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Lifehack Labs, NZ

Lifehack believes in the power of social entrepreneurship to turn the big challenges of our time into opportunities to spend our lives working on things that matter.

Photo of Meena Kadri

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Lifehack Labs 2014 is 5 week design-led bootcamp to kickstart impact projects for youth wellbeing being run this August in Wellington, New Zealand. It asks applicants to think about their life in 3 years: Do you want to be tackling some of the biggest challenges of our time? Do you feel like you don’t have the headspace after Uni or now you’re in work to do something audacious? Do you wish you could find more purpose in your daily work and launch something world-changing? 

Lifehack Labs blends world leading research and insights from the best of positive psychology, lean startup, UX, design thinking, team development, leadership, social innovation and personal wellbeing.They also run weekend workshops throughout the country. They promote social entrepreneurship as an alternate pathway to meaningful employment and impact.

I chatted to Lifehack's core team member Gina Rembe who told me: "Lifehack works towards spreading social enterprise and social innovation to the far flung corners of New Zealand and beyond. We aim to create opportunities and pathways for people of all ages seeking to create work with positive social impact with a focus on young people's holistic wellbeing.

With regards to assessing the impact of our work, we have been following Zaid Hassan's approach of capitals as described in his 2014 book The Social Labs Revolution.  Namely, those are:
Physical capital (new services or infrastructure)
Human capital (new capacities and skills)
Social capital (increased trust and collaboration)
Intellectual capital (new knowledge and learning).
Given the support we receive through participants' in-kind contributions (eg a lawyer offering their expertise) and sponsorship we added economic capital as the fifth one.  Building trust amongst participants and making people feel empowered is crucial to the success of Lifehack. It also supports our theory of change – that by empowering individuals and strengthening communities we can address some of our most difficult social issues."

How might we use social entrepreneurship as a driver for youth employment opportunities? What other social entrepreneurship training programs do you know of globally? How might we measure and evaluate the success of social entrepreneurship programs? 

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Photo of wekesa zab

I recently jus learned that I had a leaning towards social entrepreneurship, its hardly defined and support systems in terms of communities are still not well informed. I find this - "UnLtd 'social entrepreneurship award tool kit " very helpful.. How do we get more informed communities to share networks of change ?

Photo of Meena Kadri

Do you mean this toolkit, Wekesa? https://unltd.org.uk/socialentrepreneurshiptoolkit/ Yeah – it's a great one! I guess entrepreneurship has previously been something that people who were inclined just did out of calling and that's it's only in recent years that training, tools and communities have sprung up around the world to the extent that they are today – certainly with opportunities for further support systems to grow.

What kinds of specific support systems would you like to see?
What communities supporting social entrepreneurship s exist in Kenya? (eg. iHub in Nairobi brings together some social entrepreneurs as part of it's wider mission. I wonder if they do any rural outreach?)

And given entrepreneurship is partly about leadership – what kinds of things do you think you might bring to the table to nurture a community where you live? (eg. might you start a local social entrepreneurship Meetup to discuss issues, challenges and opportunities with like-minded folks? It might only be a few of you that meet once a month – but worthwhile getting the 'social' aspect activated as you pursue social entrepreneurism? :^)

Photo of wekesa zab

Yep, this toolkit very helpful.. Am a regular and Ihub and a lot is being done to support the city's social entrepreneurs afew more hubs exist too, like Pawa254 ( http://www.meetup.com/plusacumen/Nairobi/1126412/ ) <-- we created this meetup group for a HCd course, I seek to sign up more members to learn about this process..

Ihub and rural social entrepreneurs am not in a position of clear information but again the hubs concept is quite new and measuring impact outside its physical proxy is patchy on an information accessibility background and community building basis , wat i luv about Ihub is the online community gains from some info too and the UX lab :) .. Rural hubs will be a great idea.. I even had this ->( http://goo.gl/bMZRNC ) a mobile hub, access to good quality and relevant info is very scarce or/and expensive to access.

Very true .. Setting up a dialogue or support group is a way forward here, we are in toks with FabLab Nairobi and Pawa254 to workout some space - Resources plan..

Photo of Meena Kadri

Wow Wekesa – awesome to hear about your proactive involvement. What would be really cool is if you might find time to create a post specifically on collaboratively setting up the Pawa254 group. What challenges have you faced? What do you feel has been successful? What direction do you want to take things next? We're super excited about learning more from your experiences – and we'd love it to be shared via it's own post.

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