Our Mission and Mantras

Our mission is to nurture the next generation of leaders bent on bettering communities through transformative innovation and respectful risk-taking. The Social Innovation Initiative promotes an open culture of collaborative learning and community impact at Brown through academic initiatives, venture support, advising, and a close, connected network of students, alumni, and practitioners. Learn more about what we do.

We see our principles as the very core of what makes the SII community unique - and the daily mantras essential to achieving our mission. Regardless of how the world's challenges and our strategies may shift over time, we stay true to these three ideas:

Expertise is a slow burn, not a match strike.
We believe that we don't have a right to disagree until we fulfill the responsibility to understand. Before identifying possible solutions, we develop a deep understanding of the issue by listening to the individuals and organizations closest to it. We see their insight as an authority - not an accessory - in identifying the areas of greatest need and potential impact. As a program of a research university with an interdisciplinary lens, we draw conscious connections between curricular learning and community knowledge in order to achieve meaningful impact in the world.

There's always room for one more at the table.
We build inclusive, enduring relationships with individuals, communities, and organizations that see the issue from all sides. All-comers are welcome. Our community grows bigger and more impactful because each member plays the role of both teacher and learner. At the same time, we value what happens beyond the bartering of one skill or tip for another; we build strong networks because they encourage more questions than answers.

Every idea needs fellow schemers and supporters.
We promote a generous, dynamic culture of idea- and resource-sharing and eagerly seek critique to push our work forward. We believe that true innovation is a team expedition, not a solo climb, and understand that impact comes from the willingness to exchange ideas, take risks, and reflect on our actions. We embrace the value of failure as a way to learn, and encourage risk-taking that is calculated and respectful in order to mitigate harm. By continually and honestly evaluating our work and ourselves, we invest in one another and discover new ways to grow.