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03 07 what_it_is__said_


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03 07 what_it_is__said_

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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( 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
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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 RD, 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 – that is n Explicit methodologies for RD 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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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. 12. 12 social innovation: what it is, why it matters and how it can be accelerated6; social innovation has not played an important role. Social and economic change: the 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 RD 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 RD 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
  13. 13. 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. 14. 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 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
  15. 15. 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; Lucille Davie writingthe pollution of big companies or gain redress for their beneficiaries fought to take control over NGOs that on; and Andreavictims; movements of direct action like Greenpeace had been established as paternalistic providers for Vinassa writing on 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 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 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., 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. 16. 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 these control over public budgets and services far beyond movements have also emphasised empowermentGROOTS any other public services. – enabling people to solve their own problems 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. cooperating across borders. Impressive grassrootsWIEGO movements that have done this include the Innovative organisations 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
  17. 17. 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. 18. 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 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
  19. 19. 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 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. 20. 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