An Illustrated History of Social Innovation, Intervention and Startup Failures: What can we learn from some classic, unexpected, unknown and dramatic stories of failures in social interventions? We explore a carefully curated selection of failures by some of the most successful innovators and some not so successful, the reasons for their failure, the lessons learned and the path forward from them. This includes products that became features, companies that failed to evolve, companies evolving progressively displaced by disruptive innovation, enabling and complementary technology becoming available, the driving force of consumer demand (and government contracting), paradigm shifts and creation, as well as a wide range of lessons to learn from real stories. We will discuss 6 cases, but more than 10 cases are provided for review and exploration.

  • Classic Cases of Failed Social Entrepreneurship and Investment.
    • Office du Niger
    • Lesotho Highlands Water Project
    • Lake Turkana fish processing plant, Kenya
  • Emprendimientos Sociales Tecnológicos Fallidos Recientes.
    • Shorebank.
    • Aravind partner hospitals program.
    • Playpump.
    • SuperMighty.
    • Zoosa.
This course is part of our multi-module "Social Entrepreneurship and Impact from Business" program for full and rounded capacity building on Social Startups and Social Innovation. Click here for more details.
About the Instructor: Carlos Miranda Levy

Carlos Miranda Levy speaking at TEDxTokyo.A social entrepreneur and innovation technology expert with 20 years of work in human development, education, culture, disaster response and the environment, Carlos has led multiple social impact technology initiatives across the globe, while maintaining a successful career at the service of international organizations, government agencies and corporate and non-profit organizations.

His multiple credentials include a Stanford University Digital Vision Fellowship, a National University of Singapore Social Entrepreneurship Residency, a Google Developing World Scholarship Award, a Bill & Melinda Gates TEDGlobal Scholarship, a Reuters Foundation grant, among many others. Carlos has been featured on CNN as one of 20 Latin American Leaders on the Internet, on Forbes as a Latino Leader in Silicon Valley and as an Emerging Leader by New Media Consortium at MIT.

A balanced mix of tech skills, business savvy and understanding of social processes, give him a unique advantage for visualizing stakeholders and ecosystems, their processes and opportunities, drafting strategies, leading teams, organizing events and creating technology solutions. This is clearly appreciated in his work with vulnerable youth, disaster survivors, teachers, policy makers, software developers and communities, which has taken him from the Caribbean mountains to Silicon Valley, the Amazon basin and snowcapped Andes; to Haïti, Singapore and Japan, and more recently to Africa and Europe.

His hands-on, proactive spirit has benefited from the lessons learned through field experience at scenarios as diverse as remote rural villages, the headquarters of international organizations, Presidential offices and government agencies, high security prisons and some of the most prestigious universities in the world. He summarizes his approach and methodology to problem solving and ecosystem intervention with a simple phrase:

“never help: engage, enable, empower and connect”.
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