What is innovation? It’s a broad term - synonymous with, for example, transformation, development and restructuring. But, how can it be deployed as a specific instrument for Enactus success (and beyond)?
The Enactus UK ‘Innovation Event’ has demonstrated how to use ‘innovation’ as an inclusive process that cultivates project success. Broadly split into two categories, the day was divided into, first, what the process of effective ‘innovation’ looks like and, second, how this directly correlates with the Enactus judging criteria.
First, despite the broad connotations with innovation, we split what a successful ‘innovation process’ looks like into four distinct categories: goal, reality, options and will. ‘Goal’ regards the initial identification of objectives of which to base further strategy around. ‘Reality’ concerns the gap between ‘as-is’ and ‘to-be’, evaluating challenges and assumptions that may influence the project. ‘Options’ questions ideas for change and improvement that will help achieve maximum growth and value. Finally, ‘will’ defines accountability for individual action and implements an operational plan to achieve target-outcomes for long-term project growth. Together, these steps help establish a clear and comprehensive process to achieve project success - from initial project-idea exploration, to its final idealisation.
Second, we explored how this innovation process directly aligns with success at Enactus competitions and the judging criteria. Perhaps controversially, Enactus Sheffield has previously been somewhat fearful of Nationals – fearful that the drive of competition could diminish the integrity of our projects. However, this event demonstrated how the four aspects of the judging criteria – use of innovation, business principles, entrepreneurial leadership and sustainable positive impact to benefit people, planet and prosperity – serves to drive innovation, not stifle it. While each aspect of the ‘innovation process’ is measured against the relevant criterion, this is not a procedural checking of the boxes, but a means to guide an inclusive project that is well-considered, fair and beneficiary-centric. To demonstrate this, we analysed Enactus Canada’s World’s video and recognised how the marking criteria is used to consider all aspects of the project and its development.
Enactus Sheffield will apply this strategy and way of thinking to our current and future projects as a means to cultivate inclusive, diverse and successful social enterprise projects.
Thank you to Enactus UK for hosting this event and we look forward to more opportunities to collaborate in the next year!