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Social Innovation Asia
39 minutes | Mar 8, 2019
Sovan Srun & Meas Sak Pheng of Edemy: The Startupper of the Year and Top Female Entrepreneur
Sovan Srun and Meas Sak Pheng join the series on social innovation in Cambodia to discuss Edemy, their award-winning social enterprise. The Tesdopi learning app developed by Edemy recently won the Cambodia Total Startupper of the Year award and Sovan Srun won the Top Female Entrepreneur Award. After returning from the USA where they were Fullbright scholars, they turned to develop Edemy, which has the mission of equalizing “access to quality learning for everyone everywhere." To achieve this mission they combine their expertise in "education and technology to create a holistic learning experience". They launched Edemy in early 2017 and joined the EPIC Incubation Program by Development Innovations, a USAID funded project. The EPIC Incubation program provided funding, mentoring and business training for Edemy to grow. Since then, they have gone on to create a range of projects that are transforming the experience of education for thousands of young Cambodians. These projects have included a Blended English Program and Learning Labs for rural schools. Their latest creation is the Tesdopi app, which Sovan describes as a Fitbit for learning. Having lived through the trauma of preparing for university entrance exams in Cambodia, Sovan and Meas Sak were well aware of many of the problems faced by students. But they dived deeper and sought to understand why so many students were failing to achieve their goals. Among multiple challenges, they found that one critical but addressable problem was that students had no means of monitoring their exam preparation progress. So, they developed the Tesdopi app which diagnoses the strengths and weaknesses of students. It then provides learning videos for students to work on their weaknesses and generates a report which students can share with their teachers to optimize support. The conversation with Sovan and Meas Sak covers a range of other topics including their experience studying in the USA, leveraging technology to deliver education in rural Cambodia and their efforts to inspire and expand the world of young Cambodians.
31 minutes | Mar 6, 2019
Channé Suy Lan of InSTEDD: Designing Tech Solutions to Detect Diseases and Support Development in Cambodia
As part of our series on social innovation in Cambodia, we talk to Channé Suy Lan the Managing Director of InSTEDD's Southeast Asia iLab in Phnom Penh. InSTEDD stands for Innovative Support to Emergency Diseases and Disasters. It was founded by Larry Brilliant, who while working with a team to eliminate smallpox in India envisioned how technology could play a vital role in early disease detection and response. In 2006 he presented his vision in a TedTalk, which won the year's TED Prize and he used the prize money to launch InSTEDD. In 2008 they opened InSTEDD’s first iLab in Phnom Penh to spearhead innovations in Southeast Asia with the support of Google.Org and the Rockefeller Foundation. Channé Suy Lan joined the iLab when it was launched and has since experienced first-hand the evolution in digital technologies. According to Channé, SMS was central to many of the technological solutions they developed in the early years of iLab but now the internet is widespread and also cheaper. However, she emphasizes the importance of recognizing how many new internet users are not exposed to the internet beyond Facebook. During its 10 years, InSTEDD's iLab in Cambodia has been involved in many projects from creating a malaria surveillance system to supporting remote printing for HIV lab results. One of the latest and most impactful projects is the 115 Hotzone Disease Reporting and Information Hotline. Working closely with Skoll Global Threats Fund and the Cambodia Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Department, they launched the automated hotline in January 2016. The hotline is designed as a medium to report infectious diseases before they spread and is used by 1000 health centres around the country. Members of the public are also encouraged to use the hotline. They are directed to a menu that allows them to access information on diseases or report potential outbreaks in their community. For example, a farmer reported his chicken dying abnormally via the hotline, which allowed government officials to recognise a case of H5N1. Channé explains, "The farmer made a phone call using the system and it immediately alerted the top national officials in the Ministry of Health.” Channe goes on to discuss iLab's ICT4D Solution Incubator Initiative, which is supported by SPIDER. It aims to empower Cambodia-based development actors to integrate ICTs in their programs for maximum social impact. One project Channe illustrates is with the KAPE, an NGO that focuses on improving education outcomes in Cambodia. Together with the KAPE, they are developing interactive Khmer reading and writing learning apps for use on tablet computers that are shared in school libraries. The conversation concludes with Channe discussing the importance of projects and solutions being owned by government service providers. “In every place that we do our projects, we are trying to engage the government and the ministry because the goal is to have them own it.”
