New idea? Or old idea done better?

Last week I received my yearly mailing of Ashoka’s inspiring ‘Leading Social Entrepreneurs’ publication. It’s always fascinating flicking through the work and lives of some quite extraordinary individuals helping make their part of the world a better place.


At the end, it struck me how many solutions there were between the covers of the publication, and how many further answers were out there to the world’s social and environmental ills. I also wondered what was happening with most of those ideas. Were they being implemented in single (or sometimes multiple) locations by single social innovators or organisations? Or had others taken those ideas and applied them where they lived and worked?

Philanthropy is always looking for new ideas, innovative ideas. I’d be surprised if we didn’t have enough good answers already, and what we should instead be doing is encouraging others to use those rather than continually come up with new ones.