Sometimes disrupters come from unexpected places. In order to solve our major social problems like poverty, hunger and education, we need innovation and new thinking to solve them on a grand scale. Would you expect a bankrupt nonprofit to have the answer? Or a restaurant that opens in an unpopular part of town?
In this episode of Add Passion and Stir, two provocative thinkers share their creative strategies with host Billy Shore. Entrepreneur, author and activist Dan Pallotta is known for the creation of multi-day charitable events like the Breast Cancer 3-Day walks and AIDS Rides, as well as his iconic TED talk on how the way we think about charity is dead wrong. Boston restauranteur Garrett Harker restaurateur makes a practice of using his restaurants to activate up-and-coming neighborhoods and empower staff members to engage in this community revitalization. Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength and an innovator himself, asks Pallotta and Harker about how they use their respective platforms to disrupt norms. Pallotta uses his platform as a founder of nonprofits to voice his disagreement with society’s expectations of them. “Nonprofits should not be hamstrung,” he says, by things like an inability to spend money on fundraising or donors’ requirements of low overhead. “Nonprofits have the capacity to radically disrupt the world in a short period of time… We need to unleash their power to address massive social problems.” Harker uses the unlikely platform of placing a restaurant in a transitional neighborhood to transform a community and develop staff members. “We realized how galvanizing it can be to put together a staff and make it part of your mission not just to take care of people, but to help elevate a community and a neighborhood.” With restaurants such as Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square and Branch Line in Watertown, his twin goals of striving to be the best and positively impacting the neighborhood have led to many successes.
Listen to the episode and marvel that the answers to our biggest social problems may not come from the usual suspects, and get inspired to disrupt norms yourself.