Guest Blogger: Tim Glynn Burke on “The Power of Social Innovation”

Many thanks to Graham for allowing me to post some ideas about our new book, The Power of Social Innovation

One of the ways we introduce the book is in the context of existing literature on social entrepreneurship:

Many have written on the efforts and attributes of individual “social entrepreneurs,” a term popularized by the exceptional work of Bill Drayton of Ashoka. Notable contributions include How to Change the World by David Bornstein; The Power of Unreasonable People, by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan; and Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek’s Life Entrepreneurs. Recent books such as Forces for Good, by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant, and The Charismatic Organization, by Shirley Sagawa and Deb Jospin, chronicle the features of high–performing organizations run by social entrepreneurs. This book builds on those insights but looks beyond entrepreneurial individuals and organizations to entrepreneurial networks and fertile communities.

In truth the books we listed are all fairly recent and fall within a narrow sliver of a young field.  The topics we write about build on much more extensive discourses in the fields of public management, nonprofit management, networked governance, social policy, urban planning, education policy, and more.

During our research we often identified some underexplored tension between government and social innovators, only to be reminded that many others had studied and written on that very topic. Continue reading

Social Innovation News & bits 13th May 2010

Here’s a few things that caught my attention over the last two weeks while writing a chapter on my dissertation:

And I really enjoyed Daniel Pink’s site…found a great street sign and the video below – not much to do with social innovation per se but  thought they might be worth sharing!

Social Innovation (TM): Good business?

It is not difficult to find examples of businesses that are embracing the language of social innovation.  It’s a no-brainer.  Who wouldn’t want to be associated with novel solutions that have social benefits. It’s simply good business.  In many ways it is an outworking of the “triple bottom-line” movement where a company not only recognizes its “social responsibilities” but then goes the extra mile.  This is no longer about ameloriating the negative effects of doing business; it’s about using the firm’s resources to tackle a social problem.  What could be better than companies with vast experiences of innovation and management using this energy to generate novel solutions to change the world?

Well, it depends.  Continue reading