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Innovation often emerges out of necessity. Fostering innovation, a key part of Goal 9 of the new Sustainable Development Goals, can only happen if we foster innovators — the people who will see solutions, who will see value and promise where others see trouble and decay, and put ideas into action with the commitment for sustainability. While it’s important to create and name the goals we need for sustainable development, measures of success are harder to come by when we’re looking at creative leaders launching new and often untested ideas.
At Echoing Green, we’ve supported nearly 700 social entrepreneurs working in more than 60 countries with seed-funding and a community of support. What’s clear from this portfolio of emerging innovators is that they need time and “runway” to implement their ideas and see results. As we work as a global community toward achieving Goal 9, we need to recognize that part of supporting these leaders means building an infrastructure and an ecosystem that can support their innovations and that looks at metrics in a realistic way.
What does that mean for countries looking to achieve the SDGs and Goal 9? It means they have to consider three elements to foster innovation:
1. Create Space and Structures
Innovation is a process that accelerates change by discovering new, effective ways of working. When issues are urgent, it’s critical to create space and structures for innovative thinking and doing among actors, organizations and governments.
2. Use Innovation as a Supplement, not a Substitute, for Systems-Level Change
Innovation means challenging the status quo and reconsidering a standard approach. But it’s not a cure-all; just because a solution works in one application does not guarantee success in a different context.
3. Fund Innovation in a Way That Makes Sense
Conversations are underway about how we can finance —> Read More