36 minutes | Feb 28, 2019
Thavry Thon: Challenging Norms and Inspiring Change through Books in Cambodia
In this episode, we are joined by Thavry Thon for an inspiring talk about education, literature and social change in Cambodia. Thavry is the author of several children books and a Proper Woman. She is also the co-Founder of Seavphovjivet, a publishing house dedicated to supporting Cambodian authors and inspiring young people through literature. Thavry also tours the country speaking to young people about the value of education and taking control of their destiny. The conversation begins with Thavry discussing the influence of her parents. She explains, “my parents believed in education, and told us it was the ticket to a better life." Other friends would quit school at grade 9 or 8 and go to work at garment factories and earn $80 to $100 per month but Thavry's parents had a different strategy: “They invested in the long term education of their children in the hope that their children would have a better life than they have”. Thavry reflects on the sacrifices her parents made. "People talked about her [Thavry's mother] behind her back for being foolish," but after seeing Thavry and her brother's success, their perspective towards education and her parents changed. Now they are see them as "successful parents who raised their children well." Empowered by her parents, she started the journey towards becoming an author and founding a publishing house. Along the way, she was granted a scholarship to study in the Czech Republic and wrote two children's books through the Room to Read program. Eventually, she turned to writing books for young adults, including A Proper Woman, which is an autobiographical account of challenging her country's social and cultural norms about being a woman. When she went to publish a Proper Woman, she "found it difficult and frustrating dealing with many of the publishing firms and book shops, and felt there had to be a better way." So, she turned to learning how to publish herself and joined forces with other writers to create a Seavphovjivet Publishing. Together they hope to reinvigorate the publishing industry in Cambodia and support the love of reading across the country. There is a perception that people don't like to read in but according Thavry “readers don’t want to read because they cannot find good books to read.” Part of the problem is publishing firms don’t give enough support to authors. Seavphovjivet is on a mission to change that. "We know what writers feel like because we are writers too. We want to treat them fairly”, Thavry explains. Based on their approach, they were able to entice one of Cambodia's favourite authors Mao Samnang back to writing novels after nearly a decade long hiatus. Thavry’s mission is to inspire young Cambodians so she regularly travels the country speaking at schools and shares her story and the message that "it doesn’t matter where you are from, your destiny is your own. You design your own destiny." Photo Credit: Eldon Lee JinHu
41 minutes | Feb 26, 2019
Tara Dermott of IOM X: Changing Attitudes & Impacting Lives for Migrants
Michael Waitze talks to Tara Dermott about how IOM X is using media to support safe migration experiences and stop trafficking and the exploitation of the vulnerable. Originally from the USA, Tara Dermott moved to Thailand as a Peace Corp volunteer 14 years ago. Stationed in the Northeast of Thailand near the Cambodian border, Tara learned about issues related to migration, leading her to work at IOM X as the program leader. IOMX is an off-shoot IOM (International Organisation for Migration), which is the UN’s migration agency dedicated to humane and orderly migration, providing services and advice to both governments and migrants. In partnership with USAID, IOM X creates innovative campaigns to encourage safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking. One of the problems is, according to Tara, people tend to deny the existence of such migrant exploitation where they live. Its treated as someone else’s problem, so IOM X works to demonstrate what human trafficking and exploitation actually look like. She explains the approach of IOM X and how it uses Communication for Development (C4D), which draws on the fields of sociology, psychology, communication, and marketing to impact attitudes and behaviours. Young