Innovations are accelerants to social impact - Faizal Karmali, Rockefeller Foundation


The Rockefeller Foundation hardly needs an introduction in the world of social innovation. The Rockefeller Foundation is one of the first institutional philanthropic organizations. The Foundation is now diversifying its engagement with people and organizations in terms of innovation. Faizal Karmali is the Associate Director of Innovation at the Rockefeller Foundation. At BRAC Frugal Innovation Forum held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, SocialStory spoke to Faizal about social innovation, scaling innovation and the work that the Rockefeller Foundation does.

Faizal shares why he believes social innovation doesn’t have to happen in traditional social sectors. He tells about the two times that he encountered social innovation that has really stayed with him. He also divulges information about scaling innovation and what he thinks works better than the typical method and stresses the importance of partnerships in scaling innovation.

Faizal Karmali, Associate Director of Innovation, The Rockefeller Foundation

At the Foundation, Faizal, as part of the Innovation team, looks for innovations that can either benefit from nurturing or that are already established and can benefit the Rockefeller team. Upon discovering these innovations, the Foundation then provides them with connections that they believe can help the innovators to further combat certain social issues such as healthcare, education etc.

Faizal says that just a decade ago, the social entrepreneurship community wasn’t created. The Rockefeller Foundation has become deliberate in its attempt to engage with people and organizations where innovation is happening. “Engaging with these communities is now important, as this is where new innovations are surfacing,” he adds. This information is used by the Foundation to enhance their work and the knowledge from these innovative communities is shared with connections that the Foundation has made around the globe.

Faizal concludes with these words,

Innovations are accelerants to social impact and not necessarily always the silver bullet.

Watch Faizal discussing the various complex elements of social innovation:


This article is part of a series of interviews that were taken at the 2014 BRAC Frugal Innovation Forum: Scaling Digitally. Please visit here to find other articles in the series.


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