‘Must Reads’ on Social Innovation for November!

What did the world do in the name of ‘Social Innovation’ this month? Read the highlights from the awesome recent features in just 10 minutes!

1. The making of a CSA Agent

Social Innovations do not take place over night. You need smart and careful steps, one at a time. BRAC took up the challenge to change how rural Bangladesh exchanged cash. We taught them numbers, we taught them English, we took our partners to them to get products designed just to match their needs. Out clients understood the benefits of mobile money, but they needed some strong reasons to stay. We didn’t just give them what they wanted, we told them what they needed. We trained our Customer Service Assistants as bKash agents, just to make sure we didn’t miss out on even one of them. Not only that, we created an app for our agents that will help them serve the clients better. We designed incentives, we designed services and their support using design thinking. We interviewed one of our CSA Agents from the field, and we realised we did more than what we think we did!

Read the story here.

2. Can You Help Solve These Social Entrepreneurs’ Challenges?: Harvard Business Review

Creating social entrepreneurs is just like putting the first brick in the wall. Understanding their troubles as they grow and empowering them to try and test what works is where the key challenge lies. HBR (Harvard Business Review) interviewed Poptech Social Innovation Fellows for a closer look at their day to day struggles. The commonality of these struggles is surprising, just as much as their uniqueness. From the issues at scale, to getting the ‘right’ funding, to keeping the focus in place; this article covers the interesting challenges that mature social entrepreneurs face.

Click here for the article.

3. Rethinking Business Plan Competitions: SSIR

BRAC has launched Urban Innovation Challenge last October to encourage the youth to solve the urban problems in health, transport and urban informal employment. Michael Gordon & Daniela Papi-Thornton argue about the potential of such initiatives in creating real impact. Click here to read the full article.

3. Can You Help

4. A New Approach for Public Transport

We can’t squeeze the population, neither can we have more space in our country. But what we can do is, add different layers of value to the service that has already been there. Masaki Ogata, Vice Chairman, East Japan Railway Company and President, UITP has beautifully laid out some fresh approaches for public Transport in a city. Definitely a great one from the New Cities Foundation.

5. Bangladesh leads on MFS globally

Lynn Eisenhart, senior programme officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation visited BRAC last week. Dhaka Tribune, a local daily of Bangladesh has put together this great piece featuring her views, as well as the overall statuesque of the Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh. Read the article here!


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Masrura Oishi is an over-thinker and procaffeinator. In her free time, she pretends to be a philosopher and does some development work for BRAC Social Innovation Lab. She invests her insulin pumped energy into reading, writing, traveling and living!

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