Featured work

New report: How philanthropy is supporting Business for Good in South East Asia

The Asia region, and specifically businesses operating within it, have an important role to play in transitioning our planet to a sustainable and green future. But the climate breakdown is an intersectional challenge — that means every sector needs to work together effectively, and for that to happen, people within different institutions need to understand ... New report: How philanthropy is supporting Business for Good in South East Asia

Philanthropy can advance business for good around climate ambitions and beyond

A new way of thinking about corporate purpose and climate risks Businesses have an important role to play in transitioning our planet to a sustainable and green future, but the idea that businesses should care about the climate, even from a materiality perspective, let alone a moral or existential one, is still relatively new.  The ... Philanthropy can advance business for good around climate ambitions and beyond

Insights on financing social innovation in Europe

We are facing immense societal challenges globally, which cannot be solved through technological innovations alone. We need sustainable and socially oriented solutions, that is innovations with and for society. Such social innovations need adequate financial support.   Over the last decade, there have been various approaches to financing and supporting social innovations, from accelerator grants to ... Insights on financing social innovation in Europe

Labs for System Change

The Labs for System Change report is our humble attempt to capture the overwhelming richness of the conversations that took place both within the conference and online via Twitter (we captured over 2,000 tweets over the few days of the event). We hope that the report will also surface some of the most pertinent questions and challenges ... Labs for System Change

What’s the role of young people in social innovation?

The power of young people, activism and the role of government have been the focus of our team discussions at SIX over the last month. This month, the team have been to Cape Town and Bangkok for our work challenging universities to experiment and co-create social innovation, Canada and Australia for our work encouraging the ... What’s the role of young people in social innovation?

From social innovation to business for good – a global dialogue

We are living in turbulent times. Poverty, inequality, youth unemployment and climate change are among the challenges we are facing. Business for good is becoming the new norm in this new era.  Over 2019/2020, a global consulting team came together to produce a new piece of research: Business for Good: Understanding the Motivations for Business to ... From social innovation to business for good – a global dialogue

How has the discourse around philanthropy shifted after the events of 2020?

Introduction Over the coming months, SIX will be sharing our tracking and interrogation of how the discourse around philanthropy has shifted, or not, after the profoundly impactful events of 2020. We are looking for themes that have been lost in the noise, and trends that have become louder; we are searching for signals about what has ... How has the discourse around philanthropy shifted after the events of 2020?

Report: Motivations for Business to Create Shared Value in Hong Kong

The coronavirus outbreak has triggered the biggest global economic, health care and social crisis in centuries. This is a time for all sectors to reflect on their approaches and develop new ways of doing things. And it includes the private sector. In the post-pandemic world, the new business landscape is complex and uncertain. Amongst technological ... Report: Motivations for Business to Create Shared Value in Hong Kong

Philanthropy, Power and Radical Change – in collaboration with Ariadne network

Practising radical change in philanthropy: why we’re looking at it and what it means On 3 November 2020, Ariadne and SIX invited 23 philanthropic organisations from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia to exchange practical examples, lessons and tensions in their work funding radical, structural and deep change, and to uncover practical, concrete examples that benchmark ... Philanthropy, Power and Radical Change – in collaboration with Ariadne network

Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges

Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges: Insights from a global call between WINGS and SIX networks On 25 June, WINGS and SIX brought together 17 philanthropic leaders from around the world in a reflective conversation to explore which methods and models philanthropy should be engaging with in order to shift power, and to uncover the ways ... Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges

Provocations: Living in turbulent times and re–centring the conversation

As COVID-19 started to take hold of countries and regions around the world, we began a comprehensive global scan exploring the most innovative ways in which philanthropic organisations around the world have been pivoting in order to support grantees and communities now and in the future. These provocations are rooted in the insights and perspectives of over ... Provocations: Living in turbulent times and re–centring the conversation

Systems principles for a pandemic

Earlier in April, SIX wrapped up our second of two trainings with one of the largest independent grant making foundations in England. Over six months, we worked with two cohorts of individuals to explore what social innovation and systems thinking looks like in context and in practice. What were we designing for? We believe that funders and ... Systems principles for a pandemic

Making the case for foundations in East Asia to embrace systems thinking

Questions for the social sector in Hong Kong With the rapid development of East Asia in recent years, individuals and corporates are accumulating wealth. This is leading to the establishment of new foundations and making both public and private funds widely available.  We have worked in East Asia for several years, our SIX colleague and ... Making the case for foundations in East Asia to embrace systems thinking

Three ways in which funders can disperse power in philanthropy this year

Many of the conversations taking place within philanthropy at the moment centre around legitimacy, transparency, equity, diversity, inclusion…the list goes on. These topics skirt around what really needs to be addressed: the unbalanced power dynamics entrenched throughout the sector. This is why at SIX we are focus on decentralising power within philanthropy this year. For this to ... Three ways in which funders can disperse power in philanthropy this year

Three reflections after a year spent with funders

I’ve spent a lot of time this year listening to funders; on the phone; at roundtables and during the three retreats we’ve held this year on Wasan Island as part of the SIX Funders Node. This programme supports philanthropic foundations from around the world to work more effectively and authentically, and in 2019 we held ... Three reflections after a year spent with funders

Systems Change vs. Behaviour Change (part two)

Lizzy Robinson is a Senior Program Manager and the Afghanistan portfolio lead at MAGENTA, a social and behavioural change research and communications firm. Josiane Smith manages Strategic Partnerships and Growth at the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), a global, cross-sector network of institutions and individuals committed to social and systems change. Josiane and Lizzy connected in ... Systems Change vs. Behaviour Change (part two)

Technology will not save us from climate change – but imagining new forms of society will

This article was originally posted on The Conversation. Citizen action on climate change has reached a new intensity: school children by the thousands regularly skip school to protest and Extinction Rebellion’s civil disobedience recently caused widespread disruption in cities around the world. Challenge and disruption is important in prompting change. But it’s also key that ... Technology will not save us from climate change – but imagining new forms of society will

Between the institution and the individual: What works for systems change (part one)

This is Part One of a Two Part Series exploring different approaches to tackling social issues in development work and the public sector. It is held in conversation between Lizzy Robinson and Josiane Smith, who connected in Amman over their mutual fascination with social development, behaviour change and the bigger forces in society that help or hinder ... Between the institution and the individual: What works for systems change (part one)

Challenges of Social Innovation in Brazil

Fábio Deboni is the Executive Manager at the Sabin Institute. He currently is a co-manager of the Social Enterprise Theme Network of GIFE (Group of Institutes, Foundations and Companies) with the ICE. Member of GIFE’s Board of Directors. Author of “Reflexões contemporâneas sobre Investimento Social Privado” (Contemporary reflections on private social investment). Contact him here: fabio@institutosabin.org.br As ... Challenges of Social Innovation in Brazil

Future trends for innovative cities

One of the reasons why I decided to run for Mayor was to pursue social innovation. Seoul has a population of 10 million, it’s a big metropolitan city and changing the lives of Seoul citizens is only possible not in front of a desk, but within the lives of the citizens. I am moving the Mayor’s ... Future trends for innovative cities

Cities for the imagination

As cities grow in size and significance, they can become sites of complex social problems – but also hubs for exploring possible solutions. While every city faces distinct problems, they all share a need for innovative approaches to tackle today’s challenges. This essay is one in a series on future trends for innovative cities, written ... Cities for the imagination

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Future-fit philanthropy: why philanthropic organisations will need foresight to leave lasting legacies of change

Author: Louise Pulford & Cat Tully All philanthropic organisations exist to change the world, or at least a part of it. They are distinguished by their level of ambition – and by their optimism. But that makes them particularly susceptible to the radical uncertainties of our fast-changing world. To be considered transformational, any philanthropic organisation should ... Future-fit philanthropy: why philanthropic organisations will need foresight to leave lasting legacies of change

Inclusive cities of the future: creative commons, compassionate connectivity

As cities grow in size and significance, they can become sites of complex social problems – but also hubs for exploring possible solutions. While every city faces distinct problems, they all share a need for innovative approaches to tackle today’s challenges. This essay is one in a series on Future trends for innovative cities, written by the leading thinkers of the Mayor of Seoul’s ... Inclusive cities of the future: creative commons, compassionate connectivity

Co-creation and peer research Lab Exchange PART IV

In this Lab Exchange Series, Chelsea (Public Policy Lab, NYC), Stephane (La 27e Région, Paris) and Carolyn (TACSI, Adelaide) talk with Rachel (Social Lab, Hong Kong) and Marco (SIX, London) about participatory approaches and what kind of mindset they bring when working with the community. This conversation was part of Social Lab Symposium in Hong Kong. Working ... Co-creation and peer research Lab Exchange PART IV

Lab Exchange PART II: The “terrible” bureaucracy and saying “no”

In this Lab Exchange Series, Chelsea (Public Policy Lab, NYC), Stephane (La 27e Région, Paris) and Carolyn (TACSI, Adelaide) talk with Rachel (Social Lab, Hong Kong) and Marco (SIX, London) about building new narratives and capabilities needed to work as a lab practitioner. This conversation was part of Social Lab Symposium in Hong Kong. The terrible bureaucracy ... Lab Exchange PART II: The “terrible” bureaucracy and saying “no”

What is a social lab? Why now? – Lab Exchange PART I

In this Lab Exchange Series, Chelsea (Public Policy Lab, NYC), Stephane (La 27e Région, Paris) and Carolyn (TACSI, Adelaide) talk with Rachel (Social Lab, Hong Kong) and Marco (SIX, London) about the emergence of social and public labs and what it means to work as a lab practitioner. This conversation was part of Social Lab Symposium in ... What is a social lab? Why now? – Lab Exchange PART I

The Lab Exchange Series

Lab.  A word from the science field, that refers to the controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. The idea has since been applied in the social and public sector. There has been a lab movement in Europe and the US for the last ten years, both inside ... The Lab Exchange Series

Insights on the lab movement in Asia

Insights from the Social Lab Symposium 2019 in Hong Kong In this article, we summarise we provide some highlights from the Social Lab Symposium 2019, an event that explored the social labs movement in Asia and what it means to change a system.  The social challenges we are facing nowadays are complex. They can no ... Insights on the lab movement in Asia

Funding – A Practice Guide

Funding is essential for social innovation to grow and thrive. This is why SIX has an entire programme dedicated to philanthropy. The SIX Funders Node challenges, enables, and inspires funders to be more systemic and innovative in their thinking and practice. Our aim is to increase the flow of funding to social innovation and systemic change. We ... Funding – A Practice Guide

Social Labs: enabling citizens to co-create and co-design innovations

As cities grow in size and significance, they can become sites of complex social problems – but also hubs for exploring possible solutions. While every city faces distinct problems, they all share a need for innovative approaches to tackle today’s challenges. This essay is one in a series on future trends for innovative cities, written by the leading thinkers of the Mayor of Seoul’s ... Social Labs: enabling citizens to co-create and co-design innovations

How Field Catalysts Galvanise Social Change

Surmounting daunting social challenges such as ending malaria or achieving marriage equality can require the help of an intermediary organization—a field catalyst—that amplifies the efforts of others. Open access to this article is made possible by The Bridgespan Group. When looking across the major social-change efforts of our time, the parabola of success sometimes arcs suddenly ... How Field Catalysts Galvanise Social Change

Fostering a Canadian ecosystem for systems change – the SiG story

As SIX Global Council member Social Innovation Generation (SiG) draws to a close after ten years, the organisation have created this book to chart and track their learning journey from the past decade.  Social Innovation Generation (SiG) was a coming together of unusual allies — a private family foundation, an innovation hub, a non-profit social enterprise and a ... Fostering a Canadian ecosystem for systems change – the SiG story

Strategic foresight and philanthropy – a conversation over dinner

On the 19th of November, SIX hosted an intimate dinner with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in London to explore the opportunity for philanthropy to engage in strategic foresight, ahead of a workshop to follow up from a retreat we hosted on the topic in the summer. Foundations are uniquely placed to be ahead of the ... Strategic foresight and philanthropy – a conversation over dinner

What is the power of networks in philanthropy? Reflections from SIX

Having worked for an international exchange for almost 5 years, I can attest firsthand to the power of networks. Networks help us to navigate our daily life (whether in the workplace or at home), providing much needed inspiration and success stories, new connections and personal relationships, whilst expanding our learning and horizons.   I’ve thought ... What is the power of networks in philanthropy? Reflections from SIX

What is corporate social innovation?

Corporate social innovation (CSI) describes corporations who integrate social innovation into their corporate activities. Although a relatively new term, shared value companies are not new, although the recent influx in CSI is a sign of the growing strength of this field. Corporations play a significant opportunity in 2018 and the next decade to be part ... What is corporate social innovation?

Government of Canada releases recommendations for comprehensive social innovation and social finance strategy

In 2017, a Co-Creation Steering Group, appointed by the Government of Canada, engaged stakeholders from across sectors and regions to provide recommendations for a pan-Canadian Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy. In 2018, the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group released its report, Inclusive Innovation: New Ideas and New Partnerships for Stronger Communities. ... Government of Canada releases recommendations for comprehensive social innovation and social finance strategy

The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

Funding systems change initiatives and innovations is inevitably risky. A growing number of foundations globally are interested in funding from a systems change perspective – yet there is a simultaneous trend toward metrics-driven grantmaking and quantitative evaluation of outcomes based on technical measurement. This has translated into risk-averse grantmaking that channels funds toward ‘guaranteed outcomes.’ ... The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

Funding systems change initiatives and innovations is inevitably risky. A growing number of foundations globally are interested in funding from a systems change perspective – yet there is a simultaneous trend toward metrics-driven grantmaking and quantitative evaluation of outcomes based on technical measurement. This has translated into risk-averse grantmaking that channels funds toward ‘guaranteed outcomes.’ ... The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

Blog: How philanthropy can support the growth of data for social good

This article was originally published by Alliance Magazine. How philanthropy can support the growth of data for social good We often hear about the potential (and actual) perils of big data and emerging technologies – large privacy breaches, public opinion manipulation, and algorithmic bias – but there are also many positive ways it can influence society. Data has ... Blog: How philanthropy can support the growth of data for social good

How funders can contribute to a better future: Strategic Foresight

What do we mean by strategic foresight? Strategic foresight, in general, is the systematic exploration of possible futures to help inform present-day decision making. It looks beyond 3- and 5-year strategic plans to 20, 30, or even 50 years into the future. Strategic foresight does not mean predicting the future. We are not futurists or ... How funders can contribute to a better future: Strategic Foresight

Top 11 Things to Read on Strategic Foresight and Philanthropy

In our rapidly changing and volatile world, funders need to build more capacity to better deal with the new challenges that come their way. This August, SIX is hosting a retreat with our Funders Node to explore how they can fund strategically with future foresight and adaptive capacity for emergent change. Below is a selection of readings ... Top 11 Things to Read on Strategic Foresight and Philanthropy

7 Ways Philanthropy Can Engage Data for Social Good

Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  —————— Want to read more great content ... 7 Ways Philanthropy Can Engage Data for Social Good

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Infographic to match report

Author: Kendra Schreiner Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  Want to read more great ... Infographic to match report

Building Cross-Sector Data for Good Partnerships

Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  —————— Want to read more great content ... Building Cross-Sector Data for Good Partnerships

Using Big Data for Social Good: 5 Steps to Keep in Mind

Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  —————— Want to read more great content ... Using Big Data for Social Good: 5 Steps to Keep in Mind

How is Data being used for Social Good and Systematic Change?

Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  Want to read more great content like ... How is Data being used for Social Good and Systematic Change?

The future of data – from cities to philanthropy

The conversation at the City Data conference hosted by Nesta on 24 May 2018 ranged from the ethics of algorithms to using avatars to help guide planning applications. The content was aimed at local authorities but the conversations were applicable to all sectors. I was one of the few attending from a social innovation background, with the ... The future of data – from cities to philanthropy

The role of philanthropy in using data to address complex challenges: A global scan

How philanthropy can better use, work with and fund data and emerging technologiesAuthor: Jordan Junge & Kendra Schreiner & Louise Pulford Foundations all over the world are grappling with their role in the emerging field of data and artificial intelligence. The field is fraught with potential controversy but also with possibility. Data has the potential to ... The role of philanthropy in using data to address complex challenges: A global scan

How is big data providing better insights into public welfare?

The gap in information Improving public welfare requires an in-depth understanding of needs and issues among different groups in society. Some mechanisms exist already to measure this information, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator, the Human Development Index, and the World Happiness Report. However, all of these are based on various datasets such as household consumption surveys, nutrition, health ... How is big data providing better insights into public welfare?

New narratives and culture shift – Lab Exchange PART III

In this Lab Exchange Series, Chelsea (Public Policy Lab, NYC), Stephane (La 27e Région, Paris) and Carolyn (TACSI, Adelaide) talk with Rachel (Social Lab, Hong Kong) and Marco (SIX, London) about building new narratives and capabilities needed to work as a lab practitioner. This conversation was part of Social Lab Symposium in Hong Kong. New narratives Stephane ... New narratives and culture shift – Lab Exchange PART III

Ten articles to read on the future of inclusion in AI: Why AI matters in social innovation

AI is already shaping the way people live and affecting day-to-day functions in society. It holds promises for social good, but also presents many challenges and risks. Yet, for many it remains inaccessible. How can everyday voices be included in the debate? How can we design AI for the common good? How do we ensure ... Ten articles to read on the future of inclusion in AI: Why AI matters in social innovation

Global Networks: Strategies & learning with peers

Abstact Global Networks Networks are a powerful and growing vector for social change. Considering the complex nature of today’s global challenges, solutions need to be reactive to an ever-evolving landscape of players and circumstances. Networks are a fitting way to approach this complex challenge and if well-managed, networks help us share and use knowledge across ... Global Networks: Strategies & learning with peers

25 companies carrying out corporate social innovation

Between the 2017 Paradise Papers scandal, the globally contested multi-billion merger between a large pharmaceutical and an agrochemical company, incidents of day-to-day disrespect of employees, protests over excessive pay and a leading car company’s fraudulent emission scandal, the air surrounding global corporations feels somewhat heavy. For the 17th consecutive year, the Edelman Trust Barometer recently surveyed tens ... 25 companies carrying out corporate social innovation

Getting Alignment: Some Helpful Aides for Action

Author: Mark Cabaj The idea for this resource emerged during a retreat on Wasan Island for the SIX Funders Node devoted to exploring the challenges and opportunities of getting alignment on tackling tough social, economic and political issues.   The retreat focused on the changing role of foundations, why foundations need to align and how they ... Getting Alignment: Some Helpful Aides for Action

The Burning Questions of Alignment

We believe that there’s great power in knowing the questions and challenges that are keeping your peers up at night. Not only does it help to reassure that you’re not alone in your work but it can spark a conversation, which in turn can shift thinking and practice. The mission of the Funders Node is ... The Burning Questions of Alignment

SI-DRIVE: Towards a general theory and typology of Social Innovation

“Towards a general theory and typology of Social Innovation” comprises the most important findings of the four years lasting SI-DRIVE project according to the development of the theoretical framework. Based on a new innovation paradigm seven central building blocks are summarising the theoretical and empirical work of the project: a comprehensive definition of Social Innovation, five ... SI-DRIVE: Towards a general theory and typology of Social Innovation

Why do global foundations need to align for impact?

Author: Jordan Junge If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together African Proverb We know that the challenges our societies face are growing in scale and complexity. We know that not one organisation is capable to solve these challenges alone. Not even foundations, who are uniquely positioned and ... Why do global foundations need to align for impact?

The philanthropy of place

As the pace of life increases, our lives are continuously engulfed by technology and data. There are few opportunities for stillness.  We need spaces to recharge and recalibrate more than ever, and when we find these spaces, we need to use them more strategically. This is the view of Dr Helga Breuninger of the Breuninger ... The philanthropy of place

How foundations join forces for better philanthropy?

We work hundreds of miles apart, separated by the border but our two organizations – the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation in Canada and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in the US -have formed a collaboration that is accelerating our efforts to bring about change in our respective countries. Despite our many differences, our organizations are wrestling with similar ... How foundations join forces for better philanthropy?

Labs for Social Innovation

SIX worked with the ESADE Institute for Social Innovation to co-facilitate a Lab on Labs for Social Innovation in Barcelona in June 2017. This workshop was part of a project carried out by the Institute and was supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation and BBVA, and aimed to provide meaningful insights into how to best address the complex societal ... Labs for Social Innovation

6 things social innovation can offer to an out of control world

Author Charlie Leadbeater concluded the SIX Wayfinder with six things that social innovation can offer to the future:  I want to say a few things of what might be coming and how to interact with it. Over the past two days at the Wayfinder, we’ve had a lot of conversations on the good work that we do and the ... 6 things social innovation can offer to an out of control world

Humanity at work – MONDRAGON, a social innovation ecosystem case study

Original post here The Young Foundation has published a research report on the MONDRAGON Corporation, the largest industrial Co-operative in the world. The report explores it as a social innovation ecosystem, a highly successful and competitive way of transforming people’s lives for the better through shared ownership. MONDRAGON is a large global business owned by ... Humanity at work – MONDRAGON, a social innovation ecosystem case study

What does it mean to move towards trust-based funding?

As part of the SIX Funders Node, which connects funders across the world that want to learn from each other to be better funders of innovation, I interviewed Dr Toby Lowe of the University of Newcastle Business School who is working with Collaborate and the Big Lottery Fund to explore trust-based funding, as a response ... What does it mean to move towards trust-based funding?

A foundational approach to systems change: A snapshot

Systems change. To some the word comes with a promise. A chance to create a bigger, deeper lasting impact. A shakeup, a change in the status quo. A fundamental reshuffle. To others, the idea is fraught with confusion. What is it? What does it even mean? And how do you do it? Despite the growth ... A foundational approach to systems change: A snapshot

The SIX Funders’ Node: A new kind of network for social innovation

In a rapidly changing world, the role of foundations to broker and create change is increasingly important. And, as their own role develops, it’s vital for funders to share and learn from their peers across the globe. The SIX Funders’ Node works with leading funders to unpack the big questions facing trusts and foundations all ... The SIX Funders’ Node: A new kind of network for social innovation

What Lessons Does “Brexit” Hold for Social Innovators Worldwide?

Social innovators have a lot to learn from situations where they and their target beneficiaries vote on opposite sides. This past June, as a US citizen and social innovator living in London, I found myself surrounded by British colleagues who voted to remain in the European Union. Many of the people they and their social ... What Lessons Does “Brexit” Hold for Social Innovators Worldwide?

Innovation Labs: 10 Defining Features

A closer look at what characterizes an innovation lab can help practitioners, funders, and scholars better understand what labs’ potential and limits might be, as well as better assess the social impact that comes out of the them. Innovation labs, with their aspirations to foster systemic change, have become a mainstay of the social innovation ... Innovation Labs: 10 Defining Features

Old problems, New solutions: Measuring the capacity for social innovation across the world

The Social Innovation Index, sponsored by Nippon Foundation was devised and constructed by an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The report examines, analyses and explains social innovation.   This piece of work sets out to define social innovation. It examines results, policy and institutional framework, financing, entrepreneurship, civil society and how best to enable social innovation. The ... Old problems, New solutions: Measuring the capacity for social innovation across the world

Blogging from Bogota about post-conflict design, innovation and planning

Witnesses to a divided society “I had to come back from Canada when my father and uncle were murdered and there was no one to help on the family farm.” “My mother was killed and her body thrown down a well.” “My father has been kidnapped several times.” You cannot spend a week in Bogota ... Blogging from Bogota about post-conflict design, innovation and planning

Policy for social innovation: Five ways policy can support social innovation

Originally posted here. To start the Social Innovation Community project we reviewed what social innovators and researchers have said so far about the relationship between public policy and social innovation. Across Europe there are many initiatives operating nationally and transnationally that have been designed to support social innovation, but we’re still some way from a ... Policy for social innovation: Five ways policy can support social innovation

How I came to be an ABSI Connect Northern Fellow

I was at work on January 22nd 2016, when an online news headline caught my eye. “Breaking News: School Shooting in La Loche, Saskatchewan.”  I struggled to read the words that seemed scrambled on my computer screen, and I heard my co-worker gasp and say, “oh my God, there was a school shooting in La ... How I came to be an ABSI Connect Northern Fellow

I could never work with those people!

Abstract The Social Innovation community has a lot to learn about the challenges involved in collaborating. For this week’s SIX Series on social innovation and collaboration in post conflict societies, SIX invited Adam Kahane of Reos Partners to give his reflections on collaboration, from his new book entitled Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You ... I could never work with those people!

Getting to the core of human-centred design: SIX speaks with Mariko Takeuchi

As part of our work to demystify innovation within international development, we spoke with Mariko Takeuchi, human-centred design expert on the core of the methodology and what NGOs can learn from the private sector. Mariko is a Strategy Consultant and Advisor working on behalf of clients and funders including Helen Keller International, LandMapp, Gates Foundation, WWF, UNDP, UNFPA, IDRC and more.  She previously ... Getting to the core of human-centred design: SIX speaks with Mariko Takeuchi

Little actions that bring people together

Little actions that bring people together As the CEO of a grant funded organisation, a non-profit, I am often challenged to validate the importance of placemaking programmes and allied activities in a country characterised by staggering inequality, high unemployment and poverty. These issues are of vital importance and require consistent intervention by civil society and ... Little actions that bring people together

Behaving Like a System

Collaborate launched a new report “Behaving Like a System?“ on the preconditions for place-based systems change. Funded by the Lankelly Chase, this piece of work set out to explore the preconditions for systems change in a place. It unpicks the critical behaviours and vision that makes system change more likely, more deliverable and more sustainable. In ... Behaving Like a System

Mapping Momentum

As we hurtle towards a human community of 9.7 billion people by the year 2050, coupled with new technologies and the growing challenges of our planet’s carrying capacity, there is more and more discussion of systems and how they change or are created. The post-war era has witnessed an unprecedented growth of global, national and ... Mapping Momentum

Taking a positive peace approach in Colombia

Taking a Positive Peace Approach in Colombia Michelle Breslauer, Director of the Americas Program at the Institute for Economics and Peace @MichBreslauer When I first travelled to Mexico City with the Institute for Economics and Peace, I came seeking ways to contribute to a more peaceful Mexico. For the last four years, I have strategized to ... Taking a positive peace approach in Colombia

Indigenous wisdom and peacemaking

People are like trees, and groups of people are like forests. While the forests are composed of many different kinds of trees, these trees intertwine their roots so strongly that it is impossible for the strongest winds which blow on our Islands to uproot the forest, for each tree strengthens its neighbour, and their roots ... Indigenous wisdom and peacemaking

Building social innovation in post-conflict places

As part of the SIX series exploring social innovation in post conflict places, Eddy Adams, SIX Adviser, spoke with Gorka Espiau. Hailing from the Basque country, Gorka was actively involved in the peace process there, and has subsequently been involved in social innovation work across the globe. This includes experience in Colombia and Croatia, which ... Building social innovation in post-conflict places

Regions are from Mars, Cities are from Venus

Written by Peter Ramsden, Freiss ltd in July 2016 Can social innovation ecosystems overlap with those for technological innovation?  Where are the connections?  Why is the uptake of European Structural Funds in support of social innovation so slow in the 2014-20 period? Where are the new opportunities? I can’t be the only person to think that ... Regions are from Mars, Cities are from Venus

Engineering Change Lab – Sharing the Latest Lab Thinking

The Engineering Change Lab is a platform for collaboration to allow individuals and organizations from across the profession to take action to address the systemic challenges (i.e. ethics failures, lack of diversity, and low levels of innovation) that have been holding back the profession’s full potential. Engineering Change Lab hosted their 5th highly successful workshop in Montreal ... Engineering Change Lab – Sharing the Latest Lab Thinking

Migrant crisis: what can cities learn about new service design?

This blog was originally published on URBACT. A message from Sicily There’s been a lot of recent talk about the additional pressure new migrant arrivals place on public services. There has been less discussion about how cities – and it is mainly cities – are coping with this. And less still about what we are ... Migrant crisis: what can cities learn about new service design?

