Spaghetti & Social Innovation: What should stick?

A few days ago a good friend of mine referred me to a recent set of articles on social innovation in the Philanthropist. After the link, he wrote:

“Seems a bit like throwing spaghetti at a wall to me, but I know you love a challenge.”

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A great week for social innovation but…

It has been a great week for social innovation!  The Young Foundation launched an Open Book of social innovation ideas and knowledge and NESTA released a a new website to build and maintain a growing network of its proponents. states that it has over 500 methods for those willing to take the plunge. While this a great step forward in showcasing and collating examples of social innovation, the foundations of social innovation remain flaky.

A central problem is that there are multiple definitions of what social innovation means (see some examples at  For some, it is really a term to connect a new idea to a social group in a positive way.  No one thinks innovation is a bad thing and it’s ever better if it makes a difference to lots of people :) For others it implies collective participation in generating solutions or it reflects a social consciousness behind the innovation process.

Does this really matter when social innovation is popping up everywhere (see Google News Chart below) even at the White House? Continue reading