people are moving away from traditional media yet are the main targets of trafficking and the most likely to engage in migration, so IOM X studies how their target audience is engaging with new media and then develops campaigns aligned with their online behaviour. The organization has made a vast range of short videos related to exploitation, trafficking, the fair treatment of migrant workers and safe migration that are circulated across social media platforms such as Youtube and Facebook. Storytelling and drama, Tara explains, is a powerful medium to engage, inspire and influence the attitudes and behaviour of their target audience. One video went viral and raked in over 170 million views. Target countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are in the top 10 countries of most time spent online - often on sites like YouTube, but cutting through the noise on the internet and social media noise is a challenge, so IOMX partnered with Google Thailand to identify and work with Youtube stars to empower young Thais to understand exploitation in the manufacturing sector and make more informed consumer decisions. Based on IOMX’s immense experiences in deploying communication for behavioural and social change, they have developed a resource portal for educators, students and practitioners seeking to used C4D to support migrants and address other pressing social issues. You can access IOM X’s resources here: https://iomx.iom.int/resources
29 minutes | Feb 14, 2019
Pinnapa Satitpatanapan: The State of Impact Investing in the US & Thailand
Just before Pinnapa Satitpatanapan headed to Manila for a position at the Asia Development Bank, Michael Waitze caught up with her to discuss her experience studying at Yale, her passion for impact investing and how it can grow in Thailand. Pinnapa did a Bachelor of Business Administration at Thammasat Univesity before gaining experience in the investment banking unit of Bangkok Bank and a Thai real estate developer. She then headed to the US to an MBA the Yale School of Management. While her BBA at Thammasat prepared her well, Yale posed new challenges, particularly the dynamic classroom discussions and the mountains of readings for each class. The most valuable lesson she gained at Yale, she says, was on how to prioritize and manage time effectively. A pivotal experience during her MBA was taking the School of Management's Global Social Entrepreneurship course, which has students team up with mission-driven social enterprises in India. She found herself supporting an enterprise called Onergy who deliver solar energy solutions to farmers, helping them engage in organic farming practices and linking them to buyers through an e-commerce platform. Inspired by the passion, hard work and can-do attitude of the people at Onergy in India, Pinnapa asked herself how she could use her skills to make a difference in the world. She turned to social impact investing, which was unfamiliar to her before arriving at Yale. After graduating from Yale, she landed an internship and then a full-time position at Calvert Impact Capital. On returning to Thailand she discovered a dearth of knowledge on impact investing. While impact investing has gone mainstream in the USA, very few people in Thailand are aware of it as an investment option. But awareness is not the only challenge the sector faces, Pinnapa points out. In the US, impact investors utilize standardized metrics to report on the impact of investments and funds. For instance, at Calvert Impact Capital they use IRIS metrics managed by the Global Impact Investing Network. However, social enterprises in Thailand have been reluctant to adopt measurement practices due to a number of reasons. They are either too focused on getting up and running or lack the resources and capabilities to measure their impact. So, Pinnapa recommends that supporting institutions like the UNDP and universities should focus on improving the capacity of social enterprises to use existing metrics and frameworks to measure impact. After all, investors need to able to see impact goals and progress to those goals. Pinnapa is now settling into life in Manila at the Asia Development Bank where she is excited to learn how infrastructure projects impact people's lives on a large scale. We look forward to connecting to Pinnapa again and hearing more about her work at the ADB.
