Why Playful Learning Is The Key To Prosperity

In order for our global society to develop solutions to pressing problems in an increasingly technology-driven and constantly changing world, we need to re-train our workforce to do what machines can’t: to be enterprising, independent and strategic thinkers—to be purposeful creators.

Sustainable Solutions to Transform India's Roads


Road safety problems aren’t new in India, but they do make Indian roads some of the deadliest in the world.

Key Insights - #PlayExchange Twitter Chat

The following is a list of key trends and insights from the first #PlayExchange Twitter Chat.

Νέες λύσεις για την Ελλάδα: Καινοτόμες ιδέες για κοινωνική και οικονομική ενσωμάτωση

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Η οικονομική κρίση στην Ελλάδα έχει επηρεάσει πολλούς ανθρώπους, οικογένειες και κοινότητες, αλλά ταυτόχρονα έχει αναδείξει οικονομικά και κοινωνικά προβλήματα που προϋπήρχαν. Ο διαγωνισμός «Destination: Change. New Solutions for Greece» επιχειρεί να αξιοποιήσει αυτή την ευκαιρία προκειμένου να βρει βιώσιμες και συστημικές λύσεις για τα βαθια ριζωμένα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει η Ελληνική κοινωνία.

New Solutions for Greece: Innovations for social and economic inclusion

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The economic recession in Greece is affecting many people, families and communities, but it also reveals economic and social problems that predate the crisis. The “Destination: Change. New Solutions for Greece” competition is seizing this opportunity to find sustainable and systemic solutions for the entrenched problems that face Greek society.

Ashoka Greece and The Hellenic Initiative have launched this competition to find new, empathy-based solutions that provide social and economic inclusion. These solutions will go beyond offering charity by empowering communities and creating more fair systems for Greek society. 

Υγειονομική περίθαλψη για όλους: Αναζητώντας νέα μοντέλα για την Ελλάδα

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Η παρούσα οικονομική κατάσταση στην Ελλάδα έχει εφιστήσει την προσοχή σε διαρθρωτικά προβλήματα του συστήματος υγείας, καθώς οι ανθρώποι χάνουν την πρόσβαση σε υπηρεσίες υγειονομικής περίθαλψης και θεραπείας, ως αποτέλεσμα του αυξημένου κόστους και των περιορισμένων πόρων. Αυτό ενίσχυσε την ανάγκη για αποτελεσματικά και χαμηλού κόστους μοντέλα που κάνουν την υγεινομική περίθαλψη προσβάσιμη σε όλους, και προωθούν νέες προσεγγίσεις για προληπτική φροντίδα. Η Ashoka βρήκε κοινωνικούς επιχειρηματίες σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο οι όποιοι ηγούνται της ανάπτυξης αυτών των νέων μοντέλων. Τώρα είναι η στιγμή να μάθουμε από την διορατικότητα τους, και να εντοπίσουμε τους ανθρώπους καταλύτες αλλαγής (changemakers) που δοκιμάζουν νέες ιδέες στην Ελλάδα.

Impact Journalism Day 2014

Call for Projects - Impact Journalism Day 2014  by Sparknews

Your project offers concrete solutions to the pressing challenges of the day? Impact Journalism Day by Sparknews: your story showcased in our newspaper and 40 newspapers throughout the world, reaching 100 million people.

The Play Exchange Launches the Active at School Challenge

The Government of Canada and Canadian Tire are challenging students, teachers, principals, school boards and parent councils to get involved in promoting active and healthy living across Canada by joining The Play Exchange.

Social & Business Co-Creation Examples

Check out some Social & Business Co-Creation cases in Europe

Social & Business Co-Creation Google+ Hangout

Online panel: Social & Business Co-Creation 
March 27, 2014


Make healthcare accessible for everyone: Looking for new models in Greece

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The current economic situation in Greece has drawn attention to structural problems in the healthcare system, resulting in more people losing access to health services and treatments, through increasing costs and limited resources. This heightens the need for new low-cost and efficient models that make health care accessible to all, and promote new approaches to preventative care. Ashoka has found social entrepreneurs around the world who lead the way in developing these new models. Now is the time to learn from their insights, and identify changemakers in Greece who are piloting new ideas.   

