What We Do
Changemakers is an Ashoka program that uses the power of open challenges and social innovation knowledge - coupled with Ashoka’s network of social entrepreneurs and impact partners - to connect high-potential changemakers in order to accelerate the rate of change for critical social issues.
Through a three-step process—frame, convene, and ignite (see below), Ashoka Changemakers® works with the rest of Ashoka, its global network, and partners to frame an approach to a problem that exponentially accelerates social change.
Changemakers builds on the world's largest network of leading social entrepreneurs, created by Ashoka during the last 35 years, to engage a global network that embodies Ashoka’s vision of an “Everyone a Changemaker” world. Network members support each other, collaborate, and collectively achieve much more than the sum of their parts.
Changemakers partners with changemaking institutions, including global foundations and Fortune 500 companies such as GE, Google, and the Rockefeller Foundation, building a global network that includes more than 15,000 innovators and their solutions, changemaking organizations, and hundreds of thousands of changemakers from 125 countries.
What people are saying:
They showcased great innovation that can be exported to other countries, terrific successes against long odds, and a far-reaching global distribution of projects.
- Keith Bellows, Vice President of the National Geographic Society
The Changemakers open source competition model let us shorten our three- to four-year call for proposals process for identifying investment-grade opportunities to three or four months, while delivering an equivalent number of quality projects.
- Nancy Barrand, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Our work with Ashoka Changemakers has really shown that much more out-of-the-box and sometimes more interesting solutions are coming forth in this collaborative competition model.
- Judith Rodin, President, Rockefeller Foundation
Changemakers can help match participants to new funding, essentially building a marketplace for innovation in an issue area in just a few months.
- McKinsey & Company
How We Work
Changemakers applies Ashoka’s 35 years of experience in identifying and evaluating social innovations, plus the insights gathered from the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs, to frame problems and emerging innovations in a way that maximizes the systems-changing impact of each partnership, and to create networks of changemaking institutions that form a powerful change ecosystem.
We analyze the current landscape of a problem by defining the core problems, and mapping them against patterns and trends emerging from the work of leading social entrepreneurs. We take this information from the frontier of knowledge and assemble it, producing a Discovery Framework that serves as a mosaic of strategic opportunities for moving the needle on systems change.
This process can help answer key questions such as: what are the most powerful innovative methods currently in practice? Which are poised to scale, and in what contexts? And, what gaps remain where there might be opportunities to find new innovative models for partners to invest in? This kind of analysis allows us to probe more deeply into the problem, often yielding new insights into root causes and social dynamics, which can open new horizons for powerful new models and solutions.
Ashoka Changemakers leverages online Challenges to convene the world’s leading innovators, their ideas, and supporters, forming a network for collaboration between people, and even teams of people. Changemakers provides the platform where innovators discover their peers and compare their approaches; receive direct feedback from peers and experts; ideas and feedback are shared and refined; and funder and investors can connect to evaluate and support innovations showing the most promise for scaled-up impact.
We reach hundreds of thousands of users on social and traditional media, to build communities that support change. We engage with stories about how social innovators are leading, collaborating, and creating impact in big ways, and create dialogues for spreading and refining innovative practices.
With our partners, we engage a network that organizes itself as a team of teams, focusing the efforts of social innovators, entrepreneurs, funders, connectors, thought leaders, communicators, citizen sector organizations and citizens constituents to work together to exponentially accelerate lasting social change. Network members support each other, collaborate, and collectively achieve much more than the sum of their parts.
These networks focus on raising public awareness to a tipping point that produces an "everyone a changemaker" society. This is supported by a communications strategy that uses storytelling to create a vibrant and dynamic conversation around innovation, deployed through traditional and social media, to activate large-scale changemaking.
Participants are encouraged—through our platform that supports online and face-to-face interactions—to move along the spectrum from local service delivery, to scaled-up service delivery, to systems-changing solutions, and ultimately to shape the way society frames change.