Thanks to Ashoka, Vickie and I will spend three days at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna receiving advice on how to accelerate the global impact of our latest social innovation – Tyze. Along with twenty-four other Ashoka fellows, we will meet with international social, financial and media leaders who want to assist us spread our innovations around the world.
The internal competition was launched for 2500 Ashoka fellows from 70 countries last October. We were selected in December and since then Ashoka has provided support to improve our model and case for support. Check out the Ashoka Globalizer site and read about all the fabulous and talented social entrepreneurs we will be spending time with.
Tyze is really the brain child of Vickie Cammack who has led its emergence from an idea to global ready initiative in less than three years. Tyze uses a web based platform to organize 'face to face' social networks for the elderly, people with chronic illness, disability, or mental illness. Tyze networks convene the individual, their families, friends and care providers to offer friendship, provide support, problem solve and coordinate care. Vickie created Tyze as a social mission business. It is owned in part by the PLAN Institute as well as a small group of investors. Tyze is currently available in Canada, the United States and the UK but after Vienna, who knows!
Ashoka has been defining and developing the practice of social entrepreneurship for over 25 years. Along the way they have noticed the deeper patterns common among Ashoka Fellows. Vienna will provide us with an opportunity to collaborate with other fellows working on similar issues. In addition we will have an opportunity to explore collaboration among initiatives that may not appear on the surface to have much in common. For example, the two other Canadians selected for Vienna are Johann Koss founder of Right to Play and Dr. Arnold Noyek founder of CISEPO (Canadian International Scientific Exchange Program).
Johann's work was on full display during the recent Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. He uses sports to teach life skills, promote health and develop peaceful communities. Arnold has developed an approach to peace building (health to peace) in the Middle East bridging the Arab Israeli divide. Who would have thought providing ear surgery for Jordanian youth would be a prelude to peace but in Arnie's hands it is.
Since Arnold, Johann, Vickie and I were selected, we have begun to discuss the deeper patterns and ethics (health, peace, belonging ) that unite us and how we might share resources and work together. Once in Vienna we hope to join forces with some of the other Ashoka fellows in attendance. Ashoka has anticipated this and one legacy of our three days in Vienna is Mindshare
Ashoka has been tremendously supportive of our work for the past eight years. Led by Bill Drayton, Founding CEO and President, they constantly reflect on lessons from the field and, like Wayne Gretzky with the puck, know where the field is going and get there five to ten years before anyone else.
NOTE: The Vienna Globaliizer takes place between April 17 – 19th. Right now Vickie and I are in London meeting with social finance and social innovation colleagues. We travel to Oxford for the Skoll World Forum on Social Enterprise beginning Wednesday, where we present at a special Canada Day forum organized by SiG (Social InnovatIon Generation) the Canadian collaboration I am part of. Expect future posts based on these experiences.