32 minutes | Feb 14, 2019
Aung Thura: Myanmar's Rapidly Changing New Media Landscape
To kick off the Social Innovation Asia series on new media in Asia, Michael Waitze and Daniel McFarlane talk to Aung Thura about Myanmar’s rapidly changing mobile media landscape. Aung is the Chief Strategist at Ignite Marketing Communications. With a team of researchers around the country, he is in an ideal position to provide insight into the rapidly changing media landscape. A pivotal year for Myanmar was 2013 when the telecommunications’ market was liberalised. In the past, SIM cards could cost a staggering $2000-$3000 USD, but after liberalisation of the market, SIM card prices dropped and mobile phone ownership rose. In 2014, Ooredoo from Qatar arrived and their sim cards were a mere $1.50. Soon after, Telenor from Norway joined the market and KDDI of Japan signed a joint venture with MPT (Myanmar Posts and Telecommunication), the incumbent local operator. According to Aung, the new arrivals faced tough competition as MPT had the majority of the towers and an established audience, while Ooredoo and Telenor had to start from scratch. Myanmar now has 54 million sim cards for a population of 52 million people. When it comes to market share, MPT is still the market leader with 22-23 million subscribers and is followed closely by Telenor with around 20 million and then Ooredoo with 9 or 10 million. Six months ago Mytel arrived on the scene. It is is a joint venture between the Myanmar military and Viettel, a telecommunications company owned and operated by the Vietnamese military that has a strong market position in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and has expanded globally. They claim to already have 2 to 3 million subscribers. Mytel, Aung suggests, are somewhat aggressive, “They are in your face. They stand out.” Their growth is accelerated by offering services the others don’t, such as streaming the English Premier League to the football-mad people of Myanmar. Aung estimates that 80% of phones in the market are smartphones, especially Android devices thanks to affordable Chinese brands. These devices are providing many people with their first experience of the internet and that experience is often dominated by Facebook. “Some people even think that Facebook is the internet,” Aung explains. After Facebook, messaging apps rule with the most popular being Viber, owned by Rakuten. Even with the rapid developments in infrastructure and mobile adoption, there are still many challenges. The geographic makeup of Myanmar consists of numerous mountain ranges, causing considerable network coverage difficulties. Around 135 languages or dialects are spoken across the country and it is taking time to develop enough local language content. Another challenge is the use of fonts. While Unicode has been adopted globally, Aung explains, “in Myanmar, we have our own homegrown font system called Zawgyi which 80% of websites use.” The debate between the Unicode and Zawgi camps can be fierce and until it
43 minutes | Feb 14, 2019
Josh Woodard of FHI 360: Tech for Resilience & Resilient Tech
Michael Waitze and Daniel McFarlane visit FHI 360’s regional Bangkok office to talk with Josh Woodard, who is the organisation’s Regional ICT & Digital Finance Advisor. In an insightful discussion covering many issues, Josh highlights the role of technology in creating resilient communities and the value of thoughtful planning. Josh’s first experience with Thailand came as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Northeast of Thailand. He explains how it gave him “a sense of the world of international development” and insight into how technology can transform people’s lives. His experience in the Northeast led to a career focus on digital development which he explains as “using digital technology in ways that are appropriate and can effectively help us to achieve development objectives.” In recent years, Josh has led a grant focused on Technologies for Resilience in Asia-Pacific funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Resilience, according to Josh, is a framing of development that focuses on the “capacity of individual, communities and systems to survive, adapt and grow in the face of stress and shocks and even transform when conditions require it.” Technology for resilience, he explains, is about how we can utilize technology to “make individuals, communities, countries and the whole world stronger.” In deploying technologies for resilience, Josh stresses the importance of alignment with the needs of actual users and their capacity. He also emphasizes how organisations need to ensure resilience is designed into the technologies they develop and deploy. Josh asks, “If the technology that we are using to try and help people to be more resilient is not resilient in itself, not sustainable, then how can it help with long term resilience?” Josh encourages organisations who are developing technological solutions to anticipate the future, especially regarding how the technology will be sustained into the future. To support organisations develop and deploy impactful yet sustainable technologies, Josh developed a Digital Technology for Resilience Planning and Due Diligence Tool, which is an Excel-based tool that helps organisations plan the development of technology and provides a framework for identifying potential development partners. The conversation concludes with Josh giving his personal perspective on the need for more thoughtfulness in the commercial tech world. “There are unintended consequences we are already aware of that are still not being addressed.” Then, there are a lot of things that “we can realistically anticipate that it's gonna be an issue”, which require a lot more consideration and dialogue about between the tech sector and the public. Technology developed for the good of people can often be used for evil and harm, intentionally and unintentionally. So, rather than dealing with the consequences after the fact, he hopes that it becomes the responsibility of tech developers to anticipate the harmful uses of their technology. While we can not protect against everything, “we need to at least be vigilant” and anticipate what can happen. Correction: During the podcast, the Pulse Lab’s Haze Gazer innovation is discussed. It was described as a response to forest fires when in fact it primarily deals with peatland fires.
