Creativity + Hope = Change

by Tamara A.

I have a great respect for creativity. No matter what field that may be in, new and interesting lines of thought that attempt a different approach to addressing an issue or solving a problem are always welcomed. Getting stuck in a single train of thought can be redundant and dangerous.

As an artistic example, take OK Go. The musical group has been around for over a decade and has been capturing people’s attention with their insanely unique music videos. OK Go creates intrigue through the quirkiness and elaborate routines featured in their low-budget videos that takes the focus off of the emotional element of the singing itself. They first received major attention for their “Here It Goes Again” video that showcased a whole dance routine on a set of treadmills. After another one entirely performed by trained dogs, one sporting a dance routine all in time lapse compression, and one displaying the most intricate Rube Goldberg-inspired machine that I’ve ever seen, the band has really established themselves as a group that goes beyond normal thinking.

ImageWhat prompted me to use this example was their 2011 project for their song, “All Is Not Lost”. This began immediately following the tsunami in Japan last year when the group wanted to send a message of hope to the country. The Japanese Google Chrome team approached the group and the collaboration between OK Go, Google Chrome and a renowned Japanese dance group, Pilobolus, resulted in a magnificent video resembling a kaleidoscope using humans. Dedicated to the Japan victims and their communities, the collaborative project really creates a message of hope.

While the application of creativity is obvious when it comes to technologies and products newly entering into the public circuit, it is just as important in the nonprofit world and in addressing social justice issues facing the world. TOMS Shoes has treated and prevented foot disease around the globe through their model of selling attractive shoes to customers with each sale resulting in a donated pair to a child in a developing country. Locally, Little Man Ice Cream donates a scoop of rice towards world hunger for every scoop of ice cream that they sell. Engaging our communities in new ways to educate and generate awareness is a constant battle with creativity.

Edge of Seven is doing our part in this creative process as well. In two ways: with our projects and with our search for support. The blend of using Western knowledge with a local approach in developing countries always invokes creativity. The hostel project that was completed this past year in Salleri was a non-traditional approach to the issue of education for girls in Nepal. Our most recent building projects in Phuleli involved the earth bag construction technique which is not common but was the best approach for the community’s needs and allowed for efficient work from our team.

Securing support for our projects definitely requires a certain level of creativity. With so many worthy causes existing in the nonprofit world, finding the new effective ways to educate and entice people to join our mission is a constant process. Our Groupon campaign in September, online video campaign this fall, our inspiring documentary, etc., etc., etc., all have helped us build upon the solid foundation that has been laid. They have brought many more individuals into our circle and allowed us to grow. That is what is takes to expand and affect change. Creativity to look beyond what is the typical answer. Hope to trust that it will cause change.

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