The Intersection of Social Innovation and Healthy Living


As a Canadian, mother, gen Y-er, kinesiology graduate, and consultant in the social innovation space, my perspective on the potential for wellness throughout this country is one of hope. I have been inspired by the blending of social entrepreneurship and health, inclusive of sport, nutrition, wellness, and more, to delve into the emerging field of social innovation.

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Announcing the 1st #PlayExchange Twitter Chat on April 8th


Do you want to learn about the innovative ideas and programs that are helping Canadians become healthier and more active? Do you have ideas for encouraging healthy living in Canada?

The Last Mile Prize

In Europe, millions of people don’t have access to essential products and services. What can YOU do to address this challenge and generate big impact?


Are you a social entrepreneur or a social-mission organization?


How Philanthropists And Investors Can Work Together To Create Social Change

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on

Scaling up innovation is rarely as simple as investing in a company. The best social innovations aren’t companies – rather they are social movements, coalitions co-created by businesses, social sector organisations and governments working together.

But how do you fund and scale up a movement?

World’s First Dedicated Health Plan for the Marginalized Takes Flight

Blue Wing changemakers, like Asher Hasan, offer innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious, visionary, and inspiring. They’ve done more than tackle major issues: they’ve proven that with persistence comes positive, lasting change.

Jugaad: The Art Of Converting Adversity Into Opportunity

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Forbes.comphoto credit: Editions Diateino)

We are entering an Age of Complexity characterized by intensified economic unpredictability, tectonic demographic and technological shifts, and accelerating resource scarcity. Adversity has become the New Normal. When you face adversity you either throw in the towel quickly or keep on fighting the issue. But what if you could transcend this “fight-or-flight” reaction and uncover a third way that could empower you to see adversity as an opportunity for personal and collective growth? 

Prisoners of Poverty in Egypt: Empowering the Innocent Women in White

Omayma was paying for a crime she didn’t commit.

After taking out a loan to finance her sister’s trousseax, her father convinced Omayma to sign as a guarantor claiming it was “just a formality.” When he passed away, Omayma was left responsible to pay the price.

Unable to pay back her father’s E£ 7000 (about $1,140), Omayma was sentenced to three years in prison. “He has always been lucky,” Omayma said. “He died and left me the bill to pay – it cost me my freedom and my children too.

Beyond general interest, the Common Good

When discussing the articulation of individual versus collective interest, general interest is usually referred to as carrying a fairly obvious content. However, one soon realizes that what they believed was a solid platform for consensus is in fact the place for important misunderstandings, each party defining it in its own way. 

Brock Niagara Penguins: Where Disabled Youth Play and Compete Alongside Their Peers


The Brock Niagara Penguins is the only sports club of its kind in the Niagara, Ontario region that enables disabled youth and adults to come together and achieve active, healthy living. Penguins offers three programs for para-athletes: swimming, a wheelchair basketball team, and bocce ball.

UL and Ashoka Launch Safer Roads, Safer India


Every year, road accidents create an estimated 2 percent loss in GDP by affecting workforce members and placing added pressure on the health care system. According to the World Health Organisation, there are 1.24 million road traffic deaths worldwide with 130,000 occurring in India, the country with the worst road traffic accident rate worldwide. 

What are the jobs of the future? Redefining Jobs for Africa's Youth

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Ashoka and The MasterCard Foundation have partnered to bring the third webinar in the Future Forward series featuring youth and innovators, Ashoka Fellows selected in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation to discuss creating solutions by redefining jobs for youth in Africa.


Fred Ouko, Founder and Executive Director of Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY), Kenya

ΖΗΤOYNTAI: Καινοτόμες λύσεις για τη δημιουργία αλλαγής στην Ελλάδα

«Σα βγεις στον πηγαιμό για την Ιθάκη,

να εύχεσαι να’ναι μακρύς ο δρόμος,

γεμάτος περιπέτειες, γεμάτος γνώσεις.»

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης


Αθήνα - 12 Μαρτίου 2014 –  Η διαδικασία υποβολής συμμετοχών άνοιξε για το “Destination: Change. New Solutions for Greece.”, ένα διαγωνισμό που φιλοξενείται από την online πλατφόρμα των Ashoka Changemakers για να αποτελέσει πηγή, αποκορύφωμα και καταλύτη πρωτοβουλιών που θα φέρουν λύσεις στην Ελληνική κοινωνία.