SIX Series: Exploring social innovation in post-conflict societies

What behaviours and attitudes contribute to an effective social innovation culture? A few months ago SIX co-hosted an SIE event with the BMW Foundation to consider this question. “Transparency” Trust” and “Openness” were frequently recurring words in the discussion. This endorsed much of the established evidence about the importance of a collaborative approach to stimulate innovation. But ... SIX Series: Exploring social innovation in post-conflict societies

Inclusive Cities of the Future: Experiences of Zimbabwe in a global perspective

In cities across the world, citizens are looking for new ideas and ways to solve big social challenges. And Zimbabweans are no different. With a booming population, urban residents in Harare face a myriad of challenges- from air and water pollution, housing, water and electricity shortages, limited public transport, and damaged public spaces combined with ... Inclusive Cities of the Future: Experiences of Zimbabwe in a global perspective

Migrants, social innovation and collaborative inclusion

In the next decades, a growing number of people will be on the move. The challenge for Europe is to see this not as a threat, but as an opportunity. That is, to imagine how migration can become a driver of innovation towards a younger, dynamic, cosmopolitan and, at the end of the day, a ... Migrants, social innovation and collaborative inclusion

The Citizen as Mayor: Citizen participation in social innovation

This was originally published on URBACT and was written by Peter Ramsden on April 25th, 2016. The subject of the Eurocities Social Forum in Nantes on March 16th was citizen involvement in social innovation.  Cities are now leading Europe on social innovation across a range of fields from health and care to integrating migrants.  The message of the ... The Citizen as Mayor: Citizen participation in social innovation

Embedding innovation within UNDP- SIX speaks with Milica Begovic

As part of our work to demystify innovation within international development, we spoke with Milica Begovic, Innovation Specialist at UNDP’s Regional Hub for Europe and CIS. We asked her how UNDP has been able to embed innovation within the organisation and position themselves within the sector. Prototyping is key ‘We’ve created innovation funds for staff within ... Embedding innovation within UNDP- SIX speaks with Milica Begovic

An introduction to social innovation for NGOs

Although many aspects of innovation, including the ability to creatively problem solve and adapt to changing context, have long underpinned the work of NGOs, it is currently emerging as a new and distinct area of practice. At present, there is both scepticism towards, and enthusiasm for, innovation in the sector – as well as a ... An introduction to social innovation for NGOs

Innovation, integration and the migrant crisis – insights from European innovation

The unprecedented flows of migrants approaching Europe was (and still is) confronting the European Union and its Member States with a series of complex challenges. It raises fundamental questions about the social and cultural fabric of European societies. Ingenuity, vision, as well as political will and an efficient use of resources are required if we ... Innovation, integration and the migrant crisis – insights from European innovation

Social Innovation in the Basque Country

Building on Social Innovation Europe (SIE)’s country profiles which demonstrate a variety of views on what social innovation means to different kinds of organisations in a particular country, SIE also looking at how social innovation is carried out in different regions across Europe. SIE recently interviewed Innobasque to learn more about social innovation in the Basque Country. The following interview builds on Innobasque’s contribution to the country ... Social Innovation in the Basque Country

How to be more innovative in your practice: 6 reflections from SIX and Hivos

Across the world, development and social challenges are increasingly more complex and urgent. From INGOs to community organisations to governments, finding new ways of working to meet these challenges is more of a priority than ever. The organisations that are best placed to deliver the biggest impact are those that are highly connected, that are agile ... How to be more innovative in your practice: 6 reflections from SIX and Hivos

Innovating Innovation: Connecting technological, business and social innovation

We have reached a watershed moment. After a century of robust development of technological and business innovation, plus several decades of cracking the code of social innovation, the time has come to create an integrated innovation system. Innovation has long been recognized as necessary for a nation’s economic and business success. But citizens have relied ... Innovating Innovation: Connecting technological, business and social innovation

Scaling social innovation: An art or a science?

This originally appeared on the BRAC blog. If there were a simple recipe for social innovation, anyone could easily transform an idea into an impactful solution reaching millions. Unfortunately things are a lot messier on the ground. Many ‘amazing’ innovations that promise to save millions of lives fail to scale and quietly disappear. Who’s to blame: ... Scaling social innovation: An art or a science?

Driving social innovation at a city level: Mayor Aboutaleb on Rotterdam

How can mayors be more involved in driving social innovation at a city level? Social Innovation Europe recently asked Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam, the Netherlands to share his insight on innovation in his city. Please allow me to say that I am so happy with the subject you have chosen for this interview. This is a subject ... Driving social innovation at a city level: Mayor Aboutaleb on Rotterdam

Greater funder connectivity for social change: reflections on the SIX Funders Node

The SIX Funders Node took place at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York in January, 2016 and was the first convention of social innovation grantmakers from three continents. Andrew Barnett, Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s UK Branch, writes about his experience. Social Innovation should be invigorating and I returned from the SIX Funders’ Node ... Greater funder connectivity for social change: reflections on the SIX Funders Node

Options Foodlab: How food making and sharing is supporting migrant integration in Greece

Eddy Adams of SIX met Penny Travlou at the Unusual Suspects Festival in Glasgow, where she spoke passionately about the work she’s been involved in with refugees in Greece. As part of Social Innovation Europe’s Beyond Crisis Collection, Eddy interviewed Penny to learn more about this work of using food making and sharing to support migrant integration in Greece. To get us started, can you tell us ... Options Foodlab: How food making and sharing is supporting migrant integration in Greece

Philanthropic foundations and social innovation: How do we accelerate our learning?

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein The last quarter century has seen significant changes in the world of foundation philanthropy. New pools of earned wealth (think Jeff Skoll, Bill Gates or Skype founder Niklas Zennström) have accelerated traditional philanthropy’s shift from responsive grantmaking towards experiments with ... Philanthropic foundations and social innovation: How do we accelerate our learning?

An innovative fix – lessons from SIX Summer School Mumbai

This article originally appeared on the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation blog. 100 social innovators from across the world gathered together at SIX’s Summer School in Mumbai this November to discuss ‘The Connected Urban Life – How can new ways of connecting make cities better for all?’ I was in attendance to represent Battersea Arts Centre with support from ... An innovative fix – lessons from SIX Summer School Mumbai

Seven reasons for having faith in India’s social innovation future

At a stressful point before the recent SIX Mumbai Summer School, an ISDI colleague shared some words of wisdom with the team. “Just remember, it’ll be alright in the end. And if it isn’t alright, it isn’t the end yet.” We looked at him. “Wow’ what amazing insight. “Where’s that from? Gandhi? The Bhagavad Gita?…” “No, from ... Seven reasons for having faith in India’s social innovation future

Comparative Report on Social Innovation across Europe

SIMPACT investigates the economic foundation of social innovation in relation to markets, public sector and institutions with the intention of providing a dynamic framework for action at the level of individuals, organisations and networks.  According to SIMPACT’s understanding, social innovation refers to: novel combination of ideas and distinct forms of collaboration that transcend established institutional contexts with the effect of empowering and (re) engaging vulnerable ... Comparative Report on Social Innovation across Europe

Recoding Our Innovation Systems

This article was written by Tim Draimin (Executive Director, Social Innovation Generation) and is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.  Social Innovation’s Imperative to Be Ambitious and Think Big The world is awash with innovation reports and indices comparing the innovation prowess of different countries, cities, and corporations. The two ... Recoding Our Innovation Systems

Supporting Social Change: A New Funding Ecology

Independent social funders are an established part of a mature ecosystem of social support in the UK. They represent a ‘sector’ that is diverse in makeup and practice, with some cutting edge thinking and innovative practice sitting alongside very traditional models of funding for activities in the community. It is also a sector whose leading lights ... Supporting Social Change: A New Funding Ecology

Social Innovation in Cities – URBACT report

City administrations are facing a whole range of challenges on the social, environmental and economic fronts. New competences are being transferred from the national or regional levels while the budgets available to tackle them are shrinking. In this increasingly difficult context, social innovation is a new asset. Citizens are taking promising initiatives. They are inventing ... Social Innovation in Cities – URBACT report

Rethinking Smart Cities from the Ground Up

The original post about this report can be found on Nesta website here. This Nesta report tells the stories of cities around the world – from Beijing to Amsterdam, and from London to Jakarta – that are addressing urban challenges by using digital technologies to engage and enable citizens. Key findings Many ‘top down’ smart city ... Rethinking Smart Cities from the Ground Up

Lab Practice: creating spaces for social change

How to organise and run a social lab? Lab Practice aims to share experiences from doing a social lab with elderly people in Amsteldorp by sharing methodologies and stories from both changemakers and social lab facilitators. In the face of fast moving, global, often elusive developments, national governments and their counterparts (public sector) find it ... Lab Practice: creating spaces for social change

People Powered Everything?

This article was written by Chris Vanstone (Director of Co-design, TACSI) and is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.  The commonsensical approach of doing with rather than to might just be sticking, in places. A decade and a half of work on people powered public services and a long demand ... People Powered Everything?

Taking part: participatory art and the emerging civil society in Hong Kong

As civil society grows in post-colonial Hong Kong, participatory art has registered a heightened local consciousness, the desire to be autonomous and attempts to resist various kinds of hegemony in the 2000s and the 2010s. This essay aims to provide an empirical base for further studies by examining exemplary works, namely Complaints Choir of Hong ... Taking part: participatory art and the emerging civil society in Hong Kong

Inside India’s Smart Cities

Of all the bars in the world….This story starts in a bar. But not just any old bar. It’s a rooftop open-air number, straddling an uber-modern glass and steel business conglomeration. It’s a bar with a boxing ring, where two teenage Thai boxers are knocking seven bells out of one another, cheered on by boozed ... Inside India’s Smart Cities

Disruptive Social Innovation – A political challenge

This article, written by Simon Willis (CEO, Young Foundation) and Jeremy Crump (Head of Strategy, Young Foundation) is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future. Clayton Christensen’s concept of disruptive innovation arose largely from an analysis of the industrial and product market, such as steel, manufacturing and computing. The focal point ... Disruptive Social Innovation – A political challenge

Digital Social Innovation – Future directions

This article was written by Geoff Mulgan (CEO, Nesta) and is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.  Over the last 50 years vast sums of public money have been spent supporting digital innovation in the military and business.   These fuelled transformative new phenomena – from drones to mass surveillance, Amazon ... Digital Social Innovation – Future directions

Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation

Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation – TRANSITION – is a 30-month project that supports the scaling-up of social innovations across Europe by developing a network of incubators which brings together established partners within the fields of social innovation (SI) and innovation-based incubation (IBI). TRANSITION will also provide learning output on which scaling methodologies are most ... Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation

U Innovate Us

This article was written by Josine Stremmelaar (Coordinator of the Knowledge Programme, Hivos) and Remko Berkhout (Consultant, Hivos) and is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.  The obsession with ‘superheroes of social innovation’ undermines the social fabric that is needed to achieve social change. What if we harness the power ... U Innovate Us

10 trends of social innovation in South Africa

Jordan Junge reflects on SIX’s recent event in Johannesburg, South Africa. Standing in a hot field in Soweto, we saw the vision for the future. There would be a juice bar in the corner, Bob Marley blasting out of the speakers, and people of all ages from the community hand picking their fruit and veg. ... 10 trends of social innovation in South Africa

Growing a digital social innovation ecosystem for Europe

Over the last 18 months Nesta, funded by the European Commission, has led a large research project into DSI. The project seeks to define and understand the potential of DSI, to map the digital social innovators, their projects and networks, and to develop recom­mendations for how policymakers, from the EU to city level, can make the ... Growing a digital social innovation ecosystem for Europe

Inequality and innovation: the end of another trickle down theory?

Chief Executive of Nesta and SIX Global Council member Geoff Mulgan highlights the issue of inequality in innovation in this blog, originally published on Nesta. The relationship between innovation and inequality is rapidly moving up policy agendas. For years an implicit ‘trickle down’ theory dominated how policy makers thought. It argued that resources should be concentrated where ... Inequality and innovation: the end of another trickle down theory?

Building ecosystems for systems change

How do we collaborate to create ecosystems that support innovation for systems change? On September 5, 2014, Social Innovation Generation (SiG) and Oxfam hosted one of the final sessions of the inaugural Unusual Suspects Festival at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK office that explored: How do we collaborate to create an ecosystem that supports innovation for systems ... Building ecosystems for systems change

Growing social innovation: A guide for policy makers

The international community increasingly recognises the need for new approaches to address our most pressing social challenges. In order to stimulate this innovation, this report suggests a number of approaches which policy makers can take, drawing on examples taken from around the world. The report draws on the work and findings of the TEPSIE project, a ... Growing social innovation: A guide for policy makers

Irresistibly Biased? The blind spots of social innovation

Social innovation has an irresistible global appeal, but is it biased towards protecting the status quo? What’s the state of play in the fast paced world of social innovation? The Unusual Suspects Festival in London seemed a good place to find out. Collaboration was the theme. The claims made were high. The stakes may be even higher. A ... Irresistibly Biased? The blind spots of social innovation

Digital technology in social innovation – TEPSIE report

TEPSIE is a research project funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. One area of their project examines the extent to which, how and why, online networks and other digital tools are being used by, and having an impact on, social innovation. There is much evidence that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) substantially changes the character ... Digital technology in social innovation – TEPSIE report

The Innovation Lab Insight Centre

The innovation Lab Insight Centre is a joint project between The Brisdgespan Group and the Rockefeller Foundation Focussing on Labs for Systems Change, the project brought together a blog and webinar series which shares research, expert insights, and perspectives on how these labs have helped funders and nonprofit organizations create environments conducive to innovation and ... The Innovation Lab Insight Centre

What does it take to scale social impact?

Twenty years ago, Indian activist Arbind Singh pleaded with local officials to address the issues facing the urban poor. The state government of Bihar had recently carried out a massive antiencroachment drive that left thousands of street vendors without the means to earn a living. Across India, cities were being ‘beautified’—which in part meant kicking ... What does it take to scale social impact?

How Social Innovation Labs Contribute to Transformative Change

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Social Innovation Labs project explores what labs are and how, when, and why we might use them to address complex social problems. Many different types of organizations run labs. Some are part of larger organizations, like UNICEF Innovation Labs or the BRAC Social Innovation Lab. Others are independent, like InSTEDD. According to The Bridgespan Group, preliminary estimates indicate that ... How Social Innovation Labs Contribute to Transformative Change

Unusual Suspects Special: Seoul’s Mayor Park talks about Collaboration

The Unusual Suspects Festival on collaboration is rapidly approaching, and we took the opportunity to speak to the Mayor Park of Seoul, well known for his collaborative approach to running the city of Seoul, about his thoughts on how we better can work together with our ‘unusual suspects’. Q1. Why do you think collaboration is important for ... Unusual Suspects Special: Seoul’s Mayor Park talks about Collaboration

Making it Big: Strategies for scaling social innovations

This Nesta report Making it Big: Strategies for Scaling Social Innovations aims to help social innovators consider the best options for scaling up their innovations. Key findings: Scaling isn’t for everyone. Not all innovations are scalable, and scaling brings risks. But where social innovations have potential to benefit more people, we think innovators should at least consider whether ... Making it Big: Strategies for scaling social innovations

Eleven trends to watch – Digital Social Innovation

This article was originally posted on the Nesta blog on 24/06/2014 by Peter Baeck and Alice Casey. People are using digital technology to revolutionise how we make social impact and to develop useful new resources for everyone. Nesta knows this is happening in a wide range of ways but is often informal and community-driven which means that ... Eleven trends to watch – Digital Social Innovation

The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world

Nesta and Bloomberg Philanthropies have published the i-teams report to explore in-depth twenty innovation teams and funds from around the world. We analyse the diversity of structures and approaches, their impacts, and the key lessons for other government leaders looking to emulate these efforts.  We present the new practices being developed and implemented by city ... The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world

Interview with Agnès Hubert: How has social innovation changed in Europe?

Louise Pulford, Director of SIX, interviewed Agnès Hubert, adviser in the Bureau of European Policy Advisers and author of the influential report ‘Empowering people, driving change: Social innovation in the European Union’ first published in 2010. Agnès has been instrumental within the Commission for championing and recognising the importance of social innovation as a pillar of ... Interview with Agnès Hubert: How has social innovation changed in Europe?

