Ashoka U Reflections

Changemaker Talent Exchange & Impact Ecosystem: Building the Future We Want

Date: June 1, 2022 

Ashoka has joined forces with twenty higher education institutions and ImpactX, a tech-for-good company, to launch the Changemaker Talent Exchange, an initiative to promote the identification of Changemaker talent and establish a portal that matches talent to work and internship opportunities. 

This initiative is spearheaded by Ashoka’s Chief Entrepreneur for People, Bob Spoer, and Chief Network Officer for Ashoka U, Heather MacCleoud. The participating colleges and universities are Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses which have a proven track record of excellence for social innovation. The effort is global, with representatives from North America, Europe, Asia, and Asia-Pacific regions.   

The team intends to increase the visibility and nurture the skills of Changemakers. Spoer, who was formerly an executive at LinkedIn, is inspiring the group to innovate a new kind of online profile that will enable Changemakers to communicate their talents and achievements and lead to a very much needed appropriate credentialing for impact-doers. ImpactX will lead the co-creation process to build this talent enablement system hosted on the ImpactX Platform.     

ImpactX is already host to hundreds of Changemaker projects, including many from Ashoka Fellows, and offers an alternative to the siloed world of impact activities and data. ImpactX is a cloud-based social infrastructure that lets Changemakers network, as well as create their own platforms and own their own data, while using common tools to aggregate and share results and insights. 

The group is motivated by a commitment to increase the density of Changemakers, which they see as essential to equipping society to deal effectively with accelerating change. Changemakers, they argue, represent the talent pool most capable of generating solutions in a world where traditional institutions and societal norms are being deeply challenged.

They envision the Changemaker Talent Exchange helping to unleash an unprecedented wave of young people who are empathetic, adept at exercising agency and skilled at inventing solutions to complex, systems-level problems. 

MacCleoud, who leads the Ashoka U network of higher education campuses, says today’s students are ready to take up the mantle. She reports that young people are yearning for opportunities to make a difference and the campuses in her network are keener than ever to help these students acquire the skills they need to lead social innovation.  

The Changemaker Talent Exchange will introduce a job and internship portal that connects students to impact-related opportunities. By early 2023, the talent enablement system is expected to be ready for public release. The plan is for the system to evolve, eventually offering micro-credentials for a range of Changemaker-related skills and supporting the recognition of Changemaking as a critical skill set for government and industry, which traditionally have not included social innovation credentials in their hiring practices. Companies and major philanthropies have already expressed interest in participating.  

Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Advisory Group

The Ashoka U Changemaker Campus Advisory Group for this effort includes:

Representative Campus Location
Kate Ames CQUniversity Australia
Holly Carter University of Evansville / Harlaxton College United States / United Kingdom
Deb Friel CQUniversity Australia
Gustavo Grande Florida International University United States
Manuela Hill-Muñoz University of St. Thomas United States
Wray Irwin University of Northampton United Kingdom
Dustin Killpack University of St. Thomas United States
Sandra LaFleur Miami Dade College United States
Erin Lewis University of Evansville United States
Laura Murphy Tulane University United States
Matthew Nash Duke University United States
Melissa Nelson Rollins College United States
Nicole Norris Georgian College Canada
Christian Park Hanyang University Korea
Radovan Perez Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP)  Mexico
Lucas Senger Western Washington University United States
Hyun Shin Hanyang University Korea
Anne Stone Rollins College United States
Allen Thayer Portland State University United States