social innovationEach of us has our own little problems but these tend to pale in comparison to the needs of society as a whole. We live in a world that literally changes by the minute, with new technology and ideas launched on a daily basis.

Change can be a good thing, but when it happens, it’s important that they are developed in a way that is for the greater good of the entire community. This is where social innovation comes into play to make sure that it happens.

Just about everything that can affect how a society operates, such as education, working conditions, health issues, and much more, fall under the umbrella of social innovation. The idea is that a number of different entities, be it government, private, or public, can collaborate to develop and innovate new ideas. Often it’s the creativity of these different entities that can make a change that is sorely needed for a community to move forward.

Some of the bigger problems and issues that plague the world cannot easily or quickly be solved, which means starting small and making changes that will hopefully have a ripple effect. One example is education, with inner city schools struggling to stay afloat as classroom sizes continue to grow. One solution is the introduction of charter schools, all of which are publicly funded, where teachers are free to become more creative in the methods teach, and where children can still get a great education without the family feeling as if they are tied to a particular school.

Pollution is another problem, but can be attacked using social innovation. This usually occurs by giving companies that are part of the problem an economic incentive to reduce their emissions. For example, a company that falls well under the allowed emissions cap, can sell of the remaining amount of cap space to other corporations that are having difficulty achieving the cap number. The cap limit is slowly reduced over time, which means that the amount of harmful emissions will eventually be kept in check as those companies comply.

We spoke earlier about working conditions being part of social innovation, and this is often achieved by making sure that Fair Trade practices are in place. Fair Trade rewards those companies that are known to pay their employees a decent wage, and who pay attention to the effects their business has on the environment. Being recognized by the Fair Trade movement ensures that these companies provide quality goods and behave in a way that is beneficial to society as a whole.

3 Responses to Social innovation

  1. Very good post and it gives me a lot to think about. Can you imagine if the principles you detail above, combined with social media, had been present during 20th century social changes? The New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage, the Viet Nam war protest.

  2. Melanie says:

    I think it is impossible not to socially innovate on large scales these days with, as Emily mentioned, social media and the changes in how connected and informed people are these days. It’s impossible to keep things contained. The main issue is the response by those in charge, because people don’t have the power to actually change much – such as in environmental concerns or economy like you mention.

  3. Cmarten says:

    I think the only way to truly get things done these days is to spread innovation across the entire society you’re involved with changing in whatever way necessary. Of course, it’s impossible to get everyone on board, but things change quicker when the change isn’t centralized like it had to be in the past.


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