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    03 07 what_it_is__said_ 03 07 what_it_is__said_ Document Transcript

    • skoll centre for social entrepreneurship Working paper social innovation what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated Geoff Mulgan with Simon Tucker, Rushanara Ali and Ben Sanders
    •  social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedCONTENTS3 Acknowledgements 27-32 stages of innovation 27 Social organisations and enterprises 28 Social movements3 Authors 28 Politics and government 31 Markets 31 Academia4-6 Summary 31 Philanthropy 32 Social software and open source methods7 Social innovation: an introduction 7 The growing importance of social innovation 33-35 Common patterns of success and failure 7 The Young Foundation: a centre of past 34 Handling innovation in public contexts and future social innovation 34 A ‘connected difference’ theory of social innovation8-12 What social innovation is 8 Defining social innovation 36-39 What next: an agenda for action 9 Fields for social innovation 37 Leadership and structures suited 9 A short history of social innovation to innovation 12 Social and economic change: the shape 37 Finance focused on innovation of the economy to come 37 Public policy frameworks that encourage innovation 38 Dedicated social innovation accelerators13-19 Who does social innovation: individuals, 39 National and cross-national pools movements and organisations 39 Research and faster learning 17 The wider context: understanding social change 40 A global network for action and research20 How social innovation happens: the uneasy symbiosis of ‘bees’ and ‘trees’ 41-46 Annex 1: Why we need to know more about social innovation 41 What’s known about innovation in 21-25 Stages of Innovation business and science 21 Generating ideas by understanding 44 Business innovation and social innovation: needs and identifying potential solutions similarities and differences 23 Developing, prototyping and piloting ideas 44 Existing research on social innovation 23 Assessing then scaling up and diffusing and related fields the good ones 45 Why what we don’t know matters 25 Learning and evolving26 Linear and less linear patterns 47 Annex 2: 10 world-changing social innovations 48 Annex 3: Suggested Further Reading 50 ReferencesSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan acknowledgements ABOUT THE AUTHORSThis report is an updated version of a report This paper has been written by Geoff Mulgan withpublished with support from the British Council in input from Young Foundation colleagues SimonBeijing in 2006. We are grateful to the very many Tucker, Rushanara Ali and Ben Sanders.individuals and organisations who have shared theirthoughts and experiences on earlier drafts, including The Young Foundationin our conferences in China in October 2006, as 17-18 Victoria Park Squarewell as discussion groups that were held in: London, Bethnal GreenEdinburgh, Oxford, Dublin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, London E2 9PFChongqing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, +44 (0) 20 8980 6263Melbourne, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Amsterdam youngfoundation.organd Bangalore. We are also particularly grateful tothe many organisations around the world who are Printed by The Basingstoke Presscontributing their ideas and practical experience ISBN 1-905551-03-7 / 978-1-905551-03-3to the creation of the Social Innovation Exchange First published in 2007(socialinnovationexchange.org). This third edition ©The Young Foundationrepresents a work in progress and we are gratefulto the team at Saïd Business School in Oxford forearlier inputs and for enabling us to share it withthe participants in their world forum on socialentrepreneurship. Any errors or misunderstandingsare our own. SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    •  social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedsummary 1. The results of social innovation – new ideas environmentalism), or from market dynamics that meet unmet needs – are all around us. They and organisational incentives. Here we look at include fair trade and restorative justice, hospices how innovations have progressed through a series and kindergartens, distance learning and traffic of stages: from the generation of ideas through calming. Many social innovations were successfully prototyping and piloting, to scaling up and learning. promoted by the Young Foundation in its previous We look at how in some sectors key stages are incarnations under Michael Young (including some missing or inadequately supported. We look at the 60 organisations such as the Open University, role of technology – and how inefficient existing Which?, Healthline and International Alert). Over the systems are at reaping the full social potential of last two centuries, innumerable social innovations, maturing technologies. We also show that in some from cognitive behavioural therapy for prisoners cases innovation starts by doing things – and then to Wikipedia, have moved from the margins to the adapting and adjusting in the light of experience. mainstream. As this has happened, many have Users have always played a decisive role in social passed through the three stages that Schopenhauer innovation – a role which is increasingly recognised identified for any new ‘truth’: ‘First, it is ridiculed. in business too. In all cases, innovation usually Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted involves some struggle against vested interests; as being self-evident.’ the ‘contagious courage’ that persuades others to change; and the pragmatic persistence that turns 2. These processes of change are sometimes promising ideas into real institutions. understood as resulting from the work of heroic individuals (such as Robert Owen or Muhammad 3. Social innovation is not unique to the non-profit Yunus); sometimes as resulting from much broader sector. It can be driven by politics and government movements of change (such as feminism and (for example, new models of public health), marketsSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan (for example, open source software or organic food), electricity or the internet, depended as much on social 1 Helpman, E (2004), The Mysterymovements (for example, fair trade), and academia innovation as they did on innovation in technology or of Economic Growth, Cambridge,(for example, pedagogical models of childcare), business. Today there are signs that social innovation MA. Following on from Solow’sas well as by social enterprises (microcredit and is becoming even more important for economic growth. work Elhanan Helpman estimatedmagazines for the homeless). Many of the most This is partly because some of the barriers to lasting that differences in knowledge andsuccessful innovators have learned to operate across growth (such as climate change, or ageing populations) technology explain more than 60%the boundaries between these sectors and innovation can only be overcome with the help of social of the differences among countriesthrives best when there are effective alliances innovation, and partly because of rising demands for in income and growth rates.between small organisations and entrepreneurs (the types of economic growth that enhance rather than‘bees’ who are mobile, fast, and cross-pollinate) and damage human relationships and well being. The keybig organisations (the ‘trees’ with roots, resilience growth sectors of the 21st century economy look setand size) which can grow ideas to scale. Innovations to be health, education and care, accounting betweenthen scale up along a continuum from diffusion them for around 20-30% of GDP, and more in someof ideas to organic growth of organisations, with countries. These are all mixed economies, stronglythe patterns of growth dependent on the mix of shaped by public policy, and requiring models ofenvironmental conditions (including effective innovation very different to those that worked well fordemand to pay for the innovation) and capacities cars, microprocessors or biotechnology.(managerial, financial etc.). 7. Surprisingly little is known about social4. We describe a ‘connected difference’ theory innovation compared to the vast amount ofof social innovation which emphasises three key research into innovation in business and science.dimensions of most important social innovations: In an extensive survey we found no systematic overviews of the field, no major datasets or long-n they are usually new combinations or hybrids of term analyses, and few signs of interest from theexisting elements, rather than being wholly new big foundations or academic research fundingin themselves bodies. Some of the insights gained into business innovation are relevant in the social field, but theren putting them into practice involves cutting across are also important differences (and so far none oforganisational, sectoral or disciplinary boundaries the big names in business theory have engaged seriously with the field). Some of the smalln they leave behind compelling new social literature on public innovation is also relevantrelationships between previously separate individuals – but less good at understanding how ideas moveand groups which matter greatly to the people across sectoral boundaries. We argue that theinvolved, contribute to the diffusion and embedding lack of knowledge impedes the many institutionsof the innovation, and fuel a cumulative dynamic interested in this field, including innovatorswhereby each innovation opens up the possibility of themselves, philanthropists, foundations andfurther innovations governments, and means that far too many rely on anecdotes and hunches.5. This approach highlights the critical role playedby the ‘connectors’ in any innovation system – the 8. Although social innovation happens all aroundbrokers, entrepreneurs and institutions that link us, many promising ideas are stillborn, blockedtogether people, ideas, money and power – who by vested interests or otherwise marginalised. Thecontribute as much to lasting change as thinkers, competitive pressures that drive innovation increators, designers, activists and community groups. commercial markets are blunted or absent in the social field and the absence of institutions and funds6. Economists estimate that 50-80% of economic devoted to social innovation means that too often itgrowth comes from innovation and new knowledge.1 is a matter of luck whether ideas come to fruition,Although there are no reliable metrics, innovation or displace less effective alternatives. As a result,appears to play an equally decisive role in social many social problems remain more acute than theyprogress. Moreover, social innovation plays a decisive need to be. We advocate a much more concertedrole in economic growth. Past advances in healthcare approach to social innovation, and have coined theand the spread of new technologies like the car, phrase ‘Social Silicon Valleys’ to describe the future SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    •  social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated places and institutions that will mobilise resources national pools to develop and test new approaches to and energies to tackle social problems in ways that issues like prison reform or childcare. are comparable to the investments in technology made in the first silicon valley and its equivalents n New institutions focused on adapting new around the world. This is likely to require major technologies for their social potential – such as changes amongst governments, foundations, civic artificial intelligence, grid computing or Global organisations and businesses, and strategies that Positioning Systems. prioritise creative connections, and institutions that can cut across boundaries. n New ways of cultivating the innovators themselves – drawing on experiences from organisations like the 9. We show that although much innovation is bound School for Social Entrepreneurs. to be messy and unpredictable it is likely to be greatly helped by: 10. Very diverse fields are becoming interested in social innovation. They include the fields of: n Leaders who visibly encourage and reward successful innovation, and who can straddle different fields. n Social entrepreneurship n Finance focused specifically on innovation, n Design including public and philanthropic investment in high risk R&D, targeted at the areas of greatest need n Technology and greatest potential, and organised to support the key stages of innovation. n Public policy n More open markets for social solutions, including n Cities and urban development public funding and services directed more to outcomes and opened up to social enterprises and n Social movements user groups as well as private business. n Community Development n Incubators for promising models, along the lines of the Young Foundation’s Launchpad programme All bring distinctive methods and insights. But and the NESTA-Young Foundation Health Innovation all also have a great deal to learn from each Accelerator, to advance innovation in particular other, and from more extensive and rigorous priority areas such as chronic disease, the cultivation research on how social innovation happens. We of non-cognitive social skills or reducing re-offending. describe the emerging ‘network of networks’ (SIX – socialinnovationexchange.org) that is n Explicit methodologies for R&D in the public sector bringing together like-minded organisations and – including new ways of forming partnerships for networks from all of these fields to share ideas innovation between local and national governments. and experiences with the aim of speeding up our common ability to treat, and even solve, some of the n Ways of empowering users to drive innovation pressing social challenges of our times. themselves – with tools, incentives, recognition and access to funding for ideas that work. n Institutions to help orchestrate more systemic change in fields like climate change or welfare – linking small scale social enterprises and projects to big institutions, laws and regulations (for example, shifting a city’s transport system over to plug-ins or hybrids). n New approaches to innovation for individual nations, cities and regions that cut across public, private and non-profit boundaries, including cross-Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan SOCIAL INNOVATIONan introductionThe growing importance of money are spent by business on innovation to meet 2 Rare exceptions include Pinter,social innovation both real and imagined consumer demands. Almost F (1985), Stimulating Innovation:The results of social innovation are all around us. as much is spent by governments – much of it to A Systems Approach, TudorSelf-help health groups and self-build housing; devise new methods of killing people. But far less Rickards; Gerhuny, J (1983), Socialtelephone help lines and telethon fundraising; is spent by governments or NGOs or foundations to Innovation and the Division ofneighbourhood nurseries and neighbourhood wardens; more systematically develop innovative solutions Labour, OUP; Njihoff, M (1984),Wikipedia and the Open University; complementary to common needs. And not one country has a The Political Economy of Innovation,medicine, holistic health and hospices; microcredit serious strategy for social innovation that is remotely The Hague, Kingstonand consumer cooperatives; charity shops and the comparable to the strategies for innovation infair trade movement; zero carbon housing schemes business and technology, although some, for example 3 For example his book: Young, Mand community wind farms; restorative justice in Scandinavia, are rapidly coming to recognise that (1983), The Social Scientist asand community courts. All are examples of social future growth and well-being depend as much on Innovator, Cambridge, Mass.innovation – new ideas that work to meet pressing social innovation as they do on a continuing streamunmet needs and improve peoples’ lives. of new technologies. This report is about how we can improve societies’capacities to solve their problems. It is about old The Young Foundation: a centre of pastand new methods for mobilising the ubiquitous and future social innovationintelligence that exists within any society. We see the At the Young Foundation we have particulardevelopment of social innovation as an urgent task reasons for being interested in this field. For over– one of the most urgent there is. There is a wide, 50 years the Young Foundation’s precursors wereand probably growing, gap between the scale of the amongst the world’s most important centres bothproblems we face and the scale of the solutions on for understanding social enterprise and innovationoffer. New methods for advancing social innovation and doing it. They helped create dozens of neware relevant in every sector but they are likely to offer institutions (such as the Open University and itsmost in fields where problems are intensifying (from parallels around the world, Which?, the School fordiversity and conflict, to climate change and mental Social Entrepreneurs and the Economic and Socialillness), in fields where existing models are failing Research Council) and pioneered new social modelsor stagnant (from traditional electoral democracy to (such as phone based health diagnosis, extendedcriminal justice), and in fields where new possibilities schooling and patient led health care). Harvard’s(such as mobile technologies and open source Daniel Bell (one of the USA’s most influential socialmethods) are not being adequately exploited. scientists in the second half of the last century) There is no shortage of good writing on judged Michael Young to be the world’s ‘mostinnovation in business and technology, from such successful entrepreneur of social enterprises’, andfigures as Everett Rogers, Christopher Freeman, in his work and his writings he anticipated today’sRosabeth Moss Kanter, William Baumol, Eric Von interest in social enterprise and the broader questionHippel, Bart Nooteboom, Clay Christianson and of how societies innovate.3John Kao. Yet there is a remarkable dearth of serious This tradition of practical social innovation isanalysis of how social innovation is done and how now being energetically revived from our base in eastit can be supported, and in a survey of the field we London. We work with cities, governments, companieshave found little serious research, no widely shared and NGOs to accelerate their capacity to innovate,concepts, thorough histories, comparative research or and we help to design and launch new organisationsquantitative analysis.2 and models which can better meet people’s needs for This neglect is mirrored by the lack of practical care, jobs and homes, including radical new modelsattention paid to social innovation. Vast amounts of of schooling, health care and criminal justice. SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    •  social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedWhat socialinnovation is4 There is of course a large literature Defining social innovation organisations that are primarily motivated by profiton the meaning of the word ‘social’ Innovation is often given complex definitions. We maximisation. There are of course many borderlineand its limitations which we don’t prefer the simple one: ‘new ideas that work’. This cases, for example models of distance learning thatpursue here (see for example the differentiates innovation from improvement, which were pioneered in social organisations but thenrecent work of Bruno Latour). implies only incremental change; and from creativity adopted by businesses, or for profit businesses and invention, which are vital to innovation but miss innovating new approaches to helping disabled out the hard work of implementation and diffusion people into work. But these definitions provide that makes promising ideas useful. Social innovation a reasonable starting point (and overly precise refers to new ideas that work in meeting social goals. definitions tend to limit understanding rather than Defined in this way the term has, potentially, very helping it). wide boundaries – from gay partnerships to new Our interest here is primarily with innovations ways of using mobile phone texting, and from new that take the form of replicable programmes or lifestyles to new products and services. We have also organisations. A good example of a socially innovative suggested a somewhat narrower definition: activity in this sense is the spread of cognitive behavioural therapy, proposed in the 1960s by Aaron ‘innovative activities and services that are motivated Beck, tested empirically in the 1970s, and then by the goal of meeting a social need and that are spread through professional and policy networks in predominantly developed and diffused through the subsequent decades. A good example of socially organisations whose primary purposes are social.’4 innovative new organisations is the Big Issue, and its international successor network of magazines sold by This differentiates social innovation from homeless people, as well as its more recent spin-offs, business innovations which are generally motivated like the Homeless World Cup competition in which by profit maximisation and diffused through teams of homeless people compete.Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan  Our approach overlaps with, but differs, from Rising incidence of long-term conditions such as 5 For example the work of Timosome of the other current meanings of social arthritis, depression, diabetes, cancers and heart Hamalainen and Risto Heiskala,innovation. Some use the term primarily to refer diseases (which are now chronic as well as acute) Sosiaaliset innovaatiot jato processes of innovation that are social in nature which demand novel social solutions as well as new yhteiskunnan uudistumiskyky– such as the use of open source methods, networks models of medical support. (2004), Sitra 271, Helsinkiand collaboratives. There is a good deal of interestingwork underway in this field, but it generally ignores Behavioural problems of affluence – includingthe question of purpose (i.e. it covers innovations obesity, bad diets and inactivity as well as addictionswhose only use is better logistics management for to alcohol, drugs and gambling.selling baked beans or insurance). Others use theterm to refer to the social dimension of much broader Difficult transitions to adulthood – which requireprocesses of economic change.5 Here we focus new ways to help teenagers successfully navigateinstead on replicable models and programmes. their way into more stable careers, relationships and lifestyles.Fields for social innovationA contented and stable world might have little need Happiness – the mismatch between growing GDPfor innovation. Innovation becomes an imperative and stagnant well being and declining real welfarewhen problems are getting worse, when systems according to some measures requires new ways ofare not working or when institutions reflect past thinking about public policy and civic action.rather than present problems. As the great Victorianhistorian Lord Macauley wrote: ‘There is constant In each of these fields many of the dominantimprovement precisely because there is constant existing models simply do not work well enough.discontent’. The other driver of innovation is Often they are too inflexible and unimaginative.awareness of a gap between what there is and what They may be fitted to past problems or boundthere ought to be, between what people need and by powerful interests. They may be providedwhat they are offered by governments, private firms by agencies that have become complacent orand NGOs – a gap which is constantly widened by the outdated. The result is unnecessary humanemergence of new technologies and new scientific suffering, and unrealised potential.knowledge. These are some of the fields where we seeparticularly severe innovation deficits, but also great A short history of social innovationopportunities for new creative solutions: Much of what we take for granted in social policy and service delivery began as radical innovation:Rising life expectancy – which requires new ways of promising ideas and unproven possibilities. Theorganising pensions, care and mutual support, new idea of a national health service freely available tomodels of housing and urban design (for 4 and 5 all was at first seen as absurdly utopian and has stillgeneration families and continually changing housing not been achieved in many big countries, includingneeds), and new methods for countering isolation. the USA and China. It was once thought strangeClimate change – which demands new thinking on to imagine that ordinary people could be trustedhow to reorder cities, transport systems, energy and to drive cars at high speed. Much of what we nowhousing to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. consider common sense was greeted by powerfulTechnology has a decisive role to play – but so will interest groups with hostility. As Schopenhauersocial innovations which help to change behaviour. observed: ‘every truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.Growing diversity of countries and cities – which Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.’demands innovative ways of organising schooling, Over the last two centuries innumerable sociallanguage training and housing to prevent segregation innovations have moved from the margins to theand conflict. mainstream. They include the invention and spread of trade unions and cooperatives, which drew onStark inequalities – which have widened in many earlier models of guilds but radically reshaped themsocieties, including the US, UK, China and tend to for the grim factories of 19th century industry; thebe associated with many other social ills, ranging spread of collective insurance against sickness andfrom violence to mental illness. poverty, from self-organised communities to states; SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 10 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated the spread of new models of the university in the parochial, paternalistic and inefficient to meet social 19th century, which drew on the traditional examples needs on any scale. of al-Azhar, Paris and Oxford, but redefined them to Social innovation has never been restricted to meet the needs of modern industrial societies; the what we would now call social policy. Robert Owen spread of the kindergarten, building on Friedrich in 19th century Scotland attempted to create an Froebel’s ideas that were embodied in the first entirely new economy and society (in embryo) from kindergarten in 1837; and the spread of sports his base in Lanarkshire. More recently successful clubs alongside the global enthusiasm for sports like innovations have grown up in many fields. For football and cricket. example, Rabobank, a cooperative bank, has one of During some periods civil society provided the the world’s highest credit ratings. The Mondragon impetus for social innovation. The great wave of network of cooperatives in Spain now employs some industrialisation and urbanisation in the 19th century 80,000 people, and has grown by 10,000 each was accompanied by an extraordinary upsurge decade since 1980. It now operates with some of social enterprise and innovation: mutual self- 50 plants outside Spain making it probably the help, microcredit, building societies, cooperatives, world’s most successful social enterprise. Social trade unions, reading clubs and philanthropic innovation can be found in utilities too: in the UK business leaders creating model towns and model one of the most successful privatised utilities is schools. In 19th and early 20th century Britain the one that chose to become a mutual – Welsh civil society pioneered the most influential new Water/Glas Cymru. In many countries significant models of childcare (Barnardos), housing (Peabody), shares of agriculture, retailing, and finance are community development (the Edwardian settlements) organised through co-ops and mutuals that combine and social care (Rowntree). economic and social goals. There has also been During some periods the lead was taken by social innovation in the media: from trade union social movements. The first of these was the anti- newspapers in the 19th century through community slavery movement in late 18th century Britain radio and television networks to new media forms which pioneered almost all the methods used by like Ohmynews in South Korea. Ohmynews employs campaigns: mass membership, demonstrations, over 30,000 citizen reporters and combines a higher petitions, consumer boycotts, logos and slogans young readership than the newspapers with real (including, famously, the slogan: ‘Am I not a man evidence of political influence. and a brother?’). The 1960s and 1970s saw Religion, too, has played a role in generating, particularly vigorous social movements around sustaining and scaling social innovation, from ecology, feminism and civil rights which spawned Florence Nightingale, who was supported by nurses innovations in governments and commercial markets from the Irish Sisters of Mercy, to the black faith- as well as in NGOs. Another wave of civic innovation inspired pioneer, Mary Seacole, who set up new in movements is under way as the power of the medical facilities during the Crimean war, to the internet and global media is harnessed to causes like Victorian settlements which paved the way for so world poverty and the environment. much 20th century social change. In South Africa At other times governments have taken the lead the anti-apartheid movement depended greatly in social innovation, for example in the years after on faith, while in the US black churches were 1945 when democratic governments built welfare instrumental in the civil rights movement and states, schooling systems and institutions as various innovations in micro-banking. Recent years have as credit banks for farmers and networks of adult also seen the emergence of new waves of engaged education colleges. This was a period when many Muslim NGOs such as Islamic Relief. came to see civic and charitable organisations as too Looking back it is hard to find any field in whichSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 11Services: Employment Contribution to total employment Wholesale and retail Transport, storage Finance and insurance Real estate, renting Public administration Education, health, social trade, restaurant and communication and business services and defence work and other services and hotels 2003 1993 2003 1993 2003 1993 2003 1993 2003 1993 2003 1993Australia 24.7 25.2 6.4 6.3 3.6 4.1 12.1 8.4 5.8 6.7 22.4 20.7 AustraliaAustria 19.6 19.3 6.4 6.4 2.8 3.0 10.8 6.3 6.1 6.5 18.6 16.4 AustriaBelgium 18.1 19.2 6.5 6.5 3.4 3.6 14.1 11.1 10.3 10.2 24.4 22.2 BelgiumCanada 25.5 24.7 6.1 6.3 5.3 5.3 11.0 8.1 4.8 5.8 22.8 23.7 CanadaCzech Republic 18.3 18.2 7.2 7.1 1.6 1.5 9.8 7.7 6.4 5.6 14.2 14.0 Czech RepublicDenmark 19.2 17.6 6.5 7.0 2.7 2.9 10.2 7.7 7.2 8.1 28.4 27.0 DenmarkFinland 16.0 15.2 7.2 7.7 1.7 2.6 10.2 6.8 7.3 7.7 26.4 24.6 FinlandFrance 16.6 16.5 6.4 6.1 3.1 3.3 14.8 11.5 8.9 9.9 25.3 22.9 FranceGermany 20.0 18.8 5.4 6.2 3.3 3.4 12.4 7.5 6.9 8.1 22.4 18.6 GermanyGreece 22.0 20.3 6.8 6.9 2.4 2.2 6.5 4.8 7.1 7.1 16.1 14.6 GreeceHungary 17.7 15.4 7.7 8.9 1.9 1.9 6.8 3.6 7.5 6.5 19.7 20.1 HungaryIceland 16.6 18.0 6.2 6.6 3.9 3.8 9.1 5.4 5.2 5.3 30.1 26.6 IcelandIreland 20.5 19.4 6.2 5.1 4.2 3.8 8.5 6.0 5.1 5.6 21.4 21.2 IrelandItaly 20.5 19.6 4.5 4.9 2.7 2.8 11.0 7.4 5.6 6.6 22.2 20.8 ItalyJapan 18.0 17.4 6.0 5.7 3.0 3.2 7.5 6.9 3.2 3.3 27.8 23.4 JapanKorea 26.5 25.4 6.0 5.3 3.4 3.4 7.8 3.8 3.4 3.2 16.4 11.4 KoreaLuxembourg 18.6 20.9 8.4 7.2 11.4 9.7 16.5 8.9 5.2 5.4 17.1 16.4 LuxembourgMexico 19.3 18.3 6.0 5.5 0.5 0.9 3.5 3.0 4.6 5.2 21.6 21.0 MexicoNetherlands 20.2 20.0 5.6 5.8 3.5 3.5 15.3 11.5 6.2 7.0 26.8 25.1 NetherlandsNew Zealand 26.8 25.9 6.2 6.2 3.0 4.0 12.0 8.8 3.2 4.8 25.6 23.7 New ZealandNorway 17.5 17.2 8.3 9.4 2.1 2.7 10.2 6.3 6.6 8.5 32.1 29.3 NorwayPoland 16.2 14.2 5.2 6.1 2.0 1.5 6.3 3.5 3.7 2.4 14.4 14.9 PolandPortugal 20.8 19.3 3.1 3.5 2.1 2.6 7.1 5.7 8.0 8.0 19.2 17.2 PortugalSlovak Republic 20.4 13.5 7.3 7.7 1.7 1.4 6.7 5.4 6.9 6.4 18.5 19.6 Slovak RepublicSpain 21.5 20.9 6.0 5.9 2.1 2.7 8.0 5.7 8.0 8.8 19.7 19.0 SpainSweden 15.2 15.5 6.8 7.0 2.2 2.0 11.8 8.1 6.1 8.1 32.3 32.2 SwedenSwitzerland 21.3 - 6.6 - 6.0 - 10.2 - 9.3 - 13.4 - SwitzerlandTurkey 19.2 13.0 5.0 5.0 1.1 - 2.5 - 5.7 - 9.4 - TurkeyUnited Kingdom 24.2 23.0 6.1 5.9 4.3 4.5 15.1 12.2 5.6 6.4 23.8 23.8 United KingdomUnited States 21.2 22.7 5.5. 5.2 4.9 4.7 12.0 9.9 6.1 8.3 27.5 24.6 United States SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 12 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated6 www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk; social innovation has not played an important role. Social and economic change: the shapewww.bbc.co.uk/history. Chadwick’s Even the spread of the car depended not just on of the economy to comewider role in British society was, the technology of the internal combustion engine Economies in both developed and to a lesser extentunfortunately, far less progressive. and modern production lines, but also on a host of developing countries are increasingly dominated by associated social innovations: driving schools, road services rather than manufacturing. Over the next7 OECD in Figures, 2005 Edition markings and protocols, garages, traffic wardens 20 years the biggest growth in OECD countries isSTATISTICS ON THE MEMBER and speeding tickets, and more recently, congestion likely to come in health, education and care, whoseCOUNTRIES charging systems. shares of GDP are already much greater than cars Improvements in healthcare depended on or telecoms, steel or biotech. These are all fields in innovations in medicine (including antibiotics) and which commercial, voluntary and public organisations surgery (from sterilisation to keyhole surgery) but deliver services, in which public policy plays a also on a host of other innovations including: public key role and in which consumers co-create value health systems to provide clean water and sewers; alongside producers – no teacher can force a student changing home habits to promote cleanliness in to learn if they do not want to. For all of these reasons kitchens and new methods of measurement – a traditional business models of innovation are of only primary interest of Florence Nightingale who was limited use. Much of the most important innovation as innovative a statistician as she was a nurse. of the next few decades is set to follow the patterns Health improvement also depended on new of social innovation rather than the patterns familiar organisational forms such as primary care practices from sectors like IT or insurance. and barefoot health services; new business forms The table below from the OECD7 shows that in pharmaceuticals to enable long-term investment the contribution to total employment of ‘education, in research (for example, Du Pont); state regulation health, social work and other services’ sector has of food to promote safety, and more recently to cut risen in nearly every member country. In the same sugar and salt contents and provision of meals to ten year period total expenditure on healthcare rose children in schools; national health services funded as a percentage of GDP in all but three member by taxpayers; self help groups, and civil organisations countries. Yet much of the writing on R&D and for diseases such as Alzheimer’s; volunteers, trained innovation – and most government policies – lag for example to use defibrillators; and new models behind these changes and remain much more of care such as the hospices pioneered by Cicely focused on hardware and objects rather than Saunders. Modern health’s heroes are not just the services. In health, for example, many governments pioneers of new drugs and surgical procedures. They (including the UK) provide very generous subsidies also include social innovators like Edwin Chadwick,6 for R&D into pharmaceuticals despite their relatively whose report “The Sanitary Conditions of the poor record in delivering health gain, but very little Labouring Population”, published in 1842 when the for innovation in models of health service delivery. average life expectancy for factory workers in the new industrial towns and cities like Bolton in north-west England was only 17 years, successfully persuaded government to provide clean water, sewers, street cleaning and refuse. Health is typical in this respect. Science and technology have played a profoundly important role in helping people live longer and healthier lives, but simplistic accounts in which progress is directly caused by technology invariably fall apart on closer inspection. Instead most of what we now count as progress has come about through the mutual reinforcement of social, economic, technological and political innovations.Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 13Who does socialinnovationindividuals, movements and organisationsThere are many lenses through which to understand cajoling the lazy and timid majority into change. 8 www.robert-owen.comsocial innovation. For much of the last century it Robert Owen, Octavia Hill and Michael Young are www.newlanark.orgwas understood within much broader frameworks three people who embody this view of history.of thinking about social change, industrialisation The most important social innovator from theand modernity. Small innovations were seen as 18th century was arguably Robert Owen, born inreflections of big dynamics. In the contrary approach 1771 at the dawn of the industrial revolution.8 Byadvocated by Karl Popper and others, social the turn of the century he had bought four textileinnovation was the incremental and experimental factories in New Lanark and was determined toalternative to the errors of utopian blueprints and use them not just to make money but to remakeviolent revolution (our reflections on theories of the world. Arguing that people were naturally goodchange and their relevance to social innovation are but corrupted by harsh conditions, under Owen’scontained in this endnote A, p50). management the cotton mills and village of New Today most discussion of social innovation Lanark became a model community. When Owentends to adopt one of three main lenses for arrived at New Lanark children from as young as fiveunderstanding how change happens: individuals, were working for 13 hours a day in the textile mills.movements or organisations. He stopped employing children under ten and sent young children to newly built nursery and infantIndividuals – always taking no schools, while older children combined work andas a question secondary school. In addition to schools New LanarkIn the first social change is portrayed as having been set up a crèche for working mothers, free medicaldriven by a very small number of heroic, energetic care, and comprehensive education, includingand impatient individuals. History is told as the evening classes. There were concerts, dancing,story of how they remade the world, persuading and music-making and pleasant landscaped areas. His SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 14 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated9 The Octavia Hill ideas inspired emulators all over the world, and New empowerment in private markets and public services:Birthplace Museum Lanark remains a popular tourist attraction. He had NHS Direct, the spread of after-school clubs andwww.octaviahillmuseum.org an enormous influence on the new cooperative and neighbourhood councils can all be traced to Young’s mutualist movements as well as paving the way for work. However, for our purposes, his most important10 For a good overview of his work modern management theories. skill lay in creating new organisations and models: insee Dench, G, Flower, T and Gavron, The 19th century produced many more social total some 60 independent organisations includingK (2005) Young at Eighty: the innovators. A good example is Octavia Hill, who the Open University, the Consumers’ Association,prolific public life of Michael Young, was born in 1838.9 Her father had been a follower Language Line, Education Extra and the OpenCarcanet Press, Manchester. For a of Robert Owen and as a child she was exposed to College of the Arts. Some of these drew on formalfull biography see Briggs, A (2001) an extraordinary range of contemporary progressive academic research; others simply drew on hunches.Michael Young: Social Entrepreneur, thinkers, including Dr. Thomas Southwood Smith, Others still drew on informal conversations held onPalgrave Macmillan, London ‘father of sanitary reform,’ F. D. Maurice, the leader buses or street corners which illuminated people’s of the Christian Socialists, and John Ruskin. In unmet needs.10 1864, Ruskin bought three buildings in Paradise Although many of these ideas look obvious in Place, a notorious slum, and gave them to Octavia retrospect they were generally met with hostility, Hill to manage. The aim was to make ‘lives noble, and one of Michael Young’s characteristics (shared homes happy, and family life good’ and her with many pioneers in social innovation) was, in determination, personality, and skill transformed the words of one of his collaborators, Tony Flower: the poverty-stricken areas into tolerably harmonious ‘sheer persistence, a kind of benign ruthlessness, communities. Communal amenities such as meeting clutching onto an idea beyond the bitter end, always halls, savings clubs, and dramatic productions taking no as a question.’ Many of his projects began were encouraged. Her training programmes laid the very small – often only one or two people working foundations of the modern profession of housing from a basement in Bethnal Green. But he was management and her first organisation, the Horace always looking for small changes that could achieve Street Trust (now Octavia Housing and Care) became leverage by demonstrating how things could work the model for all subsequent housing associations. differently. And he was convinced that practical In addition, Octavia Hill was the first advocate of action was often more convincing than eloquent a green belt for London; launched the Army Cadet books and pamphlets. Force to socialise inner city teenagers; campaigned Another striking feature of his work was that he to create public parks and to decorate hospitals straddled different sectors, as did his creations. Most with arts and beauty; and in 1895 created the of them became voluntary organisations. But some National Trust (which now has more than 3.4 million which began as voluntary organisations ended up as members), arguably the world’s first great modern public bodies (such as the Open University); some heritage organisation. which had been conceived as public bodies ended Michael Young (after whom the Young up as voluntary organisations (Which? for example); Foundation is named) was one of the 20th century’s and some which began as voluntary organisations outstanding social innovators. As Head of Research ended up as for-profit enterprises (like Language for the Labour Party in 1945, he helped shape the Line, which was recently sold for £25m). welfare state and saw the power of the government These individuals are particularly outstanding to change people’s lives, not least through radical examples drawn from British history. All three social innovations including the National Health combined an ability to communicate complex Service and comprehensive welfare provision. He ideas in compelling ways with a practical ability became concerned, however, about the risks of to make things happen. There are countless other government becoming too powerful and moved out examples of similar social innovators from around the to east London to approach change through a very world – leaders of social innovation have included different route. His approach involved stimulating politicians, bureaucrats, intellectuals, business argument and he wrote a series of bestsellers people as well as NGO activists. Some are widely that changed attitudes to a host of social issues, celebrated like Muhammad Yunus, the founder including urban planning (leading the movement of Grameen, Kenyan Nobel Prize winner Wangari away from tower blocks), education (leading thinking Maathai, or Saul Alinsky the highly influential about how to radically widen access) and poverty. evangelist of community organising in the USA, or He also pioneered ideas of public and consumer Abbe Pierre whose approaches to homelessness inSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 15France were copied in some 35 countries. There are of organic food, household composting, municipal 11 Bornstein, D (2004) Howalso many less well-known but impressive figures, government (for example the hundreds of US Mayors to change the world: socialsome of whom are described in David Bornstein’s who committed themselves to Kyoto in the early entrepreneurs and the powerbook on How to Change the World.11 These accounts 2000s), and civil society (through mass campaigns of new ideas, Oxford Universityinclude the stories of Jeroo Billimoria, founder of like Friends of the Earth). Press, Oxfordthe India-wide Childline, a 24-hour helpline and Feminism too grew out of many differentemergency response system for children in distress12; currents.15 In the West it had its roots in the 12 Childline was founded in BombayVera Cordeiro, founder of Associacao Saude Crianca humanism of the 18th century and the Industrial in 1996; by 2002 the organisationRensacer in Brazil13; Taddy Blecher, founder Revolution, and in the French Revolution’s Women’s was working in thirty cities. A fullof the Community and Individual Development Republican Club. It evolved as a movement that was account is available in Bornstein, DAssociation (CIDA) City Campus, the first private simultaneously intellectual and cultural (pushed (2004) op cit.higher education institution in South Africa to forward by pioneers like Emmeline Pankhurst,offer a virtually free business degree to students Simone de Beauvoir and Germaine Greer), political 13 Renascer provides care to poorfrom disadvantaged backgrounds14, and Karen Tse, (New Zealand was the first country to give all adult children after they are dischargedfounder of International Bridges to Justice. Their women the vote and along with Scandinavia has from hospital. By 2002, Renascerindividual stories are always inspiring, energising, consistently been ahead of the US, Germany, France had assisted 6,000 children andand impressive. They show just how much persistent, and the UK) and economic (helped by women’s successor organisations a furtherdedicated people can achieve against the odds and growing power in the labour market). Many of its 10,000 people. Now the challengethey serve as reminders of the courage that always ideas were crystallised through legislation: Norway’s is to transform Renascer into aaccompanies radical social change. ruling Labour Party’s recent proposal that big reference and training centre companies should be required to have 40% of their spawning and supporting cells acrossMovements for change boards made up of women is just one example. Brazil. A full account is available inSeen through another lens, however, individuals are As in the case of environmentalism, thousands Bornstein, D (2004) op cit.the carriers of ideas rather than originators. If we ask of social innovations grew out of the movement:which movements had the most impact over the last from clubs and networks to promote women in 14 CIDA believes itself to be the onlyhalf century the role of individuals quickly fades into particular professions, to integrated childcare ‘free’, open-access, holistic, higherthe background. The most far-reaching movements centres, abortion rights, equitable divorce laws, educational facility in the worldof change, such as feminism or environmentalism, protections against rape and sexual harassment, which is operated and managed byinvolved millions of people and had dozens of maternity leave and skills programmes for mothers its students, from administrationintellectual and organisational leaders, many of returning to the labour market. duties to facilities management.whom had the humility to realise that they were often Disability rights is another example of a powerful Two additional key features areas much following, and channelling, changes in set of ideas whose impact is still being felt on partnerships with a great numberpublic consciousness as they were directing them. building regulation, employment practices and of businesses in the design and Like individual change-makers these movements public policy, as well as on popular culture, where delivery of all programmes – andhave their roots in ideas grown from discontent. But stereotypes that were once acceptable are shown to the requirement of every studenttheir histories look very different. Environmentalism, be degrading and offensive.16 As recently as 1979 it to return to their rural schools andfor example, grew from many different sources. was legal for some state governments in the USA to communities, during holidays, toThere were precursors in the 19th century, including: sterilize disabled people against their will. During the teach what they have learnt. A fullmovements for protecting forests and landscapes; 1980s and 1990s the disability movement became account is available in Bornstein, Dscientifically inspired movements to protect increasingly militant: voluntary organisations serving (2004) op cit. See alsobiodiversity; more politicised movements to counter disabled people went through fierce battles as the www.cida.co.za; Lucille Davie writingthe pollution of big companies or gain redress for their beneficiaries fought to take control over NGOs that on www.joburg.org.za; and Andreavictims; movements of direct action like Greenpeace had been established as paternalistic providers for Vinassa writing on www.workinfo.com.(which itself drew on much older Quaker traditions); mute recipients. Thanks to their battles, legislationand the various Green Parties around the world which conferred new rights and obligations on employers 15 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/have always been suspicious of individual leaders. and planners; and technologists accelerated their History_of_feminismEnvironmentalism has spawned a huge range of efforts to innovate. The Center for Independentsocial innovations, from urban recycling to community Living founded in 1972 by disability activists in 16 www.disabilityhistory.orgowned wind farms. Today environmentalism is as Berkeley, California developed technologies such as http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/much part of big business culture as companies like telecaptioners, text telephones, voice-recognition collections/drilmBP try to finesse the shift to more renewable energy systems, voice synthesizers and screen readers. http://americanhistory.si.edu/sources, as it is of the alternative business culture In the UK, the ‘direct payments’ and ‘In Control’ disabilityrights SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 16 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated17 INSP programmes gave people with disability direct a throwback to pre-democratic times. All of thesehttp://www.sdinet.org control over public budgets and services far beyond movements have also emphasised empowermentGROOTS any other public services. – enabling people to solve their own problemshttp://www.groots.org Growing numbers of movements are taking rather than waiting for the state, or heroic leaders,Streetnet shape globally – and they are increasingly to solve problems for them.http://www.streetnet.org.za cooperating across borders. Impressive grassrootsWIEGO movements that have done this include the Innovative organisationshttp://www.wiego.org International Network of Street Papers (INSP), The third lens for understanding innovation is Streetnet (a network of street vendors based in the organisation. Not all innovations come from South Africa), Shack/Slum Dwellers International, new organisations. Many come from existing GROOTS (which links together grassroots womens organisations learning to renew themselves. The organisations around the world), WIEGO (which Internet came from within the US military and the campaigns for women in informal employment), and early understanding of climate change from NASA, the Forum Network in Asia for drugs projects.17 All just as many of the most advanced ideas about how have pioneered and promoted the spread of radical to look after children have evolved within existing social innovations. public and professional organisations in countries Interestingly all of these very different like Denmark. movements have adopted an ethos suspicious of Any successful organisation needs to be overly individualistic pictures of change. In their simultaneously focused on existing activities, view the idea that progress comes from the wisdom emerging ones and more radical possibilities that of a few exceptional individuals is an anachronism, could be the mainstream activities of the future. the four horizons of effective leadership Legacy / generational time C02, pensions etc. long (2-20+ days) Radical innovation necessary and likely Medium (1-3 years) Incremental innovation, efficiency and performance short (days, weeks, months) Fire-fightingSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 17Effective leaders and the teams around them need to Sometimes innovation is presented as a 18 For the comparisons betweenfocus on four horizons for decision-making: distraction from efficiency and performance business and the social sector in management. The truth is that any competent making organisations great see1. Day to day management, efficiency leadership should be able to do both – with time, www.jimcollins.comand firefighting money and management effort devoted to each of these horizons, and appropriate organisational2. Effective implementation and incremental structures and cultures for each task.innovation over the medium term of 1-3 years The wider context: 3. Developing more radical options – including in understanding social changevery different fields – that could become mainstream Every successful social innovator or movement hasin 3-20 years succeeded because it has planted the seeds of an idea in many minds. In the long run ideas are more4. Taking account of generational timescales powerful than individuals or institutions; indeed, as– particularly in relation to climate change and issues John Maynard Keynes wrote, ‘the world is ruled bylike pensions little else’. But ideas need to take concrete form. Even the great religious prophets only spawned Innovation matters for all but one of these great religions because they were followed by greathorizons – but it is bound to matter most for the organisers and evangelists and military conquerorslatter two, and for organisations that have a sense of who were able to focus their energies and createtheir responsibilities to the future. great organisations.18 And ideas only rule the worldFunctionality / net value Product / service 3 Period of transition Product / service 1 of favour from existing product or service to innovation Product / service 2 (failed) Time SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 18 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated19 This section draws on very useful when the right conditions are in place. To fully cases, to compete against yourself.work by Hämäläinen, TJ (2007), understand social innovation, we therefore need to The second barrier to change is peoples’Social Innovation, Structural look at the conditions which either allow change or interests. In any successful social system manyAdjustment and Economic inhibit it.19 people will have high stakes in stability. The risks ofPerformance in Hämäläinen, TJ and There is a vast literature on how change happens, change will appear great compared to the benefits ofHeiskala, R (eds) Social Innovations, but at its heart it emphasises two simple questions: continuity. This applies as much to peasant farmersInstitutional Change and Economic why (most of the time) do things stay the same? nervously contemplating new models of farming as toPerformance: Making Sense of and why (some of the time) do things change?20 For managers responding to globalisation or civil servantsStructural Adjustment Processes innovators themselves the barriers to change often contemplating a new deal around performancein Industrial Sectors, Regions and look like personal failings on the part of the powerful: related pay. Most will have sunk investments – ofSocieties, Edward Elgar Publishing, their stupidity, rigidity and lack of imagination is time and money – in past practices that they areCheltenham, UK and Northampton, all that stands between a brilliant new idea and loath to discard or cannibalise. In stable societies theMA, USA its execution. But the barriers to change go much most acute tensions will have been papered over – or deeper than this. settled in compromises – prompting fear that change20 This chapter also draws in First, efficiency. People resist even the most may bring these to the surface. Simultaneously theparticular on the school of thought appealing reforms because in the short-run they interest groups which are the greatest beneficiariespromoted by Christopher Freeman, threaten to worsen performance. The reason for this of the status quo will have learned how to workCarlotta Perez and Luc Soete in is that within any social system different elements the system to their own ends and how to makea pioneering series of books and have optimised around each other over time. The themselves indispensable.21articles on technological, economic details of how businesses operate; how professions The third barrier is minds. Any social systemand social change in the 1980s are trained and rewarded, how laws are made, how comes to be solidified within peoples’ minds in theand 1990s. families organise their time and a million other form of assumptions, values and norms. The more aspects of daily life have evolved in tandem. Any new the system appears to work, giving people security21 This is core to the argument of approach, however well designed, may appear quite and prosperity the more its norms will becomeMancur Olson, who argued that long inefficient compared to the subtle interdependencies entrenched as part of peoples’ very sense ofperiods of stability would inevitably of a real social or economic system. Even public identity.22 Organisations then become locked intolead to stagnation, The Rise and sectors which by many standards are highly routines and habits that are as much psychologicalDecline of Nations (1982), Yale inefficient will have built up their own logic – like the as practical, and which become embedded inuniversity Press, New Haven military bases in the old Soviet Union that propped organisational memories.23 up local economies, or the vast US prisons built in The fourth barrier is relationships. The personal22 An interesting recent book which the 1980s and 1990s that did the same. relationships between the movers and shakers inexplores some of these dynamics The importance of this point was identified the system create an additional stabilising factor inis Michael Fairbanks and Stace by a succession of writers about change – from the form of social capital and mutual commitment.Lindsay: Plowing the Sea; Nurturing Joseph Schumpeter in the 1930s to Donald Schon Much of the business of government and the socialthe Hidden Sources of Growth in the in the 1970s. In the 1990s Amitai Etzioni and sector rests on personal relationships that may countDeveloping World, Harvard Business Clayton Christensen recognised the implication for more than formal organograms. These networksSchool Press, Boston, 1997. that any radical innovators have to hold their of favours and debts can be key for getting things to nerve – and hold onto their supporters – through happen within a stable system, but they are likely to23 Richard Nelson and Sidney difficult transition periods when things may seriously impede any radical change.Winter: An evolutionary theory of appear to be getting worse rather than better. These barriers explain why even where there is aeconomic change remains the Christensen’s account of the ‘innovators dilemma’ healthy appetite for incremental improvements andoutstanding account of how firms is a good summary of this issue. Firms – or public changes it is generally hard to push through moreresist change – and sometimes organisations with established ways of doing things – radical transformations – regardless of evidence orenable change to happen. become used to improving their position by steadily rationales or passions. adding new features. But radical new options then Probably the most famous account of these arise which start off less efficient than the older, barriers was provided by Thomas Kuhn in his work on optimised alternatives, but which have the potential science which popularised the idea of a ‘paradigm’. to transcend them. For the organisation this presents Kuhn showed that even in the apparently rational two dilemmas: first how to cultivate the new, world of science better theories do not automatically potentially higher impact innovation (recognising displace worse ones. Instead existing theories have that it may fail); and second, how to simultaneously to be clearly failing on a wide range of issues and ride both the old and the new waves – how, in some ultimately their adherents have to have died or givenSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 19up before the new theory can take over. and the innovators connect to the main sources of 24 Festinger, L (1957), A theory of So why, despite the power of these barriers, power and money. When the conditions are right cognitive dissonance, Evanston,does change still happen? The simple reason is that new ideas can quickly move from the margins to the Row, Peterson and Company.in some circumstances each of the four barriers to mainstream, since many people are well-attuned to As Howard Gardner has shownchange switches. First, efficiency: sooner or later watching what the successful do, take their cues intellectuals are particularlyall systems become less optimal, less successful at from recognised figures of authority and only adopt attached to ideas that give themdelivering the goods. As their problems accumulate new ideas when they no longer appear risky. In all status, and particularly concerned tothe crisis may be felt at many levels: declining cases change is more likely when there are visible, avoid cognitive dissonance.profitability for companies; fiscal crisis or legitimacy easily identifiable winners. Conversely, as Machiavellicrisis for the state; the personal stress felt by pointed out, change is harder when the losers are 25 Gardner, H (2004) Changingmillions as they see their cherished values or norms concentrated and certain, and the winners are Minds, Harvard Business less validated by experience. Although people are diffuse and uncertain of their possible gains.26 School Pressadept at explaining away uncomfortable results and When systemic change does happen – foravoiding ‘cognitive dissonance’24, and although elites example the rise of welfare states fifty years ago, 26 And in both cases change may begenerally try to police taboo ideas, at some point the shift to a more knowledge based economy in the so delayed that apparently new ideasperformance is bound to decline. Then a growing last decades of the 20th century, or the shift to a risk being outdated by the time theyrange of interests, particularly more marginalised low carbon economy in the early 21st century – the win acceptance. Schon, D (1973)ones, lose confidence in the system, and start to opportunities for social innovation greatly increase. Beyond the stable state, WW Norton,seek alternatives. Critics become more visible: in Some ideas can be copied from other societies that New York.particular the young, marginal, ambitious, and angry have moved faster – for example how to run web-start to advocate radical change and to directly based exchange systems, or road charging. But more 27 Economists generally emphasisechallenge their older colleagues who have been most often the elements of the new paradigm are not self- allocative efficiency. But other kindssocialised into the status quo and find it hardest evident; they evolve rapidly through trial and error, of efficiency can be just as importantto imagine how things could be different.25 Artists, and even the elements which appear to be proven for long-term growth. Dertouzos,writers and poets may come to the fore during this successes need to be adapted to local conditions. M, Lester, R and Solow, R (1990),phase, using stories, images and metaphors to help Once a system has made a fundamental Made in America: Regaining thepeople break free from the past, while others may shift new energies are often released. An productive edge, Harper Perennial,cling even harder to fixed points in their identity, emerging paradigm is likely to be rich in positive New York.responding to the cognitive fluidity of the world interdependencies. New kinds of efficiency arearound them by ever more ferocious assertion of their discovered – including more systemic efficiencies,nationality, religion or values. During these periods such as the efficiencies that flow into themental models start changing. Intellectuals, activists, economy from better public health or low carbonpolitical entrepreneurs, trouble makers, or prophets technologies.27 This is one of the reasons whyfind their voice in denouncing the present and big changes are often followed by a honeymoonpromoting a different future, with a characteristic period. People tire of change and want to give thetone that is deliberately unsettling, amplifying new model a fair chance. New elites radiate thedissonance and tensions. At the same time the confidence that comes from successfully overcominglongstanding personal relationships that held the enemies and barriers. And societies as a wholesystem in place come under strain as some sense immerse themselves in the business of learning newthat change is imminent and others resist. habits, rules, and ways of seeing and doing. Patterns of this kind can be found on a microscale within particular sectors and they can affectwhole societies. During periods of change thosewithin the system – especially those who haveprospered from it and now sit at the top of business,bureaucratic or political hierarchies – are likelyto be the last to see its deficiencies. Ever moresophisticated accounts may explain why the statusquo can be saved, or why only modest reform willbe enough. Such periods, when old systems are incrisis, can continue for many years. But sooner orlater they come to an end as the new ideas diffuse, SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 20 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedHow socialinnovation happensthe uneasy symbiosis of ‘bees’ and ‘trees’ This story of change emphasises the interaction between the innovators and the environment they are working in. It emphasises, too, that new ideas have to secure support if they are to survive. The support they need may include: the passion and commitment of other people, the money of patrons or the state and contracts or consumers. Social change depends, in other words, on alliances between what could be called the ‘bees’ and the ‘trees’. The bees are the small organisations, individuals and groups who have the new ideas, and are mobile, quick and able to cross-pollinate. The trees are the big organisations – governments, companies or big NGOs – which are poor at creativity but generally good at implementation, and which have the resilience, roots and scale to make things happen. Both need each other, and most social change comes from alliances between the two, just as most change within organisations depends on alliances between leaders and groups well down the formal hierarchy.Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 21Stages of InnovationIn what follows we describe some of the stages that move to digital hearing aids); individual social 28 For example:innovations have to pass through – as the bees find entrepreneurs (Octavia Hill founding the National http://james.parkinsons.org.powerful allies to join up with. Trust and pioneering occupational therapy); rising uk/uk.htm citizen expectations and aspirations (such as patientGenerating ideas by understanding needs attitudes towards health professionals resulting inand identifying potential solutions patient choice); or demographic change (LanguageThe starting point for innovation is an awareness Line catering for the needs of public services andof a need that is not being met and some idea of people for whom English is a second language).how it could be met. Sometimes needs are glaringly Some of the best innovators spot needs which areobvious – like hunger, homelessness or disease. But not being adequately met by the market or the state.sometimes needs are less obvious, or not recognised They are often good at talking and listening, digging– like the need for protection from domestic violence, below the surface to understand peoples’ needsor racism, and it takes campaigners and movements and dislocations, dissatisfactions and ‘blockages’.to name and define these. Michael Young got many of his best ideas from Needs come to the fore in many ways – through random conversations on street corners, buses andangry individuals and groups, campaigns and even in cemeteries. Empathy is the starting point andpolitical movements as well as through careful ethnography is usually a more relevant formal toolobservation. They may come from informal social than statistical analysis. Personal motivations alsomovements (like health related, online self-help play a critical role: people may want to solve theirgroups28); religious movements (instrumental own problems and they may be motivated by thein the Jubilee 2000 debt campaign); existing suffering of their friends or family.voluntary organisations (the RNID leading the Some of the most effective methods for SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 22 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated29 A recent article in the Economist cultivating social innovation start from the in stations or next to bus shelters. Many of the mostcan be found at presumption that people are competent interpreters important ideas straddle the boundaries betweenwww.economist.com/business/ of their own lives and competent solvers of their sectors and disciplines. For example about 50%displaystory.cfm?story_id=5624944 own problems. Anyone seeking to find an answer to of public sector innovation is now thought to cross the management of chronic diseases or alienation organisational boundaries, for example.30 For example, de Bono, E (1970) amongst teenagers may do best to find out how Some organisations use formal creativity methodsLateral Thinking – Creativity Step by people themselves are solving their problems. to generate possibilities, including the ones devisedStep, Perennial Library London, and Another method is to find the people who are solving by Edward de Bono30, the design company Ideo,many others. their problems against the odds – the ex-prisoners and the consultancy What If?, all of which aim to who do not re-offend or the 18 year old without any free people to think more laterally, and to spot new31 See www.globalideasbank.org/site/ qualifications who nevertheless finds a job. Looking patterns. Some methods try to force creativity – forhome. The top 500 ideas that will for the ‘positive deviants’ – the approaches that work example, getting developers and designers to engagechange the world are at: when most others are failing – gives insights into with the toughest customers, or those facing the mostwww.globalideasbank.org/site/store/ what might be possible, and usually at much lower serious problems, to ensure more lateral solutions.detail.php?articleId=178. cost than top down solutions. Creativity can be stimulated by other peoples’A list of similar organisations can be Next, needs have to be tied to new possibilities. ideas which are increasingly being collected andfound at: New possibilities may be technological – for banked. Nicholas Albery, a regular collaborator withwww.stuartcdoddinstitute.org/ example, using the mobile telephone to support Michael Young, founded the Institute for Socialinnovationlinks.shtml frontline workers, using digital television to Inventions in 1985. He produced regular editions strengthen local communities, or using artificial of the Book of Social Inventions and the Book of32 Useful websites include: intelligence to guide family law, as in Victoria in Visions, and, in 1995, helped launch the GlobalPoverty Action Lab Australia. Indeed the internet is now generating a Ideas Bank – a rich online source of ideas andwww.povertyactionlab.org; host of new business models that are set to have experiences, which also produces regular editions ofSocial Action Laboratory enormous impact in the social field. Some of these the Global Ideas Book.31www.psych.unimelb.edu.au/research/ are being collected by the Open Business Network, In some cases ideas can be bought on the openlabs/soc_actionlab.html which is linked to the Young Foundation.29 market. The company Innocentive, for example,Affirmative Action Laboratory Other possibilities may derive from new offers cash rewards on the web for innovators whowww.naledi.org.za/pubs/2000/ organisational forms, like the Community Interest have workable solutions to problems they solve,indicator/article4.htm Company recently launched in the UK, or the based on the assumption that often a neighbouringInnovation Lab Copenhagen special purpose vehicles increasingly used in sector may already have solved a similar problem.www.innovationlab.net/sw4918.asp global development. Or possibilities may derive 100,000 scientists and technologists are now partCivic Innovation Lab from new knowledge – for example, newly acquired of Innocentive’s network and the company recentlywww.civicinnovationlab.org understanding of the importance of early years teamed up with the Rockefeller Foundation toEastman Innovation Lab development in shaping future life chances. offer rewards for scientists working on science andwww.eastman.com/innovationlab Innovators generally have a wide peripheral vision technology projects that could particularly benefitMIT Community Innovation Lab and are good at spotting how apparently unrelated poor or vulnerable people. Today there are also manyhttp://web.mit.edu/cilab methods and ideas can be combined. innovation labs, some linked to universities, someETSU Innovation Lab Few ideas emerge fully formed. Instead linked to companies and some focused on particularwww.etsu.edu/innovationlab innovators often try things out, and then quickly problems. These include the MIT Community adjust them in the light of experience. Tinkering Innovation Lab, the Social Action Laboratory at seems to play a vital role in all kinds of innovation, Melbourne and the Affirmative Action Laboratory in involving trial and error, hunches and experiments South Africa.32 that only in retrospect look rational and planned. All societies constantly throw up possible social New social ideas are also rarely inherently new innovations. Some never get beyond a conversation in themselves. More often they combine ideas that in a kitchen or a bar. Many briefly take organisational had previously been separate. Examples of creative form but then fade as enthusiasm dims or it combinations include diagnostic health lines (which becomes obvious that the idea is not so good after combined the telephone, nurses and diagnostic all. But the key to success is to ensure that there is software); magazines sold by homeless people; the as wide as possible a range of choices to draw on. As linking of gay rights to marriage; applying the idea of Linus Pauling, (Nobel Prize winner in chemistry and rights to animals; or the use of swipe cards to make peace) observed, ‘the way to get good ideas is to get possible large scale bicycle hiring schemes, located lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.’Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 23Developing, prototyping and piloting ideas convinced that most motorists would prefer to invest 33 Mulgan, G (2005), GovernmentThe second phase of any innovation process some of their time in exchange for lower costs. They and Knowledge, in Evidence andinvolves taking a promising idea and testing it out did not.34 But even failed ideas often point the way Policy Journalin practice. Few plans survive their first encounter to related ideas that will succeed. As Samuel Beckettwith reality wholly intact. But it is through action put it: ‘Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.’ 34 The project did survive for severalthat they evolve and improve. Social innovations years in Milton Keynes in England.may be helped by formal market research or desk Assessing then scaling up and But it never took off.analysis but progress is often achieved more quickly diffusing the good onesby turning the idea into a prototype or pilot and then The third stage of the social innovation processgalvanising enthusiasm. comes when an idea is proving itself in practice Social innovations are often implemented early. and can then be grown, potentially through organicBecause those involved are usually highly motivated growth, replication, adaptation or franchising.they are too impatient to wait for governments or Usually innovations spread in an ‘S curve’, with anprofessions to act. The experience of trying to make early phase of slow growth amongst a small group oftheir ideas work then speeds up their evolution, committed supporters, then a phase of rapid take-off,and the power of example then turns out to be and then a slowing down as saturation and maturityas persuasive as written argument or advocacy. are achieved.Michael Young usually moved very quickly to set Taking a good idea to scale requires skilfulup an embryonic organisation rather than waiting strategy and coherent vision, combined with thefor detailed business plans and analyses. Language ability to marshal resources and support and identifyLine, for example, began as two people with the key points of leverage, the weak chinks intelephones and a tiny contract with the neighbouring opponents’ walls. ‘Bees’ need to find supportivepolice station. ‘trees’ with the machineries to make things happen A key virtue of quick prototyping is that on a big scale. That in turn may demand formalinnovations often require several goes before they methods to persuade potential backers, includingwork. The first outings are invariably flawed. The investment appraisals, impact assessments andBritish National Health Service took 40 years to newer devices to judge success like ‘social returns onmove from impossible dream to reality; the radio investment’ or ‘blended value’.took a decade to find its form – its early pioneers For many decades there has been a lot ofwrongly assumed that members of the public would discussion on the problems of scaling up apparentlypurchase airtime to send messages to their friends excellent local initiatives. Time and again charismaticand families, as with the telephone. What became social entrepreneurs have established brilliantWikipedia was a failure in its first outing. projects and then spent decades trying and failing to There is now a much richer range of methods get the model to take root in other places, even whenavailable for prototyping, piloting and testing new they have had high profile backing from funders andideas either in real environments or in protected political leaders. Time and again apparently veryconditions, halfway between the real world and the powerful ideas have languished and never foundlaboratory. The relatively free money of foundations sufficient backing to grow to any scale.and philanthropists can be decisive in helping ideas To understand processes of growth it’s importantthrough this phase. Governments have also become to distinguish what is being scaled up and how itmore sophisticated in their use of evidence and is scaled up. The ‘what’ can vary greatly in nature,knowledge,33 with a proliferation of pilots, pathfinders along a continuum from very generic ideas whichand experiments. Incubators, which have long been spread by attraction to tightly controlled growthwidespread in business, have started to take off in under a single management team.the public sector and amongst NGOs, though practice Each type of growth brings with it differentand understanding remains very patchy. In business opportunities and challenges. Type 4 growth is oftennew devices like 3D printers have made it easier to the most attractive for social innovators, since itturn ideas quickly into prototypes. In the social field offers the promise of growth and impact without tooparallel methods are being developed to crystallise much managerial responsibility. But it is usually thepromising ideas so that they can be tested quickly. hardest in practice because of the ambiguities of Some ideas that seem good on paper fall at control and the financial obligations that it brings.this stage. Michael Young launched a DIY garage How does scaling up happen in any of these SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 24 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedPatterns of growth and replicationType 1 Spread through advocacy, persuasion and the sense of a movement;General ideas and principles e.g. the idea of the consumer cooperativeType 2 Spread through professional and other networks, helped by some1+ design features evaluation: eg the 12 step programme of Alcoholics AnonymousType 3 Spread through professional and other networks, sometimes with1+2+ specified programmes payment, IP, technical assistance and consultancy. E.g. some methadone treatment programmes for heroin addicts would be an example, or the High Scope/Perry model for early years.Type 4 Spread by an organization, using quality assurance, common1+2+3+franchising training and other support. E.g. the one third of independent public schools in Sweden that are part of a single network would be an example; or Grameen’s growth in Bangladesh and then worldwide.Type 5 Organic growth of a single organisation, sometimes including1+2+3+4+some direct control takeovers, with a common albeit often federated governance structure. E.g. Amnesty International or Greenpeace. cases? Scaling up depends on two clusters of factors community of supporters through the combination of being in place: contagious courage and pragmatic persistence. Good An environment that provides effective demand names, along with brands, identities and stories play for the model: public agencies willing to provide a critical role. commissions or contracts; members of the public Businesses grow ideas through a well-established willing to pay for services; charitable funders willing range of methods some of which are becoming more to provide subsidy. For radical ideas this effective commonly used in the social sector. These include demand is generally not present, or not shaped in the the organic growth of an originating organisation, right way. For example public bodies often provide franchising and licensing; and takeover of similar funding and contracts for specific functions but not but less effective organisations. Some social in a joined up way. innovations spread through the organic growth Capacities to grow – in terms of management, of the organisations that conceived them – like money, leadership and governance. There are many the Samaritans volunteer service which provides aspects to this capacity, including managerial, confidential, emotional support. Some have grown financial and personnel skills. A particularly through federations, including many NGOs like important capacity is being able to straddle different Age Concern or the Citizens Advice Bureaux. sectors. Another is the ability to communicate. Social Governments have often played the critical role innovators need to capture the imagination of a in scaling up social innovations and have uniqueSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 25capacities to do this by. Many social movements see as promising.35 35 Markides, C and Geroski, P (2005)have achieved their greatest impact by persuading For innovators themselves one of the key lessons Fast Second: how smart companiesparliaments to pass new laws, for example giving from all sectors is that ideas spread more quickly bypass radical innovation to enterwomen the vote, or legalising gay marriage. As well when credit is shared, and when at least some of the and dominate new markets, Jossey-as new laws, governments can commit spending, for ‘trees’ can claim ownership. As President Truman Bass, San Franciscoexample, to extended schools and confer authority suggested: ‘it is amazing what you can achieve if youon public agencies, for example, to grow the role of don’t care who gets the credit.’health visitors. This growth phase is potentially becoming much Learning and evolvingfaster. With the help of the web, innovations can Innovations continue to change through a fourthspread very quickly, and indeed there can be little stage: learning and adaptation turns the ideaspoint in doing local pilots since the economics of the into forms that may be very different from theweb may make it as cheap to launch on a national expectations of the pioneers. Experience mayor continental scale. Marginal costs close to zero show unintended consequences, or unexpectedaccelerate the growth phase – but also the phase of applications. In professions, in competitive marketsdecline and disappearance. and in the public sector, there is an increasingly However, often growth is inhibited – both by the sophisticated understanding of how learning takesabsence of effective demand and by weaknesses place. New models such as the collaboratives inof capacity. In charities and social enterprises the health (used by the NHS to improve innovation andfounders who were just right for the organisation practice in fields like cancer and primary care) andduring its early years are unlikely to have the right closed research groups (used by a number of majormix of skills and attitudes for a period of growth and cities to analyse their transport strategies) haveconsolidation. Often founders cling on too long and helped to embed innovation and improvement intotrustees, funders and stakeholders do not impose fairly conservative professions.necessary changes. By comparison in business the These highlight the degree to which all processesearly phases of fast growing enterprises often involve of innovation can be understood as types of learning,ruthless turnover of managers and executives. Indeed rather than as ‘eureka’ moments of lone geniuses.growth in all sectors nearly always involves outgrowing Instead, ideas start off as possibilities that arefounders. Wise founders therefore put in place robust only incompletely understood by their inventors.succession plans and very few successfully remain They evolve by becoming more explicit and morein executive roles for much more than a decade. formalised, as best practice is worked out, andSimilar considerations apply to organisations which as organisations develop experience about how tocreate other organisations. Christian Aid, CAFOD make them work. This phase involves consolidationand Tearfund, for example, are all social innovations around a few core principles which can be easilywith global reach today that outgrew their founders communicated. Then as the idea is implementedand founding institutions – the British Council of in new contexts it evolves further, and in newChurches, the Catholic Womens’ League and the combinations, with the learning once again moreEvangelical Alliance respectively. tacit, held within organisations, until another set of In business, the experience of companies such as simpler syntheses emerge.Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Amazon suggests Some organisations appear particularly good atthat pioneers who create markets through radical maintaining the momentum from innovation ratherinnovation are almost never the companies that go on than being stuck in a particular form or market.to scale up and dominate them. The skills and mind- For example the Samaritans in Australia havesets required for creating a radically new market become a provider of welfare services, while the ECTnot only differ from, but actively conflict with, those Group in the UK started as a community transportneeded to grow and consolidate. Big companies are organisation and evolved into a major supplier ofoften better placed to take new ideas from niche kerbside recycling services and is now moving intomarkets to mass markets, and many have concluded health. Generally, bigger organisations have morethat they should subcontract the creation of new and ‘absorptive capacity’ to learn and evolve – but smallradical products to start-up firms. This allows them ones can gain some of this ability through the skillsto concentrate their own efforts on consolidating of their staff and through taking part in the right kindmarkets, buying up companies or licenses that they of networks. SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 26 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedLinear and lesslinear patterns36 Making Finland a leading country As we have seen the conventional account of innovation does not even work very well for appliedin innovation (2005), Final Report innovation presents it in terms of the ‘funnel model’: science let alone other fields. Some of the mostof the Competitive Innovation many different and varied ideas are slowly whittled important innovations evolve in a zig zag line withEnvironment Development down until eventually only a small number of the their end uses being very different from thoseProgramme, Edita Prima Ltd most feasible concepts are left standing. At each that were originally envisaged. Sometimes action stage tough decisions have to be made based on precedes understanding. Sometimes doing things judgements of the realistic potential of the idea (for catalyses the ideas. There are also feedback loops37 Ibid: 15 example by internal committees or external funders). between every stage, which make real innovations The ‘waterfall’ model of research funding more like multiple spirals than straight lines. captures a similar idea: that the amount of basic Pigeonholing ideas too early can stifle their potential. research affects the number of innovations, which in And the linear approach fails to take account of turn determines the growth rate of production and the social factors that shape innovation including subsequently of employment.36 market factors and social demands. As a result But experience – and the history of innovation more recent perspectives emphasise the interactive – suggests that there are very real flaws with this character of the innovation process, the significance model. Some 20 years ago Nathan Rosenberg of communication, and the synergic advantages of showed convincingly that the linear model of networks and clusters.37 Basic research Applied research Advanced development Pre development Development Pre production Production Theories, models Proof of concept WAM Prototype First model First batch Working Appearance ModelSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 27Stages ofInnovationReal life innovation is a discovery process that individual or community’s problems and passions. 38 www.barnardos.org.au/barnardos/often leaves ideas transformed and mutated, and The new model is launched in prototype in a very html/innovations.cfmsometimes sees them jump from one sector to precarious form before securing resources andanother. So, for example, innovations to reduce support from philanthropists or small donors.obesity can be found in public health programmes Growing new social models usually takes longer thanfunded by taxpayers, as well as in online in self- in other sectors because of the need to align a morehelp groups and in large commercial organisations complex set of allies and a more complex economiclike Weightwatchers. Many of the innovations base, though the most successful can in timeassociated with the Young Foundation ended up replicate themselves through growth or emulation.in a different sector from where they had started: Good examples include the Grameen Bank andnot for profit ideas ended up as for-profit firms; BRAC in Bangladesh, The Big Issue and Teachpublic agencies ended up as charities, charities First, or Barnardos Australia’s case managementended up as government agencies. These provide systems for children.38 Community Land Banks arestrong arguments against any support for innovation an example of how ideas can spread successfully:that is too prescriptive too early about the best they were pioneered in India, spread to the USAorganisational form for a new idea. However, each and are now being adopted globally. The web issector does have some distinct patterns, drivers also making it possible to create and spread newand inhibitors and understanding these is vital for social organisations much more quickly, and to meetanyone wanting to promote new ideas. new needs in different ways. Pledgebank launched by mySociety.org (led by Young Foundation fellowSocial organisations and enterprises Tom Steinberg) has created a very powerful toolIn social organisations (charities, community groups, for bringing groups together to advance a cause. ItNGOs) new ideas often begin from a particular allows people to commit to an action so long as a SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 28 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated39 There is also a small, but growing, specified number of other people do so as well. A moved from the radical margins in the 1960s togroup of organisations dedicated very different model is the Australian organisation transform mainstream business, helped along theto encouraging innovation in the Reach Out! which has used the web to help young way by changes in legislation. More recent examplesUK voluntary sector (including the people contemplating suicide: 4m people have used of innovative campaigns include Make PovertyCommunity Action Network, the the service since its inception. History, a dramatically novel campaign linkingCentre for Innovation in Voluntary New sources of finance for social enterprise such politicians and celebrities, and the Fathers forAction and NFP Synergy). as UnLtd are making it easier for individuals with Justice campaign, which made headlines with its a good idea to get started, and easier for existing use of shock tactics in advocating fathers’ rights. organisations to grow, for example through the loan finance provided by Charity Bank.39 But most of the Politics and government time social innovation in the social field is slow, and Politicians and political activists promote new ideas determined as much by luck as anything else. partly to promote their beliefs and partly to gain an edge in political competition – more public support Social movements and more chance of winning and retaining power. Social movements operate in the space between They campaign through party structures, newspaper politics and civil society. To succeed they have to articles, meetings and lobbies to get their ideas address a compelling fear or aspiration. Generally into party programmes and manifestos, ministerial speaking, innovative social movements start out speeches and programmes, and then into legislation with small groups seeking likeminded allies, or spending programmes. For example, campaigns animated by anger or hope. They then develop into for environmentally tougher building regulations, more organized campaigns that try to demonstrate community bus services or foyers for homeless the four key attributes of any successful social teenagers have all focused on politics as the best movement: worthiness, unity, numbers and route to achieve change, even if the services were commitment. States can play a decisive role in then run by NGOs. helping them to succeed – or blocking them. Some political leaders are natural social Campaigns for equal opportunities, for example, innovators: Jaime Lerner, mayor of the city ofSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 29Table 1: social innovation in social organisationsGeneration of possibilities Prototypes GrowthPractice, imagination, beneficiaries and user Start ups, incubators, learning by doing and Organisational growth, emulation,inputs generate possibilities. pilots road test ideas e.g. Pledgebank, new replication and franchise to achieve scale models of refugee integration. e.g., Médecins Sans Frontières, Wikipedia, Grameen, Teach First, Reach Out!.Table 2: Social innovation in social movementsFormation Campaigning and advocacy Legislation, habit change, changed valuesSmall groups, seeking likeminded allies, Movements try to demonstrate worthiness, Governments endorse claims and passspurred by anger, resentment e.g. current unity, numbers and commitment e.g. slow legislation. Public habits change e.g. equalcampaigns against slavery or for legalised food and Make Poverty History. opportunities in business, gay marriage..prostitution.Table 3: Social innovation in politicsDemands and campaigns Policy formulation and manifestos Public spending, programmes Legislation, new professionsNGOs, party activists, people in need and the Politicians become champions, ministers Bureaucrats and professionals thenmedia make demands for new programmes and officials take up issues and give political implement, provide funding and authoritye.g. father’s rights, or free eldercare. commitment e.g. to extended schools or new e.g. for tax credits, early years centres or powers for neighbourhood governance. bicycle transport networks.Table 4: Social innovation in governmentGeneration of possibilities Piloting, testing, learning by doing Scaling upCreativity methods, consultations, Incubators, zones, and pathfinders – with Growth, new structures, franchises andcontestability and the adaptation of models assessment and evaluation methods – test spending programmes achieve scale e.g.from other sectors generate possibilities e.g. and capture lessons e.g. restorative justice urban road charging and integrated weekend prisons or nurse led primary care. or carbon markets, or uses of artificial web portals. intelligence in family law. SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 30 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated Curitiba in Brazil, has, over several decades, been an The motivation is usually to address a compelling outstanding example. He has been responsible for problem or to cut costs. Here the experience of completely refashioning his city’s transport system, officials themselves, consultations and contestable rebuilding parks and libraries and experimenting markets can be key to taking innovations from with lateral solutions, such as paying slum children ideas into reality. Promising ideas may be tested for bringing rubbish out of slums with vouchers for through incubators (like Singapore’s incubator for transport. Some political leaders take pride in being e-government), or zones (like the UK’s Employment on the cutting edge of cultural and social change. Zones), pathfinders or pilots, with formal assessment San Francisco, for example, pays for sex change and evaluation methods to prove their efficacy. operations as a result of political campaigns, while A good example of encouraging public in the 1980s Ken Livingstone’s London pioneered innovation is the partnership between the state radical models of equal opportunity, appropriate and city of New York to support the Centre for technology and social inclusion. A good current Court Innovation which helps develop, test out example of how political leaders can galvanise and appraise new approaches to courts and crime creative combinations of public bodies with reduction. For example, it introduced specialist academics and business, helped by a major event, is drug and domestic violence courts. Denmark the city of Zaragoza’s work in developing new digital provides two very different examples: its Ministry of services ahead of its Expo in 2008. Economics and Business Affairs founded MindLab Within government bureaucracies there is a in 2002 as a way of injecting innovation into its rather different story of social innovations gaining work mainly by spreading creative methods, and momentum, away from the glare of party politics. its Ministry of Finance has played a leading role inTable 5: Social innovation in marketsEmbryonic niches Niche markets Co-option into mainstreamEnthusiasts produce and consume in what is Small companies, mission related Multinationals and majors buy in andalmost a gift economy, e.g. life coaches. investment and consumer and shareholder achieve marketing clout e.g. Linux software, activism develop niche markets e.g. speed complementary medicine and fair trade. dating or plug in cars.Table 6: Social innovation in academiaInvention Diffusion IncorporationNew ideas are developed on the margins of Ideas are tested in practice or spread The once radical idea becomes mainstreamacademia e.g. 150 year life expectancy. through academic networks e.g. Cognitive e.g. the idea of educating for multiple Behavioural Therapy or participant action. intelligences.Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 31encouraging and promoting innovations, particularly Corporate Social Responsibility is usually more 40 Wingham, R (1997) Guaranteedon cross-cutting issues, such as the Nem Konto detached from core business activities. However, electronic markets: The backbone of(Easy Account), under which all citizens will have an well designed CSR projects can encourage genuinely the twenty first century economy?,account number relating to a digital account, even if radical approaches, and apply imaginative business Demos, London. This book describedthey do not have a bank account. thinking to social problems. Companies like BP, a sophisticated new form of market TNT and Salesforce have given a very high priority that could be organised on the web,Markets to CSR, employee volunteering and creative ways and which is now being piloted inCommercial markets can also be an effective of using corporate resources. But despite the major east London.route for promoting new social ideas. Successive contribution of business skills to the social sectorsocial innovations have gone from the margins surprisingly few CSR projects have had muchof the counterculture into the mainstream using influence on the big systems of health, education orcommercial markets. They have generally started welfare. One reason may be that the aim of makingwith enthusiasts producing and consuming in projects attractive in reputational terms leads somewhat is almost a gift economy. Then as markets CSR projects to be gold-plated, which in turn makesgrow enthusiasts are able to form small companies them too expensive to be replicated by cash-within their own niches, helped by consumers and strapped public sectors.in some cases by mission-related investment. At alater stage more mainstream investors have often Academiacome in, convinced that there really is scope for Sometimes new models are developed inmaking profits. Then, in a final stage, what was once universities, argued about within academicmarginal becomes mainstream as larger companies disciplines, put into practice and then evaluatedtry to take models over, making use of their scale, before spreading. To succeed they have to offerlogistical and marketing prowess. the prospects of peer recognition and to mobilise A good examples is the evolution of fair trade intellectual labour – for example from PhD students.from being a radical campaign supported by Examples include the Cognitive Behavioural Therapychurches and trade unions to the mainstream models used by Martin Seligman to help teenagersof most supermarkets. The point at which avoid depression; models of participant action usedmainstreaming occurs can be experienced as deeply to empower communities, the idea of ‘food miles’,ambiguous with Nestlé’s launch of a range of fair developed by Tim Lang, which has led to newtrade products in 2005 being a good example. thinking about local sourcing, or the idea of tradingAnother example is the spread of Linux open source carbon and other emissions.software which has, in barely a decade, moved from But academia still lacks mechanisms forthe margins of computer culture into becoming a cultivating and disseminating good ideas. After twodominant technology underpinning the internet and decades of energetic reform to improve technologyan increasingly powerful competitor to Microsoft. transfer universities are only just beginning to thinkThe University of Phoenix is an interesting example about how to achieve equivalent results in theof an innovation that took some elements from social field, through the employment of heads ofNGOs and the public sector (including the Open social innovation and social transfer, running socialUniversity) and turned them into a successful laboratories or incubators to connect users andcommercial model that could be quickly scaled up. innovators, or setting up ‘social science parks’. There are also many important socialinnovations in markets themselves. These include Philanthropyinnovative types of business organisation (like Philanthropists are well placed to supportDenmark’s Mandag Morgen, which combines a innovation: they have money, can often accessnewsletter, think-tank, forum and consultancy) and powerful networks and have the advantage ofnew types of market (like the various guaranteed minimal accountability. In the 19th centuryelectronic market concepts which are now being philanthropists played an important role inpiloted in east London).40 innovation, notably in creating model towns for their A small number of companies have pioneered workers. In the 20th century the great legacies leftsocial change rather than following it. The Body by Carnegie, Rockefeller and Ford helped to fund,Shop is the outstanding example of integrating and shape, creative new approaches to poverty,a social mission with a business one. Business healthcare and learning. Michael Young’s work, for SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 32 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated41 Mulgan, G and Steinberg, T example, was supported by the Ford Foundation. idea using the language of software programmers:(2005), Wide Open Open source During much of the 20th century there was ‘Given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow’ meaningmethods and their future potential, very widespread criticism of philanthropy. Its mix that with enough people working on a project evenLondon, Demos of paternalism, idiosyncratic funding and power the most complex issues and problems can be without accountability were seen as anachronisms. resolved. In practice most of the influential open42 Ibid: 15 This prompted the more progressive foundations source models turn out to be led by a influential – including Ford in the US and the Rowntree leaders who can motivate a dispersed group of43 Ibid: 16-22 organisations in the UK – to adopt more radical developers, and intervene to maintain standards and approaches to empowerment. Today, although many values.43 But the underlying idea is highly egalitarian philanthropists support projects in a scattergun way and democratic. and without much coherent view of social change, Open source methods have many limitations and there is growing interest in how resources can be potential problems. They work less well, for example, used more strategically. The Gates Foundation in fields where underlying goals are contested or has been the pre-eminent example in recent ones which require heavy capital investment, and years, supporting existing healthcare and poverty so far they have proved of limited use in shaping alleviation models but also encouraging innovation, decisions in zero-sum situations (‘bugs’ are only for example by designing funding tools to incentivise shallow when there are no conflicting interests). new vaccines and treatments for AIDS, TB and However they offer radically new ways of organising malaria. The sheer scale of resources at its disposal new ideas and innovation, democratising the design has also enabled it to take a more rounded approach process and linking users to producers. Their to changing public attitudes and to collaboration full potential remains to be proven – but there is with governments. In the UK, Peter Lampl (through great scope (described in ‘Wide Open’) to extend the Sutton Trust) has been an outstanding recent them into fields such as the media and finance, example of modern individual philanthropy. lawmaking and legal advice. Through his single minded focus on a specific issue – raising social mobility through education – he has successfully combined funding for innovative projects and pilots with support for research and direct influence on public policy. Social software and open source methods Online networks of various kinds are fast becoming one of the more important spaces where innovation can happen. The potential impact of open source methods and social softwares is described in more detail in the Young Foundation/Demos book ‘Wide Open’. These generally link widely dispersed communities of contributors in collaborative work. Well-known examples include Linux software; Wikipedia; and the many new applications growing up around Googlemaps.41 Their starting ethos is the opposite of proprietary knowledge – the underlying principle is that knowledge grows best through sharing and cooperation, and the open source networks operate at times like conversations, sometimes more like formal research teams or university scholarship, and sometimes as DIY.42 Their key principles include transparency and visibility; reasonably open access so that anyone can contribute regardless of formal expertise; peer review and feedback. Eric Raymond summed up the basicSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 33Common patterns ofsuccess and failureSocial innovation doesn’t always happen easily, protections and status, plus open media and the webeven though people are naturally inventive and are key. In business social innovation can be drivencurious. In some societies social innovations are by competition, open cultures and accessible capital,strangled at birth, particularly societies where power and will be impeded where capital is monopolisedis tightly monopolized, where free communication by urban elites or government. In politics andis inhibited, or where there are no independent government the conditions are likely to includesources of money. Some innovations may simply be competing parties, think tanks, innovation funds,too radical to be viable and the phrase ‘Leonardo contestable markets and plentiful pilots. In socialeffect’ is sometimes used to describe ideas (like the organisations the acceleration of social innovationhelicopter) that were too far ahead of the prevailing is aided by practitioner networks, allies in politics,levels of technology (by contrast, some of Leonardo strong civic organisations (from trade unions toda Vinci’s other ideas, like flying men with wings hospitals) and the support of progressive foundationsattached to their arms or legs simply failed the laws and philanthropists. And in all of these fields globalof