WHAT: Create a non-profit organization who's mission is to facilitate bottom up research and innovation by the community and for the community!
HOW: Through an innovation institute of sorts that provides exposure to research methods, design thinking, tips for shaping policy, workshop facilitation, technical support, connections, mentorship, and seed funding to selected community fellows.
WHO: Fellows would come from low-income or otherwise at-risk communities. They would ideally be people who are currently unemployed or under-employed. Fellows would be self-nominated, or nominated by others, or even sought out and invited to come to the institute for a 2-week comprehensive workshop in which they connect to other fellows, receive support articulating their story, are trained in community research methods and design thinking.
BIG PICTURE IMPACT: By attending the institute, community fellows would learn the methods for progressive social change through actual short-term projects. Then they would begin to design either a research project, an intervention, an organization, a funding proposal, and community network, etc. of their choice. They would receive support from the innovation institute in making relevant connections, legal and business consulting, and seed funding. The network of institute alumni would be maintained and drawn on as mentors for future projects and brought together for annual conferences. The fellows would also serve as advisors to different major policy making bodies. The institute would form connections to big influencers in the country and convinces them to place a fellow on their board or include them on important committees (i.e. corporations and universities and local government).
Ultimately the goal is to facilitate social entrepreneurship by informal leaders from the target communities.