Ashoka identifies and supports the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, learns from the patterns in their innovations, and mobilizes a global community that embraces these new frameworks to build an “everyone a changemaker world.” Read about Ashoka’s theory of change for this historic moment, the new inequality, and the new framework that they require.


This report presents our findings and is organized in two parts. Part I outlines the strategies Fellows use to build an Everyone a Changemaker™ world. Part II outlines the strategies Ashoka uses to support Fellows’ lifelong commitment to changemaking and efforts to realize the Everyone a Changemaker™ vision. Besides other insightful information and facts about the ways how social entrepreneurs can change the world, this study has drawn out the 11 “how-tos” used by Ashoka Fellows to activate people as contributors and solution-providers in their communities. These are a great help to understanding how the social impact works.



Inspire individuals to become changemakers 

Strategy 1: Create opportunities for many individuals to contribute. In addition to creating employment (95% of Ashoka Fellows) and volunteer opportunities (87%), many Fellows recognize that it is time for a fundamental shift especially in the role of young people. 89% of Fellows are putting young people in charge of leading change within their organizations.

Strategy 2: Encourage individuals to believe in their own capacity. By encouraging problem-solving on even a small scale, Ashoka Fellows expand others’ sense of agency. Giving a person the opportunity to take action and make a difference–no matter how small–sets in motion a long-term commitment to changemaking.

Strategy 3: Redefine “weaknesses” as strengths. Interview data showed that Ashoka Fellows take stock of people’s skills and invite them to put these to good use. Further, they look at what broader society may perceive as weakness and find strength, leveraging diverse experiences or skills to drive positive change.

Strategy 4: Support changemaker identity development. Ashoka Fellows identity as changemakers sustains their commitment to systems-change work. This identity benefits their communities and professional endeavors as well as their personal development and quality of life. Wanting this for those around them, Ashoka Fellows help others to develop changemaker identities.

Collaborate to engage more changemakers 

Strategy 5: Build multiplier partnerships. Ashoka Fellows build partnerships to generate solutions, impact, and changemakers. They work with others toward a shared vision. They often relinquish control and ownership of their ideas to see them spread as far as possible: 82% of Ashoka Fellows have had their innovations replicated by others (through strategic partnerships, open sourcing or licensing, among other methods). 61% replicated within their country, and 42% at an international level.

Strategy 6: Create space for the community’s voice. Ashoka Fellows see community members not as beneficiaries, but as experts and decision-makers. As such, they create space for community members to develop solutions and voice their plans for action. They present ideas and ask for input from a range of stakeholders or invite others to partner in implementing solutions.

Strategy 7: Engage individuals everywhere. Interview data show that Fellows strategically target community members who are beyond the inner circle of allies. By targeting “unlikely allies,” Fellows can often engage those who may not normally encounter a specific social issue, but who can meaningfully contribute to positive social change.

Change systems to support all changemakers 

Strategy 8: Shift policies and market systems. Many institutions either by design or inadvertently prevent large portions of society from reaching their full potential. Ashoka Fellows shift systems and restructure institutions to operate in service of the collective good and provide many more people the freedom and support to contribute. They do this by changing policies of large companies or industries (51%), encouraging them to include previously excluded communities (52%), or creating value for a product or service where it didn’t exist before (51%). At the legislative level, 63% of Ashoka Fellows changed or influenced government policy, while 66% have advised policymakers as experts.

Strategy 9: Influence societal mindsets or cultural norms. By influencing societal mindsets and cultural norms, they help others see and act in accordance with social changes that benefit all. Fellows do this by encouraging people to think differently (88%), through campaigns (43%), or through programs (21%).

Strategy 10: Foster supportive environments that enable changemaking. Fellows invest their energy in the creation of communities where individuals feel psychologically and physically safe, cared for and supported. They do this within the walls of the organizations, but also wherever they convene the broader community in public spaces from classrooms to community squares. In doing so, individuals feel comfortable to share their ideas, work with others, and build something new.

Strategy 11: Build ecosystems that sustain changemaking. Interview data show that Fellows bring together funders, businesses, governments, civil society organizations, media companies, and universities to reduce barriers that blunt agency and prevent individuals from engaging in changemaking. By banding together, they can exponentially increase their potential to address issues that perpetuate systemic inequality.


This publication has been prepared within SENBS project No. 2020- 1-EE01-KA204-077999. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.