Introducing Our Social Innovation Spotlight

By: Jacquelyn M. Rose

We recently highlighted the importance of networks when cultivating and supporting social innovations in the blog, Supporting Networks of Innovators Addressing Social Needs, citing Steven Johnson’s quote, “If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come from just giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.” This year, Connecticut Children’s Advancing Kids Innovation Program (AKIP) will explore how we can engage and leverage our network of innovators and innovation supporters in an effort to strengthen the community child health system.

Since AKIP was established in August 2015, 36 professionals from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center have consulted with and supported 40 innovators developing products, programs, channels, platforms, networks, systems, and business models designed to help children and families reach their full potential. We want to highlight the work of these innovators, celebrate their successes, learn from their challenges, and perhaps most importantly, connect them to new people and networks that can support the continued growth and development of their social innovations.

AKIP is excited to announce the launch of a new series that we hope will help us do just that: Social Innovation Spotlight.

Social Innovation Spotlight will highlight the contributions of social innovators promoting the health and well-being of children, families, and communities where they live, work, study and play. Each quarter we will feature a new social innovator that participated in our Community Health Innovation Check-Up, received support from Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health (the Office), and demonstrated a commitment to supporting the continued growth and development of their innovation in order to have maximum impact on children and families in their communities.

Hartford Promise is the first innovator featured in Social Innovation Spotlight. Hartford Promise is an integrated college success model that seeks not only to help Hartford public school students finance their college education, but also works to ensure those students are successful in college and beyond by helping them access appropriate social, emotional, and academic supports and resources. Hartford Promise participated in a Community Health Innovation Check-Up in Fall 2016 and received technical assistance from AKIP in Spring 2017 that helped them define their innovation model and articulate an evaluation framework that will allow them to assess their impact.

Are you a social innovator promoting children’s optimal healthy development, strengthening families, and supporting communities? We would love to learn about your work! Please share your story with Connecticut Children’s Advancing Kids Innovation Program at advancingkids@connecticutchildrens.org.

Jacquelyn M. Rose, MPH, is the program manager for Connecticut Children’s Advancing Kids Innovation Program.

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