On Monday, November 12, Ideas for Action (I4A), a joint initiative of the World Bank Group and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School, organized and led “From Ideas to Action: An Ideation Workshop.” The three-hour workshop was designed for students, members of the Wharton community and, for the first time, Ideas for Action Regional Finalist winners from around the world who joined virtually. The event incorporated elements of Design Thinking in a social entrepreneurial context to help attendees learn frameworks to help solve today’s most challenging issues. Attendees came away from the session with the ability to articulate venture proposals centered on social impact.
The workshop began with an address from Dr. Djordjija Petkoski, a former Lead Specialist at the World Bank and current Senior Fellow at the Zicklin Center. His insights on development challenges were followed by a presentation from James Forr, Director at Olson Zaltman, a leading market research firm that pioneered the use of brain science in market research and consulting. Mr. Forr discussed his research with former winners and finalists of the Ideas for Action competition, and he investigated the thought processes of young innovators in the sustainable development space. Students were particularly inspired by the revelations of this research; with one student commenting: “It gives me great relief and encouragement to see that these successful innovators are able to genuinely acknowledge the hurdles they face along the way and navigate their ways accordingly, refusing to let anything get in their path toward success.”
The final portion of the workshop split students into teams to work through different steps of the Design Thinking process, ideating a solution to a real-world social problem. This section was lead by the Co-Presidents of the University of Pennsylvania’s I4A Club, Walid Beramdane and Michelle Jaffee. The workshop’s incorporation of real-world case studies helped attendees create a model from which to expand their own ideas.
Groups focused on issues across the globe, with some tackling issues ranging from food deserts in the United States, to the lack of educational opportunities in Western Africa. Many students who were focusing on similar ideas chose to work in collaboration to achieve a synergistic effect. By the end of the workshop, attendees had developed tangible venture proposals they could incorporate into real solutions to solve challenging global issues.
We look forward to this event being only the first time of many in which we are able to bring together I4A winners, students, and experts from around the world to help us all achieve sustainable change.