physics.) Within any hierarchy there are many links make it much easier to learn lessons and sharepeople who are skilled at finding ways to kill new ideas at an early stage, with ideas moving in everyideas (we list Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s ‘rules for direction (for example, the movement of restorativestifling innovation’ in this endnote b, p51). justice from Maori New Zealand to mainstream Generally, social innovation is much more likely practice around the world).to happen when the right background conditions Most innovations in business and technologyare present. For social movements, basic legal fail. So do most social innovations. Sometimes SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 34 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated there are good reasons for failure. An idea may to cultivate a flow of new models and innovations be too expensive; not good enough relative to the that may in time become mainstream. In cultivating alternatives; or flawed by unforeseen side-effects. these, innovation tends to be easier where: But we think that many ideas are failing not because of inherent flaws but because of the lack of adequate n the ‘worst-case’ risks can be contained (for mechanisms to promote them, adapt them and then example, through keeping innovation relatively scale them up. In business there is a reasonable small scale) flow of good innovations in part because of the pull of competitive markets, but also because of public n there is evident failure in existing models subsidy of technology, and private investment in incubators, venture capital and start-ups. The n users have choice (so that they can choose a equivalent potential supports for social innovation radically different model of school or doctor rather – foundations, public agencies – are much weaker. than having it forced on them) Governments – which typically provide some 30- 40% of NGO finance in countries like the US, n expectations are carefully managed (for example Germany, UK, France and Japan – are generally poor through politicians acknowledging that many models at recognising and replicating good innovations, are being tried out and that some are likely to fail) particularly when these come from other sectors. It is notoriously difficult for government to close n contracts for services reward outcomes achieved even failing programmes and services, and there rather than outputs or activities are few incentives for either politicians or officials to take up new ideas. Failure to adapt is rarely n there is some competition or contestability rather career threatening, and anyone who does promote than monopoly provision by the state. innovations risks upsetting powerful vested interests. It’s all too easy to conclude that the apparently How public sectors ‘dock’ with the social or promising new idea is too dependent on particular non-profit sector is also important here, particularly circumstances – such as a charismatic individual given that public funding tends to overshadow other – or that the evidence just isn’t strong enough (the revenue sources for many innovations. threshold for evidence on existing programmes tends Public bodies usually move too slowly for to be much lower). impatient entrepreneurs and activists. But in one Sometimes, too, innovation on the ground may important respect they typically move too fast: far- be impeded by structures and systems (and anyone reaching restructurings tend to be driven through too concerned with social change needs to be clear about quickly, ignoring the long time it takes to establish whether most can be achieved upstream, in the realm new cultures, procedures and skills, let alone new of law, policy and structures, or downstream in the patterns of trust. For these sorts of systemic change practical methods used on the frontline). timescales of 10-15 years are more realistic than the shorter timescales of impatient ministers. Handling innovation in public contexts Social innovators generally find governments A ‘connected difference’ theory of unresponsive. But there are sometimes good reasons social innovation for public sectors to be cautious about innovation. We are now in a position to draw some of these Innovation must involve failure – and appetites for threads together and suggest an overarching failure are bound to be limited in very accountable theory which makes sense of the diversity of organisations, or where peoples’ lives depend on social innovations. In the many examples we’ve the reliability of such things as traffic light systems, described three key characteristics have come or welfare payments. Most public services, and up again and again. These differentiate social most NGO service delivery organisations, have to innovation from technological innovation and give concentrate primarily on better management and it its distinctive character. performance of existing models rather than invention First, social innovations are usually new of new ones. combinations or hybrids of existing elements, rather However, all competent leaders of public than being wholly new in themselves. In this sense organisations recognise that they also have a duty we are echoing Joseph Schumpeter who placed aSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 35strong emphasis on the role of entrepreneurs finding 44 The same is often true in the artsnew combinations in the story of economic growth. where impresarios and producers can Second, putting social innovations into effect play a more decisive, and creativeusually involves cutting across organisational, role than the more famous peoplesectoral or disciplinary boundaries (and often they serve.tapping into new sources of value by arbitragingideas and knowledge). Third, social innovations, unlike mosttechnological ones, leave behind compelling newsocial relationships between previously separateindividuals and groups. These matter greatly to thepeople involved, contribute to the diffusion andembedding of the innovation, and fuel a cumulativedynamic whereby each innovation opens up thepossibility of further innovations (as the organisationor group further differentiates itself from itselfand becomes more confident about its capacity toexercise power). Our approach highlights the critical role playedby the connectors in any innovation system – thepeople and institutions which link together differentpeople, ideas, money and power. If we stand backand look at the whole system of innovation andchange it’s clear that they often play more importantroles than the individual entrepreneurs, thinkers,creators, designers, activists and communitygroups, even if they are often less visible.44 Indeedtheir absence often explains why so many socialinnovations are stillborn and why so many socialentrepreneurs are frustrated. Economic development is usually characterisedby growing numbers of intermediary occupations– advising, interpreting and brokering. The same maybe true in the social field where progress seems todepend on the density and quality of connections,and the calibre of the connectors. SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 36 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedWhat nextan agenda for action Throughout this report we have argued that social strategies for innovation beyond science and innovation is too little understood and too often technology to encompass services and social left to chance. Business and science no longer organisations. Some have deliberately introduced depend on obdurate individuals and teams battling new teams within government to act as catalysts against the odds to get their ideas accepted. Instead for creativity. Some have introduced welcome they recognise that more systematic approaches new support for individual social entrepreneurs, pay dividends. A similarly thorough approach is community projects and pilots and have recognised long overdue in relation to social issues. If social the need to cultivate milieux in which risk taking is innovation continues to be left to chance the risk is accepted and there is the ‘buzz’ and optimism that that pressing social problems will worsen; barriers seem so essential for creativity.45 But all of these (from congestion to climate change) will increasingly still fall well short of what is needed, and without constrain economic growth; and the costs of key systemic conditions for innovations to evolve and sectors (like health, the largest industry of the 21st spread, most are bound to be crushed by existing century) will rise while their effectiveness stagnates. vested interests, or at best to remain no more than Some countries have begun to widen their interesting pilots.Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 37 In what follows we therefore turn to the new investment vehicles, ranging from technology 45 Ibid: 16methods and structures which are needed to oriented venture capital to banks.put social innovation on a firmer footing – all of An equivalent mix of funding sources is needed 46 As abovewhich help to reinforce the connections that make for social innovation, for experiments, start upsinnovation systems work. and then for growth. Some of that will need to come from government, drawing on the experienceLeadership and structures suited to of funds like the UK government’s Invest to Saveinnovation Budget (set up to fund innovative collaborativeA lot of social innovation bubbles up from the ventures between public agencies that wouldbottom – and is messy, unpredictable and lead to long term savings) and Futurebuilders (forentrepreneurial. But it is greatly assisted when investing in growing social organisations). Someleaders in fields like health and education (whether will need to come from foundations, which havein local or national government, or in other agencies greater freedom to experiment, and to targetwith the power to act) visibly value and reward unfashionable and politically controversial fields.innovators and innovations. Some will need to come from more commercial There are simple devices for reinforcing these funds drawing on the experience of venture capitalmessages: board directors with responsibility for funds such as Bridges Community Ventures in theensuring a strong flow of new innovations; events, UK and Pacific Community Ventures in the US.rewards and competitions for new ideas; pay review Although these are bound to be less suitable forsystems that give weight to entrepreneurialism and higher risk and more radical ventures which cannothealthy risk taking; audit cultures that do not crush demonstrate a prospective income stream, they fillcreativity. This is also territory where what leaders an important niche alongside the growing field ofsay matters, as well as what they do. venture philanthropy which is providing some debt Structures are also important. In the very best and quasi-equity finance alongside grants46 (a list oforganisations innovation becomes mainstream the key forms of finance is provided in this endnoteand people at every level are open to ideas and C, p51). Looking to the future, these are some of thequick to seize new opportunities. Funding and funding elements that would form a more matureinvestment automatically gravitate to the most social innovation system:promising innovations. But in the great majorityof organisations this doesn’t happen. Instead n Public (and foundation) funding for high riskinnovation depends on dedicated people and teams, ‘blue skies’ R&D in priority areas, deliberatelywith a license to explore new possibilities – at arms aiming to generate a wide range of options thatlength from day to day performance management can be tested, observed, adapted and improved,pressures. Again and again radical innovations with an assumption that a significant proportionhave had to be developed in their own separate will not work.structures, insulated from the day to day pressuresof existing organisations (for example in ‘skunk n Public agencies, foundations and individualworks’). Generally ‘in/out’ units of this kind, which philanthropists providing core funding forstraddle the boundaries of organisations or systems, intermediary bodies like innovation laboratoriesand combine freshness of perspective and the power and accelerators, that can then provide a mix ofto make things happen, seem to be most effective at development and financial support (we describedriving change. some of these in the next section).Finance focused on innovation n More sophisticated metrics to assess investmentBright ideas may appear to emerge from thin air, prospects and results achieved in a way compatiblebut the business of innovation invariably involves with innovation, such as rapid learning and evolutioncosts to generate ideas, test them out and then to of end goals during prototyping and start-up.adapt them in the light of experience. In business,a significant proportion of funding for innovation Public policy frameworks thatcomes from governments – through grants, tax encourage innovationcredits for R&D and subsidies, alongside private Public policy has rarely been explicit ininvestment within companies and through dedicated supporting social innovation, despite the plethora SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 38 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated47 Making Finland a leading country of supports for technological R&D. Yet there Dedicated social innovationin innovation (2005), Final Report are many simple ways that governments can acceleratorsof the Competitive Innovation improve the climate for innovation. In Finland, Few new ideas are born fully formed: instead theyEnvironment Development for example, the government’s main advisory body often need incubation in a protected environmentProgramme, Edita Prima Ltd: 25. on science, innovation and research (SITRA) has that provides support, advice and the freedom recommended that innovativeness should be made to evolve. There are various incubators of social a criterion for competitive bidding associated with ventures already in existence such as Singapore’s public procurement. They have also recommended incubator for e-government ideas or Social Fusion, that a proportion of funding for departments a California-based incubator for social enterprises. should be clearly designated to innovation and There are also a growing number of sources of development activities, which are interpreted support for individual social entrepreneurs, including widely to include innovation in services.47 In the funding and support organisations such as Ashoka UK various methods have been used to support and UnLtd, and educators such as the School for social innovation including: Social Entrepreneurs and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Saïd Business School. n More developed markets for social solutions, The Young Foundation’s Launchpad programme including outcome based funding models (which takes a more active role in the identification of reward organisations for cutting recidivism, keeping needs and the design of new organisations as well as people in jobs or improving the experience of their incubation and launch, with a particular focus chronic disease sufferers) and greater competition on ideas that have the potential to be scaled up. and contestability. A related approach is to develop ‘accelerators’ for particular sectors, such as health and education n Decentralisation of power and money allowing or cross-cutting themes such as ageing or care, with communities greater freedom to shape their an emphasis on scaleable innovations. The NESTA/ own solutions – along with shared knowledge, Young Foundation Health Innovation Accelerator is measurement of results and peer networks to an example. These are most likely to work in sectors prevent complacency where public provision is dominant and where a government can see the advantage of speeding up n Zones’ in the main public services allowing innovation. They are also most likely to be useful spaces for public, private and non-profit where there is scope for innovation that crosses organisations to break nationally set rules and test sectoral and disciplinary boundaries – as is the case out new ideas. The UK Employment Zones have with services for chronic illness, diet, fitness and been particularly effective in encouraging more mental health. radical approaches to welfare. Such accelerators can: provide development funding for social entrepreneurs, groups of public n Collaboratives (like the UK’s health collaboratives) sector workers, private companies and academics, bringing together practitioners, policy makers, and as well as partnerships; rapidly test out new ideas social entrepreneurs to discuss new possibilities and in practice, with quick assessments; allow fast changing needs learning across a community of innovators; and establish clear pathways for scaling up the most n Innovation units to coordinate pioneers, promote promising models. new ideas and promote faster learning (for example A parallel idea (‘city accelerators’) is being the Department for Education’s Innovation Unit) developed for cities to help them address pressing needs. These combine: systematic methods for n Expert user laboratories to test out ideas, with the mapping changing needs; scanning for promising close involvement of users in shaping innovations solutions (from around the world as well as from (building on the UK’s Expert Patients programme) people living within the city, frontline staff etc.); testing them out in practice with rapid measurement n Technology labs focused specifically on mining and assessment; and then applying them. These mature or near mature technologies for social too are likely to work best where they can provide potential: such as mobile telephony, artificial support for a wide range of types of organisation and intelligence and Global Positioning Systems. project – from teams of public sector staff to NGOsSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 39and businesses – and where they have the clearsupport of political leaders in the city.National and cross-national poolsMany of the problems faced by communitiesaround the world are not unique. We favour crossnational innovation pools which bring together agroup of interested governments or foundationsfrom several countries for an aligned innovationprocess. The precursor for this exists in the closedgroups of cities that share data and experienceson transport systems. An equivalent, for examplefor employment for the over-50s, would agree acommon research programme, undertake parallelpilots, enable mutual learning between the peopleinvolved, (both those on the receiving end of theprogramme and those delivering it) and carry outjoint assessment of the results.Research and faster learningTo inform practical initiatives we also need muchmore extensive, rigorous, imaginative and historicallyaware research on how social innovation happensand how it can be helped. Alongside greaterconceptual clarity and common definitions weneed more case studies and better analysis ofcritical success factors and potential inhibitors ateach stage of the innovation process, better linkswith adjacent disciplines working on private sectorinnovation and science, public sector improvement,and civil society, as well as research on some ofthe specifics of social innovation – for example onits links to faith; on which styles of philanthropyachieve the greatest long-term impact; how businessCSR can best contribute to scaleable and replicablemodels; or how the use of new internet basedbusiness models can address social challenges. SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 40 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedA global network foraction and research48 For example, the world bank’s This report was prepared as a contribution to an n Social movements‘social innovation’ blog emerging global network committed to buildinghttp://psdblog.worldbank.org/ up the field of social innovation. The network is n Community Developmentpsdblog/2006/02/ sharing a common website (the international Socialsocial_and_envi.html Innovation Exchange – SIX), a series of events The network will also pull in the many thinkers which began with the Young Foundation/CCCPE in the field, aggregating blogs48, recent research and49 These include Mandag Morgen, conference in Beijing in 2006, collaborations, new ideas, as well as drawing together collaborativethe Copenhagen Institute for development of learning tools, case studies. groups to work on common problems. The aim isFuture Studies and Learning Lab Individuals and organisations in many different to draw in the very many small organisations fromin Denmark; Demos, the British fields are now engaging with social innovation – from the NGO world, design, academia and communityCouncil, the International Futures social entrepreneurship and design, public policy action converging on this area49 and thousands ofForum and the Design Council in and cities, media organisations and academia. organisations working on practical social innovationthe UK; the Centre for Comparative All are bringing distinct insights – but all also in health, education, the law, welfare and povertyPolitical Economy in Beijing which have much to learn from each other. The core and the environment. Our interest lies in findingruns a major annual prize for local partners in SIX come from a wide range of sectors, ways to enhance this disparate community, andinnovations; the Institute for Smart including Mondragon/MIK, corporations including to develop common ways of understanding socialGovernance in Hyderabad and the Cisco and Philips Design, NGOs including the innovation and common methods for supportingCentre for Knowledge Societies in Global Ideas Bank, organisations involved in social social innovation that are widely understood. ThatBangalore; the Doors of Perception entrepreneurship such as Kaospilots and the School will include work to persuade governments andNetwork in the Netherlands; for Social Entrepreneurs, grassroots innovation foundations to engage more seriously in this field,the Kennedy School at Harvard movements including Honeybee, and global events but the main aim will be very practical – to helpUniversity; the pan-European organisers like the Tallberg Forum, alongside many partners move more quickly to viable solutions.EMUDE network coordinated more in the fields