What Is It?
A social innovation is any initiative (i.e. product, process, program, project or platform) that challenges, and, over time, contributes to changing the defining routines, resource and authority flows or beliefs of the broader social system in which it is introduced.
Successful social innovations have durability, scale and transformative impact. “Social innovation is the full process of transformation from concept through to systems change.” (Westley et al, 2014)
Adapted from Nesta 2010
How Is It Used?
Social innovation is a process, not an outcome. It draws from a variety of theories, frameworks, methods and tools to build a co-creative and multistakeholder approach to systemic and transformative change on a complex challenge. This approach requires taking a long view, integrating diverse skill sets and perspectives, and skillful process design and facilitation. It requires ongoing reflection and learning, and systems thinking, acting and being. Social innovation labs are a particular type of structure that applies social innovation in a variety of different ways.