Charles Tsai

Charles Tsai

Charles Tsai

Journalist, speaker and consultant for social entrepreneurs

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The best small town in America experiments with self-directed learning at its public high school. A group of students gets to create their own “school-within-a-school” and they learn only what they want to learn. Does it work? Charles Tsai finds out by spending a week with the Independent Project.

If students designed their own schools…

February 14, 2013 — 5 Comments

A 14-year-old Burnaby student, Tomas Lang, has created a simple solution to reduce waste at his school. He’s launched a “library” for event organizers to borrow commonly-used materials such as plates and silverware. The Green Events Program also teaches organizers how to set up a waste management system to properly sort waste. Tomas hopes the program will be adopted by other schools so that all school events can become more sustainable.

Green Events Program

January 15, 2013

Engagement Mechanics from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

Earlier this month, Knight Foundation, as part of its Technology for Engagement Initiative, gathered thought leaders to talk about the best ways to use new tools and platforms to bring communities together around important issues. Here, author Charles Tsai and Dave Timko talk with Games for Change co-founder Benjamin Stokes and others on design principles for engagement. Read more at

Engagement Mechanics

June 20, 2012

What is Engagement? from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

Earlier this month, Knight Foundation, as part of its Technology for Engagement Initiative, gathered thought leaders to talk about the best ways to use new tools and platforms to bring communities together around important issues. Here author Charles Tsai and videographer Dave Timko contribute the first post in a series on the opportunities and challenges uncovered. Read more at

What Is Successful Engagement

June 20, 2012

Social Creatives

Social Creatives Website

June 20, 2012

One year after launching Social Creatives, I have completely overhauled the concept and purpose of the website.

Social Creatives is now designed to be a launchpad for your own world-changing projects. It provides inspiration, tools and resources to help you answer that fundamental question, “How can I contribute to a better world?

It’s not an easy question but it’s not an impossible one either. It’s not the same as asking, “How do we solve climate change?” or “What is the meaning of life?”

Figuring out how you can contribute and make a difference is a personal question, not a theoretical one. Only you can come up with the answer.

As you’ll see over and over again on the new site, the answers are as varied as the people behind them. All types of individuals are creating change in their own unique ways – students, stay-at-home moms, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.

Change is not a profession. It’s a calling and a practice that spans all human endeavors. Regardless of where you find yourself, there are opportunities for you to contribute and make a difference.

In that spirit, the website has three main goals:

1) Showcase diverse projects
We learn by example. The more we can expose you to the wide range of projects that others have initiated to create change, the sooner inspiration will strike. Browse the Projects section, watch the videos and immerse yourself in the stories of others. Let their inspiration guide you. We will feature new projects on an ongoing basis and tease out the lessons we can learn from each one.

 2) Provide tools for action
By definition, “social creatives” are people of action. Sooner or later, you’ll want to roll up your sleeves and start doing things yourself. That’s when the real fun begins. We’ve started creating tools that make the process easier. Take a look. More are on their way.

3) Connect you to valuable resources
Through our blog, we will showcase resources and opportunities that we think are especially helpful to change agents. Subscribe to our blog posts via email if you are interested. (See box in right column.)

Of course, every project is distinct and has unique needs. If you feel compelled to reach out to us for help, we’ll be more than happy to learn about your project and offer mentorship assistance where we can.

We welcome any feedback, suggestions or even critique that you may have for this new website. We look forward to featuring your project someday soon.

Charles Tsai
Executive Director


Endeavor: The Rise of Social Creatives

March 18, 2012 — 2 Comments

How do we make a difference? How do we live a life that matters?

Deep down we know we should contribute positive change in some way. It’s the how that stumps us. In a world dominated by institutions of power, what can one individual do anyway?

These days, a lot. Empowered by education and technology, today’s change agents are initiating projects of all kinds to create new possibilities and contribute to a better world.

Endeavor, a new multi-touch ebook, showcases ten project types of today’s “social creatives.” Each category features two projects that have made a positive impact. Hear their creators share their stories through inspiring TED and TEDx Talks. Let their examples be an inspiration to you as you try to make a difference yourself.

A forthcoming ebook will guide you step-by-step through the process of creating and improving your social change project and help you develop the core skills of changemaking.

If you have an iPad, download the multitouch version of Endeavor.