IGP Stories

To Prosperity and Beyond: Navigating Social Innovation through the Lens of Change Management

Sam Tamayo and RP Duterte

29 December 2023

As we delved into the world of transformative entrepreneurship, we were initially daunted by the complexities involved in navigating multiple systems and bringing about positive change. Unlike conventional entrepreneurship, where the focus is on creating value for customers, transformative entrepreneurship aims to address societal challenges and drive positive impact. This shift in perspective necessitated a deeper understanding of where to begin when developing social innovations that truly make a difference.

Change management, often viewed as a technical discipline, serves as a crucial tool for driving positive social impact. This becomes particularly evident when examining the implementation of social innovations at the local level. We spoke with Peter Ptashko FRSA, Founder and CEO of Cambio Consultancy, and he offered valuable insights into this intersection, drawing upon his extensive experience with entrepreneurship across diverse global contexts.

Figure 1 International Students taking MSc PIE
  • Embarking on a Journey of Self-Transformation

Peter highlights the importance of personal development for aspiring social innovators. He emphasizes the need for self-awareness, passion, and a person-centered approach. Recognizing that individuals are shaped by their lived experiences, fostering a deep understanding of shared humanity becomes paramount. This self-reflection and development equip individuals with the necessary capabilities to effectively address social challenges.

  • Falling in Love with the Problem, not the Solution

Innovation, Peter argues, thrives on a genuine desire to address a problem, not simply on the pursuit of a specific solution. He cautions against the "folly of many innovators" who prioritize solutions over understanding the root cause. In a dynamic landscape, agility and historical awareness are key. Rapid prototyping coupled with leveraging existing knowledge allows for the development of solutions relevant to present challenges and capable of shaping a brighter future.

  • Reassessing the Availability of Resources

As stressed by Peter, resource availability or scarcity significantly influences innovation potential. He highlights the tendency to overlook existing privileges, citing access to quality education as an example. By recognizing the disparities in access to resources, innovators can develop solutions that are inclusive and sustainable even in resource-constrained environments.

Figure 2 UCL East Campus
  • Grounding Innovation in Purpose and Shared Humanity

Peter underscores the importance of a clear "why" as a driving force for innovation. He cites the Wright brothers as an example, highlighting their success as a result of their unwavering purpose. In today's polarized world, Ptashko challenges us to bridge the gap by focusing on our shared humanity.

Figure 3 Photo of the populous within the Column of Trajan Instalment at V&A Museum
  • Unlocking the Power of Collective Action

Establishing expertise and credibility in the field is necessary. However, Peter argues that genuine conversations and shared passion are the true catalysts for collaboration. Without these elements, social change risks becoming mere buzzwords devoid of real impact. Peter concludes by emphasizing the necessity of collective action for creating a brighter future. He draws parallels between the works of Oppenheimer (2023) and Barbie (2023), highlighting their efforts to address critical issues facing society. By acknowledging our differences and embracing collaboration, we can pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous world.

Peter's insights offer valuable guidance for practitioners in the field of social innovation. By adopting a change management perspective and focusing on self-development, problem-driven innovation, resourcefulness, purpose, and collaboration, we can accelerate the implementation of impactful solutions and build towards a better tomorrow.

Sam and RP are the co-hosts of To Prosperity and Beyond. To Prosperity and Beyond is a mini-series embedded in the IGP’s Life of PIE podcast. It focuses on the lives and experiences of professionals who are addressing the challenges to global prosperity through transformative entrepreneurship. You can listen to this podcast via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

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