We all know what inertia means from our science class at school — something will keep doing exactly what it’s doing unless a stronger outside force acts upon it to change its direction. Here’s the catch though: it’s the same for many organisations and for many people’s lives as well.
I have been working for development for over 20 years in different organisations and institutions, witnessing very often how inertia acts on us, pushing our organisations to simply continue on the same path unless something big changes. And big changes have happened over the last 7 years: long-term unemployment, the growing inequality, an aging population or climate change are challenging the responses and the very existence of many institutions.
Some have refused to adapt and have disappeared; others have tried to do the same with less, as if walking instead of running in the wrong direction would allow them to survive. But there are others who have decided to experiment, trying new responses through the trial-and-error method, by failing quick, cheap and often in the search more effective, efficient, sustainable or just solutions to our common social challenges. They have understood that inertia is not sustainable, and that innovation is an imperative. A few have succeeded.
Over the last four years, my work from Barcelona has been that of searching for the best proven innovation that are succeeding at resolving major social challenges. We are working with public administrations at all levels, with foundations, companies and NGOs, trying to catalyse the adaptation and adoption of the best social innovations. And we are also designing new responses based on experiments all around the world. We started in Barcelona, the European Capital of Innovation (2014), where we drafted the project that won the Grand Prize of the Bloomberg Majors’ Challenge, and where we have catalysed the implementation of a dozen social innovations.
I am Miquel de Paladella (@mdepaladella), and I will be your curator for the next 7 days. I was born in Barcelona, but I have lived abroad for 15 years: Madrid, Brussels, Rome, London, NY and now back in Barcelona. I have worked in many organisations: UNICEF, Ashoka, the Global Movement for Children, Plan International, the Society for International Development, and now I am the CEO of UpSocial.
I will try to share with you my life, curiosity, passion and excitement, always trying to shun the prejudices, shedding the cynicism, ignoring expectations, and avoiding the set path. This week we will be talking about social innovation!
I hope you enjoy it.