of social change. We believe that this work is long overdue. Therefrom Milan; and the Baltic Design Our aim has been to create a network of network is a good chance that within the next 20 to 40 yearsNetwork around the Baltic sea. for innovations taking place in the space between the innovative capacity of societies and governmentswww.balticdesigntransfer.com civil society, government and business, and drawing will become at least as important a differentiator on the best existing networks in: of national success as the innovative capacity of economies. As that happens, new tools will be n Social entrepreneurship needed, new skills and new kinds of organisation. All societies have remarkable capacities for myopia, n Design obduracy and inertia. But greater awareness of the gap between what exists and what’s needed in such n Technology fields as zero carbon housing and poverty alleviation should focus the minds of politicians, business, n Business foundations and NGOs on the need to raise their game. Hopefully the ideas set out here will help n Public policy them to do so. n CitiesSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 41annex 1Why we need toknow more aboutsocial innovationThe observations set out in this report have been of more practical work. For example, one strand of 50 For example, a review of thedrawn from many case studies, analyses and from research has tried to understand how the substantial literature on organisationalour own experience. But we are acutely aware just public funding that is devoted to basic science innovation identified 6,240 articleshow much is not known about social innovation. should best be used. It has looked at whether published between 1980 andIn this section we compare what’s known about to organise funding strategically or reactively in 1994 alone. Wolfe, RA (1994),innovation in science and business, and identify the response to scientists’ interests and enthusiasms. Organisational innovation: review,relevant knowledge in surrounding fields which is It has concerned itself with the role of intellectual critique and suggested researchlikely to provide useful insights as the field develops. property protection – and whether, for example, directions, Journal of Management promising biotech ideas in a university should be Studies 31 (3), pp405-431. For aWhat’s known about innovation in quickly handed over to private companies and made more recent literature review seebusiness and science secret. It has studied the global collaborations that Reed, R (1999), DeterminantsThe study of innovation in business and science now drive progress in fields like fusion technologies of Successful Organisational(and to a lesser extent public services) has for energy, or new drugs for cancer, and the practical Innovation: A Review of Currentprogressed rapidly over the last few decades, with question of how far public support should spread Research, Journal of Managementmuch richer theories and much more empirical from basic research, through support for generic Practice, Jan-June 2000analysis of specific sectors which has yielded a great technologies, to subsidy for promising applications.wealth of insight.50 In business, the vast volume of analysis done 51 Walker RM, Jeanes, E and In science, there are extensive and distinct on innovation has given rise to fairly well accepted Rowlands, RO (2002), Measuringliteratures on invention and innovation. The typologies to understand the different types of Innovation – applying thepioneering work started at Sussex University in innovation connected to products, services and literature-based innovation outputthe mid-1960s remains the benchmark in terms processes. Some have used the distinctions indicator to public services, Publicof sophisticated, empirical study of innovation in between total, expansionary or evolutionary Administration 80 10 pp201-214science, technology and economics. Much of that innovations51; others have preferred to differentiatework has focused on the long waves of technological between incremental, radical or systematicand economic change, but there has also been a lot ones52, or between innovations that happen within SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 42 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated52 Walker RM, Jeanes, E and organisations and those that cross organisational firms (the model that exists in sectors such asRowlands, RO (2002) Measuring boundaries.53 microchips, software, cars and retailing). This isInnovation – Applying the This body of work has provided many useful roughly the opposite structure to that found inLiterature-based Innovation Output insights.54 Economists have shown the importance many public services which combine a monopolyIndicator to Public Services, Public of incentives and returns (including temporary department or ministry with very small operatingAdministration 80 10 pp201-214 monopolies) and the dynamics whereby many units – schools, primary care centres and police competing innovations consolidate on a dominant stations; a structure that may greatly reduce the53 As identified by Damapnour, model – because of economies of scale, and prospects for radical systemic innovation.F (1987), The Adoption of sometimes because of the power of leading Much of the academic work on innovation hasTechnological, Administrative and companies.55 They have also shown the importance focused on how ideas diffuse, yielding insights intoAncillary innovations: Impact of of smallness in invention: patents from small firms the role of (amongst others) leadership, networksOrganisational Factors in Journal of are twice as likely to be amongst the top 1% of and social systems in determining the likelihood andManagement, 13, 4 pp675 -688 patents subsequently identified as having high rate of diffusion.59 Everett’s Rogers’s seminal work impact. Other insights emphasise the importance of on diffusion, for example, showed that adopters of54 The best recent survey of the field abundant venture capital56 and the common ways any new innovation or idea could be categorized asis Nooteboom, B (2001), Learning in which new models often start on the periphery innovators (2.5%), early adopters (13.5%), earlyand Innovation in Organisations and and are then taken over by big organisations (for majority (34%), late majority (34%) and laggardsEconomies, Oxford University Press, example, self service supermarkets began in small (16%), and roughly fitted a Bell Curve. People couldwhich provides a very sophisticated retailers before being copied by big ones). Here, fall into different categories for different innovationsoverview both of the sociology and once again, we see how ‘bees’ and ‘trees’ can – so a farmer might be an early adopter of hybrideconomics of innovation complement each other. corn, but a late majority adopter of video recorders. We know that disaggregated industries tend to Rogers showed these innovations would spread55 Two good general sources are adapt better to volatility, big structures better to through society in an ‘S’ curve, starting off slowly,the Stanford Project on Emerging stable conditions. And we know how serendipitous then spreading much more rapidly until saturationCompanies: innovation often is – seeking one solution, firms is reached (and he applied his approach not justwww.gsb.stanford.edu/SPEC/ stumble on another, quite different one. to business but also to practical health problems,index.html and Innovation and Thanks to decades of sociological research we including hygiene, family planning, cancerEntrepreneurship now know that one reason why some sectors have prevention and drink driving).http://knowledge.wharton.upenn. historically been more innovative than others is Another important issue that has beenedu/index.cfm?fa=viewCat&CID=12 the role of intermediaries who help make markets much studied is the nature of learning between work more efficiently, spotting connections and organisations and individuals. For example, one56 Albury, D and Mulgan, G (2003), opportunities (and these can be more important finding is that the most important value of patentsInnovation in the Public Sector, than formal market structures)57. More generally, the is often not their direct impact on production butStrategy Unit, London, p26 detailed study of innovation has put an increasing their role in facilitating learning by increasing the emphasis on the value of relationships rather than attractiveness of the patent holder as a partner 57 Murmann, JP (2004), Knowledge formal stocks of knowledge or assets, and the very for others.60and Competitive Advantage, extensive field of organisational learning, pioneered There is also an extensive literature and bodyEH.NET; von Hippel, E (2005), by figures such as Michael Argyris, has had a big of practice on how innovation should be organisedDemocratising Innovation, MIT influence on innovation studies. within organisations, pioneered by figures includingPress Cambridge Mass; Baumol, R Some of the more recent work on the experience Peter Drucker, Rosabeth Moss Kanter61 and John(2003), The Free-Market Innovation of innovation has shown that it is more like a Kao.62 They have studied the many methods usedMachine: Analyzing the Growth cultural activity than traditional science. The key is to generate ideas – pulling in possibilities fromof Miracle Capitalism, Princeton often a creative reinterpretation of old problems or sales forces, customers, staff and universities andUniversity Press solutions by a group of innovators, who then have to using skunk works, internal venture funds and persuade others of this reinterpretation.58 competitions or competing teams. They have also58 Lester, R and Piore, M (2004), One of the reasons that rigorous research analysed the relative advantages of developingInnovation – The Missing into business innovation has proved valuable ideas inhouse or by turning new ideas into separateDimension, Harvard University Press is that many findings are counterintuitive. For businesses run by ‘intrapreneurs’.Cambridge Mass example, in some sectors the best market structure One finding is that funding that backs groups for innovation seems to be a combination of or individuals rather than specific projects over oligopolistic competition between a few big periods of time may deliver greater results than companies and a much larger penumbra of smaller overly planned innovation.63 There is also a growingSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 43literature on innovation in management practices the internet. In retrospect these claims were greatly 59 See Rogers, EM (1995), Diffusionand organisation64 and some cases of non-profit overblown. But there is no doubt that the internet of Innovations, Free Press Newsector innovation influencing the business sector.65 both grew out of radically different models and has York; Nutley, S Davies, H andOne recent report suggested that innovation in made new business models possible. Many of the Walter, I (2002), Learning from themanagement practices was now more important internet’s key business innovations emerged from Diffusion of Innovations Universitythan product innovation – and that the lead in this very open processes, without any role for intellectual of St Andrews; Nooteboom Bfield has passed to China.66 Another rising theme is property: the original technologies of the internet (2000), Learning and innovation inthe important role that users can play in innovation. (like the TCP/IP protocol) were developed by organisations and economies, OxfordThis has always been mainstream in the social networks of programmers supported by the Defense University Press, Oxfordfield, but is being given increasing prominence Advanced Research Projects Agency and thein business – for example by Eric von Hippel and Pentagon; and the first web browser was developed 60 Smith-Doerr L et al (1999),Charles Leadbeater – along with the development at the University of Illinois without any ownership. Networks and Knowledgeof new ways of tying consumers and users into the More recently, open source Linux software has been Production: Collaboration anddesign of new products and services.67 developed by a loose community of programmers Patenting in Bio-Technology in Many of the issues that are thrown up from (for a thorough analysis of open source methods Leenders AJ and Gabbay SMthis work are directly relevant to social innovation. and their great potential see the Young Foundation/ (eds) Corporate Social Capital andFor example, in business there has long been Demos publication in 2005: Wide Open68), while the Liability, cited in Noteboom Btalk of the ‘chasm’ that innovations have to cross internet has continued to foster very novel business (2001) op citas they pass from being promising pilot ideas to models (from Friends Reunited to the manybecoming mainstream products or services. There innovations of Google and MySpace). 61 For example, Moss Kanter, Rare likely to be quite long phases when revenues So a lot is known about business innovation. (2001), Evolve! Succeeding inare negative, and when investors have to hold their But there are still some fundamental uncertainties. the digital culture of tomorrow,nerve. As we’ve seen exactly the same challenge Despite the extensive literature and the many Harvard Business School Press,faces any social innovation. Several methods have departments in universities and business schools Cambridge, Mass.been designed to speed up this period, including this field is far from being a settled science. Forfaster prototyping, intensive handholding by example, the debate about intellectual property 62 For example, Kao J (1991), Theventure capital companies and the use of rigorous remains deeply contentious. It used to be thought Entrepreneurial Organisation, Prenticemilestones against which funds are released – but that property rights were vital to stimulate Hall, New Jersey, and Jammingthere is no avoiding a period of uncertainty while innovation, and that their absence was one reasonsuccess is uncertain (and as Rosabeth Moss Kanter why public sectors and NGOs were less innovative 63 For example, Braben, D (2004),memorably put it, everything looks like a failure in than private firms. But there are now plenty of Pioneering Research: A Risk Worththe middle). sceptics who point out that most fundamental Taking, Wiley The organisational choices faced by social and innovations were not protected as patents. Theycommercial organisations also run in parallel. Some argue that patents may crush innovation in 64 For example, Hamel, G (2000),companies organise innovation largely in-house as fields like software and that patents for business Leading The Revolution, Penguin,part of their mainstream business (like 3M); some ideas (like Amazon’s protection of its One-Click New Yorkcreate semi-autonomous corporate venture units purchasing system) constrain innovation rather than(like Nokia); some grow through acquisition of other encouraging it. It has even been suggested that the 65 For example, Follett, MP (1924),innovative companies as well as their own innovation great majority of universities which have invested Creative Experience, New York(Cisco for example); others use widespread in trying to capture the intellectual property theynetworks (like the Original Design Manufacturing produce have lost money by doing so.69 Another 66 Hagel, J and Brown, JS,companies in China). Again, in the social field major issue is that most understanding of innovation Connecting globalisation andthere are advantages and disadvantages in keeping has been derived from studying manufacturing. Less innovation: some contrarianinnovation in-house (as, for example in the British is known about innovation in services – and many perspectives, paper prepared for theNational Health Service in the past); integrating business involved in services find the innovation World Economic Forum 2006innovative NGOs into big public systems (as has literature unsatisfactory (IBM for example hasoften happened in housing); or using networks (the called for a new ‘services science’ to rectify this). 67 Von Hippel, E (2005),traditional method of innovation in fields as diverse Ian Miles’ work at Manchester is a rare exception Democratising Innovation, MIT.as public health and urban planning). of work that is both theoretically sophisticated and Leadbeater, C (2006), The user In the late 1990s it was briefly fashionable to grounded in empirical observation and data.70 innovation revolution, Nationalclaim that the whole paradigm of innovation in both Similarly there is considerable disagreement Consumer Councilbusiness and civil society was being transformed by about the precise role of entrepreneurs – whether, SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 44 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated68 Mulgan, G and Steinberg, T as in Schumpeter’s account, they are an elite for a social innovation concerned with a very(2005), Wide Open: the potential of who drive change, or whether they are better intense but contained need. In some of the mostopen source methods, Demos and understood as reacting to changes in the radical social innovations participants’ lives arethe Young Foundation, London environment. There is also disagreement on the dramatically improved by the act of collaboration precise relationships between market structures (e.g. the reorganisation of social care as self-69 See http://en.wikipedia. and innovation; on the relative virtues of private directed support).71org/wiki/Reverse_engineering for an ownership and public listings on stock exchangesinteresting discussion of property (with some suggesting that privately owned These are all reasons why there is a need forrights and innovation. companies are better placed to invest long-term in more rigour, sharper concepts, and clearer metrics. innovation); and on the appropriate timescales for70 See for example ‘Innovation in intellectual property protection. Existing research on social innovationservices’ by Ian Miles in The Oxford and related fieldsHandbook of Innovation. Business innovation and social Fortunately this is not a completely barren territory. innovation: similarities and differences There have been many case studies of social71 In the UK, the In Control pilots If the literature on business innovation is extensive innovations within different fields (including health,delivered under the government’s but still unsettled the systematic analysis of education and criminal policy) and useful attemptspolicy Valuing People and now social innovation is in its infancy. As we’ve already have been made to understand social innovationrecommended for wider adoption seen, some of the patterns may be similar. Social in some universities, including Stanford (whichare a good examples of innovation in innovations only thrive if they really do meet needs: publishes a ‘Social Innovation Review’, primarilythe a new relationship between user to spread they need to gain the support of people focused on foundations and CSR), Fuqua (which hasand suppliers Improving the Life with resources – funders, investors, purchasers. As done significant work on social entrepreneurship),Chances of Disabled People, Prime in the private sector there will be parallel questions and Harvard where the Kennedy School has run anMinister’s Strategy Unit, January of risk and reward, and of how to manage portfolios extensive programme on innovations in governance.2005 p93; ‘Controlling interest’, of ideas. And, again as in the private sector, very In the UK there has been a long programme of workDavid Brindle in Society Guardian, capital intensive innovations (the hugely expensive at Sussex and Manchester (primarily looking atMarch 2nd 2005 CERN in Switzerland, the world’s largest particle social innovation from a technological perspective)www.selfdirectedsupport.org physics laboratory, could at a stretch be thought of and at Warwick (primarily looking through the lens of as a social innovation) will develop in very different public administration and business).72 Stanford Social Innovation Review ways from ones with very low barriers to entry (like Much of this work has been suggestive andwww.ssireview.com the millions of websites which have made use of the interesting. But it has tended to consist of caseThe Social Innovation Forum technologies invented at CERN). studies and exploratory studies rather than offeringwww.wfs.org/innovate.htm But many of the patterns of social innovation are robust theory, substantial data sets, or even much inGovernment Innovators Network very different: the way of practical learning about how innovationwww.innovations.harvard.edu should best be organised72 and there has beenwww.changemakers.net n There are likely to be very different motives, surprisingly little theoretical progress since theDrucker NonProfit Innovation which may include material incentives but will pioneering work of Chris Freeman, Giovanni DosiDiscovery Site almost certainly go far wider, to include motives of and Carlotta Perez in the 1980s linking socialwww.pfdf.org/innovation recognition, compassion, identity, autonomy and care. innovation to broader patterns of technological change. Nor has much use been made of the73 For example Alcock, P, Barnwell, n The critical resources are likely to be different: advances made in parallel disciplines – fromT and Ross, L (2004), Formality in businesses money provides the bottom line, psychology to organisational theory.or Flexibility? Voluntary Sector but social innovations usually seek out a different There is a growing field of research on publicContracting, NCVO, London; mix of resources including political recognition sector innovation, building on some pioneeringOsborne, S (1998), Voluntary and support, voluntary labour and philanthropic work in the 1960s and 1970s that tried to map theOrganisations and Innovation in commitment. traits of innovative states and governments. MorePublic services, Routledge, London recent work has looked at patterns of diffusion, the n Social organisations tend to have different patterns interplay between politics and bureaucracies, and of growth: as a rule they don’t grow as fast as private the ‘ecological niches’ that innovations fill. Canada ones, but they also tend to be more resilient. has been a particularly fertile country for research in this field (and increasingly