By Max Lynch (GSB’19), FSIC Student Leader.
Day 3 picked up right where we left off on day 2, but with a new, more applied focus. The day was titled, “Social innovation skill building and developing projects to tackle inequalities locally.” On day 3 we were to take the inequalities that we had picked apart and put back together the day before, and develop feasible business plans that addressed our desired inequality. To help us with this hefty task we had special guests from Social Innovation Exchange. Social Innovation Exchange or SIX for short, is the world’s primary network focusing on social innovation. At the summit SIX put us through a social enterprise development workshop that typically tapes multiple days in the short span of 6 hours. We started off by identifying the 3 largest problems associated with our inequality. In my disability group we chose employability, stigma, and mental health. We then listed as many business ideas as we could for each problem area. From the lists that we created, we picked our favorite business idea from each problem area. Each idea was put on a sticky-note and dispersed on the walls around the room. We were then instructed to go to whatever idea that we liked best. I had the option to go to a BAME, LGBT, gender, or wealth gap idea, but I decided to stay with disability. The idea that I stayed with was a LinkedIn, designed specifically for people with disabilities. We then continued in our new groups workshopping target markets, consumer theories, and other relevant practices for business development. In a presentation on my group’s target market, I portrayed an employer who was being forced into fulfilling an equal opportunity requirement that was being laid out by the firm CEO. I needed to find appropriately qualified disabled people, but I had no idea where to look. For this part, I used skills that I had learned in last semester’s theatre class (who ever thought those skills would come in handy?), and became a Long Island born Wall Street banker that we at Fordham know all too well. Being one of the only people who acted out the target market presentation, my theatrical performance was well received by the crowd. Later on, my group pitched our idea for LinkedIn Access, an app designed to provide employability to people with disabilities, and had our pitch evaluated by the inhouse Dragon’s Den(UK’s Shark Tank equivalent) judges.
We were told that our result would come the following day.
Social entrepreneurship is something that I have worked closely with over the last year, as I was a member of Compass Fellowship (Fordham’s social entrepreneurship club). Having done similar workshops to the one done with SIX before, I found that the one with SIX was my favorite one yet. The structure and instructions were clear, the inequalities were well defined, and everyone was giving it their all, which truly made a productively contagious environment and awesome experience.
After the day’s hard work developing LinkedIn Access, we were treated to a formal celebration dinner at a local country club.
Everyone was so passionate about their conference experiences that the conversations on inequality continued well into the dinner. I had the privilege of sharing a table and conversation with University of Northampton Changemaker Hub Director Wray Irwin, conference organizer Victor Agboola, Florida International University student Alexis Calatayud, and many more. I learned from Alexis that in the social space, the word “help” is a derogatory term. This was very valuable knowledge as I plan to spend many hopefully fruitful years in the social space. We continued our conversations on inequality throughout the night, and then departed for home.
The night continued, and I may have done the worm (which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who saw), but I will leave that story for another time. Day 3 was a blast of both learning and fun. I may have even been convinced by Wray to be the organizer of the next Changemaker Student Summit…We will see!