Breaking Through – How Corporate Social Innovation Creates Business Opportunity

Corporate social innovation is an approach where corporate strategies and operating practices enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously promoting economic and social well-being in the communities in which it operates. Simply put, it is about fuelling breakthrough changes in how businesses operate so that they can achieve social and environmental value creation alongside ... Breaking Through – How Corporate Social Innovation Creates Business Opportunity

Webinar: Geoff Mulgan on ‘Master of Arts in Social Innovation’

The new study program “Master of Arts in Social Innovation” at Danube University Krems (Austria), which will start its new course on 16th of June 2014, offers a recorded version of Geoff Mulgans Webinar for all those who are interested in Social Innovation. For more informations click here.

Lab Matters: Challenging the practice of social innovation laboratories

This article was originally posted on Kennisland website here. Just Lab It? Social innovation labs are ‘hallelujah-ed’ as the latest vehicles for transforming the way our cities, our schools, our welfare programs, and even our economic systems run. Yet we, lab practitioners, encounter a lack of critical literature and struggle to find learning spaces to ... Lab Matters: Challenging the practice of social innovation laboratories

Permission, performance and play: shifting culture, changing systems

1. The two most important things you need to focus on if you want to use innovation to change systems and shift cultures are permission and play. The third thing is performance. Permission, performance, play – that’s the trifecta you have to pull off. It’s very hard and very rare. I was reminded of this ... Permission, performance and play: shifting culture, changing systems

Designing Social Innovation Labs: ESADE, Spain

Background Based in Barcelona, Spain, ESADE is one of the world’s top business schools. ESADE’s Institute of Social Innovation want to set up a lab for social innovation. Over the past decade, there has been a surge in the number of social innovation labs globally. Some of them are connected to the public sector, others ... Designing Social Innovation Labs: ESADE, Spain

The Scaling Imperative

This article was originally published on Social Innovation Generation (SiG) website. Social Innovation Generation (SiG) is a group who believes that serious social problems can be solved. Our focus is on fostering social innovation to achieve impact, durability and scale by engaging the creativity and resources of all sectors. Today, it is quite common to come ... The Scaling Imperative

The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

As the strategic philanthropy movement has swept across the field, many grantmakers have lost their appetite for funding experimental and innovative projects. Recently, however, a number of funders have begun exploring how to deliberately reintroduce risk-taking into their processes and portfolios in search of breakthrough change. The term “innovation” is now used so widely and ... The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

A global discussion on Corporate Social Innovation

On March 11, 2014 , SIX hosted the Global Dialogue on “Corporate Social Innovation and the Future of Capitalism“. The discussion was convened by SIX, SiG and Cisco, and chaired by Geoff Mulgan (CEO of Nesta) and it brought together people from London, Bogota, Toronto and Vancouver. The last four decades have seen important evolution in thinking about the role of ... A global discussion on Corporate Social Innovation

The radical’s dilemma: an overview of the practice and prospects of Social and Public Labs.

This article was originally written by Geoff Mulgan on the Nesta website. In this paper, Geoff Mulgan looks at the various social and public labs across around the world. He summarises his personal view of the field of innovation labs – and what might lie ahead – largely based on Nesta experience. The report looks ... The radical’s dilemma: an overview of the practice and prospects of Social and Public Labs.

Report: A reflection on Strengthening Social Innovation in Colombia

In 2013, The Young Foundation and the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) were commissioned by the national Colombian Centre for Social Innovation of ANSPE (National Agency to Overcome Extreme Poverty) to design and run a series of events on Social Innovation with a range of stakeholders. This project was supported by Compartamos con Colombia and the Inter-American Development Bank. Through ... Report: A reflection on Strengthening Social Innovation in Colombia

Design in public and social innovation: What works and what could work better

What’s going right and what’s going wrong? Is design a key to more efficient and effective public services, or a costly luxury, good for conferences and consultants but not for the public? This Nesta paper looks at the elements of the design method; the strengths of current models; some of their weaknesses and the common criticisms ... Design in public and social innovation: What works and what could work better

Social innovation research in the European Union: Approaches, findings and future directions

This report was originally posted on Wilco Project. In the course of the WILCO mid-term seminar, a pioneering initiative was launched to take stock of all the research done so far within the Framework Programmes with a view on preparing for Horizon 2020. The main result of this event is the “Social innovation research in the ... Social innovation research in the European Union: Approaches, findings and future directions

Social Frontiers – The next edge of social innovation research

The global field of social innovation was gathering momentum. At the time of the event, there was an Office for Social Innovation in the US, the UK Government recently appointed an Advisor to the Prime Minister on Social Innovation and the European Commission had already made significant investments in both research and practical projects which ... Social Frontiers – The next edge of social innovation research

Meeting the Seoul Man

By Eddy Adams, URBACT expert On the business card of Won Soon Park,Seoul’s dynamic and charismatic Mayor, there is a drawing of a spoon-billed sandpiper, with the legend small but can fly further. Mr. Park is very interested in how far he and his city can fly, and if you ever wanted proof of the value ... Meeting the Seoul Man

Public and Collaborative: Exploring the Intersection of Design, Social Innovation and Public Policy

An interesting phenomenon is emerging worldwide: more and more people are organizing to solve daily problems together and are collaborating with each other to live more socially cohesive and sustainable lives. This active and collaborative attitude, driven by several social and economic factors, is also based on a technological pre-condition: the diffusion of technologies that ... Public and Collaborative: Exploring the Intersection of Design, Social Innovation and Public Policy

Five keys to corporate social innovation

Via the Guardian Written by Marc Pfitzer and Valerie Bockstette The term “innovation” appears at least daily in Guardian Sustainable Business. That’s because innovation is the key to addressing the social and environmental challenges we face today. We need innovation to create more affordable health care services. We need innovation to bring nutritious food to every corner ... Five keys to corporate social innovation

A Lab of Labs

A report from Lab2, and why learning to reflect on our assumptions about how change happens has value, whether or not “lab” is in your title. Just add water. That was chemistry professor Justus von Liebig’s big idea. Mix hot water and powder, and voilà, you have the nutritional equivalent of beef stew. The year ... A Lab of Labs

At The Forefront Of Social Innovation In Latin America – Colombia

This article is written by Tricia Hackett and Diana Daste as part of the Social Life of Cities series for Urban Times It’s not all about Brazil – though the media might lead you to believe otherwise. Lesser known but not less exciting things are also happening in other Latin America countries, namely Colombia. With much fanfare, Colombia’s ... At The Forefront Of Social Innovation In Latin America – Colombia

Athens: Social Unity Through Urban Crisis

This Article is written by Zoe Spiliopoulou as part of the Social Life of Cities Series for Urban Times. For the past five years austerity measures have taken a heavy toll on everyday life in Greece. Despite this, as a Greek citizen, I feel that Greeks have strong social bonds and networks that are closely linked ... Athens: Social Unity Through Urban Crisis

Walking with Park – Designing against Crime in Cities

Walking with Park: Exploring the ‘reframing’ and integration of CPTED principles in neighbourhood regeneration in Seoul, South Korea. Adam Thorpe (70%), Reader in Socially Responsive Design and Co-Director of the Design Against Crime Research Centre, University of the Arts London. Lorraine Gamman (30%), Professor of Design Against Crime and Director of the Design Against Crime ... Walking with Park – Designing against Crime in Cities

Paving the way to measurement – TEPSIE report

The current interest in tackling the challenge of measuring social innovation is driven by at least two factors. First, there is undoubtedly a need for tackling long standing as well as new social challenges and meeting current social needs more effectively. The means of choice for doing so is social innovation. Thereby, and this leads ... Paving the way to measurement – TEPSIE report

Project Innovation: the Social Innovation Toolkit

The reality of day-to-day organizational work is that we tend to rely on typical strategies to achieve outcomes. An innovation mindset challenges key ideas about the traditional ways of working in social sector organizations, the importance of asking challenging questions and gathering data to better understand the complexity of social sector work, and the need ... Project Innovation: the Social Innovation Toolkit

How Cities Learn

Eddy Adam FRSA has spent the past year looking at how cities can innovate in addressing the challenges they face in the 21st century. Central to this is how cities can better learn from one another. Buddhists believe that on the eve of Buddha’s birth, his mother dreamt that a white elephant gave her a ... How Cities Learn

Good Business

In the latest issue of The Business Incubator, Allyson Hewitt introduces us to the concept of corporate social innovation. The article is a welcome demonstration that social innovation thinking is emerging into the mainstream. A young animator had figured out a new way to streamline the animation process. He approached the Information technology, Communications and ... Good Business

‘Good’ systems, for whom?

Sarah Schulman, Kennisland – 11.04.2013 Sarah Schulman, an expert member of the SIX community with a background in Co-design processes–and a visiting scholar at Kennisland in the Netherlands–takes a long look at the systems that structure–and constrain–our lives and daily actions, as well as the processes, politics, and people that create our shared idea of ... ‘Good’ systems, for whom?

Public Sector Social Innovation: It’s time we changed some old habits

In an article for Public Servant Magazine, Geoff Mulgan explains why Nesta is promoting social innovation in the UK and how SIX brings together innovators from around the world. For the last 14 years Nesta has been working to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life across a wide range of fields – ... Public Sector Social Innovation: It’s time we changed some old habits

Financing Social Impact: Funding Social Innovation in Europe

The field of innovation for social purposes is developing rapidly all over the world, with new institutions and methods, growing confi dence and evidence of impact. Social innovators are changing the way governments work, the way civil society achieves impact, and the actions of business.  Social innovations are new ideas, institutions, or ways of working ... Financing Social Impact: Funding Social Innovation in Europe

Social Innovation: International Practices for Diffusion and Policymaking

By Johanna Mair While Western societies increasingly recognize social innovation, and its importance for the growth and well being of communities, there is still a wide gap between the scale of the problems we face and the scale of the available solutions. Businesses spend big money on innovation, but governments spend far less on systematically ... Social Innovation: International Practices for Diffusion and Policymaking

Labs: Designing the future

Participatory, user-centric approaches to solving problems are gaining momentum as alternatives to traditional organizations. Among these approaches is the innovation Lab, a creative, multi-disciplinary environment that employs a proven and repeatable protocol to seek disruptive, potentially systems-tipping solutions. Labs: Designing the Future, published in 2012, examines the Lab’s roots in complexity, networked collaboration and design ... Labs: Designing the future

Defining social innovation – A 2012 report by TEPSIE

This report was prepared by the Young Foundation, as part of the TEPSIE project.  These ten points summarise the reports findings: an understanding and analysis of social innovation, namely what it is, where and how it takes place as well as core features and common elements. 1. The field of social innovation is broad and varied. It ... Defining social innovation – A 2012 report by TEPSIE

Compendium for the civic economy

Against the context of rapid economic, social and environmental change, a collective reflection is taking place on how to build more sustainable routes to share prosperity. In the meantime, an increasing number and wide range of change-makers have already found ways to imagine and grow a different economy in our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and villages. ... Compendium for the civic economy

The Obama Administration’s Social Innovation Fund:An In-depth Interview with Director Paul Carttar

Recently, I interviewed Paul Carttar, Director of the Social Innovation Fund–an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) intended to improve the lives of people in low-income communities. It does so by mobilizing public and private resources to grow promising, innovative community-based solutions that have evidence of compelling impact in three areas ... The Obama Administration’s Social Innovation Fund:An In-depth Interview with Director Paul Carttar

City of Malmo: Innovation forums and incubating social innovation

The City of Malmo is conducting a pre-study investigation funded by the European Commission into how they might establish a series of ‘Innovation forums’ in four deprived areas of the city. They see it as a method to generate new ideas and develop real solutions to some of Malmo’s social problems through inclusive processes well-rooted ... City of Malmo: Innovation forums and incubating social innovation

In Studio: Recipes for Systematic Change

The In Studio: Recipes for Systematic Change book explores a particular Strategic Design method that we at Sitra call the HDL Studio Model. It’s a unique way of bringing together the right people, a carefully framed problem, a supportive place, and an open-ended process to craft holistic vision and sketch the pathway towards strategic improvement. ... In Studio: Recipes for Systematic Change

A Social Issue-Based Approach to Finding and Funding Social Innovation

Andrew Wolk is the Founder and CEO of Root Cause. The establishment of the Social Innovation Fund last year marked a great milestone for the field of social innovation in the United States. As the Corporation for National and Community Service is receiving applications for its 2011 Notice of Funds Opportunity, I want to share ... A Social Issue-Based Approach to Finding and Funding Social Innovation

The Failure of Google’s “Do No Evil” Approach to Social Innovation

A really interesting article from the “Inspired Economist” site (http://inspiredeconomist.com) Yesterday’s extensive feature in The New York Times business section on Google.org’s (http://www.google.org/) failure to match its own lofty social innovation goals is a must read for anyone interested in the intersection of philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and information technology. The piece chronicles Google’s philanthropic ... The Failure of Google’s “Do No Evil” Approach to Social Innovation

First Study on Social Innovation for BEPA

SIX and the Young Foundation were commissioned by the Bureau of European Policy Advisors at the European Commission to a study of social innovation in Europe, and to suggest some priorities for action. The paper sets out the current position, policies, programmes and future options for promoting social innovation in Europe. Its primary focus is ... First Study on Social Innovation for BEPA

The open book of social innovation

The Open Book of Social Innovation looks at ways to design, develop and grow social innovation.

Small is powerful

The Basque region is the proposed setting for the world’s first ‘social Silicon Valley’. Alison Benjamin meets two Spaniards intent on creating a post-industrial revolution High in the hills of Spain’s Basque region, an experiment is taking place that could determine how we tackle social problems in the future. At a time when governments, economists ... Small is powerful

Our creative minds need to be harnessed

This article originally appeared on The Guardian What makes a city buzz? The most dynamic cities have always been immersed in the critical innovations of their time. Today, the world’s great cities compete to lead in innovation in fields such as nanotechnology or genomics, sometimes successfully, sometimes with ineffective copycat strategies. Science and business have ... Our creative minds need to be harnessed

Intentional innovation: How getting more systematic about innovation could improve philanthropy and increase social impact

Based on a review of case studies and current innovation theory and practice, proposes a framework integrating best practices, processes, and tools for making innovation a more consistent and integral element of philanthropy. Lists models and resources.

