What is Social Innovation?
Before you get in too deep, you might want to know what we mean by “social innovation.” At CSI, we define social innovation as the creation, development, adoption, and integration of new and renewed concepts, systems, organizations and practices that put people and planet first.
At their best, social innovations address root causes and change the very systems resisting change to unlock a better world for all.
Social innovators achieve change by nudging and sometimes radically redesigning markets, policies and cultures. Put simply, social innovation is about new solutions for a better world. We see them everywhere!
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Our Mission and Purpose
CSI catalyzes, inspires and supports people to create, develop, adopt and integrate new and renewed concepts and practices that put people and planet first. We envision a world where our systems – economy, government, culture and communities – serve to create a healthy, just, resilient & regenerative society full of meaning, equity & happiness.
CSI inspires a belief that solutions are possible. We invite everyone, from all sectors and backgrounds, to be a part of the solution because we know that it’s up to us to create a better world. We believe that change happens when people decide to make a difference. We don’t sit back and wait for things to get better. We’re shaping the world now.
Sometimes people see us as an incubator and accelerator, sometimes a coworking space and community centre, sometimes a lab and an innovator. They’re all right. At our core the Centre for Social Innovation is supporting a platform and growing a community of social innovators that are building a world that puts people and planet first.
Our Next Economy Focus
Across the globe, our social, environmental and economic systems are converging into a critical tipping point for the planet’s health – and all those inhabiting it. We have a climate crisis. An economic crisis and a growing mental health crisis. Underpinning all of this is an economic system that is unsustainable, extractive and increasingly inequitable. Ultimately we have a crisis of imagination.
It’s time for a paradigm shift. It’s time to radically redesign our economic system to be regenerative, equitable and prosperous for all. It’s time to build an economic system that puts people and planet first.
We are not alone in calling for change. This work has been emerging for decades, with inspiring examples from around the world showing us the way. The Next Economy is people-centred, sustainable, circular, just, participatory and equitable. The Next Economy values human dignity, is cooperative, conscious and caring. The Next Economy is redefining what success looks like, is reshaping markets while respecting the planet’s capacity to regenerate itself and create an economy that benefits everyone.
This movement is not about the political left nor right. It’s about those who believe that new ways are possible and have the courage to act. The calls for this next economy are coming from communities, business, public sector and coalitions from around the world – and they are growing louder. And in every community, citizens are driving change, creating solutions, and the jobs to sustain them.
That’s where CSI comes in. We work with people and organizations – oftentimes small, early stage, emerging and often marginalized people, nonprofits and social ventures that are working to solve a social or environmental challenge. We are working to leverage the power of collaboration, entrepreneurship and systems change to address the ‘crisis of imagination’ by proving that new models, new enterprises and new solutions can drive the Next Economy. Read more about our approach here.