Morphing and adapting: an innovation manager’s approach to poverty reduction

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In this post, Lis Brum discusses the role of this professional in connecting stakeholders to foster innovation opportunities in the poverty reduction context. Leading up to the Degree Show, she shares her perspective of the Morphogenesis as an Innovation Manager.

Collaboration and co-operation are two fundamentals to creating value in a Millennial ruled world. The multi-tasking personality of this generation forms a new group of professionals that can adapt to multi-disciplinary roles. The Morphogenesis is the employee of the future. He is able to leap and connect one world to another through exploitation of his social skills and network. His ability to morph and adapt allows for equal discussion amongst all stakeholders, creating an ideal environment for innovation to prosper.

For my dissertation, I explored and reflected on how an innovation management framework can be used to tackle the global issue of poverty. In the context of my topic, I saw the Morphogenesis as the connector between different teams and stakeholders, playing an essential role in fostering discussions around responsibilities and opportunities to alleviate global poverty.

There are approximately one billion people living in extreme poverty all over the world. These people are malnourished, do not have access to public sanitation, clean water, education and shelter. Around 18 million people (most of them children) die each year due to poverty-related causes.

My research identified that Social Entrepreneurship was gaining significant power in alleviating poverty. This was due to the fact it was being led by the desire to give public benefit from a social, cultural or environmental perspective, whilst trading in a sustainable manner. For many years, aid and charity have been seen as the fundamental tools for poverty reduction. Although these methods proved useful for some, this framework created a society dependent on government resources and philanthropy. In order to create sustainable improvements and generate wealth for communities in need, people should be empowered with skills allowing them to be change catalysts of their own living situations.

However, social enterprises alone will not be able to tackle a problem as global and wicked as poverty. In order to achieve economic development and social transformation, there is a need for interaction between different industries such as the public sector, private organisations and NGOs. These key players must work together, as each have their own expertise, and operate in areas unattainable to others. In the social innovation context, associations between different stakeholders become important in fostering better outcomes.

Extreme poverty could be prevented at a moderate cost if nations and individuals worldwide came together. Opportunities created through collaboration and co-creation are needed more than ever in this scenario. I believe that the Morphogenesis as an Innovation Manager is essential in managing the interactions between different stakeholders, and strategically guiding them forward.

In my journey towards the future, I believe poverty alleviation can only be achieved by practitioners who are comfortable working in a multi-disciplinary world. Only then can collaborative opportunities between governments, NGOs, social enterprises, private organisations and communities be truly explored to alleviate poverty. By embodying the Morphogenesis role, I aim to generate social impact by connecting stakeholders and unveiling innovation opportunities.

To learn more about the Morphogenesis and Lis’s research, stay tuned for the upcoming MAIM 2015 Degree Show, taking place at Central Saint Martins in the week starting on the 23rd of June.