Who can be a changemaker?

20 nov. 2018 |

Our world is enjoying unprecedented social, economic and technological progress, which is transforming how we interact on a global scale.

But despite the obvious leaps which we have made in recent years, challenges remain, with millions of people still being failed by the systems supposed to serve them.

It’s increasingly clear that the solutions to these challenges won’t be found solely by looking to the traditional models of global policymaking, business and philanthropy. Instead, a new generation of ordinary people are taking some of the world’s biggest issues head on – and finding innovative solutions where others couldn’t. They are the changemakers.

Changemakers are philanthropists and innovators who focus on transforming the world around them into a better place for all. They are those who grasp opportunities, come from any walk of life and from anywhere on the planet.

In short: everyone has the potential to be a changemaker. 

Encouraging change 

Changemakers challenge the status quo and encourage others to do the same. While transforming our world is something everyone can be a part of, sparking real and lasting change is something that requires trial, error and education.

Mentoring and sharing knowledge ensures that like-minded people and the next generation have the skills and confidence to think big and bring their ideas to life.

Several organisations exist to help and inspire changemakers. These include projects like the Ashoka initiative and the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders campaign, both of which aim to inspire and foster leadership skills so that individuals can have the maximum impact in their own situations.


Changemaking is also multi-faceted. For example, multiple acts of “micro-leadership” can spark real and lasting change among groups of people, however small these groups may be.

Acts of micro-leadership, as the term suggests, are small but significant actions that anyone can implement, learn from and use as a foundation to bring about positive change.

Changemakers who perform acts of micro-leadership are also social ‘intrapreneurs’; those who activate change within a business, including by introducing community engagement initiatives and volunteering, for instance. 

Celebrating changemakers 

Lesser-known – or “hidden” – changemakers around the world push for this type of victory every day. And alongside global activists, it is these people we are celebrating at the 2019 Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF). 

It is people like Yuhyun Park, for example, who has worked tirelessly to transform our understanding of digital literacy. Through her pioneering work on how technology intersects with education, she developed a digital citizenship education platform for children in South Korea and Singapore

She also helped launch the Digital Intelligence Quotient (DQ) education framework - an international think tank aimed at setting global standards for education and policies on digital intelligence.

According to DQ, improving digital intelligence “equips individuals to become wise, competent, and responsible digital citizens who creatively use, control, and create technology to improve individual and societal dignity, prosperity and well-being”.

Thinking big

Changemakers are shaped from their own experiences, drawing strength from adversity, using it to think big, challenge the status quo and encourage others to do the same.

This includes people like Mark Pollock, who was paralysed in an accident in 2010.

Today, Pollock is a motivational speaker, explorer and was the first blind man to reach the South Pole. He has also dedicated his life to curing paralysis by donating his body to experimental research and connecting people worldwide to fast track the cure.

GESF 2019 asks: “Who is changing the world?”

Our forum will hear from both Park and Pollock – and many more changemakers from different fields and countries. It is their determination to transform lives that we will explore, discuss, celebrate and learn from at the forum.

Register now for GESF 2019 to meet the people that are changing the world.