A Framework for Social Innovation


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Speaker: J.W. McConnell Chair in Social Innovation, University of Waterloo

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A Framework for Social Innovation

  1. 1. A Framework for Social Innovation! Frances Westley SiG@Waterloo University of Waterloo November, 2008
  2. 2. What is social innovation?. ! Social innovation is an initiative, product or process which profoundly changes the basic routines, resource and authority flows or beliefs of any social system. Successful social innovations are therefore disruptive and have durability, impact and scale. The role of: Social Innovation Generation (SiG) SiG@Waterloo
  3. 3. Key messages!   Social innovation is complex: understanding the difference between complicated and complex is important in understanding the dynamics of social innovation   Market/diffusion models of social innovation should be complimented by complex system models which see change as discontinuous and focus on cross scale dynamics.   Agency and opportunity are both important.   Agency is defined not only by social entrepreneurship but by institutional entrepreneurship   Institutional entrepreneurs tailor strategies to particular opportunity contexts.
  4. 4. Innovations abound…. Eva’s Phoenix Santropol Roulant The Working Center
  5. 5. How do innovations achieve a broader impact?A marketing strategy for “routine” change! Structured, open source methods - sometimes with payment, consultation or Hi control technical Lo control: -innovation assistance Innovation contained spreads in the Federations or like weeds- Licensing and control thru advocacy, organizatio franchising - professional persuasion n-spread by quality networks - helped and a growth or assurance and by evaluation sense of clonign training mvt. modified from Nesta (www.nesta.uk)
  6. 6. Simple Complicated Complex Following a Recipe A Rocket to the Moon Raising a Child!
  7. 7. Simple Following a Recipe! z The recipe is essential z Recipes are tested to assure replicability of later efforts z No particular expertise; knowing how to cook increases success z Recipe notes the quantity and nature of “parts” needed z Recipes produce standard products z Certainty of same results every time
  8. 8. Simple Complicated Following a Recipe A Rocket to the Moon !   Formulae are critical z The recipe is essential and necessary z Recipes are tested to   Sending one rocket assure replicability of increases assurance later efforts that next will be ok z No particular expertise; knowing how to cook   High level of increases success expertise in many specialized fields + z Recipes produce coordination standard products   Separate into parts z Certainty of same and then coordinate results every time   Rockets similar in critical ways   High degree of certainty of outcome
  9. 9. Simple Complicated Complex Following a Recipe A Rocket to the Moon Raising a Child ! z The recipe is essential   Formulae have only a limited application z Recipes are tested to   Formulae are critical assure replicability of and necessary   Raising one child later efforts gives no assurance of   Sending one rocket success with the next z No particular expertise; increases assurance knowing how to cook that next will be ok increases success   Expertise can help but is not sufficient; z Recipes produce relationships are standard products   High level of expertise in many key z Certainty of same specialized fields +   Can’t separate parts results every time coordination from the whole   Rockets similar in   Every child is unique critical ways   Uncertainty of   High degree of outcome remains certainty of outcome
  10. 10. Simple Complicated Complex Following a Recipe A Rocket to the Moon Raising a Child! z The recipe is essential   Formulae are critical   Formulae have only a and necessary limited application z Recipes are tested to assure replicability of   Sending one rocket   Raising one child gives later efforts increases assurance no assurance of success that next will be ok with the next z No particular expertise; knowing how to cook increases success   High level of expertise   Expertise can help but is in many specialized not sufficient; z Recipe notes the fields + coordination relationships are quantity and nature of key “parts” needed   Separate into parts and then coordinate   Can’t separate parts z Recipes produce from the whole   Rockets similar in standard products critical ways   Every child is unique   High degree of   Uncertainty of outcome certainty of outcome z Certainty of same remains results every time
  11. 11.  Complicated – “complicare”- folded  Verb - to fold  Complex – “complexus” – woven  Verb – to embrace or comprehend a pattern
  12. 12. The idea is developed An “established” innovation The linked image cannot be displayed. The file may have been moved, renamed, or deleted. Verify that the link points to the correct file and location. Stored Released Variety Sameness The idea is launched as a product, process or organization An idea is born
  13. 13. A model for complex and discontinuous change: cross scale interactions!
  14. 14. Political system Economic system Cultural Social Innovation system Legal system Institutional Interorganizational/ intersectoral entrepreneurs system + actor nets Social entrepreneur Local/organizational system
  15. 15. What is an institution!   “A patterned set of behaviors and meanings which structure social behavior over time”   Embedded in our language and our understandings   Embedded in our rules for social behavior; including in our laws.   Embedded in our economy, including resource distribution
