The purpose of social innovation should be to substantially improve social and economic justice, otherwise it’s not worth it. Social innovation challenges traditional assumptions and strengthens the problem-solving capacity of future generations. It is not just a new law or program or funding stream. New techniques, technologies and methodologies don’t in themselves guarantee significant change. Social innovation profoundly shifts cultural attitudes, habits, norms, relationships, hierarchy, values and the story we tell about each other.
Five Good Ideas
Social innovation -
- Starts with passionate amateurs
- Marries the past and future
- Does not have a dress code
- Goes better with belonging
- Has unintended consequences
Five Good Resources
- Anything by Frances Westley. The best introduction to her work is Getting to Maybe: How the World Has Changed (Random House, 2006), co-authored with Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton.
- John Elkington and his team at Volans are at the leading edge of thinking about social innovation. Check out their website and their recent report Future Quotient.
- Ezio Manzini is a leading European thinker about design, social innovation and sustainability. Check out his blog. Here is a link to a long but inspiring video of a recent presentation in Australia. SIG will be bringing him to Torontothis spring. Keep in touch at http://sigeneration.ca/.
- Adam Kahane has practical insights and proven strategies to improve our ability to work with allies and colleagues as well as strangers and opponents. His latest book, Power and Love: a theory and practice of social change (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2010). Read his approach to change-labs.
- The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common. Their most majestic project is the Clock of the Long Now – a clock designed to tick for 10,000 years but will only tell the time if you power it.