#12 – Elijah Johnston – Fostering Social Innovation & Hackathons for Social Impact
I am excited to introduce to you one of my very good friends and someone who I find extremely inspiring. In this episode, I interview Eli Johnston who does a lot of very interesting work bringing together corporations and entrepreneurs to accelerate social innovation. He does this through his work as the head of corporate innovation at the Impact Hub in Singapore which is a co-working space and community for social entrepreneurs. If that’s not enough, he is also the co-founder of Own Your Brilliance that brings students together from around the world and gives them to tools to get started on their journey to becoming social entrepreneurs. In this spare time, for the next 9 months Eli is also teaching a class of 10 women from all over South East Asia. They are house helpers also known as foreign domestic workers in Singapore. And he is going to be running a Venture Club through an organisation called Aidha which teaches financial literacy, business and entrepreneurship to these incredible hardworking women on their days off. Eli will be working with the women to build their business plans for a venture in their home countries and for the first time in Aidha’s history, these businesses will be designed as social enterprises. Honestly don’t know how he does this all! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this episode, it was definitely one of the more fun ones for me to record, especially as I find that Eli is someone who can be a lot of fun but also very deep in his thoughts and motivation to change the world. I’m keen to hear what your thoughts are after you’ve had a listen! Favorite quote from episode: “We are here to discover who we are, not who we think we need to be” – Eli [58:20] People/ items mentioned in this episode: Impact Hub Singapore Own Your Brilliance Aidha P&G Disrupt the Laundry Experience Duolingo Tesla Get in contact with Eli on LinkedIn, Email (The Hub), Email (Own Your Brilliance) Show notes “We call it a social enterprise launch pad for university students” [04:30] How do you support ideas after ‘Impactathons’? [10:45] Shout out to David Nosibor from Mazars [13:30] Eli chats about his work at the Impact Hub in Singapore fostering social innovation [22:00] Disrupting the laundry experience using hardware and software [24:00] “Innovation is what makes us human” [32:00] Eli and I rant about words that grind our gears [32:30] Eli explains how he got started with his career [34:30] What are some common misconceptions about the work that you do or the industry that you’re in? [42:00] What is something that you love about what you do? [44:00] Eli is in a unique position working on both top-down and bottom-up approaches to creating social impact through innovation. He shares his predictions for the future of the space [46:50] Future of Own Your Brilliance and the Impact Hub Singapore [53:15] “We are here to discover who we are, not who we think we need to be” [58:20] “I think not enough people are curious! Reading is such a beautiful gateway to learning new things and exploring the depths of that curiosity” [59:33] “I think people fight intuition too much. I often tell friends, don’t fight intuition, there’s truth to that. Sometimes there’s more truth than you sitting down and trying to map out a decision” [1:00:00] “Do shit. Do things … The most helpful thing in [finding your purpose] is doing things. Because even if you don’t like something, finding out what you don’t like is just as useful as finding out what you do like. Everything in life is either a lesson or a blessing. You’ll grow from it either way. I always encourage people to just do things” [1:00:55] Eli chats about the things that he needs help with [1:02:00] Three Things [1:03:30] What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Let me know in the comments!