New ways of doing

The original article appeared on The Guardian Social innovation is the new global obsession. It might be a nebulous idea but it has huge potential. Lord Darzi, following his review of the NHS, is so enamoured of its powers that he’s set aside a £50m annual budget to encourage its spread. Governments in Singapore, Denmark and ... New ways of doing

In and out of sync: The challenge of growing social innovations

This report is about how social innovations spread and grow. It aims to provide a theoretically and empirically grounded guide for the many people involved in social innovation: innovators, funders, policy-makers and commissioners. It draws on a growing body of research on patterns of growth, and distils its conclusions into a guide to help direct ... In and out of sync: The challenge of growing social innovations

Themes

New report: How philanthropy is supporting Business for Good in South East Asia

The Asia region, and specifically businesses operating within it, have an important role to play in transitioning our planet to a sustainable and green future. But the climate breakdown is an intersectional challenge — that means every sector needs to work together effectively, and for that to happen, people within different institutions need to understand ... New report: How philanthropy is supporting Business for Good in South East Asia

Philanthropy can advance business for good around climate ambitions and beyond

A new way of thinking about corporate purpose and climate risks Businesses have an important role to play in transitioning our planet to a sustainable and green future, but the idea that businesses should care about the climate, even from a materiality perspective, let alone a moral or existential one, is still relatively new.  The ... Philanthropy can advance business for good around climate ambitions and beyond

Insights on financing social innovation in Europe

We are facing immense societal challenges globally, which cannot be solved through technological innovations alone. We need sustainable and socially oriented solutions, that is innovations with and for society. Such social innovations need adequate financial support.   Over the last decade, there have been various approaches to financing and supporting social innovations, from accelerator grants to ... Insights on financing social innovation in Europe

Labs for System Change

The Labs for System Change report is our humble attempt to capture the overwhelming richness of the conversations that took place both within the conference and online via Twitter (we captured over 2,000 tweets over the few days of the event). We hope that the report will also surface some of the most pertinent questions and challenges ... Labs for System Change

What’s the role of young people in social innovation?

The power of young people, activism and the role of government have been the focus of our team discussions at SIX over the last month. This month, the team have been to Cape Town and Bangkok for our work challenging universities to experiment and co-create social innovation, Canada and Australia for our work encouraging the ... What’s the role of young people in social innovation?

From social innovation to business for good – a global dialogue

We are living in turbulent times. Poverty, inequality, youth unemployment and climate change are among the challenges we are facing. Business for good is becoming the new norm in this new era.  Over 2019/2020, a global consulting team came together to produce a new piece of research: Business for Good: Understanding the Motivations for Business to ... From social innovation to business for good – a global dialogue

How has the discourse around philanthropy shifted after the events of 2020?

Introduction Over the coming months, SIX will be sharing our tracking and interrogation of how the discourse around philanthropy has shifted, or not, after the profoundly impactful events of 2020. We are looking for themes that have been lost in the noise, and trends that have become louder; we are searching for signals about what has ... How has the discourse around philanthropy shifted after the events of 2020?

Report: Motivations for Business to Create Shared Value in Hong Kong

The coronavirus outbreak has triggered the biggest global economic, health care and social crisis in centuries. This is a time for all sectors to reflect on their approaches and develop new ways of doing things. And it includes the private sector. In the post-pandemic world, the new business landscape is complex and uncertain. Amongst technological ... Report: Motivations for Business to Create Shared Value in Hong Kong

Philanthropy, Power and Radical Change – in collaboration with Ariadne network

Practising radical change in philanthropy: why we’re looking at it and what it means On 3 November 2020, Ariadne and SIX invited 23 philanthropic organisations from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia to exchange practical examples, lessons and tensions in their work funding radical, structural and deep change, and to uncover practical, concrete examples that benchmark ... Philanthropy, Power and Radical Change – in collaboration with Ariadne network

Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges

Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges: Insights from a global call between WINGS and SIX networks On 25 June, WINGS and SIX brought together 17 philanthropic leaders from around the world in a reflective conversation to explore which methods and models philanthropy should be engaging with in order to shift power, and to uncover the ways ... Philanthropy, Power and New Challenges

Provocations: Living in turbulent times and re–centring the conversation

As COVID-19 started to take hold of countries and regions around the world, we began a comprehensive global scan exploring the most innovative ways in which philanthropic organisations around the world have been pivoting in order to support grantees and communities now and in the future. These provocations are rooted in the insights and perspectives of over ... Provocations: Living in turbulent times and re–centring the conversation

Systems principles for a pandemic

Earlier in April, SIX wrapped up our second of two trainings with one of the largest independent grant making foundations in England. Over six months, we worked with two cohorts of individuals to explore what social innovation and systems thinking looks like in context and in practice. What were we designing for? We believe that funders and ... Systems principles for a pandemic

Making the case for foundations in East Asia to embrace systems thinking

Questions for the social sector in Hong Kong With the rapid development of East Asia in recent years, individuals and corporates are accumulating wealth. This is leading to the establishment of new foundations and making both public and private funds widely available.  We have worked in East Asia for several years, our SIX colleague and ... Making the case for foundations in East Asia to embrace systems thinking

Three ways in which funders can disperse power in philanthropy this year

Many of the conversations taking place within philanthropy at the moment centre around legitimacy, transparency, equity, diversity, inclusion…the list goes on. These topics skirt around what really needs to be addressed: the unbalanced power dynamics entrenched throughout the sector. This is why at SIX we are focus on decentralising power within philanthropy this year. For this to ... Three ways in which funders can disperse power in philanthropy this year

Three reflections after a year spent with funders

I’ve spent a lot of time this year listening to funders; on the phone; at roundtables and during the three retreats we’ve held this year on Wasan Island as part of the SIX Funders Node. This programme supports philanthropic foundations from around the world to work more effectively and authentically, and in 2019 we held ... Three reflections after a year spent with funders

Systems Change vs. Behaviour Change (part two)

Lizzy Robinson is a Senior Program Manager and the Afghanistan portfolio lead at MAGENTA, a social and behavioural change research and communications firm. Josiane Smith manages Strategic Partnerships and Growth at the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), a global, cross-sector network of institutions and individuals committed to social and systems change. Josiane and Lizzy connected in ... Systems Change vs. Behaviour Change (part two)

Technology will not save us from climate change – but imagining new forms of society will

This article was originally posted on The Conversation. Citizen action on climate change has reached a new intensity: school children by the thousands regularly skip school to protest and Extinction Rebellion’s civil disobedience recently caused widespread disruption in cities around the world. Challenge and disruption is important in prompting change. But it’s also key that ... Technology will not save us from climate change – but imagining new forms of society will

Between the institution and the individual: What works for systems change (part one)

This is Part One of a Two Part Series exploring different approaches to tackling social issues in development work and the public sector. It is held in conversation between Lizzy Robinson and Josiane Smith, who connected in Amman over their mutual fascination with social development, behaviour change and the bigger forces in society that help or hinder ... Between the institution and the individual: What works for systems change (part one)

Challenges of Social Innovation in Brazil

Fábio Deboni is the Executive Manager at the Sabin Institute. He currently is a co-manager of the Social Enterprise Theme Network of GIFE (Group of Institutes, Foundations and Companies) with the ICE. Member of GIFE’s Board of Directors. Author of “Reflexões contemporâneas sobre Investimento Social Privado” (Contemporary reflections on private social investment). Contact him here: fabio@institutosabin.org.br As ... Challenges of Social Innovation in Brazil

Future trends for innovative cities

One of the reasons why I decided to run for Mayor was to pursue social innovation. Seoul has a population of 10 million, it’s a big metropolitan city and changing the lives of Seoul citizens is only possible not in front of a desk, but within the lives of the citizens. I am moving the Mayor’s ... Future trends for innovative cities

Cities for the imagination

As cities grow in size and significance, they can become sites of complex social problems – but also hubs for exploring possible solutions. While every city faces distinct problems, they all share a need for innovative approaches to tackle today’s challenges. This essay is one in a series on future trends for innovative cities, written ... Cities for the imagination

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Future-fit philanthropy: why philanthropic organisations will need foresight to leave lasting legacies of change

Author: Louise Pulford & Cat Tully All philanthropic organisations exist to change the world, or at least a part of it. They are distinguished by their level of ambition – and by their optimism. But that makes them particularly susceptible to the radical uncertainties of our fast-changing world. To be considered transformational, any philanthropic organisation should ... Future-fit philanthropy: why philanthropic organisations will need foresight to leave lasting legacies of change

Inclusive cities of the future: creative commons, compassionate connectivity

As cities grow in size and significance, they can become sites of complex social problems – but also hubs for exploring possible solutions. While every city faces distinct problems, they all share a need for innovative approaches to tackle today’s challenges. This essay is one in a series on Future trends for innovative cities, written by the leading thinkers of the Mayor of Seoul’s ... Inclusive cities of the future: creative commons, compassionate connectivity

Co-creation and peer research Lab Exchange PART IV

In this Lab Exchange Series, Chelsea (Public Policy Lab, NYC), Stephane (La 27e Région, Paris) and Carolyn (TACSI, Adelaide) talk with Rachel (Social Lab, Hong Kong) and Marco (SIX, London) about participatory approaches and what kind of mindset they bring when working with the community. This conversation was part of Social Lab Symposium in Hong Kong. Working ... Co-creation and peer research Lab Exchange PART IV

Lab Exchange PART II: The “terrible” bureaucracy and saying “no”

In this Lab Exchange Series, Chelsea (Public Policy Lab, NYC), Stephane (La 27e Région, Paris) and Carolyn (TACSI, Adelaide) talk with Rachel (Social Lab, Hong Kong) and Marco (SIX, London) about building new narratives and capabilities needed to work as a lab practitioner. This conversation was part of Social Lab Symposium in Hong Kong. The terrible bureaucracy ... Lab Exchange PART II: The “terrible” bureaucracy and saying “no”

What is a social lab? Why now? – Lab Exchange PART I

In this Lab Exchange Series, Chelsea (Public Policy Lab, NYC), Stephane (La 27e Région, Paris) and Carolyn (TACSI, Adelaide) talk with Rachel (Social Lab, Hong Kong) and Marco (SIX, London) about the emergence of social and public labs and what it means to work as a lab practitioner. This conversation was part of Social Lab Symposium in ... What is a social lab? Why now? – Lab Exchange PART I

The Lab Exchange Series

Lab.  A word from the science field, that refers to the controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. The idea has since been applied in the social and public sector. There has been a lab movement in Europe and the US for the last ten years, both inside ... The Lab Exchange Series

Insights on the lab movement in Asia

Insights from the Social Lab Symposium 2019 in Hong Kong In this article, we summarise we provide some highlights from the Social Lab Symposium 2019, an event that explored the social labs movement in Asia and what it means to change a system.  The social challenges we are facing nowadays are complex. They can no ... Insights on the lab movement in Asia

Funding – A Practice Guide

Funding is essential for social innovation to grow and thrive. This is why SIX has an entire programme dedicated to philanthropy. The SIX Funders Node challenges, enables, and inspires funders to be more systemic and innovative in their thinking and practice. Our aim is to increase the flow of funding to social innovation and systemic change. We ... Funding – A Practice Guide

Social Labs: enabling citizens to co-create and co-design innovations

As cities grow in size and significance, they can become sites of complex social problems – but also hubs for exploring possible solutions. While every city faces distinct problems, they all share a need for innovative approaches to tackle today’s challenges. This essay is one in a series on future trends for innovative cities, written by the leading thinkers of the Mayor of Seoul’s ... Social Labs: enabling citizens to co-create and co-design innovations

How Field Catalysts Galvanise Social Change

Surmounting daunting social challenges such as ending malaria or achieving marriage equality can require the help of an intermediary organization—a field catalyst—that amplifies the efforts of others. Open access to this article is made possible by The Bridgespan Group. When looking across the major social-change efforts of our time, the parabola of success sometimes arcs suddenly ... How Field Catalysts Galvanise Social Change

Fostering a Canadian ecosystem for systems change – the SiG story

As SIX Global Council member Social Innovation Generation (SiG) draws to a close after ten years, the organisation have created this book to chart and track their learning journey from the past decade.  Social Innovation Generation (SiG) was a coming together of unusual allies — a private family foundation, an innovation hub, a non-profit social enterprise and a ... Fostering a Canadian ecosystem for systems change – the SiG story

Strategic foresight and philanthropy – a conversation over dinner

On the 19th of November, SIX hosted an intimate dinner with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in London to explore the opportunity for philanthropy to engage in strategic foresight, ahead of a workshop to follow up from a retreat we hosted on the topic in the summer. Foundations are uniquely placed to be ahead of the ... Strategic foresight and philanthropy – a conversation over dinner

What is the power of networks in philanthropy? Reflections from SIX

Having worked for an international exchange for almost 5 years, I can attest firsthand to the power of networks. Networks help us to navigate our daily life (whether in the workplace or at home), providing much needed inspiration and success stories, new connections and personal relationships, whilst expanding our learning and horizons.   I’ve thought ... What is the power of networks in philanthropy? Reflections from SIX

What is corporate social innovation?

Corporate social innovation (CSI) describes corporations who integrate social innovation into their corporate activities. Although a relatively new term, shared value companies are not new, although the recent influx in CSI is a sign of the growing strength of this field. Corporations play a significant opportunity in 2018 and the next decade to be part ... What is corporate social innovation?

Government of Canada releases recommendations for comprehensive social innovation and social finance strategy

In 2017, a Co-Creation Steering Group, appointed by the Government of Canada, engaged stakeholders from across sectors and regions to provide recommendations for a pan-Canadian Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy. In 2018, the Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group released its report, Inclusive Innovation: New Ideas and New Partnerships for Stronger Communities. ... Government of Canada releases recommendations for comprehensive social innovation and social finance strategy

The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

Funding systems change initiatives and innovations is inevitably risky. A growing number of foundations globally are interested in funding from a systems change perspective – yet there is a simultaneous trend toward metrics-driven grantmaking and quantitative evaluation of outcomes based on technical measurement. This has translated into risk-averse grantmaking that channels funds toward ‘guaranteed outcomes.’ ... The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

Funding systems change initiatives and innovations is inevitably risky. A growing number of foundations globally are interested in funding from a systems change perspective – yet there is a simultaneous trend toward metrics-driven grantmaking and quantitative evaluation of outcomes based on technical measurement. This has translated into risk-averse grantmaking that channels funds toward ‘guaranteed outcomes.’ ... The role of risk in funding systems change and how to manage it

Blog: How philanthropy can support the growth of data for social good

This article was originally published by Alliance Magazine. How philanthropy can support the growth of data for social good We often hear about the potential (and actual) perils of big data and emerging technologies – large privacy breaches, public opinion manipulation, and algorithmic bias – but there are also many positive ways it can influence society. Data has ... Blog: How philanthropy can support the growth of data for social good

How funders can contribute to a better future: Strategic Foresight

What do we mean by strategic foresight? Strategic foresight, in general, is the systematic exploration of possible futures to help inform present-day decision making. It looks beyond 3- and 5-year strategic plans to 20, 30, or even 50 years into the future. Strategic foresight does not mean predicting the future. We are not futurists or ... How funders can contribute to a better future: Strategic Foresight

Top 11 Things to Read on Strategic Foresight and Philanthropy

In our rapidly changing and volatile world, funders need to build more capacity to better deal with the new challenges that come their way. This August, SIX is hosting a retreat with our Funders Node to explore how they can fund strategically with future foresight and adaptive capacity for emergent change. Below is a selection of readings ... Top 11 Things to Read on Strategic Foresight and Philanthropy

7 Ways Philanthropy Can Engage Data for Social Good

Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  —————— Want to read more great content ... 7 Ways Philanthropy Can Engage Data for Social Good

SIX Fallback News Illustration

Infographic to match report

Author: Kendra Schreiner Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  Want to read more great ... Infographic to match report

Building Cross-Sector Data for Good Partnerships

Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  —————— Want to read more great content ... Building Cross-Sector Data for Good Partnerships

Using Big Data for Social Good: 5 Steps to Keep in Mind

Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  —————— Want to read more great content ... Using Big Data for Social Good: 5 Steps to Keep in Mind

How is Data being used for Social Good and Systematic Change?

