Improvisation: Designing Solutions through Intuition and Resou...

A #FilipinoAmerican story as told by International Award-Winning Social Entrepreneur, Gemma Bulos. Read her full story below: “I first learned how to ‘improvise’ by watching my Filipino immigrant parents. They navigated new systems and lifestyles by watching people and figuring out stuff on their own. Their lack of knowledge became their strength; they could spot flaws in systems simply because they came into them blind and unaffected by the way things were supposed to be.It’s an art that carries over in my social entrepreneurship path. When I won the fellowship for Echoing Green for my mission to develop safe, effective water systems for Filipino villages, I was focused on simply creating a simple solution. I didn’t think what we were doing was extraordinary. In fact, since I had no background in water sanitation or international development, the solutions we were implementing seemed much more intuitive rather than devised.A big part of our success came from listening and responding to what our stakeholders were telling us. Just like my parents, I harnessed my powers of observation. I had no script or instruction manual. But unlike my parents, who didn’t want to expose their lack of knowledge, I came armed with questions. Instead of preaching about our new technology and instructions on how to use it, I worked with grassroots communities to build on each other's ideas and co-create integrated solutions. After all, those with the least resources are the most resourceful.Then I wondered: if someone like me who didn’t know anything about water and development could make an impact, what more could I have achieved with proper training? My training modules apply lessons from my mistakes. The grassroots women we are training shouldn’t need to figure everything out. If we give them the right tools, they will be armed with both knowledge and ingenuity. I know it doesn’t take away all the uncertainty, but as an improviser, I’m ready for the lessons that come with every unexpected turn.”About: Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines, from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation. #FAHM #FAHM2017NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo

Posted by AARP AAPI Community on Thursday, October 19, 2017

Improvisation: Designing Solutions through Intuition and Resourcefulness

A #FilipinoAmerican story as told by International Award-Winning Social Entrepreneur, Gemma Bulos.

“I first learned how to ‘improvise’ by watching my Filipino immigrant parents. They navigated new systems and lifestyles by watching people and figuring out stuff on their own. Their lack of knowledge became their strength; they could spot flaws in systems simply because they came into them blind and unaffected by the way things were supposed to be.

It’s an art that carries over in my social entrepreneurship path. When I won the fellowship for Echoing Green for my mission to develop safe, effective water systems for Filipino villages, I was focused on simply creating a simple solution. I didn’t think what we were doing was extraordinary. In fact, since I had no background in water sanitation or international development, the solutions we were implementing seemed much more intuitive rather than devised.

A big part of our success came from listening and responding to what our stakeholders were telling us. Just like my parents, I harnessed my powers of observation. I had no script or instruction manual. But unlike my parents, who didn’t want to expose their lack of knowledge, I came armed with questions. Instead of preaching about our new technology and instructions on how to use it, I worked with grassroots communities to build on each other’s ideas and co-create integrated solutions. After all, those with the least resources are the most resourceful.

Then I wondered: if someone like me who didn’t know anything about water and development could make an impact, what more could I have achieved with proper training? My training modules apply lessons from my mistakes. The grassroots women we are training shouldn’t need to figure everything out. If we give them the right tools, they will be armed with both knowledge and ingenuity. I know it doesn’t take away all the uncertainty, but as an improviser, I’m ready for the lessons that come with every unexpected turn.”

About:
Filipino American Disruptors is a month-long storytelling initiative powered by NextDayBetter x AARP AAPI Community celebrating the stories of Filipino Americans in a range of disciplines from community activism to tech entrepreneurship. These forward-thinking individuals are trendsetters, trailblazers, and problem-solvers in their respective fields, helping to push America and the Filipino American community forward through their leadership, creativity, and innovation.

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Candice Quimpo