My Experiences in BUS 358: Innovation, Design, and Prototyping

Essay 8

The Process of Social Innovation

Geoff Mulgan

  • “Social enterprise and innovation: mutual self-help, microcredit, building societies, cooperatives, trade unions, etc.”
  • New models that are influential in social arenas (i.e. – child care, social care)
  • “Social Innovation refers to innovations that are social both in their ends and means”
    • Meet social needs, create greater social capacity to act/be diffused
  • Social innovation exists: aging populations, with growing global diversity, chronic disease increase, behavioral problems, transitions to adulthood, crime and punishment, Growing GDP vs. stagnating happiness levels, climate change
  • “Greatest gaps between needs and current provisions” is where social innovation opportunities lie in waiting
  • “There is constant improvement precisely because there is constant discontent.”
  • Social change is
    • Driven by a small number of heroic, energetic, impatient individuals
    • Fueled by ideas rather than an originator (or a movement)
  • Cultural basis of social innovation makes social change possible.
  • “S” curve design – starts slow, rapid growth, slows down at maturity
  • “The starting point of innovation is an idea of a need that isn’t being met, coupled with an idea of how it could be met.”
  • Looking for “positive deviants” (those doing it against the odds) can help generate ideas
  • New ideas need to be tied to new possibilities
  • Try, tinker, brainstorm lots and then eliminate, design, prototype, test, assess, scale up, diffuse, learn, and evolve.
  • Social movements need basic legal protection and status and open media to work; social innovation less likely to occur if right conditions not present.
  • Social innovations are motivated for different reasons, have different results, and meet/fill different needs than business innovations.
  • Important to understand social innovation because the key industries of this century require these approaches (a social revolution like the industrial/business ones)
  • “Addressing the barriers in the way that stand between us and social change.”

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