Ideas Can’t Change the World…

January 12, 2012

Don’t get me wrong… great ideas are important but without action, change cannot occur. We live in a generation where good ideas and good intentions are commonplace but action and execution is harder to find. The thought of starting something new and innovative, whether that is an organization or a project or a club, can be paralyzing if we’ve never walked that path. There were a lot of unknowns in my journey to start CARE for AIDS and people ask me all the time when it comes to their own ideas, “Where do I start?” or “What are my next steps?”  Over the next couple months, I am going to write a series of posts that unpack some of the key steps I took and questions I answered to start CARE for AIDS.

On a side note, I will add that inspiration cannot happen in a vacuum. I did not get the idea to start CARE for AIDS while sitting at home. An intentional effort to expand your world through reading, traveling, and meeting new people is so foundational in being aware of the needs in the world around you. I would have never understood the complexity of the HIV/AIDS crisis and the need that existed there without going to see it firsthand.

So, the first question you must ask yourself is, “What is the need… really?” Until we can accurately assess a need or a problem that exists in the world, we cannot begin to create a solution. As it is often said, “A problem well defined is half solved.”

Ask yourself the following questions:

What is the immediate need?

Often time these are basic human needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare. We should respond to these needs, but it is only a quick fix not a long-term solution. We must ask more questions.

What is the long-term need?

In our case, we saw a need for HIV+ parents who were healthy, skilled, and ideally, Christian, who could, for the foreseeable future, provide for the needs of their children. That would prevent children from being orphaned unnecessarily.

What factors are perpetuating these needs?

The spread of HIV/AIDS is the reason why these needs exist in Kenya, so in addition to caring for those that are infected, we need to help stop the spread. The ways to do that are through education, spiritual transformation, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and proper ARV treatment ().

Who is best positioned to meet that need?

Maybe it is the local church, an existing non-profit, or the government.  Sometimes it is in our best interest to offer our talents and resources to another group that has already started tackling an issue instead of reinventing the wheel. But if that doesn’t exist, then it may require that you start a new initiative.

I look forward to unpacking this more over the next few months. My hope is that, when the time is right, you will feel empowered to start something that can change the world.