39 minutes | Feb 14, 2019
Allison Sanders of Baan Dek Foundation: Supporting the Vulnerable & Creating Systematic Change
In this episode of Social Innovation Asia, Michael Waitze talks with Allison Sanders, the Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Baan Dek Foundation about the Foundation’s work supporting the lives of vulnerable migrant children growing up in construction worker campsites in Thailand. The Baan Dek Foundation was established in 2002 in Chiang Mai by Nicola Crosta, Magali du Parc and Acha Sripaurya. After surveying vulnerable communities around Chiang Mai, they realized many of the most vulnerable in Chiang Mai are the children of migrant workers living at construction campsites around the city. They are at risk of neglect, abuse, exploitation and missing out on basic childhood development needs. In response, they developed a multilingual team that engages in a social work-based approach to supporting children from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos living at these campsites. A core part of this approach is building a bridge between migrant communities and existing education, health and safety services and where there is a gap Baan Dek tries to find a solution to ensure the needs of children are met. Baan Dek has been supporting more than 1,000 children per year in Chiang Mai, but the challenge is large and can not be handled by the Baan Dek team in Chiang Mai alone. They estimate there are 60,000 children living at construction worker campsites around the country, particularly in Bangkok where migrants provide the bulk of labour for the booming construction industry. As a result, Baan Dek has recently expanded to Bangkok and has been developing sustainable and scalable solutions to meet the challenge. Among many of Baan Dek's programs, Allison points out, their Migrant Empowerment Project has been one of the most impactful. It trains migrants in construction camp community with the skills to access health, education and safety services and become peer educators who can take over the role of Baan Dek’s staff. Baan Dek also recognizes the importance of scalability. They took their successful Superheroes Academy program which has been teaching about 500 migrant children a year in life-skills and turned it into an application that enables children to digitally access the academy activities through tablets and low-cost smartphones. In recognition of the innovation, Baan Dek won the MIT Solve Award. Beyond making a direct impact, the Baan Dek Foundation’s strategy is to drive systemic change and “improve the dynamics of the entire construction industry” by proactively collaborating with institutional and corporate partners. A key partner is Sansiri, one of Thailand's leading property developers. It works with UNICEF and Baan Dek to improve conditions in construction worker campsites and provide safe spaces and education for children. To drive more systemic change, Baan Dek worked with UNICEF to produce the Building Futures in Thailand report on support for children living in construction worker campsites and how private sector companies can ensure children at their campsites have access to education, health and safety services and their childhood development needs are met. To learn more about the Baan Dek Foundation, visit http://www.baandekfoundation.org
33 minutes | Feb 14, 2019
Dr Neil Gains of Tapestry Works: Understanding Identify and Implicit Emotional Drivers
What can a picture of eggs reveal about Indonesian beauty? What can an image of megaphone diplomacy tell you about family relationships? In this episode of the Social Innovation Asia podcast, Michael Waitze and Daniel McFarlane talk with Neil Gains, who is the owner of TapestryWorks and helps clients decode people and culture to help them better connect with the emotions that drive behaviour. He brings a breadth and depth of experience to the conversation after decades of work in research across the world including almost 20 years in Asia. He makes a valuable contribution to the podcast by providing an innovative visual approach to understanding people and the emotional drivers of social and behavioural change. In a playful conversation, Neil gets Michael to reveal his own motivations and character using pictures. Neil explains how visual approaches help reveal unconscious motivations by tapping into our brain’s powerful visual memory. They discuss how familiarity and recognition give a simpler and more intuitive way to understand people than asking direct questions and relying on memory recall. The discussion covers the role of cultural values and self-identity and why people are often unaware of what drives their behaviour. Visual approaches help hack our rational brain to reveal hidden feelings. These feelings may also be difficult to articulate because they are socially unacceptable or difficult to translate into local language when a large part of communication is contextual. Although visual approaches can appear very subjective, in the digital age they can also be used to quantify motivations and emotions across large samples of people. This can allow a detailed comparison of cultural drivers across countries and cultures and life stages. Humanizing research in this way can help you understand beneficiaries, stakeholders, customers, employees, innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs. Neil's intuitive visual approach captures honest and authentic responses to difficult questions, providing a roadmap of personal and cultural values that drive how people see themselves as individuals and how they relate to their communities.
