Social Innovators as Super-Heroes

I was recently sent a link to an article by Dorothy Stoneman and J.B. Schramm entitled Superman Isn’t Waiting in the Wings, But Social Innovators Are – it’s definitely worth a read. I tried to add a comment but the blog must have a quality filter that sorted out the wheat from the chaff :) For what it’s worth here is my take on their ideas.

“Fascinating article about the inspiring impact of YouthBuild and College Summit. Not sure, however, if I completely buy the idea that governments simply need to unleash the “superpower” of individuals/organizations, particularly those in nonprofits. First, I’m not convinced that social innovators generally, and nonprofits in particular, are waiting ready for when governments engage. The diversity of nonprofit missions/capabilities/size alone mean that their “superpowers” are not only limited but often contested. Education is full of nonprofits with very different philosophies/goals which become an issue when talking about scaling up.

Continue reading

Social Innovation Webinars: Harvard Kennedy School

Check out these three upcoming webinars from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Power of Social Innovation Series! All are free online webinars. Registration required. Of particular interest to those social innovators working in or with goverment.

Continue reading

Transformative Social Innovation

For many, the interest in social innovation is motivated by the idea of transformation. The goal isn’t just about creating a novel solution to a social problem, its about transforming the social problem once and for all. This is not about creating ripples, this is about ‘sea change’. That’s what makes it so appealing to those who want to change the world.

The problem is that transforming social problems through a novel solution is incredibly difficult. A dominant strategy is one that tends to focus on diffusion. To transform a social problem is to ‘overwhelm it’ with the solution. The logic of this approach is compelling.

Continue reading