There is a clear need for new approaches that can help us reimagine the way we pursue and resolve societal challenges at scale
“Scaling Solutions that work, will not lead us to solutions that work at scale”
Societal Platform Thinking
We are inspired by Societal Platform Thinking (www.societalplatform.org) – an approach to enable rapid sustainable development at scale by creating and leveraging shared infrastructure to give every actor in society an opportunity to participate in social innovation.
Theory of Scale
Societal problems at scale pose a non-linear challenge – linear approaches that focus on replication alone cannot generate the momentum we need to reach and deliver impact at scale. While most societal missions develop and rely on a theory-of-change, we believe there is a need for an explicit theory-of-scale that can help us visualize and unlock pathways to enable such change across hundreds of thousands of communities concurrently by strategically leveraging available (often scarce) expertise and resources.
First Mile Approach
While Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), government institutions and other agencies are hard at work to sustainably resolve societal challenges by reaching out to and delivering inputs and support to communities in need (the Last-Mile), we are constantly reminded of the need to create an environment where such individuals and communities demand, and take the lead to seek and effect change – a First-Mile approach.
The picture of success that emerges when we view societal development from the eyes of the individual, is often very different from the one that we see when we view it from the perspective of the provider.
Leveraging Technology for Societal Development
We have an abundance of technology and the expertise required to put that technology to work – most things we can imagine, we can build! The critical question is, what are we imagining?
Technology cannot be just a top-down tool to enforce norms, gather data, and efficiently monitor the implementation of programs and processes. It needs to become a means to create an enabling environment that promotes participation and strengthens accountability for societal development. We believe that sustainable (societal) development happens when there are more (meaningful) human-human interactions, not less. This strengthens the agency of actors and helps forge networks and relationships across these communities to take on and resolve complex challenges in ways that put collective interests above individual gains. We should leverage technology to digitally reimagine new ways to encourage and enable more such (meaningful) interactions across the ecosystem.