A non partisan, independent initiative, Visualizing Impact’s primary aim is to use visually stimulating graphic imagery to tell stories that explain social justice. Digitally innovative in nature, the team of creatives produce imagery and graphics acquired from research and data, utilizing various methods to creative informative and telling stories. We talk to them about their participation in the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition.
1) Who inspires you in the Arab World? Every person, particularly those in their twenties and thirties, persisting to be in the Arab region, specifically in the most troubled countries or those on the edge are to be celebrated. I will name a two to give a taste of the wealth of inspiration we have around us:
Nureddine Amro, working to promote integrated education for the visually impaired in Jerusalem, whose home was recently demolished by the Israeli authorities where two families were housed with seven children. Zeina Daccache, applying transformative psychological work in prisons in Lebanon, working with men and women, fully capable of holding her female appeal while gaining full respect and leadership of 40 men, and counting, through her drama therapy program piloted in Roumieh prison.
2) Why did you apply for this competition? Social justice issues are perceived as belonging to the political, humanitarian aid, and activist realms. Changing that perception by bringing social justice issues as fundamental seeds to economies is potentially the quickest way to achieving social justice. We aim to position VI as a social enterprise that is capable of sustaining and scaling its model as well as opening up for others to replicate it to achieve effective and long lasting social justice.
3) How did you prepare for the competition? We see the competition deliverables as a natural milestone within our work which drives us to give the time to articulating our sustainability plan. The competition deliverables: executive summary, business plan and social entrepreneurship canvas provides important guidelines for us to structure our vision and plan forward.
4) Any tips for those who may want to participate in similar competitions in the future?
To not take the competition aspect in a stressful manner, rather to see it as an opportunity for growth whether one wins or not, and in the process, to make sure to seek out input from key people that could help in thinking through and articulating the next stage be it for the idea, social enterprise or startup.
5) What’s your vision for VI? To provide the necessary design and tech based tools that can drive the social justice message to a tipping point effecting tangible change on the ground towards social justice. Those tools are most effective in the hands of the media, and advocacy groups, as well as the mass public whose voting power can change the course of politics particularly in the West.
6) What’s been the highlight and the lowest point of your entrepreneurial journey?
Persistence and belief of the team is the highest driver in our work, where we believe we are equipped with skills that have and continue to have critical relevance and value to changemakers. The lowest points are points when we are disconnected from assessing our actual impact, due to inward focus on operations and production.
7) How will VI have an impact in the world? The more we build strategic partnerships and understand the needs to more effectively support media messaging and produce tools for advocacy groups the more our work will become indispensable and by that be closer to playing a major role in changing the course of current social injustices. In 2015, Visualizing Impact’s work will primarily be developed through such strategic partnerships particularly for Visualizing Palestine, Visualizing Egypt, and Visualizing Employment in the MENA region.