What exactly is social good?
According to Anne Koller and her crew, it can be something both broader and more personal than its popular definition often recognizes.
Koller is the founder of TAPIN, a New York City-based project that “seeks to make the world a more emotionally connected place. Our community connects through interactive art installations that explore the broad spectrum of human emotions. We believe true freedom comes through exposing our most intense emotions and finding new power to remove the barriers around our dreams.”
How does all of that relate to social good? Koller explains:
After working in social good for some time—in favelas in Brazil, in coffee fields in Rwanda, at Davos [the World Economic Forum annual meeting] with some of the world's most powerful leaders—I thought I would have become a diplomat by now, or work in the foreign service. I speak four languages, I have a Masters degree in public administration from Columbia... Sometimes I have guilt and ask myself why I'm not still out there.
But what I've learned is that we are unable to create true social good if our service is inauthentic, if it feels responsibility-driven and not in line with our true purpose. Social good is about aligning with what makes us truly unique and then magnifying that to serve others. Someone else might feel that working in an orphanage is their purpose—in fact, I know lots of people do, and that's a wonderful thing—but it’s not mine.
All the world needs from you is to be a lot of what you are. Capitalize on that, drive it forward. The more you can work with your own alignment, the more powerful your contribution can be.
A friend recently said to me, ‘With TAPIN, you’re allowing people the opportunity to feel free and be themselves.’ I don’t know what else social good is, or what else I could be doing. And this strikes me as a perfect time to redefine social impact. We—all the people who are shaping the world today—can redefine it for ourselves.
TAPIN’s head storyteller Becky Burton further illuminates that social good’s scope can be broadened in the other direction, too—it’s not just about rethinking what roles we should fill as individuals, but also about rethinking who we should aim to serve:
For people who want to take action, there’s an expectation for social good that it only serves disadvantaged communities. But we think social good is for everyone. Social good is everyone finding their purpose and living their passion—it’s not only about helping people in a state of crisis. It can take the form of a very simple action that just brings a smile.
Read more about TAPIN's approach to facing emotions and making creative experiences around them on their website.
Photo courtesy of Kathryn Weill