15 Jun

Brainstorming for Social Change

By Stephen Anfield | 15 June, 2010 | 3 Comments

Brainstorming is a fun activity. It used to be one of my most favorite activities (tied with eating paste), and I always liked the outcome of a good brainstorming session. Each time we had a brainstorm in school, we always had to recite the rules. To be honest, I’ve never participated in a brainstorm of this scale. Heck, I’ve never had the opportunity to get so many ideas about helping others than the forum on this website! It’s been quite the experience, and since we’ve all been participating in an online brainstorm, I’d like to play teacher for just a minute and provide my take on the rules.

Postpone and withhold your judgment of ideas
While simple, I think this is the most difficult rule to follow. There are a lot of people who are very passionate about humanitarian aid efforts. Even more of you have experienced when good intentions end up being detrimental to a societal problem. In this vane, I consider this a means to think out loud. True, we don’t know everything. True, we should do research. True, I used to eat paste as a child (it explains a lot, right?). At the end of the day, I hope that as we continue to fine tune 1MillionShirts, you will continue to provide your suggestions/comments. We appreciate them, and we are using them to create something for individuals to help themselves.

Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas
Collecting 1MillionShirts is a pretty wild and exaggerated idea, right? What started as an idea to help a friend who needed a couple hundred shirts, turned into something much larger. The most successful of people didn’t get where they were by thinking small. Some of the wildest ideas, oftentimes run into mistakes along the way. My late grandmother taught me that mistakes are always okay… it’s all about the recovery.

Quantity over quality (at this stage)
The more ideas, the merrier, right? Receiving so many responses has been excellent! It’s helpful that everyone has taken notice because now it’s easier (for me, personally) to get answers to all the questions I’ve had about what has/has not worked. Having a forum such as this has been a great way to get a better idea of best practices.

Build on shared ideas
And that’s what we’ve been doing. With the help of several aid professionals, we have created a way to foster entrepreneurs. We know that simply gifts in-kind aren’t the best way to change an economic situation, so the idea is that we’d like to fund the ideas of entrepreneurs so that they can do what needs to be done. We don’t know what needs to be done, but they do. Giving a group of individuals the tools to succeed has the potential to ensure a sustainable economy.

Every person and every idea has equal worth
Self-explanatory. As I’ve stated, we’ve listened to everyone, and we want to make sure we get it right. We know there are best practices out there, and we want to do whatever we can to get a better understanding of each component.

As we move forward, we want people to know that we’re not only about 1MillionShirts. We’re also about 1 million minds and the ways that social entrepreneurship can create economic sustainability. No, we’re not going to be able to help 1 million people directly, but we can help a few (think: Starfish Story). Equipped with tools to help the community, these few will be leaders in guiding social change. We don’t want to undermine anyone’s intelligence, and we know that we don’t know what’s best. And knowing this, is the first step to a successful dialogue that will lead to a successful project.

I hope that we can all work together on this global brainstorm for good.

If you’re wondering what will be done with the t-shirts, stay tuned for our next blog post!


ma xiang June 17, 2010

helping people and helping the effort to create a harmonious world is everyone’s obligation.count me in first!

Schnurloses Telefon August 20, 2010

the valuable content you presented do help my research for my company, appreaciate that.

Contact Form August 22, 2010

hey man I like it. I’m going to write more articles and try out your ideas. After all, we always have something new to learn and being humble, I came here to learn. Bookmarked.

- Andre