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Innovation is known as a key to success within the technology startup space. This association with tech companies, though, signifies that when we consider innovation, we often imagine newer gadget or new invention ideas. This mindset makes creative breakthroughs seem predicated on having a top engineering team plus a big research and development budget. Fortunately for nonprofits and social enterprises, this is simply not the situation.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines innovation as “a new idea, device, or method.” Even though it may come in the form of a new machine or microchip, innovation can be a whole new method of a problem, a change in behavior, or perhaps a new method of using existing resources. Innovation can occur at any organization in any sector.

Among the most successful and celebrated innovations of the past decade center primarily on the new approach or perhaps a new way of using resources. Organizations through the for-profit and nonprofit sector used existing methods and technology differently to be able to revolutionize their space. Use their breakthroughs to inspire your team to make game-changing creative leaps with your mission.

Finances are power. That has always been the status quo. Not only will the wealthy choose what services or products to buy for own enjoyment, backing from large investors often determines which products and projects become open to the wider public. Even though this system is still prevalent, the advent of crowdfunding has opened investing to a much wider population.

In 2003, the platform ArtistShare was released to help you musicians fund projects with direct contributions by fans, as opposed to from record labels. Crowdfunding platforms for all types of campaigns, projects, and merchandise quickly followed. Sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have formulated a new avenue for entrepreneurs and inventors to gain funding. Just like a social media profile, users can produce a page introducing their project and attract relatives and buddies for support.

Crowdfunding allows regular individuals to contribute a tiny investment to films, clothing designers, food products, and more. Because the price tag on admission is indeed low, nearly anyone can become a venture capitalist, and the chance of funding a project is spread widely across its backers. By channeling existing payment and social network systems, crowdfunding sites allow regular consumers to support projects within their infancy with minimal risk. The entrepreneurs can also tap into existing connections and social sharing to fund their ideas.

Crowdfunding has even spread towards the nonprofit sector, where organizations use these platforms and others to fundraise for projects.

Landmines are definitely the weapons that keep on taking. Since they are created to be tough to detect, they still kill and maim civilians years following a war. What’s worse, landmines are often positioned in developing countries with few resources to locate and neutralize them.

While new technology often seems at the center of solving problems, APOPO took advantage of an indigenous creature and standard animal training techniques to mitigate the danger. African Giant Pouched Rats are extremely smart animals using a superior sense of smell. APOPO conditioned these to identify landmines. By training the animals to utilize their powerful feeling of smell to detect the deadly weapons, APOPO has disabled over 68,000 landmines in Tanzania, Mozambique, Cambodia, as well as other countries.

APOPO didn’t invent animal training plus they didn’t genetically engineer a brand new rat. They took good thing about existing resources and techniques and used them to generate a new solution to a longstanding problem.

Twitter and Facebook may be most commonly known for allowing us to talk about the minute details of our way of life online, but social organizers have unlocked its power being a tool for mobilizing people and spreading information.

Starting in December 2010, a wave of political protests and demonstrations known as the Arab Spring spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. “People who shared curiosity about democracy built extensive social media sites and organized political action. Social media marketing became a critical part of the toolkit for greater freedom,” said Philip Howard, who led a report of how social websites shaped the movement’s activity.

While these political actors weren’t the first one to spread content and news of demonstrations on Twitter and also other platforms, the Arab Spring represents a change in how people viewed and used social platforms. This shift in the approach to organizing people has rippled to causes worldwide, including #BlackLivesMatter and #YesAllWomen. Needless to say, a tweet won’t solve a social issue by itself. But smart use of social platforms will help a movement reach a wider audience and compel traditional media outlets to investigate and publicize the issue.

While ridesharing platforms like Lyft and Uber look like a higher-tech solution to transportation problems, their power lies more with their social model than their apps. Ridesharing took existing GPS technology, how do you get a patent, and survey systems to alter how people use cars.

As Lyft CMO Kira Scherer Wampler explains, 87 percent of commuter trips are people traveling alone. This implies more cars on your way and a lot more traffic. This concern, as well as unreliable taxis and poor public transport, made commuting a pricey, frustrating problem. Lyft and Uber took the technology people were already using each day to generate a new solution.

By synthesizing mapping data with driver profiles, ridesharing makes the procedure of getting from point A to point B faster, cheaper, plus more fun. “Our vision is usually to fundamentally change car culture,” says Wampler. To achieve this, ridesharing companies aren’t designing new vehicles or perhaps building new devices. They may be mobilizing customers to take advantage of the tools they already have more effectively.

In spite of the success that many cancers of the breast organizations had in spreading awareness, the illness was still being seen as a problem just for the elderly. This meant a huge portion of the population wasn’t being subjected to the detection methods and preventive change in lifestyle that may save lives.

Keep-A-Breast, whose mission is “to empower teenagers around the globe with breast health education and support,” has begun to bridge the gap by reaching young adults in another way. Teens are researching breast cancers risk factors at one of their most favorite summer events.

The Vans Warped Tour is a music festival which has traveled all over the Usa each summer over the past 21 years. Over 500,000 kids attend, spending the time watching performances and visiting booths. For fifteen years, among the attractions has become Keep-A-Breast’s Traveling Education Booth, where volunteers speak 19dexhpky youth and offer specifics of breast cancer and preventive tips. KAB says, “The patent idea brings cancer of the breast education to young people independently turf.” By changing the direction they reach people, Keep-A-Breast has taken life-saving information to a population which had been being left out from the conversation.

Since we try to solve the world’s most pressing social problems, it’s crucial that you realize that innovation is not really limited to tech startups and wealthy corporations. What many of these organizations have in common is really a new idea, a new way of doing things. They considered the circumstances and resources they had and asked, “How can we do more?”

For older nonprofits, it could be especially tempting to stick using the well-trodden path, but a fresh approach can bring about huge progress. You don’t need to build a new road as a way to “take the path less traveled.” You just need to see the path and pursue it.

Every single day, social impact organizations are creating and scaling new methods to the world’s toughest challenges. We hope you’ll join us with the Collaborative and Classy Awards in Boston in June to showcase and share innovations like these.