1. What is ASPIRe?

ASPIRe is a global initiative co-created by Ashoka and Societal Platform to support a diverse cohort of Ashoka Fellows to reimagine how their social-impact mission can be redesigned, using the platform and system change thinking, to dramatically increase their impact to reach population scale.  In the ASPIRe journey, an initial cohort of seasoned social entrepreneurs experiments and apply proven design principles and best practices, to create/leverage open, shared infrastructure to distribute the ability to solve, decentralize implementation to enable stakeholders to implement the program in their context. 

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2. What is the Societal Platform Thinking?

The societal platform is open, technology-enabled ecosystems that provide ‘co-creation’ spaces where innovators can design, develop and build a wide array of solutions. They engage an open network of execution partners — from government institutions and entrepreneurs to citizen sector organizations and individual citizens — to deliver these solutions viably in a rapid, scalable manner.   

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3. What is System Change thinking?

At the heart of every social entrepreneur’s ambition is to fundamentally change the system within which they work, so as to impact the largest possible number of people, without the need for the entrepreneur to replicate their organisation or themselves. 

To achieve systems change it is the impact, not the organisation that needs to be scaled. And that means being open to others taking credit and joining in, as long as the desired outcome is achieved.  

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4. Who is driving the program?

ASPIRe has a dedicated team of professionals who possess the intent, the experience and the vision to drive the vision of the program. With a diverse team from Ashoka & Societal Platform who are experienced in running leadership programs, mentors and advisors also supporting the program at every step, we are reiterating the processes constantly as per each fellow to ensure their impact reaches the population scale.  

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5. Why do we need such a program?

We live in a time of an explosion of social innovation, social entrepreneurs, large funding coming from philanthropists, corporates, impact investors etc and despite all of this, millions still suffer. The co-creation of ASPIRe came from a common awareness that Ashoka and Societal Platform deeply felt: that we need to leverage our strengths, to support Social Entrepreneurs and make an audacious attempt at solving problems at population scale. ASPIRe leverages the 40+ years of Ashoka´s experience in systems change thinking and the amazing work of Societal Platform to create, test, distil and curate platform thinking for the good of all.   

 ASPIRe Supports:    

  1. Determined and restless leaders:  We work with Social Entrepreneurs who are willing to push the boundaries of what they believe can be achieved. We help them see the potential to create change involving millions of people. We nudge them to reimagine what is possible.  We equip them with powerful ideas and design principles. We accompany them to undergo a transformative process of applying these principles in their contexts and building a new vision.  

  1. Harnessing the potential of ecosystems: We challenge Social Entrepreneurs to see themselves not as solution providers but as conductors of the ecosystem. We help them design for change that would positively influence the behaviours of many actors in the eco-system and improve everyone’s outcomes. We help them learn to lead in a way that allows many leaders to emerge and thrive.   

  1. Integration of technology to design for the future:  We equip Social Entrepreneurs with frameworks on how to integrate technology in their work in a way that distributes the ability to solve from one to many, restores the agency of participants and uses data for continuous evolution and change.  

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B. About the fellows

1. Who are the selected fellows?

The selected fellows are seasoned social entrepreneurs with successful interventions in place that want to scale for impact. They are existing Ashoka fellows who are willing to push the boundaries of what they believe can be achieved with ASPIRe. 

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2. What do the fellows undergo in the accelerator?

Through the accelerator, Ashoka Fellows clarify their intended system change and set their bold mission at scale.  They conceive the shared infrastructure that is open for integration by creating standards and protocols that facilitate interaction and collaboration between key actors. Equity for All, in access, affordability and acceptance, is at the core of their design.   They foster decentralized implementation to enable stakeholders to implement the program in their context.  They build capacity and transition the roles of individuals and institutions that can sustain this new impact.   They leverage the use of data to track progress, learn and adjust.   

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3. How does the program enable ASPIRe fellows?

ASPIRe fellows orchestrate to one purpose but allow for many solutions.   By applying system and platform thinking, participants design interventions and approaches that work at population scale. Through the accelerator, Ashoka Fellows clarify their intended system change and set their bold mission at scale. 

ASPIRe Enables Social Entrepreneurs to:  

  1. Build for the many, agency for all – it’s about creating the opportunity, access, and affordability for all   

  1. Distribute the ability to solve instead of distributing already created solutions    

  1. Design and resolve for diversity   

  1. Ensure value is created for everyone in every interaction   

  1. Solve problems as micro responses which allow actors to find solutions to their problems, instead of giving solutions to them.    

  1. Empower with data  

4. What are the issues the social entrepreneurs work on?

The ASPIRe cohort is a diverse set of social entrepreneurs working on some of the world’s most pressing issues. We have fellows successfully working in a specific focus area such as, but not limited to, education, healthcare or economic opportunity, with measurable impact.  

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