31 minutes | Feb 13, 2019
Rithy Thul: Creating Tech and Opening Minds in Cambodia
'Inspirational' is a good way to describe Rithy Thul but it also captures what he wants Koompi to be for young Cambodians. Koompi is Cambodia's first locally designed laptop and Rithy Thul's latest venture. He discusses it, his company Smallworld Cambodia and his dream for education in Cambodia with Michael Waitze on Social Innovation Asia's first podcast on innovation in Cambodia. Smallworld Cambodia. started as a coworking space but soon became a platform for start-up ventures in Cambodia by providing office space, mentorship and capital in some cases. Smallworld Cambodia also engages in internal projects and for these Rithy follows a simple principle. If it is meaningful but people think is it too difficult, then Smallworld will try it. Its this principle that led him and his team to develop Koompi and their pursuit of changing how laptops are designed. Rather than hardware being designed for the latest software and dropping off in performance as the software is updated, Rithy believes software should be designed to work for the hardware and get faster over time. So, Rithy and his team designed KramaOS based on Linux. After launching Koompi with the KramaOS in just October, they are on track to sell 1,000 units by the end of the 2018. But they won’t stop with just designing the laptop and operating system. Next year they plan to start manufacturing motherboards in Cambodia. Koompi is not just an affordable and practical laptop. Rithy wants young Cambodia's to see Koompi and what his team is doing and "look up to the sky". Young people in Cambodia are brave. If you lead them and give them the right tools they have so much potential, Rithy believes. Rithy's bigger dream is to change education and the opportunities available to young Cambodians. He points out that Mark Zuckerberg was using a computer by the age of six, and Rithy wants to close the gap by giving more young Cambodians the chance to use computers and learn to code at a young age. He has a vision of bringing Koompi computers to every high school in Cambodia and training university graduates to go back to their hometowns for one year to give computer training to the next generation of young Cambodians. If it seems too difficult, Rithy and his team will give it a go. In Rithy's Cambodia, the only boundary is the sky.
43 minutes | Feb 13, 2019
Stéphane Rousseau: Boundary Spanning
In the 3rd Social Innovation Asia podcast, Michael Waitze and Daniel McFarlane are fortunate to converse with Stéphane Rousseau, who is the Director of International Field Immersion Courses at the School of Global Studies at Thammasat University. He brings an enormous wealth of experience to the conversation after decades of humanitarian, human rights, and civil society work across Asia and the Pacific. Over the years, his work has presented many ethical and moral challenges. It is not the uplifting work many people think it is, Stéphane suggests. The people you could not help or the people left behind are the ones that stay in your memory. Without referencing social innovation specifically, Stéphane provides multiple examples of how people and organisations have subverted structures of power and created innovative approaches to address pressing social problems. Listening to Stéphane, it is evident social innovation is nothing new. It just has a new label and a fresh look. Stéphane discusses how in the early 1970s, French doctors, frustrated by the then-international humanitarian regulations (e.g. giving only to the sovereign States to decide) that were impeding their capacity to intervene for the victims of war, set-up Médecins Sans Frontières. They continue today as an organisation of impartiality, independence and neutrality. In his work for The Global Fund in Geneva, he has observed the power of involving those who are afflicted by HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, in programs to end these epidemics and revitalize the communities impacted by them. They work harder than anyone to stop these epidemics and relieve the people impact by them. Stéphane points out it often requires a power shift and cultural change to give voice and power to the people that are best positioned to enact change. In humanitarian work, Stéphane highlights that it is usually soft skills and emotional intelligence that enables someone to make a sustainable impact. In his work as the Director of International Immersion Programs, he is supporting young people develop the skills and intelligence to make a positive difference in the world. Every summer he welcomes public health students from the University California to experience life on the Myanmar-Thai border at Mae Sot and examine how health and well-being can be improved in refugee and border communities. Stéphane is developing new immersion programs in the region to incorporate students from multiple disciplines so they can experience boundary spanning, which Stéphane describes as the power of bringing together the skills and perspective of different fields. Boundary spanning also sums up his unique skills and expertise developed over 25 years working across the region.
