Why Social Innovation?
Social innovation is the process of designing, developing and growing new ideas that work to meet pressing unmet needs. The term is a relatively new one, but there is a long history of social innovators and examples of social innovation - from kindergartens to hospices, and from the cooperative movement to microfinance.
The past thirty years in particular has seen a remarkable growth of new social ventures in both the developed and developing worlds. Sometimes referred to as the Third sector, they in fact operate across many sectors, from parts of the public sector, to the collaborative 'household economy' and the private market.
Very few people working in the area have had the chance to reflect on the methods they already use, and fewer are aware of methods in neighbouring fields that they could be using. Greater awareness will improve the practice, and success, of social innovation in addressing many of the most urgent contemporary problems we face, from climate change to chronic disease.