WANTED: Innovative solutions that create change in Greece

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.

-       Constantine P. Cavafy


Athens – March 12, 2014 – Entries are now open for “Destination: Change. New Solutions for Greece, a competition hosted on the online Ashoka Changemakers platform to source, highlight and catalyze new solutions and approaches to problem solving in Greece.

The Play Exchange launch on CBC, live from Sochi

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On February 22, The Play Exchange was launched live on CBC. Watch the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, talk about helping Canadians be more active and make healthier choices. Speaking from Ottawa, Minister Ambrose was joined by CBC’s Scott Russell and Canadian Tire President Allan MacDonald in Sochi at the Olympic Winter Games to make the announcement. Watch the broadcast above.

A Lesson In Partnering Up For The Greater Good: Corporations Assist NGO In Employing The Homeless

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Forbes.comWelcome desk in main Paris agency for telecommunication services (photo credit : Emmaüs Défi)

Today, over 16% of the population of the European Union lives in poverty and does not have access to several essential products and services. But according to a recent European study from Accenture France, co-creation between the business and social sectors can enable the emergence of hybrid models that are better positioned to meet key societal needs, create new market opportunities, generate public savings and create new jobs.

Co-Creation: Moving Beyond CSR

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on

In 2009, in the middle of the economic crisis, Danone CEO Franck Riboud made the following statement:  “It is a common sense observation that no living organism can grow and develop in a deprived environment or a desert. It is in a company’s best interests to take good care of its economic and social environment, in one word, its ‘ecosystem.’”

How One Woman Redefined the Economic Space for Women in Pakistan


According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, only 14.3% of women in the country participate in the labor force. Lack of social and financial support and restrictions imposed on access and mobility serve as major obstacles for women who want to pursue fulfilling careers. In this landscape, Sabiha Ghani has been a game changer who has redefined the economic space for women in her community. She has fostered initiative and independence by founding the Women Development Foundation Pakistan (WDFP) which supports hundreds of women in starting their own business ventures.

The Secret Weapon of Intrapreneurial Innovators

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Photo credit: peshkova / 123RF Stock Photo)

Last summer, Jennifer Sigler, the Chief Operating Officer at Global Giving, shared with me that her entire staff was reading the Lean Startup by Eric Ries. The idea that a senior manager of a non-profit would have all of her employees read a book about start-up strategy sounded unconventional and fresh. After our meeting, I headed straight to the local bookstore to pick up a copy and quickly realized Jennifer was onto something big.

Focusing Canadian Acumen on Solutions for Healthy Living

Many of us tout the fact that a Canadian invented basketball, and that other sports, including hockey and lacrosse, find their roots in Canada. But what do a prosthetic hand, peanut butter, and insulin have in common?

Winner announced for Renewable Energy Challenge Prize

Launched a year ago by Nesta and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Renewable Energy Challenge Prize has a tried and tested winner!

The winning solution exceeds all the technical requirements for the challenge, covers the energy needs for war returnee families and still costs no more than €5,000 per unit.

Renewable energy: now in my backyard

More widespread participation in the creation of renewable energy will push the UK closer to its low-carbon economy goal, says Valerie Mocker


A comment on Oliver & Ohlbaum's report for Google on measuring the creative industries

Last week, consultants Oliver & Ohlbaum published astudy for Google looking at the question of how to define and measure the creative industries. Its diagnosis of the problems in the metrics is in many ways correct.

Dementia G8 Summit – what role can impact investors play?


Dementia currently affects more than 800,000 people in the UK. One in three over 65’s will die with some sort of dementia.  And, it’s a growing problem.

The Great Whole Genome Race


This year the race to build the critical mass of data needed to revolutionise healthcare will begin, and the UK will be the first to cross the finish line, says Sir John Chisholm

Healthcare gets a sci-fi makeover

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United Kingdom
53° 23' 22.2288" N, 7° 30' 49.6332" W

Star Trek’s Tricorder diagnostic device will make a real life appearance in 2014, says Jon Kingsbury 2014 has already been touted as the year of wearable healthcare. By that I mean items of wearable technology that count steps, sleep and calories, allowing the user to upload, analyse and share their own health data. Indeed, I’m wearing a high-tech bracelet now as I write this (and wondering why I haven’t yet achieved my 12,000th step of the day). But I want to predict something more exciting in the world of health technology – that of the Tricorder.

