So most of you will be familiar by now by our most rcent book of social innovations, 500 Ways to Change the World, which I continue to mercilessly and relentlessly plug (first rule of entrepreneurship: never miss a chance to promote). Some of you may also be familiar with some books with similar titles, namely 365 Ways to Change the World and Change the World for a Fiver. A few people have asked me who is behind these lovely publications, and what (if any) the differences are....so here is an unbiased (as far as possible) summary:
- 500 Ways to Change the World is a best-of, edited compilation of the Global Ideas Bank's greatest social innovations: the best ideas from the last decade; a mix of existing projects worth telling people about, fledgling initiatives worthy of support, and new bright ideas that could change our futures. Its underlying philosophy, like that of the GIB, is that those who deal with the problems on the ground are best-placed/informed to come up with the solutions. So it is about social innovation; creativity for social good from the ground-up; sharing, disseminating and collaborating on the generation of new ideas to change things for the better.
- 365 Ways to Change the World is a calendar of actions that an individual can take to make the world better in a small or large way, be that buying a fairtrade football, or using a click-to-donate site. They have been amassed by Michael Norton of CIVA and his team to tell people what differences they can make every day. So it has quite a lot of information from campaigning organisations, and ideas that are 'achievable' and can be done from home. Its underlying ethos is "the smallest actions can impact on your local community and the wider world".
- Change the World for a Fiver is also a book of actions that people can do to make a difference or, as it puts it: " A book of 50 simple actions to change the world and make you feel good." It's VERY well designed, and the organisation behind it is more of a brand/virtual organisation called We Are What We Do. That, in turn, was set up by David Robinson who, for many years, has led the pioneering charity in East London, Community Links. Their aim is to reach as many as possible, and their actions reflect that, being very accessible. They have an impressive reach, and are doing some great educational downloads as well. They say that "We Are What We Do is a movement. We’d like to inspire people to use their everyday actions to change the world".
So there you go. While there is some limited crossover between the three books, 500 Ways has little in common with the two other books, being more about YOU generating the ideas, and being involved in the creative process. Rather than telling you what the solutions are, the GIB aims to encourage you to come up with them. I hasten to add that the web arms of both the others ask people to submit their actions (indeed, that was one of for a Fiver's 50 actions), but these are generally small, one-person actions, rather than new ways of doing things, new schemes, new projects or new innovations.
Hopefully that helps clarify the difference a little for those who are interested. I would only add two final thoughts:
1) that it is refreshing that all three books are out there informing and inspiring people. And, in the future, I believe we will all work together in one way or another.
2) 500 Ways is best value per idea: 500/£8 = 1.6p per idea; 365/£8 = 2.2p; 50/£5 = 10p. ;0)