From June 6-8, Teach For All attended the Social Innovation Summit in Chicago, an event that annually gathers thousands of tech industry experts, entrepreneurs, social innovators, business leaders, investors, philanthropists, activists and public officials from across the globe. The summit provides a platform for forging partnerships across sectors and an opportunity for the exchange of ideas around creating innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to youth unemployment to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Representatives of both Teach For America and Teach For All’s global organization participated in the Summit. Lucy Ashman, Director for Social Innovation for Teach For All, led a roundtable discussion entitled “Developing Locally Rooted Solutions and taking them to Global Scale.” During the discussion, which included social innovators focused on education working around the world, Lucy highlighted how alumni of Teach For All network partners are leading social innovations inspired by their teaching experience—so-called “teacherpreneurs.” She went on to explain how Teach For All partners are supporting alumni entrepreneurs by incubating and accelerating their progress and impact locally, and how the global organization is supporting and encouraging partners and their alumni to work together and share their solutions across borders.
Participants of the roundtable shared ideas for scaling successful innovations on a global level based on their experiences, as well as how scaling can be extremely challenging. They concluded with four fundamental elements, that if in existence can help a social innovation to scale:
Identifiable proof points that mitigate the risk involved in their idea to funders and other stakeholders, and provide evidence of impact to build support;
Investing time and resources to identify the right local partners in new communities who share the same vision and working with them to scale their solution, rather than trying to do it themselves;
Openness to and understanding of how initiatives with similar visions can complement each other and collaborate with others to scale efforts, rather than compete; researching and aligning with what might incentivize potential funders—such as policy shifts or momentum around the Sustainable Development Goals—and the potential for alignment with other initiatives;
Transparency with funders and supporters from the outset with regards to what they intend to deliver for the amount of funding they receive, as well as planning for, and presenting, best and worse case scenarios along the way so that funders and supporters can be brought into help as challenges arise.
Learn more about social innovation at Teach For All.