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Ideas Come From The Inside, Not The Top

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Social design requires remembering that it’s simply not possible to understand what it’s like to be another person, to have that person’s challenges, or to know how to solve those challenges, unless we ask.

Solutions come from within the communities looking to change. This doesn’t mean that you can sit down with a group of high school students, if they are the community, for example, and expect them to know how to end violence in their school or neighborhood. It means that they know why the violence happens, where, and when, and what it would likely take to stop it. That will be far more reliable information than talking to experts who have worked somewhere else. The perspective and insights required to address any challenge involving communities of people can’t be found in a conference room, a corner office in a high-rise, or the halls of an academic or government institution. They won’t come from anywhere that excludes the people who are most directly affected by whatever it is that needs to change. This applies to managers designing new programs for employee engagement, entrepreneurs launching new enterprises, and global development experts working on solutions for extreme poverty in an ultra-rural part of the world. Read more on Thrive Global.

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