Please share this infographic freely with your organisation and network. This infographic is part of a larger project on the role of philanthropy in using data to solve complex problems. A global scan highlights many initiatives using data for good, the main methods, how philanthropy is engaging, and the challenges faced.  Want to read more great content like ... How is Data being used for Social Good and Systematic Change?

The future of data – from cities to philanthropy

The conversation at the City Data conference hosted by Nesta on 24 May 2018 ranged from the ethics of algorithms to using avatars to help guide planning applications. The content was aimed at local authorities but the conversations were applicable to all sectors. I was one of the few attending from a social innovation background, with the ... The future of data – from cities to philanthropy

The role of philanthropy in using data to address complex challenges: A global scan

How philanthropy can better use, work with and fund data and emerging technologiesAuthor: Jordan Junge & Kendra Schreiner & Louise Pulford Foundations all over the world are grappling with their role in the emerging field of data and artificial intelligence. The field is fraught with potential controversy but also with possibility. Data has the potential to ... The role of philanthropy in using data to address complex challenges: A global scan

How is big data providing better insights into public welfare?

The gap in information Improving public welfare requires an in-depth understanding of needs and issues among different groups in society. Some mechanisms exist already to measure this information, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator, the Human Development Index, and the World Happiness Report. However, all of these are based on various datasets such as household consumption surveys, nutrition, health ... How is big data providing better insights into public welfare?

New narratives and culture shift – Lab Exchange PART III

In this Lab Exchange Series, Chelsea (Public Policy Lab, NYC), Stephane (La 27e Région, Paris) and Carolyn (TACSI, Adelaide) talk with Rachel (Social Lab, Hong Kong) and Marco (SIX, London) about building new narratives and capabilities needed to work as a lab practitioner. This conversation was part of Social Lab Symposium in Hong Kong. New narratives Stephane ... New narratives and culture shift – Lab Exchange PART III

Ten articles to read on the future of inclusion in AI: Why AI matters in social innovation

AI is already shaping the way people live and affecting day-to-day functions in society. It holds promises for social good, but also presents many challenges and risks. Yet, for many it remains inaccessible. How can everyday voices be included in the debate? How can we design AI for the common good? How do we ensure ... Ten articles to read on the future of inclusion in AI: Why AI matters in social innovation

Global Networks: Strategies & learning with peers

Abstact Global Networks Networks are a powerful and growing vector for social change. Considering the complex nature of today’s global challenges, solutions need to be reactive to an ever-evolving landscape of players and circumstances. Networks are a fitting way to approach this complex challenge and if well-managed, networks help us share and use knowledge across ... Global Networks: Strategies & learning with peers

25 companies carrying out corporate social innovation

Between the 2017 Paradise Papers scandal, the globally contested multi-billion merger between a large pharmaceutical and an agrochemical company, incidents of day-to-day disrespect of employees, protests over excessive pay and a leading car company’s fraudulent emission scandal, the air surrounding global corporations feels somewhat heavy. For the 17th consecutive year, the Edelman Trust Barometer recently surveyed tens ... 25 companies carrying out corporate social innovation

Getting Alignment: Some Helpful Aides for Action

Author: Mark Cabaj The idea for this resource emerged during a retreat on Wasan Island for the SIX Funders Node devoted to exploring the challenges and opportunities of getting alignment on tackling tough social, economic and political issues.   The retreat focused on the changing role of foundations, why foundations need to align and how they ... Getting Alignment: Some Helpful Aides for Action

The Burning Questions of Alignment

We believe that there’s great power in knowing the questions and challenges that are keeping your peers up at night. Not only does it help to reassure that you’re not alone in your work but it can spark a conversation, which in turn can shift thinking and practice. The mission of the Funders Node is ... The Burning Questions of Alignment

SI-DRIVE: Towards a general theory and typology of Social Innovation

“Towards a general theory and typology of Social Innovation” comprises the most important findings of the four years lasting SI-DRIVE project according to the development of the theoretical framework. Based on a new innovation paradigm seven central building blocks are summarising the theoretical and empirical work of the project: a comprehensive definition of Social Innovation, five ... SI-DRIVE: Towards a general theory and typology of Social Innovation

Why do global foundations need to align for impact?

Author: Jordan Junge If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together African Proverb We know that the challenges our societies face are growing in scale and complexity. We know that not one organisation is capable to solve these challenges alone. Not even foundations, who are uniquely positioned and ... Why do global foundations need to align for impact?

The philanthropy of place

As the pace of life increases, our lives are continuously engulfed by technology and data. There are few opportunities for stillness.  We need spaces to recharge and recalibrate more than ever, and when we find these spaces, we need to use them more strategically. This is the view of Dr Helga Breuninger of the Breuninger ... The philanthropy of place

How foundations join forces for better philanthropy?

We work hundreds of miles apart, separated by the border but our two organizations – the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation in Canada and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in the US -have formed a collaboration that is accelerating our efforts to bring about change in our respective countries. Despite our many differences, our organizations are wrestling with similar ... How foundations join forces for better philanthropy?

Labs for Social Innovation

SIX worked with the ESADE Institute for Social Innovation to co-facilitate a Lab on Labs for Social Innovation in Barcelona in June 2017. This workshop was part of a project carried out by the Institute and was supported by the Robert Bosch Foundation and BBVA, and aimed to provide meaningful insights into how to best address the complex societal ... Labs for Social Innovation

6 things social innovation can offer to an out of control world

Author Charlie Leadbeater concluded the SIX Wayfinder with six things that social innovation can offer to the future:  I want to say a few things of what might be coming and how to interact with it. Over the past two days at the Wayfinder, we’ve had a lot of conversations on the good work that we do and the ... 6 things social innovation can offer to an out of control world

Humanity at work – MONDRAGON, a social innovation ecosystem case study

Original post here The Young Foundation has published a research report on the MONDRAGON Corporation, the largest industrial Co-operative in the world. The report explores it as a social innovation ecosystem, a highly successful and competitive way of transforming people’s lives for the better through shared ownership. MONDRAGON is a large global business owned by ... Humanity at work – MONDRAGON, a social innovation ecosystem case study

What does it mean to move towards trust-based funding?

As part of the SIX Funders Node, which connects funders across the world that want to learn from each other to be better funders of innovation, I interviewed Dr Toby Lowe of the University of Newcastle Business School who is working with Collaborate and the Big Lottery Fund to explore trust-based funding, as a response ... What does it mean to move towards trust-based funding?

A foundational approach to systems change: A snapshot

Systems change. To some the word comes with a promise. A chance to create a bigger, deeper lasting impact. A shakeup, a change in the status quo. A fundamental reshuffle. To others, the idea is fraught with confusion. What is it? What does it even mean? And how do you do it? Despite the growth ... A foundational approach to systems change: A snapshot

The SIX Funders’ Node: A new kind of network for social innovation

In a rapidly changing world, the role of foundations to broker and create change is increasingly important. And, as their own role develops, it’s vital for funders to share and learn from their peers across the globe. The SIX Funders’ Node works with leading funders to unpack the big questions facing trusts and foundations all ... The SIX Funders’ Node: A new kind of network for social innovation

What Lessons Does “Brexit” Hold for Social Innovators Worldwide?

Social innovators have a lot to learn from situations where they and their target beneficiaries vote on opposite sides. This past June, as a US citizen and social innovator living in London, I found myself surrounded by British colleagues who voted to remain in the European Union. Many of the people they and their social ... What Lessons Does “Brexit” Hold for Social Innovators Worldwide?

Innovation Labs: 10 Defining Features

A closer look at what characterizes an innovation lab can help practitioners, funders, and scholars better understand what labs’ potential and limits might be, as well as better assess the social impact that comes out of the them. Innovation labs, with their aspirations to foster systemic change, have become a mainstay of the social innovation ... Innovation Labs: 10 Defining Features

Old problems, New solutions: Measuring the capacity for social innovation across the world

The Social Innovation Index, sponsored by Nippon Foundation was devised and constructed by an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The report examines, analyses and explains social innovation.   This piece of work sets out to define social innovation. It examines results, policy and institutional framework, financing, entrepreneurship, civil society and how best to enable social innovation. The ... Old problems, New solutions: Measuring the capacity for social innovation across the world

Blogging from Bogota about post-conflict design, innovation and planning

Witnesses to a divided society “I had to come back from Canada when my father and uncle were murdered and there was no one to help on the family farm.” “My mother was killed and her body thrown down a well.” “My father has been kidnapped several times.” You cannot spend a week in Bogota ... Blogging from Bogota about post-conflict design, innovation and planning

Policy for social innovation: Five ways policy can support social innovation

Originally posted here. To start the Social Innovation Community project we reviewed what social innovators and researchers have said so far about the relationship between public policy and social innovation. Across Europe there are many initiatives operating nationally and transnationally that have been designed to support social innovation, but we’re still some way from a ... Policy for social innovation: Five ways policy can support social innovation

How I came to be an ABSI Connect Northern Fellow

I was at work on January 22nd 2016, when an online news headline caught my eye. “Breaking News: School Shooting in La Loche, Saskatchewan.”  I struggled to read the words that seemed scrambled on my computer screen, and I heard my co-worker gasp and say, “oh my God, there was a school shooting in La ... How I came to be an ABSI Connect Northern Fellow

I could never work with those people!

Abstract The Social Innovation community has a lot to learn about the challenges involved in collaborating. For this week’s SIX Series on social innovation and collaboration in post conflict societies, SIX invited Adam Kahane of Reos Partners to give his reflections on collaboration, from his new book entitled Collaborating with the Enemy: How to Work with People You ... I could never work with those people!

Getting to the core of human-centred design: SIX speaks with Mariko Takeuchi

As part of our work to demystify innovation within international development, we spoke with Mariko Takeuchi, human-centred design expert on the core of the methodology and what NGOs can learn from the private sector. Mariko is a Strategy Consultant and Advisor working on behalf of clients and funders including Helen Keller International, LandMapp, Gates Foundation, WWF, UNDP, UNFPA, IDRC and more.  She previously ... Getting to the core of human-centred design: SIX speaks with Mariko Takeuchi

Little actions that bring people together

Little actions that bring people together As the CEO of a grant funded organisation, a non-profit, I am often challenged to validate the importance of placemaking programmes and allied activities in a country characterised by staggering inequality, high unemployment and poverty. These issues are of vital importance and require consistent intervention by civil society and ... Little actions that bring people together

Behaving Like a System

Collaborate launched a new report “Behaving Like a System?“ on the preconditions for place-based systems change. Funded by the Lankelly Chase, this piece of work set out to explore the preconditions for systems change in a place. It unpicks the critical behaviours and vision that makes system change more likely, more deliverable and more sustainable. In ... Behaving Like a System

Mapping Momentum

As we hurtle towards a human community of 9.7 billion people by the year 2050, coupled with new technologies and the growing challenges of our planet’s carrying capacity, there is more and more discussion of systems and how they change or are created. The post-war era has witnessed an unprecedented growth of global, national and ... Mapping Momentum

Taking a positive peace approach in Colombia

Taking a Positive Peace Approach in Colombia Michelle Breslauer, Director of the Americas Program at the Institute for Economics and Peace @MichBreslauer When I first travelled to Mexico City with the Institute for Economics and Peace, I came seeking ways to contribute to a more peaceful Mexico. For the last four years, I have strategized to ... Taking a positive peace approach in Colombia

Indigenous wisdom and peacemaking

People are like trees, and groups of people are like forests. While the forests are composed of many different kinds of trees, these trees intertwine their roots so strongly that it is impossible for the strongest winds which blow on our Islands to uproot the forest, for each tree strengthens its neighbour, and their roots ... Indigenous wisdom and peacemaking

Building social innovation in post-conflict places

As part of the SIX series exploring social innovation in post conflict places, Eddy Adams, SIX Adviser, spoke with Gorka Espiau. Hailing from the Basque country, Gorka was actively involved in the peace process there, and has subsequently been involved in social innovation work across the globe. This includes experience in Colombia and Croatia, which ... Building social innovation in post-conflict places

Regions are from Mars, Cities are from Venus

Written by Peter Ramsden, Freiss ltd in July 2016 Can social innovation ecosystems overlap with those for technological innovation?  Where are the connections?  Why is the uptake of European Structural Funds in support of social innovation so slow in the 2014-20 period? Where are the new opportunities? I can’t be the only person to think that ... Regions are from Mars, Cities are from Venus

Engineering Change Lab – Sharing the Latest Lab Thinking

The Engineering Change Lab is a platform for collaboration to allow individuals and organizations from across the profession to take action to address the systemic challenges (i.e. ethics failures, lack of diversity, and low levels of innovation) that have been holding back the profession’s full potential. Engineering Change Lab hosted their 5th highly successful workshop in Montreal ... Engineering Change Lab – Sharing the Latest Lab Thinking

Migrant crisis: what can cities learn about new service design?

This blog was originally published on URBACT. A message from Sicily There’s been a lot of recent talk about the additional pressure new migrant arrivals place on public services. There has been less discussion about how cities – and it is mainly cities – are coping with this. And less still about what we are ... Migrant crisis: what can cities learn about new service design?

