What is Social Innovation? An Online Collaboration Project

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To demonstrate how Social Innovation can work in collaboration …

As we move into an age of human(e) design and collective creativity, my ultimate goal is to co-create an ebook that collectively defines what SOCIAL INNOVATION (SI) is. It becomes a practical guide for every manager or guiding group (of a family, village, organization, community, company, or corporation) who recognizes that SI is no longer merely a do-good concept, but has evolved to become a founding pillar for what innovation is.

So, what do we all want Social Innovation to be?

I believe there is a COLLECTIVE TAP that will reveal this notion. But it needs you (and you and you and you) to turn it on and get it pumping. Bring your child-like nature and become a co-author of this momentous ebook whose time has come.

Want to collaboratively shape a formula that encompasses all of our struggles, our emergent thinking, our visions of the future, and help to boost ideas into powerful transformative action? All integrated into a clarity that defines our desires, our children’s creativity, and their children’s way of life? Then contact me and come play in this sandbox, and become a co-editing author. Come participate in the making of our future – today.

I have created a simple wiki to allow us to collectively define what Social Innovation is – what we want it to be. Read below for my email to join us.

Social Innovation Tranforms

(DRAFT: under collaborative construction at Social Innovation Colab)

1. Design Ecology vs Developmental Methodology
2. Induced Evolution vs Productive Revolution
3. Leadership Empowered vs Leader Directed
4. Open Network vs Closed Hierarchy
5. Technological Effluence vs Technical Influence
6. Collaborative Exhibition vs Competitive Inhibition
7. Democratic Process vs Socratic Construction
8. Self-Adaptive Identity vs Preordained Behavior
9. Principle Guided vs Ruling Order
10. Abundant Flows vs Limited Capacities
11. Openly Sourced vs Intellectualized Property
12. Fractal Wholes vs Fractured Parts
13. Differentially Awarded vs Isolated Recognition
14. Qualitative Value vs Quantifiable Profit
15. Multi-forms vs Uniform(s)
16. Inspirationally Driven vs Expert Qualified
17. Essential Wisdom vs Credentialed Intelligence
18. Add more SI transforms by clicking here

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How this got started …

As I was applying for a “Social Innovation” position at eBay today. I began to study the meaning and application of the term ‘social innovation’ (SI) and how companies are using it.

So far, I find its comprehension to be inadequate and feel the inherent value of SI is merely within the fetal stages of our knowledge. In one sense this is a good thing, because SI stands for the evolution of an ever evolving understanding of our human creativity. On the other, I see that many people are using the term in replacement of the term ‘sustainability’, while others are using it to identify it with ‘social entrepreneurialism’, and still others overlay it with the idea of capitalism (i.e. social capital) in an attempt to give it value within today’s capitalistic driven economy. Certainly Social Innovation stands at the center of a complex design ecology that is inclusive of all these subject areas. How do we bring this all together?

As I began to sit with the question, “What is Social Innovation?”, I started to write down comparative language as a way to look at, not just what SI is, but also what it isn’t. Or to be more accurate, I wanted to create a visual pattern that could help my brain recognize shifts in our collective thinking and how it is influencing our applied actions.

The result so far is the above list of 15 variations on what I see ‘Social Innovation’ emphasizing, compared to other forms of innovation. It is not a perfect formulation yet. So, in the name of COLLABORATIVE DESIGN, I invite you to help me shape this list into an over-arching description that is meaningful to all of us.

As the list emerges, I think it will be useful to build short paragraphs and imagery that describes the meaning of the term-phrases that we have selected, and show how they differ from each other. In this way, an ‘over’-standing emerges from within the space between two ‘under’-standings, which is a very powerful way to learn together.

Want to participate?

If so, I propose that we all build this list (and ultimately the book) collaboratively. Ideally, a wiki would be useful here, if anyone has suggestions? For now, I started a google wiki at SocialInnovationColab. If you want in on this game, please request wiki editing access by sending me an email with subject line: “yes i want SIcolab editing access”.

If we do this, please have respect for each other’s views by minimizing use of the delete button (LOL!), and be sure to make lots of inquiries about what people are posting before you post your own, using alternative fonts, or the comments section at bottom of each page, etc. Do not assume that you know what a person means, but instead USE INQUIRY with each other to determine similarities or differences in understanding. We will have to create a democratic (or better?) method for agreeing and making decisions on the book’s evolving form. I am open to your suggestions. Also, if anyone has a better wiki solution and/or a wiki collaboration protocol for us to use in the building of this list, I’m sure that would be very helpful.

I’ve posted this invitation to Facebook’s social innovation groups including: SOCAP, SIX, and SIE.

What say yee? ARE YOU IN? Then send me an email.


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