project using the Business Model Canvas—a strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or documenting existing models. Following this explanation, participants worked in teams and were given a social problem and encouraged to use the skills and knowledge gained throughout the session to create a business model that addressed their specific community issue. 

Several projects were developed through the course of the session that specifically addresses community issues such as health, education and corruption.

Project concepts included developing a mobile game that educates children and adolescents on the consequences of corruption, a school that provides tools to students’ parents helping them to contribute to their children’s education and a school that serves to reformed prisoners as they prepare to re-enter society.

However, the session showcased more than just a simple business model, but rather a new way of conducting business, one that embraces the values of JCI.

As we move into the future, we are learning that young people globally are no longer interested in just making a living, they seek opportunities that also promote social development, provide sustainable solutions and contribute to the progress of their communities and countries.

So to bring this concept full circle, can JCI leverage this emerging interest amongst young people to create even greater impact in communities globally? 

The answer is how can we afford not to! 

As an organization with a Mission and Vision founded on developing young people and creating a better world, it is time to embrace the rise of social entrepreneurship and promote innovative solutions.

Do you want to discover more about how to leverage the interests of young people to develop innovative solutions? Learn more about the upcoming Global Partnership Summit in New York City this August!

Are you looking to create peaceful change in your community? Learn more about the upcoming International Summit on Peace in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia this September! Early bird registration prices end soon—register before 30 June!

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