39 minutes | Feb 13, 2019
Courtney Savie Lawrence: Embracing the Chaotic and Crazy
The second episode of the Social Innovation Asia podcast is an energizing lunchtime conversation between Courtney Savie Lawrence and Michael Waitze. Courtney, originally from Nashville, Tennessee, arrived in Asia seven years ago with the perspective "the world is so much bigger than our own bubble.” After co-founding a social enterprise in the US, she was recruited to develop a Global Studies program at a university in Hiroshima. After a few years in Japan, Courtney followed her now-husband to Bangkok, where she facilities workshops and training on design thinking and social innovation. She describes Bangkok as one of her favorite places and "a dynamic city of innovation and change in the region." For Courtney, social innovation is about "thinking really creatively in fresh ways that are going to be disruptive in terms of changing the status quo and meeting the global challenges that are unprecedented." To Courtney, it is much more than a step-by-step process. It should be seen as shifting and changing mindsets. She reminds us that its easy to surround yourself with people drinking the same kool-aid. In an indication of reflexive-turn, Courtney argues that conscious capitalism and bottom-up market-based solutions might be too limiting. Policy-based and political solutions are also crucial to lasting change and addressing some of the most pressing issues such as the growing socioeconomic divides. Reflecting on the happenings in her home country, Michael and Courtney discuss the role of anger as a catalyst for change. Its clear that Courtney doesn't have time for cynicism . She explains, "I am going to consciously embrace all that is chaotic and crazy, and let it stir me intellectually and feed the fire of what is possible in a positive way." It is an approach to life and problem-solving that Courtney brings to her teaching and the workshops facilitation. She is "blow away by the agency and creativity" of her students at the School of Global Studies. In the third iteration of her course on design thinking and social innovation, Courtney has her students acting as consultants for real-world clients and in the process learning how to manage expectations and maintain motivation through long and arduous projects. One thing she wants them to learn is that failure is okay. More important is what you do with failure and how you learn from it. Learn more about Courtney’s work or find here at her website here.
31 minutes | Feb 13, 2019
Dipendra KC - Thammasat U: Creating Springboards for Youth in Nepal and Thailand
In the first episode of the Social Innovation Asia podcast series, Dipendra KC talks with Michael Waitze about his experience founding and running a youth organisation in Nepal, and his role in a new masters degree program of Social Innovation and Sustainability at Thammasat University. When Dipendra and his friends were seeking work experience as young college students, they kept being asked if they had any experience. In response, they went about building an organisation to give themselves the experience they were missing. They called Yuwa, which simply means youth in Nepali and has the objective of giving young like-minded Nepalese a chance to explore and test their ideas for social change. It began as an organisation of five unpaid young students with no external capital and became an organisation with 10 full-time staff, 100 active members, funding of four to five hundred thousand US dollars per year while reaching out to 5,000 young Nepalese around the county on an annual basis. Through Yuwa, Nepalese youth like himself have been able to impact government policy. Dipendra cites the case where members were active in changing national education curriculum to include topics such as sexual reproduction rights and alternate gender identities. In life after Yuwa, Dipendra is pursuing a PhD and embracing his passion for innovations in development and his fascination with big data. He recently published a paper based on a study approximately 40,000 NGOs in Nepal, which examines the factors determining their location and whether they are positioned where they are really needed. In his role as a lecture, he brings his experience analyzing big data to his students and tries to open their mind to insights they can gain by using statistical tools to understand economic, social and political change at national and global levels. At the School of Global Studies, he is also heading up a new Masters of Social Innovation and Sustainability. Dipendra explains how the course will be problem-focused and give students the opportunity to examine problems based on real-world experience and develop solutions in an open, hands-on, and exploratory academic setting.
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