May 29, 2017
Alison Harrington is a formidable woman. She is a woman with a great deal to teach the world about creating a life of meaning and purpose. Alison is also a fabulous illustration of Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset,” which is about the underlying beliefs people have about learning.
A social entrepreneur, Alison tells the Creating Space Project a simple story about getting seniors to dance around nursing homes with silent disco technology.
“I’m really fascinated by how we can use this technology to improve the outcomes for people with dementia and basically make people healthier and happier.”
Alison has a post-graduate degree in social impact.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to do something where you effect the emotional outcome of people, particularly people who may not have great circumstances.”
Alison has undertaken a number of entrepreneurial enterprises.
“It’s always great for me when I’m creating something entirely new.”
New business ventures are a risk. For some people, that is such a daunting prospect, that they retreat from their ideas. For Alison, it is a lure. She values testing the limits. She’s a pioneer and she values failure.
“It’s always a combination of fear and excitement. It’s that trepidation, it’s that stepping over the edge.”
Alison explains that failure isn’t something to avoid. It’s a necessary part of growth. It’s better to take an opportunity, to say yes and fail, than to let it go due to not knowing whether you can do it or not.
“Even if you tried doing it and you can’t do it all, you might get 80% and everything is about learning.”
Alison describes the sensation of taking the risk of moving forwards in business as like going over a cliff.
“The image I have is abseiling.”
But, she says, not only do you have to go over the cliff, the more you do it, the more accustomed to the sensation you become.
Being a social entrepreneur is about creating businesses or value in the social sector, Alison says. Using innovation to improve the outcomes for another human being.
“It ultimately comes down to impacting another person at the most basic level.”
It has taken Alison many years to get to where she is in her career now. She describes it as being a place where she is authentic to the elements that drive her: The creative, entrepreneurial side; and the social side, which is about providing something meaningful and purposeful for the world.
As Alison says,
“The funny thing is all the failures and all the experiences have all helped me, in a way, be where I am today.”