I like the way Social innovation is enjoying growing recognition all over the world. I really think it is the future to solve many of our current social and environmental problems, but one of the main challenges is that many of us are unsure of how it happens and how to define it. Here’s a quick overview of social innovation, as developed by Social Innovation Generation.
What is Social Innovation?
Also, I have put together the definitions proposed by key researchers and actors:
A novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals. (Phills, Deiglmeier & Miller, 2008, p.36).
Social innovation is an initiative, product or process or program that profoundly changes the basic routines, resource and authority flows or beliefs of any social system. (Westley, 2008).
Social innovation refers to innovative activities and services that are motivated by the goal of meeting a social need and that are predominantly diffused through organizations whose primary purposes are social. (Mulgan, 2006).
By social innovation we mean both new things that work and existing knowledge applied in new ways to solve social problems. (Pearson, 2007, p. 7).
Social innovation = application of a new idea or a new application of an existing idea that yields lasting social value, i.e. not just to the direct consumer, addressing a social need in a more effective way. (Leadbeater, 2008).
We use the term ’social innovation’ to refer to new ideas (products, services and models) developed to fulfil unmet social needs. Many are supported by the public sector, others by community groups and voluntary organizations. Social innovation is not restricted to any one sector or field. (Bacon, Faizullah, Mulgan & Woodcraft, 2008).
The development and application of new or improved activities, initiatives, services, processes, or products designed to address social and economic challenges faced by individuals and communities. (Goldenberg, 2004).
A social innovation as a significant, creative and sustainable shift in the way that a given society dealt with a profound and previously intractable problem such as poverty, disease, violence, or environmental deterioration.(Nilsson, 2003).
Social innovation is not just about improving the innovative capacity of social organizations. Rather, it is about innovations in our capacity to organize social and financial resources to achieve large-scale social impact. (Eric Young cited by Pearson, 2007).
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