Interest in social innovation is growing. It needs to. Our societies are facing extraordinary challenges: increasing inequality, rising poverty rates, unstable economies, climate change and a raft of other issues. At the same time, technologies are transforming the world in which we live, markets are undergoing massive change, and philanthropists are changing their practices. The speed of change is faster than ever, and the social and environmental need is reaching a frightening crescendo.
These challenges are daunting, yes, but they also offer the right set of circumstances to look at old problems in new ways. These conditions offer precisely the right opportunity for social innovation to emerge.
With all of this in mind, thinkers and practitioners alike are trying to make sense of the field of social innovation. What exactly is social innovation? What are the best ways to catalyze social innovation?
At the Centre for Social Innovation, we have a deep understanding of how to create the conditions for social innovation emergence. Fundamental to our approach is a belief in cross-sectoral collaborations, community entrepreneurship and civil society as the seeds of change.
We believe there is incredible untapped energy in our communities that’s just waiting to be harnessed. We’re exploring new methods of engaging people in the development of innovations designed to serve people and planet.
Ideas are the lifeblood of innovation. Sometimes they emerge from a deliberate and rigorous process. Sometimes they are a response to an emerging or pressing need. And sometimes they just seem to appear out of thin air. At CSI, we’re always encountering, exploring and generating new ideas that hold promise for addressing the challenges facing our communities.
Half the fun is creating new models – the other half is sharing them! Over the past few years, we’ve both invented new models that we’ve applied here at CSI as well as identifying models that we think have real promise. We’re now working to help other organizations and communities borrow and adapt what we’ve done.
We’ve incubated a handful of projects since the day we opened our doors. These projects all have a few things in common: they are emerging, involve incredible social entrepreneurs, and are positioned to make a real difference in the communities they serve. And they each address one or more of our key priorities: market transformation, entrepreneurship, collaboration and systems change.