Social innovation and international development

Unpacking the value of social innovation in NGO’s


At the point this project was commissioned, there was both scepticism towards, and enthusiasm for, innovation in the sector. There was also confusion about exactly what ‘social innovation’ meant. Oxfam and Bond, the UK’s membership body for international development, wanted to demystify social innovation and have a clear sense of what it looked like within NGOs. This would help them build greater understanding of social innovation across the sector and inspire more impactful innovation efforts.

Our Approach

We conducted a series of interviews and targeted workshops with NGOs to generate insights that went into a briefing.


The briefing defined social innovation in international development and highlighted examples of NGOs creating an enabling environment conducive to innovation. It also explored its contextual drivers, the different types of innovation that existed, and the processes that facilitated it, giving Bond and Oxfam a clear sense of the value social innovation could add to NGOS.