Jan
28
2011

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Fellows Friday is a weekly series on the TED Blog that profiles one TED Fellow each week. We have asked the Fellows to answer our question below to share their knowledge and advice with other social entrepreneurs, innovators, and changemakers who are coming up with big ideas that can change the world.

The Internet may help authoritarian regimes more than it hurts them, argues Evgeny Morozov in his new book, The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. Born to a mining family in Belarus, Evgeny himself was once a firm believer in the power of new media to liberate oppressed people. His experience and research, however, have convinced him of the need to shift from “cyber-utopianism” to “cyber-realism.”

Stephanie: There are many aspiring social entrepreneurs out there who are trying to take their passion and ideas to the next level. What is one piece of advice you would give to them based on your own experiences and successes?

Evgeny: One good piece of advice to social entrepreneurs is to avoid situations where good solutions overtake better ones. There is an interesting effect in psychology called the Einstellung effect. It basically captures this very common occurrence where our previous experiences with things or strategies or ideas limit our horizons, in a sense.

If, for example, you are playing chess, and one particular tactic that you've used against your opponent has worked in the past, you may just keep using that tactic because you've already used it, and you know it works. You might not evaluate the environment again, perhaps coming up with a much better and faster solution.

As it applies to social entrepreneurs, I think they always have to know that there is probably a more optimal solution than the one they are currently considering.

Read the rest of Evgeny's Fellows Friday interview here.

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