Climate change has been increasingly on my mind lately. A couple of months ago, Echoing Green, a social entrepreneurship fellowship, asked me to be an evaluator of applications to their climate change mitigation program.
I have been sworn to secrecy and can’t go into details of the applications, but I will say that I was blown away by the creativity and ingenuity of the applicants.
I’m hoping you can agree with me that we need all hands on deck when it comes to finding solutions to threats to our communities and planet.
So, this week, I wanted to give you a little inspiration and share with you six common types of Changemakers identified by a pioneer in social entrepreneurship, Ashoka.
You see, there isn’t one single way to be part of the solution. It takes people working together, in big and small ways and in different roles, to move the needle on problems and challenges.
#1 Social Architects
Just like architects who design buildings, create new physical structures and improve existing ones, social architects create new social structures in the form of policies, programs, technology and movements (or they alter existing ones) to change human behavior and in turn solve social problems. Within the new or altered social structures, social architects redefine roles and how resources are used and allocated. In today’s world, we often call social architects, “disrupters.”
Influencers use learning and decision making as their mediums to create change. Their goal is to influence how people think and make decisions about a particular issue or set of issues. They use tools like films, articles, blogs, videos, conferences and classes to create a change in mindset and behavior.
#3 Skills Catalyzers
Skills catalyzers focus on the use of expertise and skills to influence change. In short, they figure out how to put human resources to work to create social impact.
Investors use money and support to bring about change. Philanthropy or donations are no longer the only way to use your money for changemaking. Impact investing is a great example of how money can be used to create better communities.
Inventors use technology and tools to create social change. An increasing number of universities have programs that encourage students to invent products to solve sticky social problems.
Connectors build relationships between people and groups of people to bring about change. They unite people through a specific issue or problem sometimes in a particular space, like at a conference, or online through a Facebook or LinkedIn group. If you’ve noticed someone working to organize you and your neighbors to make change happen in your community, you’ve witnessed a connector Changemaker at work.