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. Socialinnovator.info 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 si2.ca). 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