Organizing social innovation without organizations

One distinctive feature of social innovation is that it is missing a signature organizational form.  In fact many of its proponents are either agnostic about organizations or downright antagonistic. Why?

There are practical reasons. No single organization or sector has the resources, money or expertise to fix social problems that have impacts that extend beyond their boundaries (Osborn, 2009) such as dealing with climate change.  So to think about a single organization fixing a social problem just doesn’t make sense. The consensus is that novel solutions to social problems can originate from any sector (Bacon et al, 2008; Mulgan et al., 2007) where everyone can be a ‘change maker’ (Drayton, 2006) and should remain “agnostic about the sources of social value” (Phills et al. 2008, p. 37).

There are also arguments around organizations being lousy at innovating on social problems.  Continue reading

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