And the winners are...
There is no better way to inaugurate the Project Innovation blog than to announce the winners of the first ever Innovation Mindset Challenge! Back on October 15th we culminated our first ever competition with the announcement of 3 winning entries and 2 honorable mentions.
As the Grand Prize Winner, Maslaha will be working with us over the next few months to produce a short profile film about their work. Their project Talking from the Heart makes available films in Bengali/Sylheti, Urdu, and Somali that explore ideas of mental health in places where issues like depression are largely unmentionable. We were struck by Maslaha’s tackling of heavy issues through an art form as well as collaboration with medical and spiritual members of the surrounding communities.
The competition’s semi-finalists come from two very different parts of the world. Soupsok-ae, based in Seoul, South Korea, impressed us with their redefinition of education through changing spaces, challenging today’s emphases on standards and accountability, and emphasizing cross-generational relationships. GreenChar, a young organization out of Kenya, develops briquettes made from agricultural waste to replace wood fuel, thus helping to improve the health of people and the environment.
We had so many great stories of innovation that we needed to add two honorable mentions. Gram Vikas, based in India, takes on issues related to poor water and sanitation by empowering local communities to maintain their own sanitation facilities. Meanwhile, Local Alike has created a community-engaged sustainable tourism model in Thailand that is supportive of local traditions, livelihood, and natural resources.
Congratulations to these outstanding projects!
Over the coming weeks, you’ll hear more about each endeavor in upcoming blog posts.
What makes these projects special?
What makes these projects special is what we call an innovation mindset. That means that, through their efforts to solve problems, these organizations seek community-based solutions that truly challenge the commonsense approaches in their fields. Whether that means using film to encourage public conversation about taboo topics, or unique fuel and water solutions to support access of basic resources in previously neglected communities; all of these winning stories address the complexity of engaged work that actually critiques everyday practices. They all involve a variety of people in robust research to design creative actions, all while including many others in the complicated process of questioning the usual ways that we identify problems and solutions.
The judges were captivated by stories of innovation from around the world, and we know that others will be able to learn from their work. These organizations will be writing in their own words about their projects so stayed tuned to learn more about them in upcoming blog posts right here! Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to keep updated on organizations and work that continues to inspire us.
More stories of innovation
Additionally, this competition introduced us to a host of other wonderful stories around the world. The competition was first announced back in May 2014 through a series of global workshops in Thailand, Seoul, Vancouver and New York with several partner organizations. Our partners included:
All amazing innovation networks of thinkers, actors and leaders in their own right, these organizational partners helped to facilitate communication about Project Innovation and the competition to their networks.
In addition, we began a Twitter campaign that introduced Project Innovation to a wide range of social innovators, educators, and organizations around the globe. We look forward to profiling many of the other outstanding entries in this space in the months to come.
Special thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation for their support of Project Innovation.