If we don't all win, we all lose.
This is the lesson that Ashoka Fellows around the world continue to teach us as they work to solve the most pressing issues of today and tomorrow. We live in a world of fast change and interconnected problems where a singular event can cascade quickly to become a systemic and global incident.
This year, we endeavored to showcase how our newly elected Ashoka Fellows change systems, cross borders, and shift mindsets in collaborative and holistic ways. This insights report showcases both the urgency of issues in which our Fellows work as well as the tangible and replicable solutions they have developed. In analyzing the work of 109 Fellows elected over the last 12 months, we looked for patterns in their visions for social change and in the strategies and tools they have been using to achieve them. Organized broadly across eight complex global issues, we found a commonality of ideas and approaches that run throughout.
To change systems, Ashoka Fellows:
- Require global connections and networks: 18% of the 2018 Fellows are focused on building formal networks to create pressure for systemic change and 20% are creating non-traditional and multi stakeholder approaches, bringing in people from different background together, to help influence and scale their ideas at international and global levels.
- Engage in iterative knowledge and adaptation: The work of 16 of our new Fellows revolves around the opening up of data, through production and curation, and eight Fellows are engaged in action research aimed at applying rigorous intellectual inquiry to solve societal level problems and supporting the rise of the new field of scipreneurship.
- Resonate at a social and emotional level: While the models vary, at least 17 Fellows take on a specific strategy to shift the mindsets of the people they engage. Some of these models include awareness activities, social media and storytelling, as well as public sensitization and advocacy.
- Distribute leadership: The old hierarchies of work and politics are changing. 13 Fellows are specifically work- ing to enable others to lead in their organizations and social movements, but most lean into enabling others to adopt, replicate, and spread their ideas.
- Focus on accessibility: Ensuring equitable access to resources and opportunities is of an ever-growing concern. 23 Fellows from this year’s cohort address issues through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens to ensure that all people are not only capable of being changemakers but that the system in place encourages such change.
- Build systems that make everyone powerful: Ashoka Fellows are successful at creating systemic change because they are uniquely tuned into developing solutions that involve community and beneficiaries as part of their team.
The future of social change is fluid and will depend on a collective recognition that the boundaries between economic sectors, institutions, or nations need to be less fixed as we work to address big global challenge. Our Fellows help us see the future and unlock human potential to enable an everyone a changemaker world.