The Mighty Five: August.
A cross-sector curation of the month’s best social impact listens & reads
We read and listen to a lot around here. Articles, journals, case studies, podcasts – anything that provides nuggets of insight to fuel our mission and work. And we distill them down to our very top five in a regular monthly roundup. We hope you gain as much from reading it as we do from curating it.
The adjacent possible & Africa.
TED.com | 16min
We’re enamored with the concept of the adjacent possible, that ever-expanding set of opportunities at the boundaries of our reach. This space is the crucible of innovation where we explore new ideas and concepts versus exploit known terrain. Just thinking about its convergence with the explosive growth of global connectivity and the latent potential of Africa’s youth population fires us up. With proper investments and infrastructure, developing nations can (and will) be an increasingly ripe source of innovation to power the world economy.
Millionaires don’t binge on Netflix.
Entrepreneur.com | 6min
It turns out, innovative thinking isn’t born during your fourth straight hour watching reruns of The Office. Beyond being obvious, this assertion is supported by a finding that the world’s most successful people abide by the 5-Hour Rule and its three buckets: reading, reflecting, and experimenting. In a culture that prioritizes efficiency and glorifies the bullet-journal mindset, the idea of devoting an hour a day to activities that don’t necessarily activate a dopamine hit feels uncomfortable. Probably all the more reason to force the habit.
Yes, marketing saves lives.
BMJ Global Health | 21min
The research proves it. A cluster randomized trial in Burkina Faso demonstrated that a radio campaign increased health-seeking behaviors, resulting in a 7.1% reduction in under-five mortality per year. We say “wonderful!”, and then “of course it does.” Which begs the question: why are marketing and communications still consistently deprioritized by boards, funders, and donors – relegated to the badlands of operational overhead?
Purpose drives alignment drives profit.
Harvard Business Review | 5min
We’ve talked about how purpose-driven companies can realize a competitive marketplace advantage. We’ve also preached that it’s a powerful tool to attract and retain top talent. But we loved reading the first-hand accounts of how the private sector can use purpose to drive internal alignment and improve organizational performance. Which is – if you believe Patrick Lencioni – the biggest competitive advantage any organization can achieve.
Real-world solutions inspired by artificial intelligence.
Data Skeptic | 20min
Social issues are incredibly complicated. There’s a reason we’re still fighting for basic human needs despite massive advancements made as a human race. To solve these issues, it’s likely we’ll need to exceed the innovation achieved up to now. We’re fascinated by a recent Data Skeptic podcast explaining the basics of evolutionary algorithms. The concept is this: to achieve advances in computational “thinking”, scientists reward those agents that display divergence. They don’t attack a problem by iterating on a standard approach, but instead go way, way, way outside the box. The result? The learning universe greatly expands and innovation skyrockets, prompting us to ask: How do we create or contribute to learning systems that reward divergence? Can changing the fabric of how we tackle social issues yield solutions that stick?
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