SIX Series: Exploring social innovation in post-conflict societies

What behaviours and attitudes contribute to an effective social innovation culture? A few months ago SIX co-hosted an SIE event with the BMW Foundation to consider this question. “Transparency” Trust” and “Openness” were frequently recurring words in the discussion. This endorsed much of the established evidence about the importance of a collaborative approach to stimulate innovation. But ... SIX Series: Exploring social innovation in post-conflict societies

Inclusive Cities of the Future: Experiences of Zimbabwe in a global perspective

In cities across the world, citizens are looking for new ideas and ways to solve big social challenges. And Zimbabweans are no different. With a booming population, urban residents in Harare face a myriad of challenges- from air and water pollution, housing, water and electricity shortages, limited public transport, and damaged public spaces combined with ... Inclusive Cities of the Future: Experiences of Zimbabwe in a global perspective

Migrants, social innovation and collaborative inclusion

In the next decades, a growing number of people will be on the move. The challenge for Europe is to see this not as a threat, but as an opportunity. That is, to imagine how migration can become a driver of innovation towards a younger, dynamic, cosmopolitan and, at the end of the day, a ... Migrants, social innovation and collaborative inclusion

The Citizen as Mayor: Citizen participation in social innovation

This was originally published on URBACT and was written by Peter Ramsden on April 25th, 2016. The subject of the Eurocities Social Forum in Nantes on March 16th was citizen involvement in social innovation.  Cities are now leading Europe on social innovation across a range of fields from health and care to integrating migrants.  The message of the ... The Citizen as Mayor: Citizen participation in social innovation

Embedding innovation within UNDP- SIX speaks with Milica Begovic

As part of our work to demystify innovation within international development, we spoke with Milica Begovic, Innovation Specialist at UNDP’s Regional Hub for Europe and CIS. We asked her how UNDP has been able to embed innovation within the organisation and position themselves within the sector. Prototyping is key ‘We’ve created innovation funds for staff within ... Embedding innovation within UNDP- SIX speaks with Milica Begovic

An introduction to social innovation for NGOs

Although many aspects of innovation, including the ability to creatively problem solve and adapt to changing context, have long underpinned the work of NGOs, it is currently emerging as a new and distinct area of practice. At present, there is both scepticism towards, and enthusiasm for, innovation in the sector – as well as a ... An introduction to social innovation for NGOs

Innovation, integration and the migrant crisis – insights from European innovation

The unprecedented flows of migrants approaching Europe was (and still is) confronting the European Union and its Member States with a series of complex challenges. It raises fundamental questions about the social and cultural fabric of European societies. Ingenuity, vision, as well as political will and an efficient use of resources are required if we ... Innovation, integration and the migrant crisis – insights from European innovation

Social Innovation in the Basque Country

Building on Social Innovation Europe (SIE)’s country profiles which demonstrate a variety of views on what social innovation means to different kinds of organisations in a particular country, SIE also looking at how social innovation is carried out in different regions across Europe. SIE recently interviewed Innobasque to learn more about social innovation in the Basque Country. The following interview builds on Innobasque’s contribution to the country ... Social Innovation in the Basque Country

How to be more innovative in your practice: 6 reflections from SIX and Hivos

Across the world, development and social challenges are increasingly more complex and urgent. From INGOs to community organisations to governments, finding new ways of working to meet these challenges is more of a priority than ever. The organisations that are best placed to deliver the biggest impact are those that are highly connected, that are agile ... How to be more innovative in your practice: 6 reflections from SIX and Hivos

Innovating Innovation: Connecting technological, business and social innovation

We have reached a watershed moment. After a century of robust development of technological and business innovation, plus several decades of cracking the code of social innovation, the time has come to create an integrated innovation system. Innovation has long been recognized as necessary for a nation’s economic and business success. But citizens have relied ... Innovating Innovation: Connecting technological, business and social innovation

Scaling social innovation: An art or a science?

This originally appeared on the BRAC blog. If there were a simple recipe for social innovation, anyone could easily transform an idea into an impactful solution reaching millions. Unfortunately things are a lot messier on the ground. Many ‘amazing’ innovations that promise to save millions of lives fail to scale and quietly disappear. Who’s to blame: ... Scaling social innovation: An art or a science?

Driving social innovation at a city level: Mayor Aboutaleb on Rotterdam

How can mayors be more involved in driving social innovation at a city level? Social Innovation Europe recently asked Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam, the Netherlands to share his insight on innovation in his city. Please allow me to say that I am so happy with the subject you have chosen for this interview. This is a subject ... Driving social innovation at a city level: Mayor Aboutaleb on Rotterdam

Greater funder connectivity for social change: reflections on the SIX Funders Node

The SIX Funders Node took place at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York in January, 2016 and was the first convention of social innovation grantmakers from three continents. Andrew Barnett, Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s UK Branch, writes about his experience. Social Innovation should be invigorating and I returned from the SIX Funders’ Node ... Greater funder connectivity for social change: reflections on the SIX Funders Node

Options Foodlab: How food making and sharing is supporting migrant integration in Greece

Eddy Adams of SIX met Penny Travlou at the Unusual Suspects Festival in Glasgow, where she spoke passionately about the work she’s been involved in with refugees in Greece. As part of Social Innovation Europe’s Beyond Crisis Collection, Eddy interviewed Penny to learn more about this work of using food making and sharing to support migrant integration in Greece. To get us started, can you tell us ... Options Foodlab: How food making and sharing is supporting migrant integration in Greece

Philanthropic foundations and social innovation: How do we accelerate our learning?

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein The last quarter century has seen significant changes in the world of foundation philanthropy. New pools of earned wealth (think Jeff Skoll, Bill Gates or Skype founder Niklas Zennström) have accelerated traditional philanthropy’s shift from responsive grantmaking towards experiments with ... Philanthropic foundations and social innovation: How do we accelerate our learning?

An innovative fix – lessons from SIX Summer School Mumbai

This article originally appeared on the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation blog. 100 social innovators from across the world gathered together at SIX’s Summer School in Mumbai this November to discuss ‘The Connected Urban Life – How can new ways of connecting make cities better for all?’ I was in attendance to represent Battersea Arts Centre with support from ... An innovative fix – lessons from SIX Summer School Mumbai

Seven reasons for having faith in India’s social innovation future

At a stressful point before the recent SIX Mumbai Summer School, an ISDI colleague shared some words of wisdom with the team. “Just remember, it’ll be alright in the end. And if it isn’t alright, it isn’t the end yet.” We looked at him. “Wow’ what amazing insight. “Where’s that from? Gandhi? The Bhagavad Gita?…” “No, from ... Seven reasons for having faith in India’s social innovation future

Comparative Report on Social Innovation across Europe

SIMPACT investigates the economic foundation of social innovation in relation to markets, public sector and institutions with the intention of providing a dynamic framework for action at the level of individuals, organisations and networks.  According to SIMPACT’s understanding, social innovation refers to: novel combination of ideas and distinct forms of collaboration that transcend established institutional contexts with the effect of empowering and (re) engaging vulnerable ... Comparative Report on Social Innovation across Europe

Recoding Our Innovation Systems

This article was written by Tim Draimin (Executive Director, Social Innovation Generation) and is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.  Social Innovation’s Imperative to Be Ambitious and Think Big The world is awash with innovation reports and indices comparing the innovation prowess of different countries, cities, and corporations. The two ... Recoding Our Innovation Systems

Supporting Social Change: A New Funding Ecology

Independent social funders are an established part of a mature ecosystem of social support in the UK. They represent a ‘sector’ that is diverse in makeup and practice, with some cutting edge thinking and innovative practice sitting alongside very traditional models of funding for activities in the community. It is also a sector whose leading lights ... Supporting Social Change: A New Funding Ecology

Social Innovation in Cities – URBACT report

City administrations are facing a whole range of challenges on the social, environmental and economic fronts. New competences are being transferred from the national or regional levels while the budgets available to tackle them are shrinking. In this increasingly difficult context, social innovation is a new asset. Citizens are taking promising initiatives. They are inventing ... Social Innovation in Cities – URBACT report

Rethinking Smart Cities from the Ground Up

The original post about this report can be found on Nesta website here. This Nesta report tells the stories of cities around the world – from Beijing to Amsterdam, and from London to Jakarta – that are addressing urban challenges by using digital technologies to engage and enable citizens. Key findings Many ‘top down’ smart city ... Rethinking Smart Cities from the Ground Up

Lab Practice: creating spaces for social change

How to organise and run a social lab? Lab Practice aims to share experiences from doing a social lab with elderly people in Amsteldorp by sharing methodologies and stories from both changemakers and social lab facilitators. In the face of fast moving, global, often elusive developments, national governments and their counterparts (public sector) find it ... Lab Practice: creating spaces for social change

People Powered Everything?

This article was written by Chris Vanstone (Director of Co-design, TACSI) and is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.  The commonsensical approach of doing with rather than to might just be sticking, in places. A decade and a half of work on people powered public services and a long demand ... People Powered Everything?

Taking part: participatory art and the emerging civil society in Hong Kong

As civil society grows in post-colonial Hong Kong, participatory art has registered a heightened local consciousness, the desire to be autonomous and attempts to resist various kinds of hegemony in the 2000s and the 2010s. This essay aims to provide an empirical base for further studies by examining exemplary works, namely Complaints Choir of Hong ... Taking part: participatory art and the emerging civil society in Hong Kong

Inside India’s Smart Cities

Of all the bars in the world….This story starts in a bar. But not just any old bar. It’s a rooftop open-air number, straddling an uber-modern glass and steel business conglomeration. It’s a bar with a boxing ring, where two teenage Thai boxers are knocking seven bells out of one another, cheered on by boozed ... Inside India’s Smart Cities

Disruptive Social Innovation – A political challenge

This article, written by Simon Willis (CEO, Young Foundation) and Jeremy Crump (Head of Strategy, Young Foundation) is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future. Clayton Christensen’s concept of disruptive innovation arose largely from an analysis of the industrial and product market, such as steel, manufacturing and computing. The focal point ... Disruptive Social Innovation – A political challenge

Digital Social Innovation – Future directions

This article was written by Geoff Mulgan (CEO, Nesta) and is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.  Over the last 50 years vast sums of public money have been spent supporting digital innovation in the military and business.   These fuelled transformative new phenomena – from drones to mass surveillance, Amazon ... Digital Social Innovation – Future directions

Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation

Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation – TRANSITION – is a 30-month project that supports the scaling-up of social innovations across Europe by developing a network of incubators which brings together established partners within the fields of social innovation (SI) and innovation-based incubation (IBI). TRANSITION will also provide learning output on which scaling methodologies are most ... Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation

U Innovate Us

This article was written by Josine Stremmelaar (Coordinator of the Knowledge Programme, Hivos) and Remko Berkhout (Consultant, Hivos) and is part of our SIX Global Council series on Ideas for the Future.  The obsession with ‘superheroes of social innovation’ undermines the social fabric that is needed to achieve social change. What if we harness the power ... U Innovate Us

10 trends of social innovation in South Africa

Jordan Junge reflects on SIX’s recent event in Johannesburg, South Africa. Standing in a hot field in Soweto, we saw the vision for the future. There would be a juice bar in the corner, Bob Marley blasting out of the speakers, and people of all ages from the community hand picking their fruit and veg. ... 10 trends of social innovation in South Africa

Growing a digital social innovation ecosystem for Europe

Over the last 18 months Nesta, funded by the European Commission, has led a large research project into DSI. The project seeks to define and understand the potential of DSI, to map the digital social innovators, their projects and networks, and to develop recom­mendations for how policymakers, from the EU to city level, can make the ... Growing a digital social innovation ecosystem for Europe

Inequality and innovation: the end of another trickle down theory?

Chief Executive of Nesta and SIX Global Council member Geoff Mulgan highlights the issue of inequality in innovation in this blog, originally published on Nesta. The relationship between innovation and inequality is rapidly moving up policy agendas. For years an implicit ‘trickle down’ theory dominated how policy makers thought. It argued that resources should be concentrated where ... Inequality and innovation: the end of another trickle down theory?

Building ecosystems for systems change

How do we collaborate to create ecosystems that support innovation for systems change? On September 5, 2014, Social Innovation Generation (SiG) and Oxfam hosted one of the final sessions of the inaugural Unusual Suspects Festival at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK office that explored: How do we collaborate to create an ecosystem that supports innovation for systems ... Building ecosystems for systems change

Growing social innovation: A guide for policy makers

The international community increasingly recognises the need for new approaches to address our most pressing social challenges. In order to stimulate this innovation, this report suggests a number of approaches which policy makers can take, drawing on examples taken from around the world. The report draws on the work and findings of the TEPSIE project, a ... Growing social innovation: A guide for policy makers

Irresistibly Biased? The blind spots of social innovation

Social innovation has an irresistible global appeal, but is it biased towards protecting the status quo? What’s the state of play in the fast paced world of social innovation? The Unusual Suspects Festival in London seemed a good place to find out. Collaboration was the theme. The claims made were high. The stakes may be even higher. A ... Irresistibly Biased? The blind spots of social innovation

Digital technology in social innovation – TEPSIE report

TEPSIE is a research project funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. One area of their project examines the extent to which, how and why, online networks and other digital tools are being used by, and having an impact on, social innovation. There is much evidence that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) substantially changes the character ... Digital technology in social innovation – TEPSIE report

The Innovation Lab Insight Centre

The innovation Lab Insight Centre is a joint project between The Brisdgespan Group and the Rockefeller Foundation Focussing on Labs for Systems Change, the project brought together a blog and webinar series which shares research, expert insights, and perspectives on how these labs have helped funders and nonprofit organizations create environments conducive to innovation and ... The Innovation Lab Insight Centre

What does it take to scale social impact?

Twenty years ago, Indian activist Arbind Singh pleaded with local officials to address the issues facing the urban poor. The state government of Bihar had recently carried out a massive antiencroachment drive that left thousands of street vendors without the means to earn a living. Across India, cities were being ‘beautified’—which in part meant kicking ... What does it take to scale social impact?

How Social Innovation Labs Contribute to Transformative Change

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Social Innovation Labs project explores what labs are and how, when, and why we might use them to address complex social problems. Many different types of organizations run labs. Some are part of larger organizations, like UNICEF Innovation Labs or the BRAC Social Innovation Lab. Others are independent, like InSTEDD. According to The Bridgespan Group, preliminary estimates indicate that ... How Social Innovation Labs Contribute to Transformative Change

Unusual Suspects Special: Seoul’s Mayor Park talks about Collaboration

The Unusual Suspects Festival on collaboration is rapidly approaching, and we took the opportunity to speak to the Mayor Park of Seoul, well known for his collaborative approach to running the city of Seoul, about his thoughts on how we better can work together with our ‘unusual suspects’. Q1. Why do you think collaboration is important for ... Unusual Suspects Special: Seoul’s Mayor Park talks about Collaboration

Making it Big: Strategies for scaling social innovations

This Nesta report Making it Big: Strategies for Scaling Social Innovations aims to help social innovators consider the best options for scaling up their innovations. Key findings: Scaling isn’t for everyone. Not all innovations are scalable, and scaling brings risks. But where social innovations have potential to benefit more people, we think innovators should at least consider whether ... Making it Big: Strategies for scaling social innovations

Eleven trends to watch – Digital Social Innovation

This article was originally posted on the Nesta blog on 24/06/2014 by Peter Baeck and Alice Casey. People are using digital technology to revolutionise how we make social impact and to develop useful new resources for everyone. Nesta knows this is happening in a wide range of ways but is often informal and community-driven which means that ... Eleven trends to watch – Digital Social Innovation

The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world

Nesta and Bloomberg Philanthropies have published the i-teams report to explore in-depth twenty innovation teams and funds from around the world. We analyse the diversity of structures and approaches, their impacts, and the key lessons for other government leaders looking to emulate these efforts.  We present the new practices being developed and implemented by city ... The teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world

Interview with Agnès Hubert: How has social innovation changed in Europe?

Louise Pulford, Director of SIX, interviewed Agnès Hubert, adviser in the Bureau of European Policy Advisers and author of the influential report ‘Empowering people, driving change: Social innovation in the European Union’ first published in 2010. Agnès has been instrumental within the Commission for championing and recognising the importance of social innovation as a pillar of ... Interview with Agnès Hubert: How has social innovation changed in Europe?

