I work as a social innovation coach for high impact female social entrepreneurs, women who impact positively on people and planet and work tirelessly to make this world inhabitable for future generations. My motto is ” A better world. powered by women…” As you can imagine, things don’t come straight off a textbook.
Studies show that If you show enough courage and trust to burst your bubble and source insights, skills and support from outside your comfort zone -or your usual tribe- you are more likely to succeed.
As I am preparing for my next TedX talk in India next month, I’d like to share with you five tips on how you can expand your open source thinking, illustrated by a few fabulous women who are part of our network.
It is about the value of thinking beyond your boundaries, acting beyond your comfort zone, reinforced by the power of well curated networks, and how it can help you create an amazing positive impact.
1- Look for stimulation
Research into open source software communities, by Karim R. Lakhani, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, has shown that broadcasting or introducing problems to outsiders produces effective solutions.
But that is not enough to make you shine. You need to look for stimulation.
You need to learn to excite others and frequently exchange with groups of “stimulators”.
To keep abreast of the most advanced social technologies and entrepreneurial ideas, initiated by women, i curate a directory where readers can access hundreds of women stimulators. Our latest additions include Nicolette Mak (Netherlands), Founder of Valid Express, working on purpose, perception and power and Jenny Dawson, Founder of Rubies in the Rubble, cleverly tackling food waste.
2- Go where your inner drive is telling you to go
A woman who never ceased to impress me, is Naomi Devine, a Canadian citizen and sustainable development activist. Naomi decided to travel overland (mainly by bike) from Vancouver, Canada, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for Rio+20 (the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development). The ride – Ride2Rio – has been an intense personal challenge, an opportunity to raise awareness about sustainability, and most importantly, to inspire people to take action to build a future that is better for everyone.
Naomi told me about her purpose, her legacy, the questions she should have asked herself and how she can continue to make sustainable development a concept that everybody can embrace:
“It’s not just about making a 5000 miles journey stunt, it’s about figuring out what your inner journey is -or needs to be- and getting the resources to enable you to get out there and start. People mainly associate sustainable development with green initiatives only and something reserved to experts, that is a real shame to me because the complexity about sustainability is that it is about making our lives better from a holistic, integrated approach – making the best decisions that consider the social, economic, and environmental consequences in concert rather than isolation.” Read her stunning story here.
3- Recruit -or be recruited- 360 degrees
Discovering the hidden face of the moon… Finding a match for mutual benefit. That’s a challenge for both recruiters and candidates. So an open source thinking allows you to design questions that will help you understand and uncover someone “360 degrees”.
I am never shy of sharing my failures! I have made a recruitment mistake in the past, you can read about it here. I am talking about trusting instincts just a bit too much, and how i addressed my mistake, from the brief design, to the questions we asked to the referees.
4- Never “fly” solo… Embrace Mentoring Opportunities
When you’re looking to progress in your career, there’s nothing like first-hand support, advice and guidance from someone who has already achieved it.
Mentoring can do the trick. However it’s important to design a well paced, outcome-focused journey, simply to get a sense of reward and achievement. You might not get everything you plan at the end of the journey, but you will certainly be able to trace the impact of your actions and some good learning along the way.
Be mentored by different people, on different topics. And out a bit of coaching on top, simply because it’s healthy to come up with your own ideas!
Want to try and make a difference within a business context? You can learn how to be a sharp, focused, impact investment literate, woman social business leader, by taking part in the next Make a Wave, first pre-incubator for women social entrepreneurs. The programme hosts will mentor and coach you to be a focused changemaker!
5- Don’t just download the “world according to you”
Jennifer Sertl, from Agility 3R, is an insightful professional who strikes my with her lucidity.
“I have been hit by another mental lightening bolt. Very recently I read a Harvard Business Review blog by Anthony K Tjan: “How Leaders Become Self-Aware“. A few years ago I would have nodded my head eagerly in agreement: “Yes! Awareness is the key.” However, I have new scars and new context and this is the bolt that hit me: Awareness is not enough!” Read Jennifer’s bold thoughts here.
If you want to know more about my work, Ogunte is: