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Social Innovation Online

Social Innovation Online

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Published by Vanesa Juarez

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Published by: Vanesa Juarez on Apr 27, 2010
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03/11/2012

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Your experiences: Describe some of the things you have done in the
past. Focus on some of the accomplishments that you are proud of
and write it in the suitcase on the chart.

Passion: What do you love doing? Write down what you feel pas-
sionate about in the balloon.

Skills: What are your competencies? Describe what you are good
at in the body.

Values: What are your personal values? Values can be non-negotia-
ble ideals you seek out or believe in. Write down your values as the
ground you stand on.

Direction: Where do you want to go from here? Having refected on

your experiences, passion, skills, and values, write down in what
ways you see yourself impacting society inside the compass in the
upper right corner.

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SI IN ACTION

78

To make a sustainable project that covers the intended need it is im-
portant to understand the cultural context in which you are shaping
it. You have to go beyond assumptions and look for patterns, hab-
its, customs, and norms to see how people act and then attempt
to decipher what this means. Whether it is the culture of a foreign
country or a familiar neighbourhood it is important to look at it with
a curious mind.

To understand a culture different to your own you must be aware

of which flters you possess. This means that you have to fnd out

which culture you yourself come from and be aware of your own
frames of reference. This also means stepping back to see which
segment or group in society you belong to in order to both under-
stand your own perspectives as well as to avoid taking for grant-
ed things based on your own experiences that do not apply to per-
sons from another background. The better you understand your
own cultural background the better you will understand the context

in which you want to operate which in turn will make it easier to fnd

viable solutions and cover actual needs.
As part of a culture we often take for granted the customs, habits,
and rules that are unspoken and this can make them almost invis-
ible to us. It can even be surprising to hear our own culture voiced.
When observing a culture different to our own, however, things that
are unusual to us stand out clearly. Because of this it may prove
easier to understand and question a culture when observing it from
a distance. Whether in our own or a foreign culture, however, these
unspoken customs, habits or rules often prove to be some of the
strongest guides to a deeper understanding. Make this your start-
ing point and work on fnding out why you fnd certain things or be-
haviours noteworthy.

Understanding the Cultural Context

SI IN ACTION

79

SI IN ACTION

80

Understanding the Cultural Context

We recommend that you fll in two templates45

. One for your own
cultural background and one for the target culture. This is to gain

a deeper understanding of how they infuence one another. When
you do this you may fnd links between the “mapping out me” tem-
plate and the mapping out of your own culture as well as links be-
tween “the target group” template and the mapping out of your tar-
get culture.

Target culture: Write a headline that sums up the culture you are ob-
serving in the sign.

Distinguishing features: What stands out and why? Note things that
have triggered you in a good or a bad way. These are often things
that are different from what you know. Ask yourself; “what has made
me intrigued, annoyed, surprised or frustrated?”. Write it in the sun

and the cloud. Remember to fnd out why you had these reactions.

Taken for granted: What is taken for granted and why? Some peo-
ple expect there to be food on the table every day while others do

not. Try to fnd out what is taken for granted and why by asking or

observing and write it in the airwaves.

Community: What creates a sense of community? What links peo-
ple together? What makes them belong to their culture and how is
this acted out? What would people in a certain culture collectively

defend if they were put under pressure? Write your fndings in the

body of the group of people.

New insights: In the globe where the group is standing, list your key
learning and new insights based on all the observations you have
just listed.

“Make the Known Unknown and the Unknown Known”

SI IN ACTION 81

82

How to spot opportunities for
Social Innovation

To help you meet the world with an open mind for spotting po-
tential social innovations, we have designed a pair of glasses

that provide you with a flter or guidelines to challenge the way

you look at the world.
The new perspectives can enable you to see alternative and
socially responsible solutions for creating change, starting in
your own backyard.

Warning: The glasses may turn things upside down causing
new insights and wearing them for a longer period of time can
potentially result in a shift of mindset!

Guidelines for How to Use the Glasses to Gain New Insights
- Cut out the glasses from the template in this book.
- Depending on individual style and change in fashion, you can
also create your own.
- Put them on.
- Take a stroll in society, starting in your own neighbourhood

and use the flters described to the right:

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