Breaking Through – How Corporate Social Innovation Creates Business Opportunity

Corporate social innovation is an approach where corporate strategies and operating practices enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously promoting economic and social well-being in the communities in which it operates. Simply put, it is about fuelling breakthrough changes in how businesses operate so that they can achieve social and environmental value creation alongside ... Breaking Through – How Corporate Social Innovation Creates Business Opportunity

Webinar: Geoff Mulgan on ‘Master of Arts in Social Innovation’

The new study program “Master of Arts in Social Innovation” at Danube University Krems (Austria), which will start its new course on 16th of June 2014, offers a recorded version of Geoff Mulgans Webinar for all those who are interested in Social Innovation. For more informations click here.

Lab Matters: Challenging the practice of social innovation laboratories

This article was originally posted on Kennisland website here. Just Lab It? Social innovation labs are ‘hallelujah-ed’ as the latest vehicles for transforming the way our cities, our schools, our welfare programs, and even our economic systems run. Yet we, lab practitioners, encounter a lack of critical literature and struggle to find learning spaces to ... Lab Matters: Challenging the practice of social innovation laboratories

Permission, performance and play: shifting culture, changing systems

1. The two most important things you need to focus on if you want to use innovation to change systems and shift cultures are permission and play. The third thing is performance. Permission, performance, play – that’s the trifecta you have to pull off. It’s very hard and very rare. I was reminded of this ... Permission, performance and play: shifting culture, changing systems

Designing Social Innovation Labs: ESADE, Spain

Background Based in Barcelona, Spain, ESADE is one of the world’s top business schools. ESADE’s Institute of Social Innovation want to set up a lab for social innovation. Over the past decade, there has been a surge in the number of social innovation labs globally. Some of them are connected to the public sector, others ... Designing Social Innovation Labs: ESADE, Spain

The Scaling Imperative

This article was originally published on Social Innovation Generation (SiG) website. Social Innovation Generation (SiG) is a group who believes that serious social problems can be solved. Our focus is on fostering social innovation to achieve impact, durability and scale by engaging the creativity and resources of all sectors. Today, it is quite common to come ... The Scaling Imperative

The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

As the strategic philanthropy movement has swept across the field, many grantmakers have lost their appetite for funding experimental and innovative projects. Recently, however, a number of funders have begun exploring how to deliberately reintroduce risk-taking into their processes and portfolios in search of breakthrough change. The term “innovation” is now used so widely and ... The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation

A global discussion on Corporate Social Innovation

On March 11, 2014 , SIX hosted the Global Dialogue on “Corporate Social Innovation and the Future of Capitalism“. The discussion was convened by SIX, SiG and Cisco, and chaired by Geoff Mulgan (CEO of Nesta) and it brought together people from London, Bogota, Toronto and Vancouver. The last four decades have seen important evolution in thinking about the role of ... A global discussion on Corporate Social Innovation

The radical’s dilemma: an overview of the practice and prospects of Social and Public Labs.

This article was originally written by Geoff Mulgan on the Nesta website. In this paper, Geoff Mulgan looks at the various social and public labs across around the world. He summarises his personal view of the field of innovation labs – and what might lie ahead – largely based on Nesta experience. The report looks ... The radical’s dilemma: an overview of the practice and prospects of Social and Public Labs.

Report: A reflection on Strengthening Social Innovation in Colombia

In 2013, The Young Foundation and the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) were commissioned by the national Colombian Centre for Social Innovation of ANSPE (National Agency to Overcome Extreme Poverty) to design and run a series of events on Social Innovation with a range of stakeholders. This project was supported by Compartamos con Colombia and the Inter-American Development Bank. Through ... Report: A reflection on Strengthening Social Innovation in Colombia

Design in public and social innovation: What works and what could work better

What’s going right and what’s going wrong? Is design a key to more efficient and effective public services, or a costly luxury, good for conferences and consultants but not for the public? This Nesta paper looks at the elements of the design method; the strengths of current models; some of their weaknesses and the common criticisms ... Design in public and social innovation: What works and what could work better

Social innovation research in the European Union: Approaches, findings and future directions

This report was originally posted on Wilco Project. In the course of the WILCO mid-term seminar, a pioneering initiative was launched to take stock of all the research done so far within the Framework Programmes with a view on preparing for Horizon 2020. The main result of this event is the “Social innovation research in the ... Social innovation research in the European Union: Approaches, findings and future directions

Social Frontiers – The next edge of social innovation research

The global field of social innovation was gathering momentum. At the time of the event, there was an Office for Social Innovation in the US, the UK Government recently appointed an Advisor to the Prime Minister on Social Innovation and the European Commission had already made significant investments in both research and practical projects which ... Social Frontiers – The next edge of social innovation research

Meeting the Seoul Man

By Eddy Adams, URBACT expert On the business card of Won Soon Park,Seoul’s dynamic and charismatic Mayor, there is a drawing of a spoon-billed sandpiper, with the legend small but can fly further. Mr. Park is very interested in how far he and his city can fly, and if you ever wanted proof of the value ... Meeting the Seoul Man

Public and Collaborative: Exploring the Intersection of Design, Social Innovation and Public Policy

An interesting phenomenon is emerging worldwide: more and more people are organizing to solve daily problems together and are collaborating with each other to live more socially cohesive and sustainable lives. This active and collaborative attitude, driven by several social and economic factors, is also based on a technological pre-condition: the diffusion of technologies that ... Public and Collaborative: Exploring the Intersection of Design, Social Innovation and Public Policy

Five keys to corporate social innovation

Via the Guardian Written by Marc Pfitzer and Valerie Bockstette The term “innovation” appears at least daily in Guardian Sustainable Business. That’s because innovation is the key to addressing the social and environmental challenges we face today. We need innovation to create more affordable health care services. We need innovation to bring nutritious food to every corner ... Five keys to corporate social innovation

A Lab of Labs

A report from Lab2, and why learning to reflect on our assumptions about how change happens has value, whether or not “lab” is in your title. Just add water. That was chemistry professor Justus von Liebig’s big idea. Mix hot water and powder, and voilà, you have the nutritional equivalent of beef stew. The year ... A Lab of Labs

At The Forefront Of Social Innovation In Latin America – Colombia

This article is written by Tricia Hackett and Diana Daste as part of the Social Life of Cities series for Urban Times It’s not all about Brazil – though the media might lead you to believe otherwise. Lesser known but not less exciting things are also happening in other Latin America countries, namely Colombia. With much fanfare, Colombia’s ... At The Forefront Of Social Innovation In Latin America – Colombia

Athens: Social Unity Through Urban Crisis

This Article is written by Zoe Spiliopoulou as part of the Social Life of Cities Series for Urban Times. For the past five years austerity measures have taken a heavy toll on everyday life in Greece. Despite this, as a Greek citizen, I feel that Greeks have strong social bonds and networks that are closely linked ... Athens: Social Unity Through Urban Crisis

Walking with Park – Designing against Crime in Cities

Walking with Park: Exploring the ‘reframing’ and integration of CPTED principles in neighbourhood regeneration in Seoul, South Korea. Adam Thorpe (70%), Reader in Socially Responsive Design and Co-Director of the Design Against Crime Research Centre, University of the Arts London. Lorraine Gamman (30%), Professor of Design Against Crime and Director of the Design Against Crime ... Walking with Park – Designing against Crime in Cities

Paving the way to measurement – TEPSIE report

The current interest in tackling the challenge of measuring social innovation is driven by at least two factors. First, there is undoubtedly a need for tackling long standing as well as new social challenges and meeting current social needs more effectively. The means of choice for doing so is social innovation. Thereby, and this leads ... Paving the way to measurement – TEPSIE report

Project Innovation: the Social Innovation Toolkit

The reality of day-to-day organizational work is that we tend to rely on typical strategies to achieve outcomes. An innovation mindset challenges key ideas about the traditional ways of working in social sector organizations, the importance of asking challenging questions and gathering data to better understand the complexity of social sector work, and the need ... Project Innovation: the Social Innovation Toolkit

How Cities Learn

Eddy Adam FRSA has spent the past year looking at how cities can innovate in addressing the challenges they face in the 21st century. Central to this is how cities can better learn from one another. Buddhists believe that on the eve of Buddha’s birth, his mother dreamt that a white elephant gave her a ... How Cities Learn

Good Business

In the latest issue of The Business Incubator, Allyson Hewitt introduces us to the concept of corporate social innovation. The article is a welcome demonstration that social innovation thinking is emerging into the mainstream. A young animator had figured out a new way to streamline the animation process. He approached the Information technology, Communications and ... Good Business

‘Good’ systems, for whom?

Sarah Schulman, Kennisland – 11.04.2013 Sarah Schulman, an expert member of the SIX community with a background in Co-design processes–and a visiting scholar at Kennisland in the Netherlands–takes a long look at the systems that structure–and constrain–our lives and daily actions, as well as the processes, politics, and people that create our shared idea of ... ‘Good’ systems, for whom?

Public Sector Social Innovation: It’s time we changed some old habits

In an article for Public Servant Magazine, Geoff Mulgan explains why Nesta is promoting social innovation in the UK and how SIX brings together innovators from around the world. For the last 14 years Nesta has been working to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life across a wide range of fields – ... Public Sector Social Innovation: It’s time we changed some old habits

Financing Social Impact: Funding Social Innovation in Europe

The field of innovation for social purposes is developing rapidly all over the world, with new institutions and methods, growing confi dence and evidence of impact. Social innovators are changing the way governments work, the way civil society achieves impact, and the actions of business.  Social innovations are new ideas, institutions, or ways of working ... Financing Social Impact: Funding Social Innovation in Europe

Social Innovation: International Practices for Diffusion and Policymaking

By Johanna Mair While Western societies increasingly recognize social innovation, and its importance for the growth and well being of communities, there is still a wide gap between the scale of the problems we face and the scale of the available solutions. Businesses spend big money on innovation, but governments spend far less on systematically ... Social Innovation: International Practices for Diffusion and Policymaking

Labs: Designing the future

Participatory, user-centric approaches to solving problems are gaining momentum as alternatives to traditional organizations. Among these approaches is the innovation Lab, a creative, multi-disciplinary environment that employs a proven and repeatable protocol to seek disruptive, potentially systems-tipping solutions. Labs: Designing the Future, published in 2012, examines the Lab’s roots in complexity, networked collaboration and design ... Labs: Designing the future

Defining social innovation – A 2012 report by TEPSIE

This report was prepared by the Young Foundation, as part of the TEPSIE project.  These ten points summarise the reports findings: an understanding and analysis of social innovation, namely what it is, where and how it takes place as well as core features and common elements. 1. The field of social innovation is broad and varied. It ... Defining social innovation – A 2012 report by TEPSIE

Compendium for the civic economy

Against the context of rapid economic, social and environmental change, a collective reflection is taking place on how to build more sustainable routes to share prosperity. In the meantime, an increasing number and wide range of change-makers have already found ways to imagine and grow a different economy in our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and villages. ... Compendium for the civic economy

The Obama Administration’s Social Innovation Fund:An In-depth Interview with Director Paul Carttar

Recently, I interviewed Paul Carttar, Director of the Social Innovation Fund–an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) intended to improve the lives of people in low-income communities. It does so by mobilizing public and private resources to grow promising, innovative community-based solutions that have evidence of compelling impact in three areas ... The Obama Administration’s Social Innovation Fund:An In-depth Interview with Director Paul Carttar

City of Malmo: Innovation forums and incubating social innovation

The City of Malmo is conducting a pre-study investigation funded by the European Commission into how they might establish a series of ‘Innovation forums’ in four deprived areas of the city. They see it as a method to generate new ideas and develop real solutions to some of Malmo’s social problems through inclusive processes well-rooted ... City of Malmo: Innovation forums and incubating social innovation

In Studio: Recipes for Systematic Change

The In Studio: Recipes for Systematic Change book explores a particular Strategic Design method that we at Sitra call the HDL Studio Model. It’s a unique way of bringing together the right people, a carefully framed problem, a supportive place, and an open-ended process to craft holistic vision and sketch the pathway towards strategic improvement. ... In Studio: Recipes for Systematic Change

A Social Issue-Based Approach to Finding and Funding Social Innovation

Andrew Wolk is the Founder and CEO of Root Cause. The establishment of the Social Innovation Fund last year marked a great milestone for the field of social innovation in the United States. As the Corporation for National and Community Service is receiving applications for its 2011 Notice of Funds Opportunity, I want to share ... A Social Issue-Based Approach to Finding and Funding Social Innovation

The Failure of Google’s “Do No Evil” Approach to Social Innovation

A really interesting article from the “Inspired Economist” site (http://inspiredeconomist.com) Yesterday’s extensive feature in The New York Times business section on Google.org’s (http://www.google.org/) failure to match its own lofty social innovation goals is a must read for anyone interested in the intersection of philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and information technology. The piece chronicles Google’s philanthropic ... The Failure of Google’s “Do No Evil” Approach to Social Innovation

First Study on Social Innovation for BEPA

SIX and the Young Foundation were commissioned by the Bureau of European Policy Advisors at the European Commission to a study of social innovation in Europe, and to suggest some priorities for action. The paper sets out the current position, policies, programmes and future options for promoting social innovation in Europe. Its primary focus is ... First Study on Social Innovation for BEPA

The open book of social innovation

The Open Book of Social Innovation looks at ways to design, develop and grow social innovation.

Small is powerful

The Basque region is the proposed setting for the world’s first ‘social Silicon Valley’. Alison Benjamin meets two Spaniards intent on creating a post-industrial revolution High in the hills of Spain’s Basque region, an experiment is taking place that could determine how we tackle social problems in the future. At a time when governments, economists ... Small is powerful

Our creative minds need to be harnessed

This article originally appeared on The Guardian What makes a city buzz? The most dynamic cities have always been immersed in the critical innovations of their time. Today, the world’s great cities compete to lead in innovation in fields such as nanotechnology or genomics, sometimes successfully, sometimes with ineffective copycat strategies. Science and business have ... Our creative minds need to be harnessed

Intentional innovation: How getting more systematic about innovation could improve philanthropy and increase social impact

Based on a review of case studies and current innovation theory and practice, proposes a framework integrating best practices, processes, and tools for making innovation a more consistent and integral element of philanthropy. Lists models and resources.

New ways of doing

The original article appeared on The Guardian Social innovation is the new global obsession. It might be a nebulous idea but it has huge potential. Lord Darzi, following his review of the NHS, is so enamoured of its powers that he’s set aside a £50m annual budget to encourage its spread. Governments in Singapore, Denmark and ... New ways of doing

In and out of sync: The challenge of growing social innovations

This report is about how social innovations spread and grow. It aims to provide a theoretically and empirically grounded guide for the many people involved in social innovation: innovators, funders, policy-makers and commissioners. It draws on a growing body of research on patterns of growth, and distils its conclusions into a guide to help direct ... In and out of sync: The challenge of growing social innovations