'Leaning In' And 'Pulling Up': Women's Economic Equality In The Middle East

“Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world – the numbers tell the story quite clearly,” says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her 2010 TEDx Talk. Sandberg’s advice to women in her New York Times bestseller, “Lean In,” is relevant across the globe: less than half of working-age women worldwide are employed, they are paid less on average than men for the same work, and the chances of rising to the top of a Fortune 500 company are not in a woman’s favor.

The Innovative Beat of Corporate Social Intrapreneurs


(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on

The breakout year for the social intrapreneur continues. After being recognized as 2014’s most valuable employee last month, the social intrapreneur will now be at the center of an upcoming book by Professor David Grayson (photo) of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and co-authors Melody McLaren and Heiko Spitzeck. “Social Intrapreneurism and All that Jazz” is filled with evidence of intrapreneurial social impact, analysis of intrapreneurism and its most distinguishing characteristics, and how all this can be understood in the context of jazz as a comparison.

When It Comes to Encouraging Physical Activity, We Are All in this Together

It might surprise you to learn that chronic diseases are the most significant cause of death and disability worldwide. In fact, three in five Canadians over the age of 20 have at least one chronic disease, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease. Obesity and being overweight is a huge contributor to chronic diseases. Today, one in four adults in Canada is obese, and a third of all children are already overweight or obese. These are startling numbers. And they relate to a trend that is reversible. 

Advice To Changemakers: Lessons From The 2013 Ashoka-American Express Emerging Innovators U.S. Boot Camp

Grow in a disciplined way. Define your story—before someone else does. Constantly ask for feedback.

Advice To Changemakers: Lessons From The 2013 Ashoka-American Express Emerging Innovators Toronto Boot Camp

“If you have a preconceived notion of good, you cannot be creative,” said Zahra Ebrahim, founder of archiTEXT. “Let go of everything that already is, and design something that truly does not exist.”

Overcoming The Last Mile Challenge: Distributing Value To Billions

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on

You can buy a Coca-Cola anywhere in the world, but affordable products that provide essential value like water treatment or lighting often do not reach billions of poor populations around the globe. However, in what is commonly known as the “last mile distribution challenge,“ some social entrepreneurs are providing innovative solutions to make the last mile a first opportunity.

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Funeka's Story

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Funeka, an ex-learner turned volunteer at shares her story, Ikamva Youth's innovative model and its impact to date.

Africa Yoga Project

"I have been teaching Baptiste Power Yoga for about 15 years and I was on a family vacation here in Kenya in 2006. I saw a group of youth doing handstands. I got out of the car and did handstands with them. That day changed my life," explains Elenson, who saw yoga as a way to create jobs for young people in Kenya. Read more on

Eliminating the Gender Gap: Women Starting Up In The Middle East

Every year, the World Economic Forum publishes its Global Gender Gap Report, tracking the world’s progress toward eliminating gender inequality. This year’s report, published in October, included some good news: in the nearly 140 countries counted, more than 90 percent of the divide in health and education has been closed. Still, there remains a huge gender gap in economic participation, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where men are 60 percent more economically empowered than women.

How Flexible Work Culture Can Make Business More Social

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on

Ten years ago, I met a woman working in the kitchens of my son’s school. Prior to having children, she had been a high flying professional. This, she told me, was the only job she could find with the flexibility she needed to care for her family. After searching for months for something at her level of skill and ability, she felt she had no choice but to “back pedal” on her achievements, earning capacity and future ambitions.

The Mayor of Kibera: A Shining Hope

From a young age, he was responsible for the well-being of his family, but Kennedy Odede never felt control of anything, especially his own health. He was growing up in Kibera, Nairobi, immersed in the devastating and ever-changing realities of Africa’s largest urban slum.

Why Co-Creation Is the Future for All of Us

(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Photo credit: Specialisterne – "People with autism at an IT company")

In a world defined by rapid change, the search for solutions to societal and environmental challenges has become more complex. While market systems have become interconnected and supply chains have become supply webs, public policy and industry norms are not changing as fast. As a result, they are increasingly inadequate tools to govern our societies.

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