Ultimate Guide To Learning Social Innovation6 mins - Introduction
Millennials dominate business and e-commerce. The tech-savvy generation and changed the way offices operate and hold responsibility for our “always-on” culture. Millennials also have high expectations when it comes to the places they work and the products they purchase. One of the biggest influencers on Millennials is whether the company takes social responsibility.
You know what social responsibility means, but what about social innovation? The complex topic induces conflicting opinions in the business world. However, some business and many entrepreneurs are using social innovation to improve their corporate image and increase profitability.
What Exactly Is Social Innovation?
To understand social innovation properly, you need to know how it differs from social entrepreneurship and social enterprise.
Social enterprise revolves around a business itself. For example, a company called 4Ocean removes one pound of litter from the sea, for every bracelet they sell. Whether it’s for-profit or non-profit, social enterprises are based upon a business model.
Social entrepreneurship requires individuals to come up with impactive ideas, that will make improve society. These creative individuals either set up their own business, operate a sub-business, or can be intrapreneurs within a company.
If social enterprise is about the business model, and social entrepreneurship is about mindset, then what is social innovation? In its most basic form, social innovation is about the idea.
While social entrepreneurs take problems and come up with an idea, social innovators come up with a new product or service that envokes change. To qualify as a successful idea, it must be more effective than other solutions and adds value to society.
Examples of Social Innovation
There are some fantastic examples of social innovation projects, from companies and individuals. Here are some of the most successful ideas that changed society for the better.
Amanda Brinkman’s T-Shirts
Amanda Brinkman turns the insults of others into powerful statements. After Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton, a nasty woman, she put the phrase onto a T-shirt. Surprisingly, the next morning, she woke up to 10,000 orders! Society can be cruel, and we often hear insults relating to an individuals sexuality, race, or gender. Brinkman’s idea allows people to wear those insults, and show that words can’t hurt them.
Founded in 2014, Plume Labs works tirelessly to create useful tools so that everyone can enjoy clean air. The project involves a combination of the latest AI technology and big data to ensure people can monitor their environment and find fresh air wherever they are.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Innovation
There are many things to consider when starting your social innovation project. While they have an abundance of advantages, there are also some negative aspects. Ignoring the pitfalls of social innovation could lead you to make some big mistakes.
We know that social innovation can change society for good, and gives ordinary, everyday people the chance to make a difference. Once a social innovation idea is underway, it can spread to other organizations and generate policy and even government changes. Sounds great. However, social innovation has its drawbacks.
Social innovations can be similar to a new relationship. It’s all exciting in the beginning, and you make plans for the future, but then everything falls apart. Social innovations can seem like a great idea, but fall apart quickly. You have to prepare for failure and be resilient.
Most social innovation projects are local endeavors, with little scope for growth. It’s common for them to fail within a few years. Of course, there are exceptions, but that depends on the connections you have, and how many are willing to invest in the project.
One factor in the failure of social innovations are cuts to the public service. However, the biggest issue is that social innovation requires enthusiastic, charismatic initiators to drive the project forward. Without this, the project is unlikely to attract investors and will fade into the background.
The Six Steps of Social Innovation
There are six stages of social innovation, but not all are sequential. You can think of these steps as guidelines on how to become a social innovator or implement the ideas within your organization.
Ideas and Proposals
The most vital part of social innovation is an idea. The process involves designing the concept and project through both formal and creative means. In some cases, a group of individuals get together and work on an idea.
Having a great idea is essential, but is it sustainable? Whether the social innovation project is for-profit or non-profit, it still needs to be able to generate an income. Charities will rely on the proceeds of every idea, which is why innovators need to think about the long-term. A strong team needs to be in place to define budgets and find vital resources such as investors.
Growing your social innovation idea is essential for long-term success. Strategizing will enable you to make use of all the resources available to you.
This includes franchising, licensing, and diffusion. There are many steps to this process, including:
— Metrics to highlight strategies that work
— Defining and Diffusing demand
It’s crucial that you explore what inspired your social innovation idea. What problems is society facing? Do you know the root cause? These are the questions you must ask yourself. Promoting your plan depends on the facilitation of others, so make sure they believe in your idea.
Systematic change embodies what social innovation is all about. Laws, regulations, business models, social movements, data, and creative problem-solving are elements of systematic change.
A common problem for social innovations is that older organizations oppose them. The main reason for this is when a social innovation project is successful, other companies suffer. However, change is meant to make society a better place.
Whether you have a business idea or want to operate under a non-profit organization, social innovation can work! The most important part of the planning and implementation of your idea is to keep in scalable and be realistic. You’ll come up against opposition, but social innovation is paving the way for businesses to contribute towards sociological causes.