Social Entrepreneurial Pathways to a Culture of Wellbeing

Patterns that point to powerful ways of reframing problems, as well as strategies to address them. 


Ashoka and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnered to develop a Social Innovation Mapping to explore how leading social entrepreneurs are driving a culture of wellbeing that positively impacts individuals and communities around the world.

The leading social entrepreneurs interviewed for this report approach wellbeing holistically, as a dynamic balance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development in relation to self, community, and society. Their work moves beyond the foundation of the fulfillment of basic needs (such as safety, food, and shelter) toward building a culture of wellbeing. In this report, we do not advocate for a single definition of wellbeing, but instead show how wellbeing’s many facets are linked by the themes of feeling valued and being able to act for oneself, one’s community, and others.

In a culture of wellbeing, individuals, communities, and institutions in society work together to create an environment where everyone is empowered and equipped to define and fulfill their own needs for wellbeing.

The report presents Barriers and Design principles that are rooted in the perspectives of 15 Ashoka Fellows working in several countries outside the United States. Barriers are core components of a complex problem that, if altered, could unlock true systems change. Design Principles are strategies for designing solutions that unlock systems-wide change.

By reading this report you will find five design principles that could help you tackle systemic change:

  1. The Multiplier Effect: Create Opportunities for Individuals to Play Meaningful Roles in Their Communities

  2. Practice Self-Awareness and Empathy Skills to Nurture Wellbeing

  3. Unlock Wellbeing Through Actively Building Communities of Trust

  4. Equip People with Tools to Actively Pursue Wellbeing and Successfully Adopt Positive Behaviors

  5. From Top-Down to Co-Creation: Shift Relationships Between Providers and Clients

Explore the report below