for research on social n Judging success is also bound to be very innovation as well). Eleanor Glor’s recent publication different. Scale or market share may matter little – ‘A Gardener Innovator’s Guide to Innovating inSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 45Organisations’ – provides a particularly useful survey aims) and social entrepreneurship (understood 74 Evans, E and Saxton, J (2004),of the field (and builds on her experience in running as the use of entrepreneurial skills to achieve Innovation rules! A roadmapthe Innovation Journal and the Innovation Network a social purpose but not necessarily involving to creativity and innovation forin Canada). social enterprise) onto a surer footing.78 However, not-for-profit organisations, NFP As well as the study of innovation in economics whilst social innovation certainly occurs through Synergy, Londonand science there is an emerging, yet still small, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship itbody of research into the capacity of formally also happens in many other contexts. Conversely, 75 Ibidconstituted social organisations (non-profits, NGOs, although social entrepreneurship often involvescharities, voluntary and community organisations) innovation, only a small minority of social 76 Leat, D (2003), Replicatingto innovate in the delivery of public services73 entrepreneurs create new models that can then Successful Voluntary Sectorand, to build up innovative capacity more widely.74 be scaled up, and that process of scaling up often Projects, Association of CharitableHowever such research (whilst extremely valuable) involves governments and larger businesses. Foundations London, Communitytests one sector’s putative innovative capacity Another relevant body of work comes from the Action Network’s beanstalknot the wider territory of social innovation. The study of social investment (providing a range of programmelittle original research on voluntary organisations’ debt through to equity products to social purpose www.can-online.org.ukinnovative capacity has tended to conclude that organisations) stemming from progressive practicevoluntary organisations are ‘better at believing they in philanthropy, for-profit banking and venture 77 One leading figure in the socialare innovative than being innovative’.75 There is capital.79 This work is valuable in illuminating enterprise field, for example, hasalso some limited emerging work on the replication the potential for different kinds of support – but repeatedly suggested that the socialof successful voluntary sector initiatives76 – which, it remains in its infancy in understanding how sector is experiencing a rapid jumpthough valuable, investigates one aspect of the portfolios of different kinds of risk could be in productivity, and cites as evidenceprocess of innovation in isolation from its wider and assembled, and the perspective of financial the fast growth of jobs numbersprecursory elements. investment naturally tends to favour models that in civic organisations in countries Considerable work is now under way on can already demonstrate either public demand, or like Germany and USA. The growthmeasuring the outputs and outcomes of public and the prospect of public sector contracts. Genuinely in jobs is fairly well-attested; butsocial organisations, including the fascinating work radical innovations can rarely do either. to link it to rising productivity isled by Dale Jorgensen at MIT on valuing the informal In short, whilst there is plenty of knowledge at best a non-sequitur, at worsteconomy and family work, and the recent work led to draw on, the whole is less than the parts. economically illiterate. A moreby Tony Atkinson at Oxford University on the value In a preliminary survey of research undertaken honest comment might be that weof public services. These go far beyond the rather across the world we have found no quantitative know very little about whether civicmisleading claims that are sometimes made for the analysis systematically identifying inhibitors productivity is rising, falling or flat.productivity and efficacy of social organisations.77 and critical success factors at each stage of theBut they have yet to generate reliable metrics for the social innovation cycle. Nor have we found work 78 For example: Amin, A, Cameron,social or civic value that social organisations create. specifically analysing the role that policy makers, A and Hudson, R (2002), Placing The global umbrella organisations supporting funders and universities can play in supporting the the Social Economy, Routledge,social entrepreneurs and civic action – notably process of social innovation. London; Westall, A (2001), ValueCivicus and Ashoka – have chosen to remain in an Led, Market Driven, IPPR London;advocacy and promotional stance giving primacy to Why what we don’t know matters Pharaoh, C (2004), Social enterprisecivic organisations in the first case, and a largely A Google search on the word ‘innovation’ in in the balance, Charities Aidindividualistic model of change driven by social March 2007 threw up some 121 million web Foundation, West Mallingentrepreneurs in the latter. They have done a pages, ranging from articles to toolkits, books togreat deal to promote wider understanding of civic consultancies. By contrast a search for ‘social 79 For example: at www.activism, and have provided invaluable support innovation’ generates only 840,000 – a sign of how davidcarrington.net/articles.php;for many individuals and organisations across the marginal this field remains. Peacock, G et al, (2003) The Magicworld. But they have done less to advance serious We believe that the absence of sustained and Roundabout – how charities canknowledge about how social change takes place, systematic analysis is holding back the practice of make their money go further: anor to engage with the new insights from economics social innovation. Specifically, a lack of knowledge introduction to programme relatedand technology. makes it harder to see the main gaps in current investment, Bircham Dyson Bell, Meanwhile within academia, centres at provision of funding, advice and support. This is London; Bolton, M (2004), NewHarvard, Oxford and elsewhere are beginning to put likely to result in fewer potential innovations being approaches to funding not for profitthe study of social enterprise (understood as the initiated. A lack of knowledge about common organisations: a snapshot, Charitiestechnique of trading in the market to achieve social patterns is almost certain to make it harder for Aid Foundation, West Malling SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 46 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated innovators themselves to be effective and for ideas of social innovation is in its infancy. As we’ve already to be improved into a sustainable form. seen, some of the patterns may be similar. Social We know that some of the critical success innovations only thrive if they really do meet needs: factors for social innovation include strong to spread they need to gain the support of people leadership, clear mission, sensitivity to markets with resources – funders, investors, purchasers. As and users, and lean and flexible design. But much in the private sector there will be parallel questions more work needs to be done to understand the of risk and reward, and of how to manage portfolios precise ways in which social innovation can best be of ideas. And, again as in the private sector, very supported. We need to better understand: capital intensive innovations (the hugely expensive CERN in Switzerland, the world’s largest particle n The key gaps in particular sectors, and whether, physics laboratory, could at a stretch be thought of for example, there is an excess of experimentation as a social innovation) will develop in very different relative to take-up or vice versa. ways from ones with very low barriers to entry (like the millions of websites which have made use of the n The best balance between very speculative technologies invented at CERN). funding of new ideas and investment in the growth But many of the patterns of social innovation are of part-proven innovations. very different: n How best to straddle the innovation chasm n There are likely to be very different motives, – between promising ideas and large scale which may include material incentives but will implementation. almost certainly go far wider, to include motives of recognition, compassion, identity, autonomy and care. n Appropriate and acceptable ratios of risk – are the patterns from venture capital or creative n The critical resources are likely to be different: industries relevant, and if so what are the in businesses money provides the bottom line, implications for investment? but social innovations usually seek out a different mix of resources including political recognition n The best ways of refining and testing innovations and support, voluntary labour and philanthropic – for example, in incubators or as offshoots of commitment. existing organisations. n Social organisations tend to have different n The relationships between organisational forms patterns of growth: as a rule they don’t grow as and creativity – for example, do boards of trustees fast as private ones, but they also tend to be more tend to inhibit it? resilient. n The best ways of using visionary founders – and n Judging success is also bound to be very moving them to one side if they lack management different. Scale or market share may matter little skills or become rigid in their thinking. for a social innovation concerned with a very intense but contained need. In some of the most n The role of different electoral systems in radical social innovations participants’ lives are encouraging political competition and dramatically improved by the act of collaboration social innovation. (e.g. the reorganisation of social care as self- directed support). n The merits and challenges of engaging service users and existing providers at differing stages of the These are all reasons why there is a need for innovation process. more rigour, sharper concepts, and clearer metrics. Business innovation and social innovation: similarities and differences If the literature on business innovation is extensive but still unsettled the systematic analysisSkoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 47annex 210 world-changingsocial innovations1. The Open University – and the many models of distance learning that have openedup education across the world and are continuing to do so.2. Fair trade – pioneered in the UK and USA in the 1940s-80s and now growing globally.3. Greenpeace – and the many movements of ecological direct action which drewon much older Quaker ideas and which have transformed how citizens can engagedirectly in social change.4. Grameen – alongside BRAC and others whose new models of village andcommunity based microcredit have been emulated worldwide.5. Amnesty International – and the growth of human rights.6. Oxfam (originally the Oxford Committee for Relief of Famine) and the spread ofhumanitarian relief.7. The Women’s Institute (founded in Canada in the 1890s)– and the innumerablewomen’s organisations and innovations which have made feminism mainstream.8. Linux software – and other open source methods such as Wikipedia and Ohmynewsthat are transforming many fields.9. NHS Direct and the many organisations, ranging from Doctor Foster to the ExpertPatients Programme, which have opened up access to health and knowledge abouthealth to ordinary people.10. Participatory budgeting models – of the kind pioneered in Porto Alegre and nowbeing emulated, alongside a broad range of democratic innovations, all over the world. SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 48 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedannex 3SuggestedFurther Reading Open Standards, Open Source, and Open Edwards, M (1999), NGO Performance – What Innovation: Harnessing the Benefits of Openness Breeds Success? New Evidence from South Asia, (April 2006), A Report by the Digital Connections World Development 27 (2), pp361-374 Council of the Committee for Economic Development http://www.ced.org/docs/report/report_ecom_ Evans, E and Saxton, J, Innovation Rules! A openstandards.pdf Roadmap to Creativity and Innovation for Not-for-profit Organisations Bornstein, D (2004), How To Change the World: nfpSynergy.net Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Oxford University Press, Oxford Evans, P (1996), Development Strategies Across the Public-private Divide: Introduction, World Dees, JG, Anderson, BB, and Wei-Skillern, J (2002), Development 24(6), pp1033–1037 Pathways to Social Impact: Strategies for Scaling Out Successful Social Innovations, CASE Working Fagerberg, J et al (ed) (2005) The Oxford Handbook Paper Series No. 3, Duke University of Innovation Dees, JG and Anderson, BB (2006), Framing a Fox, J (1996), How Does Civil Society Thicken? Theory of Social Entrepreneurship: Building on The Political Construction of Social Capital in Rural Two Schools of Practice and Thought in Research Mexico, World Development 24(6), pp1089–1103 on Social Entrepreneurship: Understanding and Contributing to an Emerging Field, ARNOVA, CASE, Fulton, K and Dees, G (2006), The Past, Present, Duke University and Future of Social Entrepreneurship: A Conversation with Greg Dees, Gathering of Leaders, Development Assistance Committee (1997), New Paltz, New York Searching for Impact and Methods: NGO Evaluation Synthesis Study, OECD, Paris Gershuny, J (1983), Social Innovation and the Division of Labour, USA, Oxford University Press Drayton, B (2006), Everyone a Changemaker Social Entrepreneurship’s Ultimate Goal, Innovations Jain, P (1994), Managing for Success: Lessons (Winter Edition), MIT Press From Asian Development Programs, World Development 22(9), pp1363–1377 Easterly, W (2006), The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done Jain, P (1996), Managing Credit for the Rural So Much Ill and So Little Good, Oxford, Oxford Poor: Lessons From the Grameen Bank, World University Press Development 24(1), pp79–90 Edwards, M and Hulme, D (eds.) (1992), Making a Kelley, J (2006), The Ten Faces of Innovation: Difference: NGOs and Development in a Changing Strategies for Heightening Creativity, Profile World, Earthscan, London Books Ltd Kingston, W (1984), The Political Economy of Innovation, The Hague/Boston; reprinted: Martinus Nijhoff, 1989Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 49Lewis, D (ed) (1998), Bridging the Chasm: Rickards, T (1985), Stimulating Innovation: AInternational Perspectives on Voluntary Action, Systems Approach, London, Palgrave MacMillanEarthscan, London Ritchey-Vance, M (1996), Social capital,Massey, D (1999) Imagining globalization: power- sustainability and working democracy: Newgeometries of time-space in Brah, A. et al. (eds) yardsticks for grassroots development, GrassrootsGlobal Futures: Migration, Environment and Development 20(1), pp3–9Globalization, Basingstoke, Macmillan, pp27-44 Seely Brown, J and Hagel, J (2006), Creation Nets:Moore, MH (2005), Social Entrepreneurship, Mass Getting the most from open innovation in TheMobilisation, and Systems Change, paper prepared McKinsey Quarterly No. 2, 41-51for Skoll Conference on Social Entrepreneurship,Saïd Business School, Oxford University Spinosa, C, Flores, F and Dreyfus, HL (1999), Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship,Moore, M (2003), What Makes Microcredit Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity,Programmes Effective? Fashionable Fallacies and MIT PressWorkable Realities (with Pankaj Jain), IDS WorkingPaper No. 177 Thackara, J (2005), In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World, MIT PressMoore, M with Joshi, A (2004), Institutionalised Co-production: Unorthodox Public Service Thomas, L (1974), The Lives of Biology: Notes of aDelivery in Challenging Environments, Journal of Biology Watcher Bantam USADevelopment Studies Vol.40, No.4 Varshney, A (1998), Democracy, Development andMoore, M (2006), The New Private Philanthropies the Countryside: Urban-Rural Struggles in India,Could Challenge the Existing Aid Business, Boston Cambridge, Cambridge University PressReview – A Political & Literary Forum vol 31 no 4:pp11-12 Varshney, A, Why have Poor Democracies not Eliminated Poverty? A Suggestion, Asian Survey,Mulgan, G (2006), The Process of Social Innovation, September-October 2000Innovations, Spring, MIT Press, pp145-62mitpress.mit.edu/innovations Varshney, A (forthcoming), Democracy and Poverty, in D. Narayan, ed, Measuring Empowerment,Mulgan, G (2006), 360 degree improvement and Stanford University Pressthe imperative of social innovation, speech to PublicServices Conference, 6th JuneAvailable athttp://www.youngfoundation.org.uk/index.php?p=306Rao, A and Kelleher, D (1995), EngenderingOrganizational Change: The BRAC Case, IDSBulletin 26(3), pp69–78 SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • 50 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be acceleratedendnotes A There have been many attempts to define an groups and so on. It is also possible to point to some overarching theory of social (or economic) change. common themes in the stories of social change: the These theories were particularly fashionable role of blockages and impediments in galvanising in the 19th century – change was explained change; the role of ideas in giving shape to these through elaborate theories focused on the impact and turning personal resentments into social forces; of technology, contradictions, class struggle, or the role of new knowledge in making things possible the advance of reason, and there were also more – from technologies like the car or genomics, to simplistic theories which ascribed change to visionary the knowledge about health that has motivated individuals or national will. More recently there anti-smoking campaigns. There are also parallel have been various attempts to define an overarching struggles for resources – political, economic, cultural ‘theory of change’ (and in economics to offer a – and parallel stories about how new ideas and synthetic theory of growth). However, all theories movements try to attract others. But these cannot of this kind are based on a simple error: although be summarised into a simple model (for example, every aspect of social life is connected, there are no by analogy with evolutionary theories) that have good reasons for believing that a single theory could any explanatory or predictive power, despite many explain phenomena as diverse as family life, urban attempts. We believe that it is possible to provide communities, the evolution of workplaces, identity more accurate analyses and descriptions of how new and conflict, crime and violence, exploitation and models, programmes and organisations emerge and cooperation. They are different in nature, have their spread, how they crystallise, are concentrated in a own logics, rhythms, and any general theory is likely model and are then amplified, and our expectation to be either banal or wrong. Even within economics is that new insights will come from gathering overarching theories of change and growth have examples, studying the fine-grained detail as much not fared well compared to more modest theories as from abstract theory. Anyone wanting to achieve focused on such things as the dynamics of labour social change also needs to have thought through markets or monetary policy. The big social changes how they think change happens – and how they can that have accompanied industrialisation have had influence major interests and public excitement, how some common features: urbanisation; changed they can circumvent barriers, and what might be gender roles; the rise of mass media; globalisation; realistic timescales for change. But we are neither political empowerment of previously marginalised advocating, nor expecting, an overarching theory.Skoll centre for social entrepreneurship
    • geoff mulgan 51b Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s “Rules for Stifling C The seven main sources of social investment are:Innovation” are: n Specialist investors established specifically to1. Regard any new idea with suspicion – because it’s provide capital to under-capitalised geographicalnew, and because it’s from below. communities, such as Bridges Community Ventures2. Insist that people who need your approval to act n Specialist lenders established specifically tofirst go through several other layers of management provide capital to civil society organisations, suchto get their signatures. as Futurebuilders3. Ask departments or individuals to challenge or n Specialist divisions of mainstream criticise each other’s proposals (that saves you the banking institutionstrouble of deciding – you just pick the survivor). n Venture capital funds targeting businesses4. Express your criticisms freely, and withhold your pursuing social goals alongside profits (such aspraise (that keeps people on their toes). Let them Climate Change Capital)know they can be fired at any time. n Government investment agencies5. Treat identification of problems as signs of failure,to discourage people from letting you know when n Individual philanthropists or angel investorssomething in their area isn’t working. n Grant making foundations (through mission 6. Control everything, carefully. Make sure that people related investments)count everything that can be counted, frequently.7. Make decisions to reorganize or change policies insecret, and spring them on people unexpectedly (thatalso keeps people on their toes).8. Make sure that requests for information are fullyjustified, and make sure that it is not given out tomanagers freely (you don’t want data to fall into thewrong hands).9. Assign to lower-level managers, in the name ofdelegation and participation, responsibility for figuringout how to cut back, lay off, move people around, orotherwise implement threatening decisions that youhave made. And get them to do it quickly. SAID BUSINESS SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
    • www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/skoll Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship Saïd Business School University of Oxford Park End Street Oxford OX1 1HP United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)1865 288 838 skollcentre@sbs.ox.ac.uk