It’s the end of the year, so naturally I am feeling very reflective. We have a lot to be grateful about at Dare to Innovate. We are grateful for our partners who took a chance in the last year to hire a scrappy social start-up to help them understand markets, enact impact, and learn about innovation. We are grateful for our donors whose generosity truly allow us to keep the lights on – seriously a surprise check came in the mail the same day I withdrew the last dollar from our bank account. We are grateful for our entrepreneurs who are our daily proof that innovation comes from everywhere and that business is an effective tool for development. I don’t even know how to express the level of gratitude I feel towards our staff and volunteers.
I am grateful for all of these people and organizations who make our work possible, and I am also grateful for the way that we work. We have the privilege to deeply know our users. Dare to Innovate was born out of relationships and will thrive from relationships. As we move further away from a time when we delivered one simple product as a group of founders to 21 entrepreneurs who were truly our family, I recognize what a privilege this knowledge is and I am thrilled to spend the next 5 weeks building new relationships and deepening others.
Dare to Innovate is developing OZÉ, the business adviser in the pocket of every African entrepreneur. It’s a new product and we are developing it in Ghana, a country that is new to me. And so I am returning to my roots. I am returning to the models that I trust for innovation. I have planned weeks of ethnographic research. I’ll be spending time observing Ghanaian entrepreneurs at work and in their communities. I’ll be mapping the organizations that support them and uncovering their pain points. I will set aside what I think the answer is and let it emerge from rich qualitative research. I will allow myself to be delighted by work-arounds and I will share frustrations. I will get to test and build and test and build and test. It’s not every day that an organization like Dare to Innovate is able to carve out time and a budget just to learn, so I am grateful and cannot wait to share what we find with all of you.
I hope you all have brilliant holidays full of hope, love, and gratitude. I know that I will.
Meghan is the co-founder and CEO of Dare to Innovate. She is a systems-thinker passionate about creating value for communities, consumers, and corporations. Meghan served in the Peace Corps in Guinea and is currently a Legatum Fellow at MIT.
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