What change do you bring about, Kanika, and how are you doing it?
I am currently creating The SoJo, an online tool that supports young people who need help in bringing their ideas for social change into action. Using technology, SoJo is changing the ways users learn and absorb information online. I am creating an interface that places the user (student) back in the driver's seat, giving them the power to dictate their learning journey. I'm in the process of creating a technology that is smart enough to recognize what the user is looking for, and adapts the knowledge to each individual's unique needs, presenting knowledge in a non-linear fashion.
What drives you?
I am a young social innovator. I identify unique opportunities and dedicate myself to creating unique solutions to meet those needs. I am a natural creator, and am driven by the challenge and process that comes with creating something new. I have been building and creating social ventures for the past decade. All of my professional work experience has been in the social good sector, and thus it is extremely important that I engage in activities that align with my core values and are meaningful to me.
What are your top tips to a woman who, like you, is using Information Technology to make a difference?
- Focus on your goals and don't get distracted by the noise that surrounds you: Tech is not a female-friendly place, and rather then get distracted by what people say or how they act, I believe it is more valuable to let your results do the talking and be recognized for what you do, not who you are.
- Surround yourself with both males and females that support you and your work. Individuals who do not see your gender, but rather sincerely value the work you are doing and are supportive throughout your journey.
What specific networks work best for you?
All networks work best for me. I learn from people, and believe we should all network without an agenda. The most valuable insights and connections have come from unlikely places, when I was not directly seeking them out.
I am currently immersed in a variety of networks (social change, entrepreneurship, education, technology, youth empowerment), and benefit from the diversity of the exchanges.
My advice to others is to be open, don't be shy to genuinely put yourself out there, share your ideas and ask questions to total strangers. What's more important than meeting new people and expanding your networking, is maintaining relationships.
What question would you have loved someone to ask you when you first started to think about the SoJo?
What are you top priorities and what's your plan to achieving them? I spent the first 6 months of SoJo burning in circles, with very little focus, as I was spread thin in multiple areas. In hindsight, if I was more focused and strategic about how I allocated my time, I would have achieved much more.
Which female social innovator would you particularly recommend our readers to look at/be inspired from?
I honestly don't have a recommendation, because I personally have been inspired by a number of female social innovators, most of whom are my peers who are actively committing themselves to their social ventures. Inspiration changes based on the stage I'm in and what resonates best with me at the time.
Contact The SoJo on Twitter @The_SoJo