If you put your ear to the ground on Wall Street and Paternoster Square, you’ll hear the footsteps of a new revolution. It sounds like corporate purpose. It sounds like meaning and like hope. Selfish profiteering is evaporating from the streets all the way from London to Tokyo, and social entrepreneurship is taking its place. One media company is leading the fray: Change Creator is becoming to the social impact space what Forbes is to capitalist bliss.
Its founder, Adam Force, wasn’t always a social entrepreneur. At the peak of his achievement as WebMD director and marketing mogul, he learned that traditional enterprise only rewarded him with its own spoils. It didn’t provide meaning, and Adam didn’t want to change bank accounts. He wanted to change the world.
The First Change Creation
On a day as profitable as any other, Adam disconnected his devices and flew to a country civilisation had forgotten. The stars threw light on the uncivilised meaninglessness of his civilised career. Out there in Nowhere Land, it was as though humankind had never spilled oil in an ocean or cut down a tree. He was looking at an alternate universe corporate greed hadn’t touched. Every child deserved to see the unspoiled masterpiece before him, but was it possible for one burned out brand strategist to make that happen? Probably not, but what might happen if he armed thousands of others with the tools to work towards lasting change?
Force wanted to leverage a growing business model called social entrepreneurship and teach fellow activists how to do the same. “The best way to contribute to [my] causes was to help change the way people approach business,” says Adam. “Our real cause is to […] arm these entrepreneurs […] with the tools and insights they need to have a model that includes impact.”
In many ways, Amy Aitman was Force’s first change creator. She’d recently embarked on her own hunt for a purpose-driven career to cure her burnout. Like Adam, the lack of meaning in her work was consuming her happiness one deadline at a time. When she became Change Creator’s first editor and co-founder, the media company was already telling the big stories—those of Nobel Peace Prize winners, viral philosophers and social impact gurus. With Aitman’s help, it transformed into a holistic platform and pocket mentor that exposed activists to the brilliant minds that were changing the world. When the first Change Creator hit digital ‘shelves’, social entrepreneurship was barely a whisper in business schools, let alone on the web.
By providing direction and leadership, it tapped into mankind’s greatest resource: the human mind. “There are people who haven’t lived to their potential, and they could have the most important ideas to humanity. We need to make sure that they get the mentorship and information they need to bring those ideas to life.” The next great deforestation solution could be hiding in a secret village in the African savannah. The next answer to global warming could be standing idle in a tiny cottage at the foot of the Siskiyou Mountains. Humanity’s next great peacemaker isn’t necessarily mixing with renowned politicians and academics, so accessible social impact mentorship is critical to humanity’s survival.
But changing the world is a child’s dream, right? It’s not what serious entrepreneurs do.
Or is it?
“We really believe people can be a force for good,” Amy says. “If we had one million change creators, that’s one million people […]helping the environment and social justice.”
It’s a grand goal, but it’s already creating seismic change. “We’ve reached 150 countries around the world with our content, just from the magazine itself. We’re the only platform that has high profile celebrity support, and that is the Nobel Peace Prize’s Muhammad Yunus and Ariana Huffington and Seth Godin. We’re really building the brand equity and teeing ourselves up to become the largest media player in the social business space.”
Without tools, even the loftiest ideas fail, and without mentorship, those tools are often left in a locked figurative box, forgotten and corroded. Change Creator achieves what it does by avoiding the impenetrable philosophy so rife in the business press and offering bread-and-butter guidance instead. That’s why they’re still growing past their 20th magazine in an ecosystem in which 60% of magazines fail.
The Endangered Business Species
Deloitte’s 2018 survey found that today’s organizations are no longer judged by their financial performance, but their relationships with their workers, communities, and causes. Social entrepreneurship is not a mere spark in a desolate space. It’s a global collaboration that’s becoming as ubiquitous to the business world as white cuffs and collars. “There’s a transformation in business taking place. We’re trying to facilitate that progressive approach. Money is still the fuel for the engine of business, but the people, the planet, and [our] impact is the focus. We need to flip the script, to change the narrative of how people think about business.”
