Critical Thinking & Social Entrepreneurship: A Harvard Graduate On a Financial Mission
One of the greatest challenges for the upcoming generation of leaders, active citizens, and responsible adults is to figure out ways to reclaim balanced lifestyles from a contrived system of over-consumption and credit card debt. Luckily, this generation is equipped with visionary and innovative solution-making skills that combine contemporary thought and respect for time-tested wisdom. The result: quirky, out-of-the-box thinking that just might help society kick some nasty habits.
Innovators realize the power of entertaining, individually-empowering yet educational technologies and communications. One promising venture, Zindagi, combines social gaming and penny-wise know-how with the vision of shaping how rising generations view personal finance. Imagine socially-conscious teenagers who make enlightened decisions about how personal philanthropy can make a difference.
What inspires such forward thinking? Inevitably a personal story that contributes to a wave of talented individuals carving unique career paths towards social change. Jason Young, cofounder of Zindagi, has a Harvard degree and worked at Merrill Lynch managing high-profile projects. Perhaps 10 years ago, those achievements would have symbolized the precipice of success for a 20-something beginning his career. The scenario today is a lot different.
Young describes his vision behind Zindagi to teach Americans personal financial responsibility and the advantages of being financially capable. "It's important to use critical thinking when we spend and learn about how we can incorporate philanthropy in our personal finance. Society is not doing a great job of serving those in need, so how can we inspire individuals to do better?"
Zindagi exemplifies two key features of promising social entrepreneurship: incorporating social gaming and online communications to shape younger generations, and fulfilling young entrepreneurs' idealistic lifestyle needs. While Young and his teammates are still in the early stages of executing on their dream of educating a more financially capable America, you can learn more about Zindagi at OneZindagi.com/kickstarter.
--By Ruhi Shamim
Editor's Note: For regular readers, this might remind you of the highly successful Pepsi Refresh Project. Where Zindagi might potentially elevate the power of social engagement and financial literacy is by its innovative idea of connecting millennials and future generations with corporate and individual philanthropy. Keep writing in by leaving a comment, emailing In Good Company or connecting with us on Twitter @VaultCSR.
Ruhi Shamim is a social media marketer and blogger, specializing in corporate social responsibility, urban planning and sustainable transportation, and cultural diplomacy. She has worked with Sosauce, Justmeans, Sparkseed, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and is currently developing a Green Network for JobThread, a New York based technology startup.
Aman Singh is the CSR Editor at Vault.com, where she focuses on how corporate diversity practices and sustainability translate into recruitment and strategic development. Her blog, In Good Company, discusses on many of these issues.