How Wilderness Education Produces Social Innovators

In my last post, “Wilderness Education’s Role in Producing Social Innovation,” I highlighted the need young people have today for un-distracted time to think. In this post, we will look at some practical ways that wilderness education encourages and empowers social innovators by giving them time to think and dream about their calling in life.


I recently watched a 30 second video of an interview with Jason Saul, CEO of Mission Measurement. He was asked the question, “What is social innovation?” His answer has profound implications for encouraging and equipping young people. My point in sharing this clip with you is to encourage you that the next time you head outdoors with a group for adventure, or training, or wilderness education, remember that God is probably doing something bigger than you imagine. You might have a platform to encourage and launch out a young social entrepreneur into the business world, or academia, or missions. Don’t miss the opportunity draw out the treasure hidden in the young people you are leading.

RELATED: Successful Leaders Do Stuff Differently | #5 Seek a Mentor

The crux of Jason’s overview is that social innovation taps into the engine of the company to solve social issues. This isn’t really a new idea, but it probably has better footing with this generation than some earlier generations. Here are the four aspects of what he calls a “social innovator”:

1.  They design intentional business strategy

2.  They leverage the core business, i.e. the engine of the business, and not using the leftovers to throw at “good causes”

3.  They create new economic value by serving new under-served markets (sounds like missions doesn’t it?)

4.  Creating positive social change, not just reducing the negative footprint of the business (this is visionary language, not reactionary)



As you invest in and lead your participants, always be thinking of how you can ask the right questions to help people think beyond themselves of how they “have been blessed to be a blessing to others.” We need more organizations and churches to start developing leaders with this kind of intentionality. If we do, we will be part of a movement that this world desperately needs: to raise up social innovators and social entrepreneurs who have a biblical worldview and Jesus-centered ethics.

  • How can you take advantage of the quiet and solitude the wilderness offers to help young people think?
  • What are some intentional strategies you could use on your outdoor trips to help young people think about the corporate application of what they are learning, not just the individual implications?



Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

2 thoughts on “How Wilderness Education Produces Social Innovators

  1. How can you take advantage of the quiet and solitude the wilderness offers to help young people think? Thoughts?

Comments are closed.