If there is one thing that unites the emerging field of social innovation it is a shared interest in social problems. But on closer inspection social problems are seen to be treated in a number of different ways.
One of the most striking features of the social problems presented in the literature is how dramatically they vary in scale. Social innovation, for some, is concerned with global problems such as climate change that affect everyone (Cooperridder & Pasmore, 1991; Osborn, 2009), in contrast to those who focus on local problems such as deprivation that affect a select few within a specific neighbourhood (Nussbaumer & Moulaert, 2004). There are also differences in the way the social problem is specified. It can range from a general term such as “the economic crisis” (Mulgan, 2009) to more specific issues such as dealing with obesity and addictions (Mulgan, 2006).