What is Social Innovation?

It’s a big buzz word right now, but what does it mean? Is it just a bunch of hype?

Social innovation is a whole group of big, ambitious, new ideas and models for solving social problems. It’s about changing institutions, organizations, approaches, systems in fundamental ways so that we can fix the many problems facing us. It includes things like:

• Creating new financial vehicles where nonprofit and for profit organizations that are working to solve social problems can have ready access to all kinds of funding (seed funding, growth capital, debt, etc.)
• Removing the hurdles placed in front of organizations working to solve social problems (accounting standards, IRS regulations, etc.)
• Creating new businesses that have a double or triple bottomline, that value social good as much as they value profit.
• Restructuring philanthropy to be more effective at supporting real change
• Revamping government so that it can support, rather than thwart, change leaders
• Reforming nonprofit organizations to break out of the starvation cycle and become more effective at creating social impact

And that’s just the beginning.
Social innovation is big. It’s bold. It is a movement of people and organizations from all three sectors (public, private, nonprofit) who are taking a completely different approach, who are turning the status quo on its head, who are building new systems, who are asking hard questions, who are creating a new way forward.
If you are interested in learning more, join the Social Entrepreneurship track of RISE this year, where we will have 10+ sessions profiling social entrepreneurs, discussing how to fund social enterprises, exploring design thinking, brainstorming the next big social business idea, and much more. I hope to see you there!