Tag Archives: Social Innovation

Career path stories – planned or intuitive?

A 2014 article by Dennis Nishi in the Wall Street Journal, tells an anecdote about a school teacher, Eric Adler, who becomes a consultant, but doesn’t like consulting and then sets up the SEED Foundation to provide boarding schools for ‘at risk’ youth in urban areas in America.  The message of the article is on making the time to define success for ouselves, rather than accepting society’s definitions of success, as illustrated by Mr Adler’s discovery that he didn’t like being a consultant.

What also interests me about this story is that even though Adler didn’t like being a consultant, the MBA and the year’s experience he gained at a consultancy firm were probably extremely valuable to him in setting up the SEED Foundation successfully and in giving him the credibility to raise funding.

This story could also be told in a very different way as a planned career path for Mr Adler – from teacher, to recognising a social issue, to getting the requisite qualifications and experience that enabled him to successfully do something about that social issue.

As with many life and career paths, they are obvious in retrospect yet we can feel like we are blindly following urges that we don’t necessarily understand at the time.

What urges are you facing that are persistent but don’t make sense today?

Redefining Education – “school for life”

I’ve been catching up on some overdue reading from the Stanford Social Innovation Review Winter 2012 edition.  So many great ideas and so little time to play with them all.  (Well not exactly true if I’ve got granny’s good genes – she’s 95 and still enjoying Wimbledon).

My first favourite idea from this edition is “school for life” a new education model for developing countries.  The model is based on programs in Asia, Latin America and Africa.  It proposes that content should focus less on western curricula and academic skills and more on basic life skills such as health, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.  In addition, the focus should be on student-centred learning and group skills because group efficacy is as important as self-efficacy.

Makes sense not just for developing countries but maybe in struggling areas in Australia too!