Change Creator uses award winning social entrepreneurs to teach readers that activism isn’t an impenetrable club, and its methodology isn’t written on the top-floor walls of a London skyscraper in invisible ink. The question Force and Aitman want to answer is “How do you make a living and a difference?” The pathway towards becoming a lawyer or a doctor has been cleared by a million feet before you, but the one leading to social entrepreneurship is still covered in dense flora. Change Creator is hacking through the underbrush so that others can find their way more easily. It provides actionable advice and practical insights from the brightest thinkers in the impact space. If you follow that pathway all the way into the present, you’ll find a collective community of social entrepreneurs who are normalising for-profit activism.
Amy Aitman represented the brand at her first Survive and Thrive conference last year. Interacting with a crowd of social entrepreneurs, and in one pivotal moment, she saw that the Change Creator concept was as magical as she imagined. “If the data is right, and I think it is, billions of people want to be social entrepreneurs and need the help.”
An Algorithm Called “Life”
A purpose-driven career might be a moral pursuit, but it’s also a core ingredient to happiness. “It’s not about doing work because you have to put food on the table. It’s about creating the lifestyle that gives you meaning. If you want a happy life, this is the best time in history to pursue a passion and turn it into your own business,” Force explains. “Wake up every day and do something that matters to you.”
Nobel Peace Prize winner and Change Creator, Muhammad Yunus, said, “A human being is a person of love, empathy, compassion, and fellow feeling. If we create a conceptual framework that allows us, indeed encourages us, to express our deep rooted human values in our economic life, we can transform the wealth-pyramid into a wealth-diamond. These values can be expressed through social business to take us there.”
By connecting and informing social impact entrepreneurs, Change Creator is adding to that framework. In doing so, it has created a mass-collaboration that’s charging towards a brighter day—one where more people have access to clean water than mobile phones, where plastic pollution is decreasing and endangered species populations are rising. To achieve it, global thinking must reinvent itself entirely. It sounds like an impossible goal, but Adam and Amy know better.
“I always think of life as an algorithm,” Adam says, “You have to change the variables every day if you want different results. If we’re making a movement, it’s based in rebellion. We are rebelling against the norm because we want different results. We’re rebelling against old thinking. Now is the time to take a stand.”
“There’s this big transition in how people are thinking about [and marketing] their business. They’re driving a prioritization of the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit,” explains Adam. Change Creator represents and feeds a generation of heroes who want to make a difference at the pivotal moment when the world learns how to save itself.
The New Normal
Amy Aitman and Adam Force are allergic to the word “normal,” and that’s why Change Creator is extraordinary. It was designed to be edgy and unique in every respect, from its design to Aitman’s digital content strategy. “Normal gets us the results we already know about,” Force explains. When the first Change creator “rolled” off the figurative shelves, social entrepreneurship was the sole terrain of the academic. To push against this, Change Creator doesn’t look like the Wall Street Journal. It doesn’t speak like a thesaurus, and it looks up to its readers, not down at them. The platform needs to clear away the scent of exclusivity from the social impact space. “We believe that good business should be available to everyone,” explains Aitman. “Our approach is more inclusive, younger, and less academic. There’s a purpose behind that.”
Behind the impressive goals to uplift the social impact space, Change Creator has an even bolder ambition: to make social entrepreneurship the norm, not just in the social impact space, but the business world as a whole.
This is How the World Begins Again: Not with a Whimper, but a Bang
Chaos theory says that a single butterfly flapping its wings has the power to cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. Force and Aitman have their own wings, but their ambition for Change Creator is to teach thousands of butterflies to flap their wings. The hurricane is starting to unsettle the grass—the platform’s traffic has grown by 948% in only seven months. While other media companies are selling out and shutting down, Change Creator is watching its readership not only grow at a breakneck pace, but also evolve into new social entrepreneurs.
This year, a reader named Anna Schweihs followed Change Creator’s advice to immerse herself in the region she wanted to support. It took her all the way to the slums of Uganda, where education is a privilege many parents can’t afford. “Music is such an integral part of the culture there, so I’m working to uncover ways to leverage the power of music to create opportunities for education.”
Anna’s first stop is Masese, a Ugandan village stricken by poverty and juvenile homelessness. Her next stop? The world…
… And Anna is not alone.
“We’ve heard back [from people who have] changed their whole life, moved across the world because of what they’ve learned in Change Creator. Our mission is to make our audience the heroes of our story.”
A New Generation
On a chilly morning in September, Amy Aitman’s seven-year-old daughter asks, “Mom, do you know how we can save the earth?”
“I’m working on it.”
Somewhere in 21st century America, a young butterfly flaps its wings.