  16. 16. What is the role of the institutional entrepreneur!  To change the ideas, discourse, knowledge, social interactions, resource expenditures, and policies/laws which support environmental destruction to a new pattern which supports a particular innovation.  To work across scales and boundaries and with multiple agents (agent net) in the “institutional field”
  17. 17. Institutional entrepreneurs tune strategies of resource mobilization to different opportunity contexts of social innovation :!
  18. 18. Designing strategies for cross scale impact when change opportunity is opaque : “ up-down strategies” !   Innovation occurs in the community in the context of organizations/ coalitions addressing specific issues - where problems are solved in real time   Social innovators/institutional entrepreneurs key role is to:   question the strategic context/directions of decision makers in all sectors at the community level and beyond.   frame (explain) the context for community   identify key innovations at the community level (those most pertinent to the strategies)   sell these to the key strategic decision makers (finding the right moment to introduce the key innovation)
  19. 19. Senate commission: Political Legal report and Committees media attention National PR communications “First strategy -tell the Identification story of response” system strategy pathologies Institutional entrepreneurs+ actor net and promising innovations Seed innovations C1 Example 1: A movement for Mental Health…. C3 C2 . @Westley, SiG, University of Waterloo
  20. 20. Example 2 :Saving Endangered Species!
  21. 21. Interpersonal and knowledge management competencies required!   Interpersonal   Knowledge   Convening management   Conflict   Creating a common management vision   Facilitation   Enhancing sensemaking
  22. 22. Example 3. Plan Canada and the RDSP!   “Every innovation has two   The social parts: the first is the invention of the thing itself; innovators + the second is the   The institutional preparation of expectations so that when the invention entrepreneurs arrives it seems both surprising and familiar - something long awaited” Edwin Land
  23. 23. Interpersonal and Knowledge skills required!   Building social capital   Recognizing and and mobilizing it in championing support of novelty innovative idea   Building intellectual/   Connecting the idea to cultural capital and “windows of mobilizing it in support opportunity” at multiple   Building financial scales capital and mobilizing it   System understanding in support and emerging pattern recognition
  24. 24. Example 4: The Great Bear Rain Forest
  25. 25. Social-Ecological Significance!  25% of world’s Coastal Temperate Rainforest  Richest bio-mass on earth  100+ pristine valleys (none in US)  20%+ of the world’s wild salmon Spirit bears, wolves, grizzlies  Cultural, economic and social significance: competing claims courtesy of Darcy Riddell
  26. 26. Competing Claims!   Activists, logging companies, researchers, First Nations, Government….all laid claim1990s: widespread Land Use Plans   From mid-1980s-mid-1990s - conflict and blockades in Clayoquot Sound: mass arrests raise the stakes adapted from Darcy Riddell
  27. 27. Final Agreements!  Permanent protection – 5 million acres  New parks - 3.3 million acres  Previous parks - 1 million acres  New no-logging zones - 736,000 acres  EBM – 21 million acres  $35 million mitigation package for forest workers  $120 Million for conservation economy  First Nations approve all plans  International Marketplace shift   Model used in Chile, Boreal, USA courtesy of Darcy Riddell
  28. 28. Facing the Shadow!   Forest workers: “capuccino-sucking urban enviros”   First Nations: “eco-colonialists”   Forest Companies: “they are trying to destroy us and the province we care about” and dueling scientists   Government: “irresponsible” and “enemies of BC”   Other environmentalists: “corporate sell-outs” Grains of truth= “breathe” courtesy of Darcy Riddell
  29. 29. In sum….the process of transformation:!  International level - inside out strategy - using global market resources to reframe provincial “playing field”  Fertile ground fo innovation  Negotiation level =Change in stance: Owning the shadow of environmentalism – solutions space
  30. 30. The essence of an innovation!   A change in meaning   - “branding” The Great Bear Rain Forest   “reframing” from the “war in the woods” to a generative collaboration   New patterns of resource flows   social financing and the conservation economy   New relationships and practices   An experience of integration   Different logging technologies become viable; different networks for product distribution
  31. 31. Continues to stimulate!  Market demands for “Ancient Forest Friendly” papers  Additional innovations: the “conservation economy” takes hold  New forms of social financing - Coastal Opportunities funds, First Nations forestry companies
  32. 32. Interpersonal and knowledge skills needed!   Building coalitions   Social Marketing   Managing conflict   Bridging   Securing capital for perspectives and a focused kinds of knowledge momentum   Owning the shadow   Building vertical commitments
  33. 33. Summary!   To understand social innovation demands a complexity perspective   To understand how social inventions have a broad impact, marketing models can only tell part of the story   Cross-scale dynamics are key and institutional entrepreneurs + actor nets are as important for impact as are social entrepreneurs.   Institutional entrepreneurs draw on a range of transactional and translational skills and competencies to manage different phases of social innovation for greater impact.
  34. 34. “Farmers don’t grow crops. They create the conditions for crops to grow.” - Gareth Morgan